Greenfingers - October 2017

Every year, we start a new chalk-board list of birds seen in the garden. This year’s is currently 28 species, but does not yet include the green wookpecker or partridge which have been seen (frustratingly) in nearby gardens. The lawn has suffered from ant nests over the summer, so the green woodpecker would have have been welcome on 2 counts.


The possibility of a similar butterfly list has been mooted, and even bees, though I’m not familiar with the many bee species. However, I did notice a bee fly Bombylius major earlier in the year, which I hadn’t seen before. The date of the first sighting would need to be included.

The flower borders have been full of bees and butterflies over the summer, and this is partly deliberate through the choice of plants. We recently discussed the introduction of a mahonia shrub to augment the pulmonaria and hellibores as early spring nectar sources, but can’t find a space.

October is a good time to tidy hedges and renovate lawns. Raise the blade on the mower for the last few mowings. Rhubarb crowns may be split to produce new plants, as well as herbaceous perennials. This month is often windy, so a moderate pruning of roses may help to prevent damage.

A conjunction between the 28 day old sliver of moon and venus will occur on the 18th which will be visible for a couple of hours before dawn low in the eastern sky. Two meteor showers occur this month, the Draconids in the late evening of the 8th and the Orionids from Halley’s comet should peak in the early hours of 21st.

Pete Smith