In these times of re-wilding etc, we are supposed to try and harmonise our activity with the natural world. And personally I have been doing my bit by feeding a local Blackbird with a large number of Rose Chafer maggots as I empty a compost bin. In total I must have given this Blackbird over 60 maggots, but has it been grateful. No it bloody hasn’t it has started digging in my seed trays and has now moved on to digging up new seedlings when they are planted out. To see seeds and seedlings I have lovingly cared for torn up by this winged demon has been unbearable.
I approached Cruella (my wife) to ask about the rogue ungrateful demon, as she is usually behind any plan to destroy the garden; but she denied any knowledge apart from offering to find 23 others if I want to make a pie. I have become like David Copperfield’s aunt Betsey and her alarm at donkeys, only in my case it is Blackbirds. At the first sight of any Blackbird I jump up and run out into the garden flapping my arms and screaming “Blackbirds”.
The first photos below show one of the many maggots I have been feeding the ungrateful bird followed by some of the senseless damage he caused in return. Click on each photo for a larger view.
The next photos show my attempts at defence. At first I tried suspending a CD disk over the seedlings, but this didn’t stop him so I was forced to cage my seedlings in. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Lastly, the culprit himself who when thwarted by my defences turned to digging up seedlings. Click on each photo for a larger view.
16th May 2022. Things I have been doing lately:
We are about to get into full summer mode, so there are some jobs you need to get sorted before the big onslaught starts.
Clearing leaves. Whilst the great autumn fall of leaves has gone, there will still be leaves falling on to your lawn and gravelled areas. Yes, they may be few and far between, and you may just stop noticing them, but they mulch down to a fine tilth and present a perfect medium for weeds. so get out your blower, rake etc and clean them up. The photo below shows the fruits of my efforts.
Time to look at the lawn. I know it is only idiots like me that have a lawn in Spain, but if you have one fhen you have to take care of it. This includes starting the first cut of the year. After all the rain my lawn is looking quite lush, but at the same time its is absolutely full of wild false garlic. This is obviously weed of the year and is very prevalent at the moment in Pinar de Campoverde where I live. Whilst wild garlic has its upsides, such as lots of Cruella (my wife) special friends dont visit, this obviously has to be dealt with. My strategy to date involves three prongs. Firstly, I pull all the flowerheads off as I wander round the garden, Secondly, I hoe it out of the borders, and thirdly I treat it with selective weedkiller and mow the lawn so it just looks like grass. The main problem is that it happily grows from little bulblets under the lawn.
In addition to dealing with wild garlic, now is the time to feed your lawn. Ideally you should feed your lawn round about three times over the summer growing season. If you don’t feed then your lawn will become exhausted with weak growth. The first photo below shows the horror of wild garlic, the second shows my trusty mower surrounded by a forest of wild garlic, the final photo shows the start of the lawn feeding season. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Deadhead and cutback bulbs. If you have followed my advice, and I am sure you did, then you will have cut the seed heads off your bulbs a number of weeks ago. Well now is the time to cut the stems right back to the ground. Once you have done this then top dress them with a deep layer of compost. Don’t forget to say goodnight and thank them for flowering, and if you can say a little prayer with them just as you would with a child going to bed at night. The first photo below shows the deadheading process, followed by the big cutdown, the overflowing compost bin and finally top dressing.
Final trim of hedges. Although I am being preyed upon by a maniac Blackbird it does not mean I have any ill intentions to birds in general, so that is why now is the absolute last time to cut back your hedges until September. Bird’s nests will proliferate throughout your hedges and just because you cant see them doesn’t mean they are not there. So lay aside your shears and trimmers and enjoy the birdsong. The photos below show the light trim given to the Solanum by my front gate. Click on each photo for a larger view.