Sunday, 8 June 2008

May at Botany farmhouse.

Manic May, our guests mused that this place was reminiscent of "the Darling buds of May"Primrose has left home and Ma Larkin is stressing as everything is breeding, growing and needing food!

My quite tame Sikkha deer has given birth at the right time of year for a change, normally she has a bad habit of producing in September when the stags are rutting,so she thinks its a good idea to use my garden because they wont come after her.Its a responsibility I have to fend off dogs and lay the law down to my testosterone fueled youth to drive carefully down the track to avoid mowing her down,I have my rewards,last year she let the tiny fawn gambol around the lawn as I was gardening.I knew she had had it this year because as I was inadvertently gathering sticks in the wood she crashed out of the bushes barking at me,making it clear that that my presence was unwelcome I retreated.Some guests staying in the end bedroom with the window open at night explained that they were woken in the middle of the night by strange squeaking noises,at first light they
looked out of the window to see a tiny fawn hidden behind some flotsam and jetsun

The whole place chirps at the moment we are with greater spotted woodpeckers in quantity,five regular eaters, fighting over the food and now one baby with its distinctive red cap.Graham and I/s quiet coffee was disturbed last week with the arrival of this exotic bird,the like of which I have never seen but I have been told by the better birders that its an escaped cage bird but what?? anybody know.

We had a day off on Sunday and strolled down the path to Arish Mell which was so full of flowers,lots of orchids and a vivid blue cloud of vipers bugloss.

Botany wilderness now,just one insectivorous ugly duckling to white swan!

Friday, 9 May 2008

April Botanyfarm.

Louis has set up this blog, have not blogged before,was quite sure nobody ever reads the stuff but lots of Botany Farmers have complained at the empty space so.....

Oh to be in Dorset now that April is spring bursting around you,just before you get to Botany where the heath stops the beech trees form a welcoming soft limey green tunnel.I was standing in the garden last night marveling at the numerous different shades of green,that includes my liking for blackberry/aubergine coloured leaves,give it a splash of bluebell blue and a dash of vivid siberian wallflower orange and wow but pride always goes before a fall here,a bit of warmth coupled with sea misty wet and there springs up nettles to waist height overnight.I usually use the excuse of a nursery for peacock butterflies but I have come to the conclusion after 30 years here that peacock butterflies are very picky about where they lay their eggs and use a very small proportion of the prairie.
I have spent weeks eagerly anticipating the arrival of the swallows,I know very sad but if you own a rural B and B you dont get out much!it always makes me cry that they have got back safe.We always have swallows nesting in the barn and the woodshed and four house martins nests on the house.I have been here when the martins first arrive,they are like kids visiting a holiday cottage that they know well,the first thing they do is to fly along the house inspecting the state of their nest.It always amazes me that even though the family nest has been wrecked by the winter rain and the Jones/s next door is still perfect,they will set too and repair theirs and not squat!
Like the nettles there is always a down side I spend the summer apologising for a carpet of bird pooh.Now they dont come any more because of the swallows I think.Two years ago we had a strange pair of swallows that spent their life on the telephone wires by the back door,they then decided that my kitchen outhouse was where they were going to nest whatever,the interior was plastered with little turrets of mud,we spent the summer roasting because we could not leave the door open.When the house martins came they harassed them, they had one brood whereas they normally had two and left because of the aggressive neighbours
The swallows returned last year,I think they must have overwintered with a very accommodating Moroccan family,they returned tame and fearless,not satisfied with the outhouse, they would both fly threw the kitchen and pitch on the sitting room door,I would have to clap my hands and shout at them to get rid of them.Back they went to the telephone wires and this year they drove the house martins off fiercely defending their garden.They and four others have had to make do with the barn this year.The barn is alive with them Graham has just bought himself a retirement present of a beautiful shiny blue painted canoe now sheathed in plastic to avoid the pooh.Mixed blessings as ever.
We also have a plague of bloody rabbits that are growing as quickly as the nettles(the only thing they dont eat) we have bought one of those chinese rabbit cages that we bait nightly and daily repatriate two miles up the road onto the army ranges.Rabbits breed so prolithicaly Im not sure if we are keeping up so I was absolutely delighted to disturb a stoat in one of the woodsheds,he is very welcome to all he can eat.
I love flowers wild or not so and the wood is a blue haze of bells but the plant that has given me the most pleasure so far this year is a hybrid anemone that I have never grown before.I planted the corms in February, its called Bordeaux,it has claret coloured petals with a middle disc of regal robe purple and its a stunner,picture provided.Very easy, Botany downside, bloody mice love them,need fiercely defending in infancy.
Love to all Botanyfarmers