Sharing a love of Dolls House Miniatures - and making time for other creative crafts and the garden.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Cleaning

I can see the cobwebs, but the sun is shining so I'm going outside for a spot of spring-cleaning....

My diddy little pond created from a huge old wash pan has been a great success since it went in a few years ago and attracts frogs, toads, dragonflies and the like, and the local blackbirds perch there for a drink.  However as it is so small it does need a bit of a clean out once a year and the reed clump reduced in size if the tiny waterlily has a chance of flowering - I did that on Friday.

I upset the two big frogs sitting in the mud at the bottom and disturbed a couple of amorous toads nearby, but pressed on.
Obviously I didn't upset the frogs too much because this morning the pond is full of frogspawn!! Exciting!

It's remarkable how much difference a tiny amount of water can make to the wildlife in our gardens - most of whom will (hopefully) eat the slugs that also thrive. I made a huge mistake a couple of years ago when we had frogspawn, topping up the pond during a particularly warm spring with tap water, instead of rainwater. Killed all the frogspawn - I won't make that mistake again.

Wild flowers also happily do their own thing as you can see - these lovely violets colonising  a crack in the paving beneath the back door.

In my wild patch the fritillaries, anenomies, primrose and cowslips are spreading well and I'm very happy.  I'd be even happier if squirrels hadn't dug up and eaten all the extra fritillary corms I planted in the autumn, but at least they left the snowdrops alone and we enjoyed them for the first time.

For the gardeners among you I wonder if you've discovered spent coffee grounds to deter the slugs and snails? Our local coffee shop gives away bags of the stuff and as far as I'm concerned it works like a miracle!! Worth a try if you haven't.

Thank you for looking


Donna S said...

Just love the photos of your garden. Think I might do that for a little pond for all the critters to drink. We had some drownings last summer in a pail under a dripping tap and in our plastic waterer that had a hole big enough to get into but not able to get out. I put water dishes here and there for drinks but like your idea better. Still pockets of snow here and there here in Canada but hopefully March will go out like a lamb as it came in like a lion with a blizzard.

Donna S said...

Oh, forgot to say that I find finely crushed egg shells scattered among roots of plants a deterrant for slugs. Also if a saucer is put out with beer in it, they will drown in it.

Robin said...

Why don't you give it a try Donna - leave a large stone or small branch near the edge so critturs can climb out.

I've tried egg shells too - just don't think we eat enough eggs. The beer traps too but I can't bear the sight of the drowned slugs - yuk!
Hope your snow soon goes so you can enjoy a lovely spring.

Elizabeth S said...

Hi Robin

I have never thought to use coffee grounds as slug deterrents, but since I normally toss them into the compost I shall forgo that and distribute in around the plants instead.
I've tried egg shells as Donna mentioned but they didn't seem to do anything significant, and they also looked ugly. The old coffee will blend in with the soil so I think I'll have to give it a go.
Your violets growing under your door are lovely!
There is a house in my neighborhood that had them self seeding in such profusion that the green grass was nearly purple all over by this time of year; the impact of that was truly memorable.
But before I forget to ask, how do you clean your little pond without disturbing the frogspawn?

Robin said...

I've got masses of violets growing all over this year and they look gorgeous.

I had cleaned the little pond a day or two before the frogspawn arrived - I wouldn't have dared cleaned it with the frogspawn there Elizabeth.

Donna S said...

I meant to ask you Robin - about the little pond - do you let a hose run into it so that there is moving water now and then? I would think the water would get very stagnant after a few days and also our environment people tell us not to have standing water as mosquitoes tend to lay their eggs there and breed in the water. I would think a hose just running lightly would solve that problem.
Donna in Ontario Canada

Robin said...

Hi Donna - the only thing I do is to top up the pond through the summer using rainwater from a watering can with a fine rose so the water sprinkles in like a shower and aerates at the same time. Mine doesn't appear to get stagnant, perhaps the plants help, but I must admit that it does have a few mosquito (gnats) - however in U.K. these aren't the threatening kind and most get eaten by the frogs etc. I don't know if a hose would work, sounds as if it would - why not pop into an aqautic garden centre for advice - or Google is worth a look.
If you want frogs 'n things I think they need 'still' water.