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Blog entries by Olly Buckle

I have been a bit under the weather for some time, and it has made me ignore the garden a bit, it seems that I am feeling quite a bit better recently and have been putting things in order a bit more. Having cleaned out the greenhouse and re-instated the staging I put all my tender pots under it and planted sweet peas on top. I normally do them back in October, but it won't hurt being a little later. There are not many things to plant this time of year, but I am thinking of onions as well, it...
I have been told that rhubarb becomes poisonous in summer, by more than one person. One of them added ‘Something to do with the oxalic acid content I think’. I was pretty sure it was not true, and when I checked none of the reputable sources made any mention of it, but what they all agree on is that one must stop pulling leaves in early summer or it will weaken the plant for next year. It is true, as I know from experience, I try to grow more than I need so I can force some or go on picking...
Someone did an experiment where they captured some small birds just before they made a North-South migratory flight of over a thousand miles, put them in closed boxes, and transported them East-West, sideways the same sort of distance. Not a very nice thing to do I thought, but it worked out. They put micro trackers on the birds and released them, thinking they might return to where they were captured, or they might be completely lost, they had been in closed boxes for the journey. Neither...
I have been potting on pelargonium cuttings and planting out sweet peas. Spring is here at last and some decent weather, though things could still turn again, I have runner beans in the greenhouse I think I am also going to take a chance on planting out. If the weather stays reasonable they will be nice and early, if it is a bit shit I have some glass and fleece I can give them some protection with, and if it is really shit I have some more plants in the greenhouse, I always plant way more...
I have a permanent bird table, three short planks joined by a couple of pieces across the bottom, edged with baton, then nailed to the top of a chestnut spile, not too fancy :) There are feeders that hang from it as well, for peanuts, fat balls, and seeds that I mix with mealworms. We get a good variety of birds, mostly tits... blue, great , and long-tailed, but also sparrows, the robin, dunnocks, thrush, blackbirds, goldfinch, nut hatch, doves, the local jackdaw colony, and the other...
What do the ‘Second Jungle book’ and Gregor Mendel have in common? Well I found a particular sort of inspiration in both. For those who only know the movie, there is a scene to the end of the Second Jungle Book where the red dogs arrive; they are enemies of the wolves, who kill everything. Mowgli takes them on, and uses intelligence to make use of small things to beat them and nature to escape them, I won’t give it away to those who have not read it, but it is a lovely bit of problem...
A friend gave me a slip from her calla lily some time ago, it is quite unusual, small with a variegated leaf. This year it flowered, there are six flowers to date. They are small and slim for a calla, with a very delicate pale yellow spathe; that’s the bit that wraps around like a cloak and looks like a petal, but really it is an altered bract. Look down inside and you see the spadix, the little phallus of sexual organs, which is also yellow. Around the base of the spadix though the spathe...
Radio four was asking people to phone in and tell them which sort of person they were; the sort who spent their money on things, or the sort who spent it on experiences. This is a question for the consumers of our age. No-one was phoning in saying, ‘Actually I spend every penny on the bare essentials of life and I am still falling behind.’ probably because they can’t spare the time from their below minimum wage, zero hours, sub-contract, job. Too busy cleaning a hospital and they can’t...
I have been cutting back a very overgrown hedge overcome by brambles on one side, quite hard work, but I have made a considerable impression. In the thicker part of the hedge I keep finding bird’s nests, abandoned this time of year I hasten to add. Most of them are blackbird nests, one a wren, and a few I can not identify. Among these last is a small, round, open nest made almost completely of fine plastic fibres, some sort of packing by the look of it, now, there is an adaptable bird. I...
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