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Henestaris halophilus
find out more... Henestaris halophilus Copyright: Peter Harvey

Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more

Mon 7th May 2012 20:37 by Mary Smith
an afternoon in my garden
After lunch today, when we decided the sky was not likely to precipitate any more rain for a while, and the temperature rose above 8°C, I put on wellies to clear and dig the patch for the young tomato plants to go into. This patch had potatoes in last year, and I found enough potatoes to have fed us for another 4 meals in what I had failed to dig up last summer.  Moreover, lots of the young plants had tiny new potatoes on them, which I threw into the weeding bin, but by the time I had finished we could have had another meal off them too! What a waste! And, of course, a Robin soon came to see what I was doing and to see if he/she could catch some wriggly things from my turned-up soil. It seems that Robins know that humans like them, as they seem very brave in how close they come.  But when I threw a handful of weeds into the bin, she/he jumped on to the fence and did not return to the soil till he/she thought it was safe. By the way, how do you sex Robins? The warm moist soil was absolutely heaving with assorted small livestock. After each search the Robin flew to 3 gardens away where presumably there was a nest of youngsters.  We continued our respective tasks for nearly two hours, with me enjoying his/her company as much as he/she clearly enjoyed mine (well, it seemed like that). And all this in glorious sunshine, on a warm afternoon. After a short tea break, my husband joined me in the garden and he got the mower out to cut the lawn.  Now, you have to understand that we mowed the lawn very late in March, when it felt like July. Then we had hail storms and I thought the potatoes would all freeze to death and much of the lawn was flattened.  Luckily the potatoes came up anyway. But the rain never stopped, so mowing the lawn again had to wait until it was dry enough to mow without the mower chewing it all up. The day was today! However, I was getting eaten alive by this time (about 6:30pm) by assorted airborne insects.  I thought this was a bit off, on the first day the sun dries up the garden a bit we can't work without being attacked!  In August and September I expect to be eaten in the early evening, but not in early May. Then an hour or so later my husband was just cleaning up the mower, having completed his task, and suddenly the heavens opened with more rain. All electric cables etc were hurriedly put away and we dashed indoors. How different this is from last year. Last year I planted the potatoes in mid March as usual, and they all needed a good soaking before the end of April, as we had had no rain for about 6 weeks, and watered again in May.  But this year I am just hoping they are not all going to die of rot or blight or both. But recent weather has been like many parts of England outside the South-east endure for much of the time. I have a sister who lives in Northumberland, which has gorgeous scenery, but she has to do gardening in the rain as you never get any done if you wait for a dry day.  My brother who lives in Shrewsbury has exactly the same problem, only worse. So I am quite grateful for the weather we usually get in South Essex, but just hope someone will soon turn off the tap!


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