Beale Park Gardens – March 2018 News Update

Posted by Jane Chapman on 15/03/2018

Flowerbeds

Two of the gardeners rushed to get this new planting of Astelias chathamica ‘Silver Spear’covered by fleece before the snow arrived.

We have done a lot of seed sowing in the greenhouse of pollinator friendly plants such as Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi) for our damp areas, and Giant Hyssop (Agastache Lavender Blue) for a sunny well-drained spot.

    

Ragged Robin               Agastache Lavender Blue

Birds

The birds should be starting to pair off now that the snow has gone. We often hear the repeating call of song thrushes from the Jubilee Gardens.

Their numbers are in decline, especially on farmland. This has meant that they are on the Red List: red is the highest conservation priority, with species needing urgent action. Other birds on the Red List are starlings, house sparrows and mistle thrushes. A downloadable list of all the birds on the Red List can be found on the British Trust for Ornithology website.

To help such birds, the RSPB’s conservation scientists have recommended that we consider wildlife-friendly gardening to create better habitats for wildlife. Key actions are planting berrying shrubs, creating a pond and planting pollen rich flowers.

One of the gardeners saw a large flock of fieldfares on a berberis hedge in her garden in Wokingham on the 1st March. The snow had made the desperate birds come in from the countryside, and for the first time people in Wokingham and Basingstoke reported seeing them in their gardens.

Another way to help is to join our gardener from Basingstoke in the monitoring scheme Garden Birdwatch with the BTO: https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/gbw. In this scheme garden owners record birds, mammals, insects and amphibians seen in their gardens, either online or by filling in paper records.

The Pond

Not much life to be seen on our ponds at Beale as spring arrives.

However, in March as it gets warmer, in our garden ponds without fish we will probably see the jelly-like clumps of frogspawn. Shelter can be created for the emerging froglets by putting plants such as ornamental grasses into those damp areas near the pond edge.

Carex elata ‘Aurea’ is suitable for part shade by a pond. The only maintenance is to rake through it in spring removing the old leaves.

Shelter whilst they are in the pond could also be made by planting marginal plants such as Myosotis scorpioides (water forget –me- not) and Veronica beccabunga (brooklime)

      

Water forget-me-not       Brooklime