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Championing Biodiversity

Put simply, surveying is time taken to mindfully explore and observe the natural world whilst making a record of what is observed. Whether it’s identifying different bird species, capturing the occurrence of various plans, or tracking wildlife, surveying is a hands-on connection with our environment. The fun of surveying lies in the discovery process. Each […]

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Put simply, surveying is time taken to mindfully explore and observe the natural world whilst making a record of what is observed. Whether it’s identifying different bird species, capturing the occurrence of various plans, or tracking wildlife, surveying is a hands-on connection with our environment.

The fun of surveying lies in the discovery process. Each outing is an opportunity to uncover something new, from a lone flower blooming in a overlooked corner to the unexpected sighting of a migrating bird. This element of surprise and the joy of contributing to a greater understanding of the environment can be incredibly satisfying.

Peacock Butterfyl – Aglais io – Spotted by the Gingko on the Lawn

Surveying plays a vital role in monitoring biodiversity, helping scientists and conservationists gather data on species distribution, population trends, and ecosystem health. Citizen science projects, where volunteers participate in surveying, significantly expand the reach and scope of data collection, making it possible to monitor larger areas and more species than professional scientists could alone. Community action is essential to The Hidden Gardens’ contribution to both national and international scientific research initiatives.

Join us for a morning of citizen science participation to share your action for biodiversity in South Glasgow! Everyone is welcome and we have the team on hand to answer your questions and guide you through the processes involved.

No Mow May at The Hidden Gardens

No Mow May is a nationwide initiative encouraging individuals, communities, and local authorities to refrain from mowing their lawns throughout the month of May. This simple action supports biodiversity by allowing wildflowers to grow freely, creating essential habitats for insects, birds, and other wildlife. The Hidden Gardens is participating this month – and you can […]

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No Mow May is a nationwide initiative encouraging individuals, communities, and local authorities to refrain from mowing their lawns throughout the month of May. This simple action supports biodiversity by allowing wildflowers to grow freely, creating essential habitats for insects, birds, and other wildlife.

The Hidden Gardens is participating this month – and you can too! Plant Life, the UK charity championing wild plant conservation and the lead of No Mow May, has lots of ways you can get involved.

Every small action has a positive ripple effect; your lawn left to its own devices for a month can provide food and shelter for pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. These insects rely on wildflowers for nectar and pollen, and their populations are essential for the overall health of our local ecosystems. According to Plant Life, ‘We’ve lost approximately 97% of flower-rich meadows since the 1930’s and with them gone are vital food needed by pollinators’, and garden lawns have become increasingly monocultural close cut grass covered areas. This tradition is a relatively recent norm, started in the Victorian period as a status symbol. No Mow May campaigns for lawns across the country to transform into healthy, more natural spaces with a mix of plant life to encourage biodiversity, improve soil quality and tackle pollution. May is the perfect time to leave your lawn alone, giving the wildflowers and other wild plants a chance to establish before the summer.

Participating in No Mow May is more than leaving the lawnmower in the shed! Plant Life has lots of resources to discover. Register your participation to help Plant Life better understand the total number and size of lawns which are supporting nature. They have easy to understand identifier and spotter sheets, as well as other campaign resources all free to use.

Whether you have a small lawn or a larger garden, participating in No Mow May is a meaningful way to make a positive impact on your local environment. It is time for us to leave behind the outdated notion of a ‘lawn’ and embrace wild meadows as a natural part of our built environment.

Come down to The Hidden Gardens to see our lawn, and enjoy the variety of wild plants and flowers which are flourishing in our No Mow May!

First Sundays Tai Chi

Join us every month for gentle, flowing movements guided by leader Jan Kauskas in the serene setting of The Hidden Gardens. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or new to Tai Chi, everyone is welcome to participate and feel the benefits of this ancient martial art form. First Sundays Tai Chi are monthly outdoor sessions, which […]

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Join us every month for gentle, flowing movements guided by leader Jan Kauskas in the serene setting of The Hidden Gardens. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or new to Tai Chi, everyone is welcome to participate and feel the benefits of this ancient martial art form.

