How does your garden grow?

I'm on a voyage of discovery in my first garden.
It's mostly about the veggies at the moment but I'm also discovering lots about flowers and other plants - quite often the hard way and always on a very tight budget.
But this blog is not just about my garden, it's about all the things I see and discover in Sussex and beyond and I would love to hear from you too.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Sparrowhawk versus woodpecker versus magpie

I've seen a few sparrowhawk predations in my garden, especially during the winter months. They've usually been things like blue tits, but today's events took me by surprise and made me wish I could spend more time at home.
My evening phone conversation with hubby was suddenly interrupted when he saw a sparrowhawk drag a greater spotted woodpecker from our peanut feeder.
Describing it in real time as he watched events unfold, my other half described how the bird of prey was hanging on to the woodpecker, which was clinging in vain to the feeder.
The birds fell to the ground with the sparrowhawk creating a cloak with its wings over the would-be prey, but the woodpecker quickly escaped to the shelter of our last year's Christmas tree, which is planted next to the feeder.
The woodpecker was now out of sight but was squeaking and the sparrowhawk made two attempts to approach it but eventually gave up and moved to the shed roof, presumably to wait it out, away from the woodpecker's sharp beak.
But the commotion also attracted the attention of a curious magpie, which began tentatively approaching the injured bird.
Faced with further opposition, the sparrowhawk flew off, followed shortly by the disinterested magpie.
At this point my hubby hung up, expecting that he'd have to put the woodpecker out of its misery, but instead he got the fright of his life.
He called me back a few minutes later to say he'd pulled back the Christmas tree and the startled bird flew straight past him, first into the chicken wire veg patch fence and then up into the tree.
Here's hoping it recovers.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Rhododendron, Magnolia and Camellia show

The two-day Rhododendron, Magnolia and Camellia show opens at Tilgate Park in Crawley this morning.
The show started out in 2002 at Borde Hill but did not take place at all last year.
Major visitor gardens, including Exbury, are represented and experts will be available to offer advice.
Among the things to see is an amazing floral display made up of the seasonal flowers currently on show at nearby High Beeches gardens.
http://www.crawley.gov.uk/pw/News_and_Events/Events_Directory/EVENT1332923520854