Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Bee Hotel

Great News !

At long last the much awaited designer 'Bee Hotel' has arrived at Ness Gardens.  As the result of a couple of last minute cancelled delivery dates the team was not there to see this take place,  but Tim Baxter was on hand to make a record of the event for us. 


The wooden construction of sustainable oak  is a beautiful object in its own right put together with traditional wooden pegs. 



It was delivered in kit form and constructed on site at the place chosen that would best support the occupants.  The team now have the difficult job filling it with suitable bedding material which will consist of drilled logs, hollow bamboo, reeds and straw.



Thursday, 28 August 2014

Mowing and baling the wildflower meadow at Ness

Two men went to mow went to mow a meadow...................

There was no dog, but the mowing did flush out a lot of butterflies mainly Speckled Wood and Dragonflies and Wheatears.

 
Tim Baxter and local farmer Geoff








Fortunately it was a very warm sunny day perfect for harvesting.  It is the end of a very successful season in the meadow and now it is time to consolidate all the results gathered. So if you have not visited the meadow yet it will have to wait until next year.

A big event took place this week in the meadow as we watched Geoff and his partners collect and bale the meadows first crop.  Many visitors came down to the site to watch this exciting event.



 

The bales because they contain Ragwort which when eaten  is poisonous, cannot be used for animal feed or bedding, but Ian and Nick have said they can find many uses for the bales in and around the gardens.

We still have a large number of pot wildflowers to plant out for next year so the team are making plans as to find the right  place to show them at their best.


 In the meantime we have a delivery date for the beautifully designed bee hotel which will hopefully arrive in the next week or two.  Checking existing log piles in Ness many species including frogs have already moved in.


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Windy Wilder-ness

The season for wildflowers is slowly coming to an end as fertilised flower heads harden into seeds and the winds disperse them into the ether.  The team have gathered and scattered throughout the meadow before cutting and ploughing. It has been a very fertile  year for seeds fruits and nuts so there will be plenty of crop to store for the birds and mammals over the winter.

 










The winter migration is well in flow now as skeins of geese can be seen moving up the coastline.  Today from the top of a bus I witnessed hundreds of Canada Geese grazing in a recently  ploughed  field that had been flooded in the recent heavy rains. Many are resident throughout the year in Britain but there numbers nearly double over the next couple of months.



There are still many interesting insects, bees, and butterflies to be seen, but numbers are beginning to thin.



The information shelter at the top of the meadow is a much needed refuge when caught in the wild rain we have been enduring lately.  The bee, butterfly and wildflower surveys are now drawing to an end as nature prepares for autumn. Once the holidays are over the team will start planning the next phase of the project.  In the meantime we have a ton of material to collect for the bee hotel which will be delivered hopefully very soon.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Mystery in the meadow

The season of plenty has come  a month earlier this year.........much to the delight of this young blackbird spotted in the meadow.

Rasberries, blackberries, blackcurrents, elderberries are all  ripening early this year, together with bumper crops of seeds and nuts seen languidly hanging  from the tree branches. Hopefully this means everything will have enough food to over winter.

The wildflower planting throughout Ness gardens has been a great hit with wildlife and visitors.  It is now time to consider mowing the meadow and scatter seeds in preparation for next year.  Meadows need managing so that single species do not take over and crowd out variety. The more species we encourage the greater range of insect species are attracted and the more birds will visit and so the chain moves on.



 
Over the past few weeks a mysterious plant has appeared in the meadow that is baffling all the experts far and wide.  




It is a species of sedge that no one appears to have seen before. Several specialists have been consulted but to date no definitive answer can be found.  Is this a first in Ness ?