First Sundays Tai Chi are monthly outdoor sessions, which provide a unique opportunity to connect with nature, and nurture your body and mind by engaging them in harmony. With each session, you’ll deepen your practice, improve your flexibility and balance, and experience the transformative power of Tai Chi in the heart of Glasgow city.

The ethos of Tai Chi fits seamlessly into The Hidden Gardens; both promote holistic well-being and a connection to nature. Practicing Tai Chi amidst the lush greenery and serene surroundings enhances the experience, allowing individuals to harmonize their bodies and minds with the natural world. The Hidden Gardens holds a commitment to promoting health, unity, and environmental stewardship within the local community.

Each month you will see the change of the seasons in the gardens as new growth arrives, flowers blossom and fruits grow. Mark your calendars and join us on the first Sunday of each month!

Art Workshops for International Biodiversity Day 

Celebrating the legacy of the work of the MINGA INDÍGENA elders in The Hidden Gardens during COP 26.  We are delighted to invite you to take part in three special workshops held by artist, and former community programme manager, Grace Browne! The Hidden Gardens is celebrating this year’s International Biodiversity Day by bringing together people who […]

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Celebrating the legacy of the work of the MINGA INDÍGENA elders in The Hidden Gardens during COP 26. 

We are delighted to invite you to take part in three special workshops held by artist, and former community programme manager, Grace Browne! The Hidden Gardens is celebrating this year’s International Biodiversity Day by bringing together people who attended the ceremonies, talks, workshops and discussions with the indigenous elders in the gardens over COP 26.

We hope that you will join us and be part of this new piece of work – The dates for the workshops are the 22nd of March, the 5th of April and the 12th of April – from 11am to 1pm at The Hidden Gardens.

To sign up please fill in this form!

All materials are provided, and we will have teas, coffee and biscuits ready to support our creative endeavours! We are prioritising those who can make all three sessions but do let us know if you could make two and we can put you on the shortlist.

Any questions you can get in touch with Community Programme Manager, Mo Odling, on mo@thehiddengardens.org.uk

A new face in the gardens

Warmest wishes to our community for 2024, we look forward to welcoming you to the gardens for everything we have planned this year. In this blog post our new Community Programme Manager, Mo Odling(she/they), introduces themselves and their role in the gardens. Hello Hidden Gardens friends! As a newly settled resident in Polloksheilds, joining The […]

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Warmest wishes to our community for 2024, we look forward to welcoming you to the gardens for everything we have planned this year. In this blog post our new Community Programme Manager, Mo Odling(she/they), introduces themselves and their role in the gardens.

Mo with her favourite Hidden Gardens tree, the Bhutan Pine.

Hello Hidden Gardens friends! As a newly settled resident in Polloksheilds, joining The Hidden Gardens team has given me the great privilege of living and working in the same community. I am exploring the gardens as a newcomer, having recently returned to Scotland from the Republic of Ireland, where I lived in Cork city for the past couple of years. I’m enjoying taking time to get to know the pathways, plants and friendly faces which populate the gardens. It feels significant to be here, at the beginning of my first year as Community Programme Manager in 2024.

My background is in community engagement and visual art. I have a social practice; I make artist books and publications, primarily in collaboration with others. In my role here in The Hidden Gardens I will be focusing on creating opportunities for local people to come into the space and be inspired by the collaboration humans and nature. Finding interesting and fun ways to explore all The Hidden Gardens stand for. It is great to be working to continue the legacy of the community programme, whilst adding my own perspective to the projects and events which we host.

Mo with filmmaker Annie Butcher, protecting camera equipment from inclement weather.

