Rainy days were a significant feature this June – peppered with hot, sunny summery weather & resulting in lush green grass and fast growth everywhere; including in the rabbit burrows…
Rabbits have been a particular issue this spring – the expression ‘breed like rabbits’ is no joke, and the resulting damage is significant, even of ‘rabbit proof’ plants, which have been wholly consumed – roots and all..
No shame! This brazen bunny was sat looking very sophorophic right outside the french doors, behind a pot of ex seedlings 😦
June Blooms: ‘bees to a honey pot’
Foxgloves truly do seem to be ‘rabbit proof’, so we are encouraging them to spread into wider areas of the garden. Showcasing their beautiful spires here above a particularly large rabbit warren..
Poppy ‘Blue Moon’ has appeared from the heavens – a self seeded gift that is making a welcome appearance in the mint bed this year. ‘Plantlife’ has a great information sheet covering the UK’s 7 different types of poppy; see here.
More Wild flower areas
No Mow May was rewarding with increased numbers of bees and butterflies, so we’ve increased the areas of longer grass. Due to the huge numbers of rabbits, the wild flower seed I planted last year didn’t thrive, so I’m trying reintroducing native varieties by growing them on from seed and planting out when larger plants. Hoping they will escape the rabbit’s constant chomping, and that crickets will soon join other insects, with their iconic clicking noise, or ‘stridulation’ that is such a special feature of warm countryside days.
Vegetable garden: an extra 3 raised beds
The deer and rabbit proof vegetable garden we made as last year’s ‘lockdown’ project was more successful than we dared dream, supplying vegetables from June to the end of January. This June, we have added the additional one large & 2 half sized raised beds which complete it.
The terrace is presently fully occupied with trays of seedlings, to be planted out once they’re large enough. The rabbits’ huge population this year, delightful as they are to look at, has made protecting said seedlings a dicy business… there have been many early morning disappointments as overnight damage has been spied, aghast. It’s true that to garden one has to be an optimist!
Fruit beds: renovation & a new bedstead-bed
We have refurbished our large currant bed, replacing the old netting which was very second hand when we first set the bed up, as an experiment, a couple of years ago. It’s proved that the design works, rewarding us with literally buckets of sparkling red and black pearly currants each year despite the bed being waterlogged each winter.
So this month we painted the wooden frame, made from long birch branches coppiced from our woodland strip, in black outdoor wood preservative matching the barn. New bird proof netting and rabbit proofing in the form of chicken wire, matching that we used last year for our vegetable garden frame has completed the refurbishment.
The barn has an inverse corner at one end, leaving a space just the right shape & size for a small fruit bed, sheltered to the North and East by the barn’s wooden, slatted walls and open to the sun for the majority of the day. Previously a rubble pile, with associated thistles and nettles, this was an area that was crying out for attention. Time was not available to deconstruct more pallets this June, in order to source wood for the frame, but a smaller than usual double bed was available, and being offered by a neighbour who, having returned from abroad, found that buying a new mattress for their european sized bed was disproportionately costly. I therefore collected the bed, and transformed its frame into our new currant ‘bed’!
Flying, and other animal antics:
Both expert pollinators, hoverflies and bees can be confused; but the former have huge beedy eyes and one set of wings, whilst bees have smaller eyes and 2 sets of wings. Both will bee happy if there are lots of flowers for them to buzz amongst 🙂
The beautiful Mullien Moth is a hungry parasite – quickly devouring soft spring growth. The wildlife trust has a useful caterpillar identification page here. Brown lipped snails are also beautiful but can be deadly; attracted by damp ground, we have to keep them in check in the field as they can carry parasites dangerous to sheep. Toads could be thought of as less attractive, but do have beautiful natures.
The orchids have been fabulous this month, and continue to be bloomin’ marvellous!