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.

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.