I often find myself feeling overwhelmed by the current state of the world, not least of which the cycle of crises across the globe, the climate emergency and the myriad of other pressures and inequalities. It can feel as though any individual action is insignificant by comparison. However, when I walk around The Hidden Gardens and take a visit to my favourite tree (pictured above, the beautiful Bhutan Pine!) it reminds me that there are important actions we can take. Urban green spaces play a pivotal role in fostering and preserving our natural diversity, offering a haven for a multitude of plant and animal species. By nurturing pockets of natural habitat in the city spaces, we not only sustain the non-human world but also our wellbeing and quality of life. The Hidden Gardens stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of nature and the city. It reminds us that our actions and connections, matter.

Sarcococca, common name: Sweet box is another favourite of Mo’s for its sweet perfume in winter months.

It has been a warm welcome, and I have been struck by the variety and prevalence of community action in the southside of Glasgow. I’m really proud to be part of a strong and diverse community working in so many ways toward positive change for all. I look forward to meeting everyone in The Hidden Gardens community over the coming months, where we can discuss, experiment, take notice and celebrate together.

To learn more about the Community Programme you can contact Mo on mo@thehiddengardens.org.uk

THG Wildlife Species List 2023

Gardens have an important role to play in supporting biodiversity, particularly in urban areas. Therefore, it is vital that we know more about local wildlife, and keep track of how individual species and their habitats are faring. Wildlife records help conservationists decide how land should be managed and see how species are being affected by […]

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Gardens have an important role to play in supporting biodiversity, particularly in urban areas. Therefore, it is vital that we know more about local wildlife, and keep track of how individual species and their habitats are faring. Wildlife records help conservationists decide how land should be managed and see how species are being affected by human activities.  

Records can help to establish the distribution and size of populations, and regular recording can help us to detect changes over time. They help to identify the location of rare and locally important species, and can be used to help protect them and their habitats from damage. 

It is also important to record even common, regularly seen species. These are often under-recorded, and so changes in their abundance and distribution may not be noticeable until it’s too late. They can also be used as a baseline from which to monitor changes in other species and habitats. For example, declines in common birds or insects can indicate habitat loss, pollution, or climate change. 

Science is not the only beneficiary of nature-based ‘citizen science’ projects – research has shown that taking part in wildlife surveys also boosts the wellbeing of participants and their connection to nature. So volunteers taking part in wildlife recording activities are not only providing data vital to assessing environmental change, they also experience benefits of getting up close and personal with nature.  

Here are some ways you can get involved:   

  • Take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch  
  • Download the free iRecord Butterflies app to report your butterfly sighting and help protect threatened species  
  • You can help researchers understand how the populations of pollinating insects are changing by taking part in a UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme activity  
  • Record your wildlife sightings by uploading them to a database using an app or website such as iRecord or iNaturalist. If you upload a photo of a plant or animal, iNaturalist helps you identify plants and animals with visually similar suggestions, and your records will be verified by dedicated experts. 

How do we gather our data?

Glasgow Museums Biological Record Centre has gathered and updated the Wildlife Records for The Hidden Gardens. Records come from specifically targeted groups such as regular moth traps and monthly bird surveys, volunteers and visitors taking part in citizen science surveys such as Big Garden Bird Watch, Pollinator Monitoring Scheme and Big Butterfly Count, and input from individual recorders. 

The Hidden Gardens Species List – Updated November 2023 

Species total: 392  

Vertebrates: Birds: 28, Mammals: 3, 

Invertebrates: Annelids: 1, Beetles: 22, Butterflies: 10, Centipedes: 4, Crustaceans: 7, Flatworms: 1, Harvestman: 5, Hymenoptera: 21, Lacewings: 2, Millipedes: 11, Moths: 214, True bugs: 18, True Flies: 48, Spiders: 7 

Plants: Flowering plants: 61, Ferns: 2, Ginkgo: 1, Trees:6,  

Fungi and lichens: Fungi: 5 

First Glasgow record: 

