I have hanging baskets all around the garden. In the front garden I love a splash of pretty colours all year round. In the back garden I have been experimenting with some longer lasting ones with more bee and butterfly friendly plants. We have lots of natural more wildflower type plants all around the back garden and I thought I would try some of these in a hanging basket which will hopefully flourish next year.
I have added a clump of valerian, one of my favourite plants, that has pretty pink flowers from spring well into the summer with a sweet smell. Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb for hundreds of years and bees and butterflies love it. The second plant I have added is Herb Robert, a native member of the geranium family which flowers from spring to autumn. The leaves if rubbed on the body are said to repel mosquitoes but after trying it myself I think it may repel everybody else also! Finally I have added Oxalis or pink shamrock which flowers from about June to September and has a lovely way of closing its flowers when it gets dark.
It all looks a bit tatty at the moment as I have divided clumps around the garden but hopefully by next spring they will be established and flower all summer attracting more bees and butterflies than the ordinary annuals sold for hanging baskets.
Valerian, Pink Shamrock And Herb Robert Hanging Basket
I have decided that Speckles one of our young cockatiels in the aviary is just too naughty. At every opportunity he has to push in front of the camera and his little character just shines out. He is the bird equivalent of a person who likes to be in the spotlight. Diego the Diamond Dove is enjoying a swing in the aviary until Speckles photobombs the video.
I’m worried about the little cockatiel chick. He is at the age where his parents leave him alone for much of the day. Normally he would snuggle up with his siblings but as he is all on his own and on the floor he wanders about getting himself into trouble. I keep lifting him back into the corner but the adventuring spirit returns and off he goes again . I will be so relieved when he gets to the age when he can fly up with his parents. I think he will get a surprise as to how many cockatiels live in the outside section of the aviary.
I didn’t really manage to get any jobs done in The Aviary Garden today as I had such a lot on but I did get to Poundland and bought two new pretty hanging basket brackets for the new bird feeding station.
Hanging Basket Brackets From Poundland
It’s a shame I had so little spare time today as most of the day was nice and sunny. Our cat Cleo who clearly was no where near as busy as me spent the morning snoozing in one small strip of sun in the kitchen. What a hard life!
Cleo The Cat Enjoying A Sleep In The Sun
The cockatiels enjoyed the sunshine as they always do, they are very cheerful birds. Yesterday I filmed the youngsters playing with their swings. They make me smile as the older ones group together looking disapprovingly at all their antics. I suppose they are a lot like people really.
A few days ago I visited the ponds and Ecology Centre in Carshalton. We really enjoyed watching all the water birds as did a local fox who was hanging around the waters edge! It has given me lots of ideas for my wildlife garden. I just wish I had as much space as they have.
We had an old fence post in our garden left over from when we replaced part of our fence. I decided to make a bird feeding station from it and have added a hanging basket bracket to it to hang the bird feeder from. I think I’ll take a trip to Poundland soon and buy a few more brackets then we will have a new bird feeding station for virtually no cost.
Bird Feeding Station From A Fence Post
I can’t believe how well the little chick is doing. He has feathers now and a tail. What a good job his parents are doing.
I love sitting up at the end of The Aviary Garden. Whether its at the end of the day or early in the morning it is a little peaceful oasis where I sit and have a cup of tea and watch the birds. I have been trying to encourage as much wildlife as I can into the garden and as long as the all the birds are secure I love to watch the foxes sitting in the sun up there.
I have had an old jam pan I bought at an auction that I had intended to use to keep plants in but have decided I would make a small wildlife pond with it. I doubt it is big enough to entice frogs and toads but at least it is a water supply for passing mammals and birds. I have planted a mixed hawthorn and crab apple hedge, a butterfly bush and other bee friendly plants. I’m hoping it will pay off and all kinds of wildlife will visit.
Wildlife Pond From Old Jam Pan
In my quest to use as many recycled items in the garden as possible I have used another old jam pan purchased at the same auction to plant the lavender in. The wooden and metal chairs were bought at a charity sale for £5 each.
Old Wooden Garden Chairs
The stones we have put around the pond were all dug up in our garden. Our house was built in 1908 on what had been a very old farm. When I looked on an old map of the area exactly where our house was farm buildings had stood. Parts of the old walls of the farm buildings are still all around the garden. Whenever I dig up a piece I use it and display it. Comparing them to old walls on other local buildings I think they date back to the 18th century at least. Now that is recycling!
We hoped to sit up there after dark as it is so peaceful and have added some solar powered lanterns to the aviary. I think we may have to add a few more though to be able to see what we are doing!
