Last week, Nate gave over her six to the arrival in her garden of a peacock. Would that I could follow her lead. Our week here has been dominated/overshadowed (take your pick) by a pair of gulls deciding to nest behind our chimney. We should have been more vigilant, but you simply can’t see the nest from the ground and there are always gulls about. Two chicks appeared about ten days ago, probably not long after they’d hatched. The adults started getting noisy and somewhat aggressive whenever someone appeared in the front garden.
On Wednesday, one of the chicks ended up down on the ground and all hell broke loose. Step outside the front door and both parents would instantly start screaming and dive bombing you. Within seconds there were two or three more gulls joining in, lining up on the nearest roofs and launching attacks the moment you looked away. I thought the neighbourhood cats would soon have it, but they got the same treatment and backed off. I
hoped figured they’d just wait for nightfall and that there would be a pile of feathers on Thursday morning. Wrong. There it was, ambling up and down the drive, mum coming down to feed it.
While I was out, some of our neighbours donned climbing helmets, caught it in a cat box and released it in the village hall carpark which is only two small gardens away and currently unused. They figured the adults would hear it and feed it there, away from people. Next door has two very small children, the risk of someone getting hurt was pretty high.
It seems to have worked. The adults are having to divide their attention which is keeping them occupied. The minute the other chick is gone we’ll be up there to clear the nest and block them from building another. I have no intention of posting six pictures of gulls, it’ll serve for one item.
Larus argentatus. Herring Gull. There are no herrings here but they don’t seem to mind that. The nearest council landfill site is about three miles away, they’re not starving.
I did get a short video clip 8 days ago, when both chicks were still on the roof. I suspect one climbed onto the solar panels and slid down and off the roof.
The front garden has been the focus of attention in other ways this week. A partial makeover is under way. The Chamaerops was getting absurdly big and with rows of hooked spines down every petiole, was a bit of a brute. All but the youngest leaves were heavily spotted with rust, so it wasn’t looking attractive. It has gone. I have space!
Out the back, removing just one plant made a big difference. I was going to put the Astilbe bed in as an item but having removed a large pot of Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’ and replaced it with a pot of Fuchsias, the Astilbes seem like a footnote to the story. Sue just commented that it looked so much better and it was a wonder we’d not thought to do it before.
Crassula multicava. Fairy crassula. A couple of years ago we were given some little plantlets of this by a lady in St Austell. She lives close to Carlyon Bay in a spot probably a degree or two less cold than us and had this growing in gravel at the front of her house, in sun but just under the edge of a large shrub. It’s been there for years. We had two plants in pots, one of which is now on top of the wall behind the Astilbes and the other in a glazed pot that we can bring in for winter. It has pretty but tiny flowers and produces lots of plantlets on the flower head. The leaves are soft and succulent, I don’t expect it to survive outside here but lots of South African plants do..
Aloysia citriodora. Lemon Verbena. We’ve had this in a pot for several years and I think it may have produced the odd flower before. This year it is covered, not that that is saying much, given the size of the flowers. When I walked past it one evening this week I fancy I caught a waft of scent from the flowers, as distinct from the foliage smell. I haven’t managed to get it since, so I probably imagined it. It has many culinary uses but has never been put to any of them in our household.
The Alstroemeria mash-up. Having cleared the space out front, we started considering what to fill it with. Something flowery, like Altroemerias, we thought. Nice hot colours and flowering for months. Happy in full sun. Head for the garden centre. Turns out most of what he had were dwarf, pale colours or not looking terribly good. We came away with a tall, pale flowered variety called ‘Summer Break’ and a dwarf variety ‘Inticancha Sunshine’. They were £9.50 for well rooted 3L pots, I think I know good value when I see it. I split the pot of ‘Indian Summer’ into three and put the pieces in 20 litre pots in the tunnel. If they recover quickly they can go out the front. ‘Summer Break’ is earmarked for the big pot with the fuchsias in it, but I’ll grow it on a bit first.
Cornwall is somewhat bracing itself for an influx of visitors from today. The weather is doing its best to help, it’s as near to raining as you can get without actual water coming from the sky. There may be gardening done, there may not. Blog watching, via The Propagator’s portal onto the horticultural universe, will likely feature large.