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Happy gardening!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Twitterings from Brittany as Spring gradually emerges...

There have been all signs of life in the garden over the last few days - it's been bitterly cold here today in particular, bringing an ever increasing amount of birds to the garden and lots of activity going on in the woodland too!

There appear to be record flocks of Fieldfare and Redwings here this year - the Fieldfares in particular have been gobbling up all the rotting apples under the cider apple tree in our woodland... good to know that they haven't gone to waste! They are such difficult birds to photograph without a decent zoom and this was as good as I could get today... will keep persevering though!

Birds visiting our actual garden this year have been less with regard to variety but SO many Blue Tits and not quite as many but still lots of Great Tits too...

Greenfinches have also been in reasonable quantity. Again today they have been wolfing down the food and I seem to be topping up their peanuts and fat blocks/balls on a daily basis! Even the coconut is going down well - some of the smaller birds like this Great Tit actually fits perfectly inside the half shell! Hopefully they'll stick around and take care of all the garden pests this year in repayment!

Despite the cold I've noticed a number of the Blue and Great Tits in particular checking out the nest boxes which is v. exciting too. Hopefully there will be lots of little families to be reporting in my blog later in the year.

As an aside to the birds for a moment, as they seem to be stealing the limelight somewhat recently. I've also noticed many early signs of plant growth in the garden too which always makes for exciting moments in what can be a difficult time of year with all the endless cold weather... I discovered the first clump of Snowdrops today which are a particular favorite ... and some more on the way too :-).

Daffodils are starting to poke their foliage through the soil already.


Helebores are getting going too - we have a lovely mix of both white, pink and a deeper red ones here; all of which self-seed profusely.



The young shoots of Tansy already showing as well!
The furry buds of the young Magnolia "Susan" that we have look lovely at this time of year!


Another of my favorite early spring plants which has been out for a while now is the lovely Daphne Odora - a plant Graeme and I bought in Cornwall during our honeymoon - nearly 6 years ago now - the smell from the flowers is incredible - they prefer a shady spot with some sun but do not like dry soil in the summertime!

A couple of more recent acquisitions to our garden with the two small Camelias which I bought during our spring trip to Cornwall last year - Camelia "Dainty" which has a very pretty pink and white flower with a centre full of yellow stamens and one which I bought for it's name is Camelia "Marjorie Magnificent" which really made me laugh - this is a blush pink double flower and very blousey! Both of these seem to be enjoying their new home and will be open fully in due course.

I can't imagine being without Rosemary - fantastic with roast lamb and beautiful at this time of year with it's pretty purple flowers against the granite walls of the house - especially appreciated at this time of year when few other plants are actually flowering already... great for any bees that are around - I have seen one or two!
I went and checked on the state of things in the greenhouse and was delighted to see the progress of the Alstromeria roots that I was given at our local plant-swap in the autumn!



Out walking this afternoon I spotted the deer again - what a lovely evening and such pretty light against the trees... a fitting end to a busy weekend!

18 comments:

Liz said...

Lots going on for you, Spring cannot come soon enough in my eyes!

At least it's staying lighter for longer now, much more relaxing :)

It's also been very cold here today, the grass has had a layer of frost almost all day in patches.

Cheryl said...

Hi Miranda.....birds and blooms what more could you ask for on a cold January day. I love the deer.....

Something has eaten some of my hellebore buds, think it may be a woodmouse.....naughty boy.

Have a fun week and hope the sun shines for you.....

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Liz - thanks for popping over - it's been really cold here today - must admit I stayed indoors most of the day... not like me! Can't wait for the warmer days but it is as you say nice to have lighter evenings already - we get 1more hour of light in the evening here with the 1hr time difference! Have a good week - Miranda

Miranda Bell said...

Sorry about your Hellebores Cheryl - naughty little woodmouse - guess he must have been hungry :-) Hope you've had a good weekend and as you say good to see February arrive already... what actually happened to January? Have a good week - Miranda x

ShySongbird said...

Hi Miranda, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I'm sorry to have taken a while to get over here but I'm glad I did and have thoroughly enjoyed looking through your posts. What a lovely place you live in, it sounds idyllic. So much wildlife on your doorstep and how nice to see so much new growth in your garden already!

