Thursday, 30 October 2014

Autumn Preparation

The team  decided the Bee Hotel is just the  perfect hangout  for a rest during the hard work.

Large and very large logs are being selected and cut to length before being drilled and bored with suitably sized holes.  It is important to use the correct tree logs as those that ooze resin eg pine are not suitable for use in the structure.   A sloping ramp of compacted  sandy soil is constructed at the front lower level to allow the bees to crawl into the structure.

The remaining wildflower plugs sown earlier in the year are now being planted on in selected turned areas of the wildflower meadow.  Despite all the heavy rain the ground is still  quite dry under the top level.  In other parts of the 'Wilder-Ness' areas have been taped off for special grass treatment and removal to enable the more delicate wildflowers to find room.

The seed order for 2015 has arrived and is already being planted in seed trays.  With the warm weather the seedlings are coming through already.  Please click 2015 Seed List for  full list.


If anyone would like to consider getting involved with the 'Wilder-Ness' Project next season we would be delighted to hear from you.  Please bare in mind you need to be able  to muck in with fairly physical work.

If interested please contact :

Friday, 17 October 2014

Autumn comes in slowly ..........then wild

Although nature is preparing to close down for the winter there is still plenty to find and see.

On a recent visit to Ness I heard a loud excited calling of geese coming up the coast.  It was quite sometime before I saw them arriving  over the Dee Estuary.  It took some 5 minutes before the event was over so there must have been many hundreds passing and calling to each other as they arrived at their destination after at least a month of travelling. The atmosphere of excitement was catching as they reached their destination.

Many young birds have started to gather in their own seperate groups, some with parents and some without.  Groups of Starlings can be seen collecting on chimneys and telegraph wires deciding whether to stay or go for the winter months.  It is strange to reflect what makes some stay and others go.  

There is still much to find in the wilder sections of the gardens 

Woodland Cyclamen

Common Bistort

Wild Carrot Seed Head

The birds are singing and the gardens acquire the  dimension of sound again.  Each area has its own unique voice of who lives there.  At  the moment loudest is the racket coming from the woodland areas where Jays congregate together and shout about it.  It is not dissimilar from the sound of something being slaughtered.

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.

What is a Bee Hotel?

The purpose of the bee hotel is to provide nesting habitat for wild solitary bees. Many of the bee species which will hopefully take up residence are amongst the most important pollinators of many of our wild flowers and our food crops.

By providing nesting habitat combined with pollen and nectar resources found in the gardens we can increase the population of these important insects.

We were able to go forward with this project as a result of a generous bequest to Ness Gardens.

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.