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  • Writer's pictureThe Blooming Old Gardener

A bird without feathers

“A heart without dreams is like a bird without feathers.” -Suzy Kassem

Well, we’ve had Easter and all our chocolate eggs are eaten. Now we need to work off all those calories. Luckily we have started our garden sessions, tidying up, cutting back and weeding mainly. We all said how good the garden looked, despite our not spending much time on it for a while. Lots of spring bulbs and plants in flower. Hopefully the exercise and fresh air will do us some good, boosting our immune systems.

It was really good to get together as a small group again. Looking forward to our next group session on May 1st. Meanwhile volunteers (and their dogs) are popping in to do their bit when they have an hour free. While some produce things for the garden at home.

We need volunteers to grow a few plants for the garden. Marigolds and sunflowers, mainly. So if anyone has some spare, feel free to plant them in the large containers where there’s a space. Marigolds are my favourite ‘companion plant’. Lots of colour while they repel greenfly. I’ve started off some veg seeds at home. As usual my window ledges are starting to fill up. I make pots into mini green houses by covering them with a plastic bag.

We are really pleased with how the rockery is flowering this year, after being created a year ago. The alpine plants have settled in and now we have clumps of delicate, bright flowers too. A real sign of spring. The hanging baskets with sempervivems on them have survived the winter. And the ‘hens’ on them are growing lots of ‘chicks’. The idea is that they will spread all round the basket over time.

Birdsong is filling the garden at the moment. So next time you go there, close your eyes and see how many different birds you can hear. I’m really noticing the blackbirds song, while waiting to hear my first cuckoo. Traditionally the 14th April is Cuckoo Day, when they arrive back from Africa and start to get heard. But I think they might take a few days longer to fly to Runcorn. There is a lot of folklore about cuckoos. The number of times you first hear them call gives you the number of years you have left to live or until you get married. I’ve not found that to be the case though, luckily. But if you hear them when you are in bed you must leap up straight away or you will become ill.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’ve been reading up about cuckoos. Most people know that they lay their eggs in other bird’s nests, but they are even more clever than that. For example, their underside looks similar to that of a kestrel. So small birds fly away in fear. This includes those who are nesting, which allows the cuckoo to lay their eggs in their nest. Also, although most birds eggs are proportional in size to the bird, cuckoos lay eggs much smaller than you would expect. Allowing the smaller species of birds who actually look after the eggs to accept them as their own. Even more clever is that, as they don’t have to look after their brood, they can go holidaying back to Africa in June. A lot earlier than most birds can migrate.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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