I see you have been visited by a Great Spotted Woodpecker, I am very envious, I have never seen one in my garden. You also mention Nuthatches, those and Woodpeckers are my most 'wanted' garden visitors. I suspect you were right about the Goldfinch being attracted by the niger seed, they do seem to love it and I find they also love Sunflower hearts.

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Shysongbird - please don't worry - but welcome to my blog and so glad you liked all those photos! It's been great to see the Woodpeckers back in the garden - there was a family in the woodland last year and we had the babies visiting the bird table which was wonderful... you might enjoy the photos from this

http://jardinmiranda.blogspot.com/2009/06/my-own-springwatch-in-brittany.html

& http://jardinmiranda.blogspot.com/2009/06/birding-news-from-brittany.html

As yet we've not seen the nuthatches which also appeared with young in the garden too which was wonderful - so do hope they return - so far since we got here they've been here every other year which is odd!

Living in Brittany is idyllic in many ways - most of all the space you have and the peace and quiet but there are things we miss in the UK too! Do visit again and hope you have a good week - Miranda

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

I would not be without the scent of the Daphne in the Spring garden, the first flowers on mine opened today!

There are real sings of Spring in your garden Miranda, how lovely.
K

shirl said...

Hi there Miranda, I really enjoyed this tour around. Your photos are great too… really putting us in the mood for Spring :-D

Now, re the fieldfares (if they are still with you) I wonder if you’ve a video camera that could get closer shots. I might suggest that you look closely at the birds as they wander around. I remember Wildlife Gardener mentioning she had tipsy birds after they gorged on apples in her garden. I’d think that would be quite amusing to see :-D

Have a great week :-D

debsgarden said...

Hi Miranda, First, thanks so much for visiting my own blog and therefore leading me to yours.I am amazed that we grow many of the same plants. I also enjoy watching the birds. We often have goldfinches and house finches visit our feeders. They love niger seed. I look forward to your future posts about your garden in Brittany.

kate smudges said...

Spring is definitely showing signs of appearing for you. While reading through your post, I began to feel excited too (and then I remembered that there are huge snowbanks covering the garden.) So, I shall enjoy vicariously the birds and the emerging foliage and early spring blooms. It's wonderful that you have such a good collection of birds who nest nearby.

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Karen - lovely to have you visit again - I just love Daphne.. it's quite easy to take cuttings from it too especially as it's so expensive to buy! It's pouring with rain at the moment - just hoping for some dry weather so I can get out in the garden over the weekend :-) Have fun yourself..

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Shirl - thanks for popping over all the way from snowy Scotland... although I hear from Mum in law tonight that it was actually raining up there for a change! Not sure I'd be able to notice if the Fieldfares were tipsy or not - they are so well camouflaged in the oak leaves!! And sadly no video camera... maybe one day! The Fieldfares are still around though so am still hopeful of a closer photo... take care and hope you have a good weekend Mx

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Debs - a real warm welcome to my Brittany Blog - Blotanical's a good site for finding new blogs!! I think it's amazing to see how many different birds you can attract to the garden with different types of seed/fat etc - niger seed certainly seems to be a good one for the Goldfinch although I've not seen him for a few days... we did though have a visit from a Siskin today - see my recent post - v. exciting! Have a good weekend and I look forward to your future posts in 2010! Miranda

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Kate - two posts in one day... thankyou for taking the time and it's a pleasure to be able to share the comings and goings in this garden with people who appreciate the same things - really look forward to reading something on your own one sometime soon - Canada is just so pretty in the snow... must admit I wouldn't mind a bit more here - I just love it! Take care - Miranda x

Shadows Garden Design said...

Some really beautiful pictures. Thank you for your comments on my blog I look forward to following your blog
shadow

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

How encouraging are the signs of spring, especially the Snowdrops and Hellebores. Mine were looking very promising, before they were covered beneath the snow again.

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Shadow - welcome to my blog and thanks for your encouraging comments - must admit wish I had a better zoom on my camera for some of the shots but glad you liked them... enjoy your weekend - Miranda

Miranda Bell said...

Thanks for popping over Mr McGregors Daughter - it's always good to hear from people at this time of year when there's a bit more spare time for blogging... sorry to hear about your snow covered plants... this week over here is due to be pretty cold with -7 degrees forecast for later this week... time will tell!