My green changes often seem to follow a theme as I find one green change leads to another. The nicer weather has meant I am outdoors more now, so I think this month’s changes reflect this. Something that I have found very encouraging and inspiring is reading the blogs and tweets of other gardeners and wildlife lovers and I am getting lots of good ideas from these. Thanks everyone!
Planting a (tiny) wildflower meadow
I have a walk-in run for the chickens and there is a fair bit of space around it which wasn’t quite big enough to do much with. I thought this might be the perfect area to sow some wildflower seeds. I am hoping these will provide a lovely vista for the chickens in their run but as they will also be doing some free ranging, there is also the possibility they will scoff the lot before any flower has had a chance to make an appearance. Much of my gardening is trial and error but sometimes you have to take your chances. I have also increased my pollinator plants with some lovely flowering lavender and peonies.
A New Bird Table
Now the birds are building nests and its all getting rather active, I decided to treat myself to a lovely bird table. We are having lots of visitors and together with the pocket bird guide I am discovering that all the little brown birds aren’t in fact sparrows. We have some sparrows but also dunnocks, and a wren. I now know my coal tits from my great tits and my wood pigeons from my collared doves. I have been teaching the children the differences with varying degrees of success.
I am currently reading a great book called ‘Rewild Yourself’ by Simon Barnes. It’s a great little book for helping you to get back in touch with nature. One of the suggestions is to plant a buddleia tree to attract butterflies. I have noticed in our garden about four or five different varieties of butterfly including an orange tip which I have never seen before. My buddleia is currently not much more than a large fancy twig in a big pot, but I am hoping it will flourish and bring the butterflies flocking to the garden.
Having children all the same gender means you can be much more environmentally friendly with clothing. When the children grow out of their clothes, they are all packed away in vacuum packed bags and labelled. Then when the next children down reaches that size I just have to unpack and give them a freshen up and he has a whole new wardrobe. It’s not perfect, they have different tastes and suit different colours but certainly as they have not quite reached teenage years, I haven’t received many complaints. I’m not a big clothes buyer and my husband gets most of his from charity shops so as a family, although there are five of us, we do try and keep our clothes consumption low. I have recently started to take this further buying organic, fair trade clothing where I can. So, I recently had to buy underwear for one of the boys and M&S did organic fair trade cotton so I went for that over the usual type I would buy. I also try and buy natural fibres where possible, so school jumpers are wool or cotton for example.
Peat free Compost
I hadn’t taken a huge amount of notice about the type of compost I was using in the same way I had with say my cleaning products. However, after reading that peat bogs were not considered a renewable source, I decided to use peat free compost. I was really surprised to find that the two nearest garden centres (which are both huge) had only one type of peat free compost which was a brand called ‘New Horizon’. I have used this mostly for potting and planting out and it seems to be doing a pretty good job, its got a nice composty smell with no big lumps. There are the occasional little stones but nothing too problematic. I am still making my own compost but this seems to be an incredibly slow process. I am hoping the arrival of the chickens (and their manure) plus the warmer weather will speed things up.