Let’s collaborate!  Whilst we are all staying at home, we can share notes and stories about our own greenspace – no matter how large or small.

You can click here to send us your contribution (with a photo if possible) or leave a reply at the bottom of this page.

MUGs Chairman Simon Curry kicks off with:

“The weather over the weekend had been chilly but glorious!

My daffodils have just about finished now and spring has been well underway for several weeks in my garden.

I should point out that it is more of a tiny nature reserve than a proper garden. I have a small orchard (four trees along on wall), a meadow measuring about 8m by 4m, a compost heap and a sort of hedgerow. A paved area at the back door, a patio with a pergola and a vine, a garden path and a small shed make up the rest of my small urban patch!

Not much to work with but you would be amazed at the variety of wildlife I get in such a small area. Multiply this by all the gardens in Rochester and you have a significant wildlife resource!

Among the different species so far this year, I have a garden tiger moth caterpillar – the old woolly bear caterpillar – which I get every year. My first bumble bee which was a common Garden bumblebee – for some really good help on identifying your bumblebees go to the Bumble Conservation Trust ID site.

Birds in my garden are fairly scarce as I have too many neighbourhood cats. Nevertheless, the blackbirds are back collecting nesting material and a pair of thrush have been coming in and out looking for food. Both species love digging about in disturbed ground under bushes and shrubs for insects, slugs and snails. I have a good number of pigeons that play acrobatics on my bird feeders competing with the tits and the sparrows.

Which leads me to my sparrows. There is a nearby tree covered in ivy and a colony of sparrows have lived there for a number of years. Last year some of them moved into the roof of a neighbour’s house as well.

Watching them is like a version of a bird soap opera. They squabble and fight, chase each other all over the place and have lots of babies! They generally get on with each other and are thriving.

As you can see I spend more time watching the antics in my garden from my office than I do working!

My “orchard” is just about to come into leaf and I’m looking forward to the different blossoms that are due very soon.

Sadly, one of my two olive trees got hammered by the recent storms and was leaning over by about 45 degrees. I have taken out the crown, straightened it up and it should recover. Interesting fact, olive groves around the Mediterranean in total form an enormous single species plantation which has been there so long that it has formed its own unique habitat type.

My meadow is starting to grow. I will not be cutting it till about the end of June after the first flush of species has set seed. The rest of family thinks it is untidy but it has a good mix of species and attracts lots of insects. I even get a few grasshoppers in the summer.

Finally, I should mention my mammal populations! Actually it is just mice and rats. Our house is an old Victorian terrace and all of us have had problems; they probably date back to when the houses were built! The mice come into the house once in while and also eat the bird seed I keep in the shed! Rats are regularly seen in the gardens and are bound to be in the old sewers underneath. I would love to see hedgehogs, but so far nothing, even though I have holes cut in the base of the fence.

That’s it for now – I will be back soon with further updates.
Simon”

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