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Tales From My Wildlife Allotment

... in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.

My Wildlife Allotment August 2021

I love caterpillars and I am always on the lookout for new species I have not seen before on the allotment. A few weeks ago I found a chamomile shark caterpillar (Cucullia chamomillae) for the first time on my allotment, feeding on some Anthemis flowers. They like feeding on the centre of the flower which leaves a tell-tale hole ...

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My Wildlife Allotment July 2021

Damselflies have made an appearance, not only near the pond; occasionally I also find them in other areas of the allotment. Early mornings are good for photographing them as they are still cold from the night and reluctant to fly away.

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My Wildlife Allotment June 2021

One of the prettiest solitary bees in my opinion is the tawny mining bee (Andrena fulva) which I often see visiting the apple and cherry flowers. These bees build nests in the ground which consist of a tunnel with one or more nesting chambers at the end. The excavated soil is often piled up above ground and looks a bit like an ants nest with a hole in the middle.

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My Wildlife Allotment May 2021

It was completely unexpected. When I opened the curtains on Monday morning, the 12th of April, all was white outside and it was snowing heavily. The allotment looked like a winter wonderland. Not much gardening could be done but I could at least build a little snow rat who was enjoying the snow much more than I did. By mid-day the sun was so strong that most of the snow had disappeared and the winter wonderland of the morning seemed like a distant dream.

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My Wildlife Allotment April 2021

Anemone blanda opens its pretty flowers in the sunshine and has spread in several areas now. I have to be careful where I walk as it seems to favour the edges of the paths. I have left some patches of lesser celandine (Ficaria verna) in the raspberry bed and adjacent areas as I like the bright yellow flowers ...

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My Wildlife Allotment March 2021

I've mainly seen large buff-tailed bumblebee queens (Bombus terrestris), making a bee-line for my crocus flowers. Once woken up by warm temperatures the queens have to find nectar quickly or they will starve. It was also warm enough for honeybees ...

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My Wildlife Allotment Febuary 2021

The early flowers such as the winter aconites, snowdrops and Cyclamen coum were completely unfazed by the snow and looked like nothing had happened after the snow had melted away. It is amazing that such delicate-looking flowers are so tough ...

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My Wildlife Allotment January 2021

I really like this time of year as it gives me time to plan and think.  One of my new ideas is to plant a hop (Humulus lupulus) as I really like the look and smell of the fruit and hope I can use it for making tea. I had a few more magical early mornings with frozen water droplets covering every grass and seed head ...

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My Wildlife Allotment December 2020

Easily over-looked are the dainty flowers of Borago pygmaea which I grew from seed obtained from the HPS seed distribution scheme. I have two plants which seem to be quite happy and have flowered for the first time this year. Hopefully the plants will thrive and delight me with flowers year after year.

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My Wildlife Allotment November 2020

Seed heads are dominating on the allotment now, but there is still colour from late flowering perennials such as the many asters, Rudbeckia laciniata and Coreopsis ‘Full Moon’. Looking good at the moment are the seed heads of Monarda fistulosa which last for a very long time.

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My Wildlife Allotment October 2020

Some rain and lots of sunshine have enticed many of my plants such as Helenium, Nepeta and Geranium to start flowering again, and a large hawker dragonfly ...

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My Wildlife Allotment September 2020

Many parts of my allotment are too dry for growing Sanguisorba, most of them don’t like dry soil. But so far Sanguisorba 'Pink Brushes' seems to be happy, planted in an area adjoining the mini-prairie. The flowers are pale pink and look like very hairy caterpillars ...

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My Wildlife Allotment August 2020

The Striped Lychnis moth is very rare and only found in a few areas in the South of England so I am very lucky having it on my allotment. The only plant the caterpillars eat is Verbascum nigrum which I have in abundance as it self-seeds everywhere.

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My Wildlife Allotment July 2020

The HPS mystery seed mix provided another very special plant for my allotment which is Delphinium requienii. I have tried growing Delphiniums before but with mixed success, most were eaten by slugs before they could flower. Delphinium requienii is different ...

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My Wildlife Allotment June 2020

After a mild and sunny March and April we had several frosty nights in mid May with the temperature going down to -4C which caused some damage. Due to the mild winter and warm spring many plants were a lot more advanced than usual with fresh growth and flower buds developing. I lost most of my Eremurus flowers ...

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My Wildlife Allotment May 2020

What happened to the famous April showers? Many plants are much more advanced this year with most trees in full leaf already and some plants flowering several weeks earlier than usual. I just hope that we don’t get a late frost this year ...

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My Wildlife Allotment April 2020
The allotment is looking greener every day with shoots emerging everywhere and early flowers popping up in many places. Some of the fruit trees, such as the peach trees, apricot, nectarine, almond and greengage, are flowering now as well. The rain has finally stopped and the days are mostly sunny an..
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My Wildlife Allotment  March 2020

February was wet and windy here with one storm after another. I was a bit concerned that the new greenhouse might be damaged in the high winds but luckily it seems to be very solid and has weathered all storms so far. The first perennial seeds have germinated in the greenhouse but growth is very slow at the moment with night time temperatures close to 0C. 

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My Wildlife Allotment February 2020

It has not been very cold since the middle of December but we did have a few very frosty days recently which transformed the allotment into a winter wonderland. I really like frosty sunny mornings but most days have been quite dull and wet so every sunny day has to be appreciated. 

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My Wildlife Allotment January 2020

My loquat tree is thriving in the relatively mild temperatures and looks very handsome with its large leathery leaves. Grasses are still looking good and especially Panicum virgatum, with its coppery-brown leaves and airy cloud-like seed heads ...

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My Wildlife Allotment December 2019

The grasses look beautiful especially when covered in frost but best of all are the seed heads of Phlomis russeliana, standing tall and strong.

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My Wildlife Allotment November 2019

Watching the butterflies making use of nectar produced by late flowers is a joy; I have seen several painted ladies, some looking very fresh, a few admirals and one or two peacocks.

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My Wildlife Allotment October 2019

After weeks and weeks of no rain, grass turning brown, soil looking like dust, and endless lugging of watering cans, the rains have now returned. And they have returned with a vengeance. There is hardly a day without rain now ...

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My Wildlife Allotment September 2019

Other good butterfly flowers for late summer are Echinacea, Eryngium and Dianthus. Especially Brimstone butterflies seem to like Dianthus carthusianorum which has a very long flowering season, with peak flowering in June and continuing on a low level right into autumn. ...

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