Half way to #30DaysWild
Veg Plotting
by VP
1M ago
  I've tracked something every month of the year so far, from my diet through to screen time. This month it's the turn of the Wildlife Trust's 30 Days Wild initiative and I'm having a great time adding a bird's foot, plus a little drawing of what I've observed that day to my tracker. I also get a daily email packed with information and ideas and seeing we're half way through the month I thought it would be fun to convert some of my little pictures into a Nature Spotting Sheet as suggested a few days ago. Five of them are from my garden, two are from going to the archery field (hare and p ..read more
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Let's hear it for Citizen Science
Veg Plotting
by VP
1M ago
  Regular readers know I'm a bit partial to taking part in citizen science initiatives such as the annual Garden Birdwatch and Butterfly counts, as well as one-offs such as Flying Ant Day. These are a great way of gathering huge datasets over a wide area that are simple to do and repeatable. This year I've upped the ante by becoming a monthly Riverfly monitor for my local stream, Hardenhuish Brook. This scheme is designed to survey the key freshwater invertebrates which are more sensitive to pollution and also taps into my Masters degree. The wider the variety and number of these fo ..read more
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Bulbalicious!
Veg Plotting
by VP
3M ago
We had a lovely welcome home from the garden in the shape of these bulbalicious hyacinths greeting us at our front door when we returned from Italy. It was a serendipitious moment as I'd originally bought them to decorate our kitchen when Helen came to stay back in February. However, our cat Skipper was paying them far too much attention, so I moved them to the hanging basket out front. The cooler weather there meant they've only started to bloom recently, and most welcome they are too. Once flowering is over, I'm taking a top tip learnt from my time at West Green House and planting the ..read more
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Postcard from Italy
Veg Plotting
by VP
4M ago
We're just back from a fabulous time in France and Italy in celebration of significant birthdays and anniversaries. We particularly loved the higgledy hillside clinging buildings we discovered in Genoa and its surrounding coastal villages of Camogli, Portofino, Nervi and the Cinque Terre. I've chosen a photo I took in Camogli to illustrate the perfect combination of bright ice cream coloured buildings, bobbing boats and Mediterranean vegetation we found in many of the villages. Look closer and you'll see many of the buildings have designs painted on them in a technique called sgraffito - one ..read more
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Primroses and The Flood Resilience Garden
Veg Plotting
by VP
5M ago
I've spotted primroses popping up in many places on my walks this week and it's a welcome sight to see them. I found the pictured ones in Old Hardenhuish Lane on my way to Lidl* yesterday. They're in a patch on the edge of damp woodland next to Hardenhuish Brook and I've also seen them close to the River Avon right in the middle of Chippenham. They're a timely sighting as I'm thrilled to be working with FloodRe's The Flood Resilience Garden team in a small way during the run up to Chelsea Flower Show. I'll provide the written content for their Plant of the Week spot on the garden's Instagram ..read more
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Hurrah for the NGS!
Veg Plotting
by VP
5M ago
This image makes my heart sing and is why I love the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). It doesn't cost much to visit a garden tended by an enthusiast, yet see how all those entrance fees can grow into something life changing. My visits are going to start early this year with a trip to Westcroft next month, a Wiltshire garden near Salisbury which is stuffed with snowdrops and so is opening happily as part of the NGS's Snowdrop Festival. See you there Helen! If you're not looking at vegplotting.blogspot, or your own web reader such as Bloglovin' or Feedly, then be aware the website you're on ..read more
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Bumblebees on Blooms
Veg Plotting
by VP
5M ago
Regular readers know I do love a good citizen science project and I'm happy to announce the latest one is launched by The RHS/Bumblebee Conservation Trust today. What can be better than watching bumblebees bothering our flowers on a sunny day and help science to boot? From today until 31st May we're asked to submit our sightings from our gardens and parks around the UK. Why is this important? Well, bumblebees are a vital pollinator for our garden flowers plus crops such as apples, tomatoes and peas. When the weather starts to warm - even on the odd warm late winter's day - queen bumblebees e ..read more
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Season's Greetings
Veg Plotting
by VP
7M ago
As you can see, Chippenham's Knatty Knitters have once again cheered up the town with their postbox toppers. This one greeted me outside our main sorting office when I went to post our Christmas cards and there are more to be found elsewhere; some familiar from previous years, others are new like this one. We're in the process of changing our Christmas plans as my BIL and wife have tested positive for Covid, thankfully with just mild symptoms but we thought it best for them to concentrate on getting back to full health for now. We plan to meet up in New Year for jolly times, so we'll have a ..read more
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Testing Times: Tomatoes
Veg Plotting
by VP
1y ago
  I've run a couple of tomato trials this year. The first is a revisit of the biochar trial with Oxford University I attempted some years ago (with a different organisation this time), and the second is a trial of a water gadget called Plantsurge which I was given to try at Malvern Spring Show earlier this year. Most of you have probably heard of biochar already and the claim that this inert, carbon-rich material can help soil fertility and plant health. The RHS information in the above link says results can be mixed, with reduced effects found in alkaline soils. This may help to expla ..read more
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Big Butterfly Count 2023: The results are in
Veg Plotting
by VP
1y ago
The Big Butterfly Count is one of my favourite 15 minutes of the year. Being in the garden without a thought of all the jobs lying wait, just admiring the natural world is time well spent in my view. I don't always document my count on here, but it's time to do so again this year as I have some new observations to make. Earlier in the year there was plenty of speculation on social media on the lack of insect life and what might be the cause - last year's dry summer, and/or cold winter, and/or climate change were often cited as potential causes. I often wondered myself especially during June ..read more
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