It is always a delight to visit a garden and we have been to two this week. The first of them, Sissinghurst in Kent, is surely one of the most famous gardens in the country, created by the poet and writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold Nicholson, who bought the estate in 1930. They lovingly worked on developing the garden for many decades until Vita’s death in 1962 when the property was given to the National Trust. The Trust has continued to honour Vita and Harold’s legacy and vision for the garden and now, sixty years on, it remains most impressive.
Sissinghurst is only an hour away from home and we hope to visit again this year to see the garden in a different season.
The second garden we visited was Pashley Manor just over the border into East Sussex.
A tulip festival is held here every April although, with this late spring, several of the tulip varieties were yet to open:
Bloms Bulbs had a tent at the exit displaying some of the varieties that that they offer, and you could order bulbs to arrive in a few months ready for the autumn planting:
I asked if they had any suggestions to stop rats removing bulbs from the ground over the winter and I’m pleased to say that they did – they recommend that I buy a big bag of chilli powder and roll the bulbs in the chilli before planting them out. What an excellent idea and one that I will certainly be trying – that will give the rats a shock.
Although most of the tulip bulbs I planted last autumn did disappear, the rats missed one or two and I cut these and brought them into the house this week. Something about the riotous hotch potch of colour and form brings me such pleasure:
Elsewhere in the meadows, the apple blossom is out and it is the most beautiful thing, like raspberry ripple ice cream:
This male smooth newt was wagging his tail at a female – I had heard that they do a display dance but had never seen this before:
We are interested to see what the new chalky butterfly bank does in its first year. There are seedlings germinating on it now and we are filled with anticipation to see what grows:
The reptiles are up and about. Here are two lizards under a sampling square, one of them watching me with a beady eye….
….and a female slow worm with her dark flanks:
In the wood, we have had our first glimpse of a fox cub:
And lots of foxes and badgers have peered down this rabbit hole this week:
A male pied flycatcher comes down for a pit stop. We only see these lovely birds briefly on passage, tantalisingly luring us to follow them to the woods of Wales and the North:
I think this is an absolutely amazing trail camera shot with the shadow of the great tit carrying moss emblazoned across the front of the box:
And this same camera has also caught a dormouse around the box on several nights:
So, what is going on at the tawny owl nest box this week? Although I did get photos of owls at the box in the first half of the week….
…when we visited yesterday there were no owl photos at all around the box. There was, however, this stock dove looking in. Stock doves will definitely nest in a big box like this:
The last photos this week are of what is surely the King of the Forest here, one of the magnificent buzzards who sit at the top of the avian food chain and grace us with their presence: