To the garden and beyond!

Bee on sunflower
Today we went on a wildlife hunt in our garden but the only luck we had was getting a snap of a bee on our sunflowers. Not to be discouraged with finding so little besides the bee and our usual feathered companions we took the search further even looking for those pesky slimy plant munching pests aka slugs and snails, the idea being that we could see who found the biggest but my boys soon lost interest.

Venturing beyond the garden we took a walk to our local loch, bread in hand in hope of seeing the pair of swans which frequent it alongside the ducks. After trekking up to it battling endless hills (my town is built on hills and I’m sure everywhere we seem to go is an uphill climb) then having a little break to play in the local park we finally arrived at the loch ready to see some wildlife at last but the swans weren’t there!
Moorhen on loch
Thoroughly disappointed we threw the bread in anyway. My boys looked as downcast and downtrodden as the photographer next to us who must’ve trekked all that way for a picture to leave empty handed. The reason for the swans’ absence is perhaps the amount of dog walkers around because our local swans aren’t too keen on dogs at all.
Young moorhen chicks
Not wanting to see my boys so unhappy I decided we were not leaving until they got to see something… anything! After carefully explaining to them to get comfy, stay still and stay quiet we all waited patiently. It wasn’t long before something started moving among the reeds then ventured out for a nose, my boys were delighted! It wasn’t the swans but a collection of wee birds (I think it could be a moorhen and maybe it’s young?) we watched them run along the water and were rewarded with one of them coming up for a close look at us.
Butterfly on flower
Finally my boys were happy and we set out for home managing to get a picture of a lovely butterfly on the way. Tired from our wildlife hunt we reached our gate and were just about heading upstairs to our house when my neighbour shouted us. Curious we followed her into her garden and my boys kneeled down to look where she was pointing. Lo and behold there was a wee toad! Needless to say it made their day and ended our adventure with me thinking that maybe we should’ve just asked our neighbour for a look round her garden instead!Wee toad in neighbour's garden

Nicole

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Growing up in the Garden

Boys weather-proofing the picnic benchI really enjoy encouraging my boys to get out into the garden and involve themselves in the work: planting, weeding, sowing seeds, and harvesting as well as eating the fruits of our labour (I’m sure that’s the part my husband likes best!). Today on the spur of the moment we took that one step further: arming them with a paintbrush and some cuprinol, we let them weatherproof their little picnic bench whilst supervising from a safe distance i.e. up the stairs leading to our house. They loved getting to paint and have learnt a valuable lesson in the process about preserving outdoor wooden furniture against the elements. Continue reading

Potting Lavender Plugs in the Rain

For the first time ever, I found myself grateful for the overhanging trees on our neighbour’s property. Having received a package of lavender plants as part of our pledge to have more bee-friendly plants in the garden, my boys and I were adamant they were getting potted up despite the threat of rain.
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Our Magical SleepOut

There is a time between darkness and light when for a brief moment the garden becomes magical. The morning mist clings to the earth giving the landscape a mystical feel, petals are laden with dew drops and the air is crisp and fresh. There is a stillness and serenity that quietens the soul. A new day is dawning and on Sunday 29th July this was the scene that greeted us. My little girl and I had spent the night in my old tent for the National Garden SleepOut event (sponsored by Primrose). We were now waking up to the sounds of birdsong. All that kept us from the invigorating outdoors was a thin piece of canvas.

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Storm spoils Nicole’s SleepOut plans – For now!

Like an excited child I counted down the days until the 28th of July for the National Garden SleepOut, supporting charities and encouraging more children outdoors. After several practise runs of popping the tent up and playing camping in our living room with the children, we were confident we could handle everything the great outdoors threw at us – except the weather had different ideas.

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