The Aviary Garden At Night
I filmed this video in The Aviary Garden just as the sun was getting low and the birds were all having their final look around before they settle for the night.
The last month in London seems to have been one or two sunny days then cloudy and rain for a few days. I have spent the last few weeks working frantically on jobs that need doing in the garden when it is nice and then catching up with my work while it is raining. Saturday had been sunny in parts but then torrential rain for an hour or two but yesterday was sunny all day. I managed to get a few jobs finished I had been meaning to do for a while which I will write about tomorrow.
We have put a new mirror in the aviary and Vinnie our budgie loves it. Vinnie was found a few years ago exhausted on allotments near us. Unable to trace his owners the person who found him gave him to us to live in our aviary. He is such a cheerful little budgie, I can hear him chattering all around the garden. I wish his previous owners could see how happy he is.
The cockatiels are getting used to their new feeding station and wait each day to see what treat I am going to put in there. It’s getting quite a challenge to see what different treats I can find for them.
We have had many rescue animals in The Aviary Garden over the years and we always try as hard as possible to give them the best life we can manage. We already had a few indoor guinea pig cages that we have used to keep our quail chicks in. Our two rescue guinea pigs Chip And Dale, who we got at the beginning of July, are living in one of these. They have already grown so much we decided their indoor cage should be bigger. After much searching online we decided new large cages were simply too expensive so set about trying to find a second hand option. We bought a perfect one on ebay from bobtailsrescue a charity based in Ewell who rescue and rehome unwanted rabbits and guinea pigs. It is 140cm x 70 cm, in perfect condition and it was only £25. Mind you when we arrived home with it I realised we are going to have to do some serious furniture moving to fit it in. Oh well at least the guinea pigs will be happy.
I have noticed in our cockatiel group in the aviary there are many different personalities. There are the loners who seem quite happy playing with toys and keeping to themselves, there are the bonded pairs who stay together all day and no matter what happens end up back together on the perch, there are the confident ones who happily mix with most members of the group and there are the shy ones who would love to be in a bonded pair but can’t quite meet their partner. It makes me feel quite sad sometimes and although all the cockatiels have a happy, full life in the aviary, anyone who has ever felt left out will feel sorry for Speckles the cockatiel in this video.
Maybe the new cockatiel chick, who is doing very well, may be a friend for him.
The Cockatiel Chick
There was a sad end to the day today in The Aviary Garden when we found the poor young wood pigeon had died. I thought he seemed quite bright today with the sun shining on him. Although he kept leaning sideways I saw him walking up and down the run earlier on and had been eating. Poor young wood pigeon not long out of the nest and never going to fly with his crew. Nature can be very harsh sometimes.
After all the torrential rain we have had lately we have had two nice sunny days in the aviary garden. It has been nice and warm but with a pleasant breeze. Perfect days for people, animals and birds to enjoy!
The little cockatiel chick is still thriving and is around two weeks old now. I’m starting to dare to think of names now.
Two Week Old Cockatiel Chick
I went to visit my Mum and Dad today and spent a happy afternoon watching the birds on their garden feeder. I think a love of birds runs in the family. This little robin has young in the hedge next to the window and is busy backwards and forwards with food all the time.
A Robin On The Bird Feeder
When I was about to leave we found a young injured wood pigeon lying at the side of the road. Although there are no obvious injuries it seemed stunned and unable to fly or walk. I couldn’t leave it there as easy picking for every passing cat or fox so I decided to take it home with me. Here it is travelling home in style courtesy of Southern Rail.
Young Injured Wood Pigeon
It has settled in tonight and has eaten some food but it seems very unbalanced and I am not that hopeful of a recovery. At least it has a chance now.
Although the weather forecast was for heavy showers we seemed to miss them for most of the day and went, this morning for a walk around The Mayfield Lavender fields which are just down the road from us. It is really beautiful there, the smell is stunning and as you walk you are accompanied by the constant hum of hundreds of busy bees. You can buy lavender plants for £3 each and many other home made lavender products at a reasonable price. We thoroughly enjoyed our morning.
Tomorrow I will decide where to plant our new lavender plants, I would really like to plant them in tubs so I can move them around to the sunniest spots. We enjoyed a cup of tea this afternoon with our lavender biscuits and decided it was well worth the visit.
The little cockatiel chick was looking at the world today and seemed quite pleased with what he could see. As he gets older his parents are spending more and more time away from him. I worry they are getting bored and will forget him but don’t want to intervene as I would like it to grow up in the aviary with the extended cockatiel family. While he still has a full crop I will try not to worry.