  • Lacewing Conwentzia psociformis 
  • Large Birch Bell moth Epinotia brunnichana 
  • Common Rosebell moth Notocelia rosaecolana 
  • True fly Tricholauxania praeusta 

First Scottish record: 

  • Hornet hoverfly Volucella zonaria

Joint first UK record: 

  • Millipede Cylindroiulus britannicus 
  • Milipede C. dahli 
  • Millipede Orthochordeumella pallida 
  • Millipede Propolydesmus testaceus

There are so many more species out there to record, for example we haven’t got a record for Grey Squirrel and they most definately are around! Please join in our quest to find out more about the biodiversity within The Hidden Gardens, and many thanks to all those who have done so already.  

You can explore the full list of species here:

About the Conservation Status  

There are a number of designations used by conservationists to highlight species of particular interest for conservation, or species under threat.  

The Scottish Biodiversity List is an inventory of animals, plants and habitats produced by NatureScot that are considered by Scottish Ministers to be of importance for biodiversity conservation in Scotland. 

By identifying the species and habitats that are of the highest priority for biodiversity conservation, the Scottish Biodiversity List helps public bodies apply their biodiversity duty

The Biodiversity duty is not only about protecting biodiversity through managing specific sites, habitats and species. It also aims to increase the level of understanding and connection between people and the living environment. 

Birds of Conservation Concern 5 (2021) has been compiled by a coalition of the UK’s leading bird conservation and monitoring organisations. This is the fifth review of the status of all regularly occurring birds in the UK. The birds that breed or overwinter here have been assessed against a set of objective criteria and placed on the Green, Amber or Red lists to indicate and increasing level of concern. 

https://www.bto.org/sites/default/files/publications/bocc-5-a5-4pp-single-pages.pdf

Invasive Non-Native Species are plants and animals that have been introduced to Britain from all over the world by people. These species have either become established and are causing problems, or are likely to cause a significant negative impact if they become more widespread.  

The Gardener’s Diary: November 2023

Despite the odd cold night and hint of frost, the temperatures have not yet dipped enough to halt the flowering cosmos, calendula and evening primrose, adding to the autumnal colours from the crimson stems of dogwood and the golden witch hazel leaves. The potager is full of bright stems and glossy leaves of chard, winter […]

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Despite the odd cold night and hint of frost, the temperatures have not yet dipped enough to halt the flowering cosmos, calendula and evening primrose, adding to the autumnal colours from the crimson stems of dogwood and the golden witch hazel leaves. The potager is full of bright stems and glossy leaves of chard, winter salad leaves and herbs as well as beetroot, leeks and turnip. These bursts of brightness help to cheer us as the failing light and the shorter days set in.

Winter Preparations

This is the time we plan for the winter months, taking in tender pelargoniums and our olive tree to the shelter of an unheated greenhouse. Pots of sedums do not mind the cold but hate the wet weather, so they also come inside for the winter.

We are working away at emptying last year’s leaf mould to use as a mulch around the borders and under trees and shrubs. Before we begin to mulch we must weed and cut back perennials, although we leave some foliage and seed heads for interesting textures, shapes and forms as well as providing food and shelter for wildlife.

Although we are not aiming to ‘rewild’ The Hidden Gardens – a term used to describe reintroducing natural, self-sustaining ecological processes, leaving the garden to go its own way – we do embrace environmentally friendly and sustainable gardening practices. Removing all maintenance would soon result in an overgrown space that it would be difficult to relax in and enjoy. Instead, we focus on increasing biodiversity by including plants, both native and cultivated, for pollinators and other animals. We embrace wildness where it can flourish in areas of the garden and allow weeds such as dandelion and daisies, clover and self-heal to make our grass interesting for wildlife and us. However, at this time of year we do give the whole lawn a final cut to ensure this mix of plants flourish amongst the grasses for next year’s picnics on the lawn. Edging around the paths keeps them clear and adds definition to the design of this formal part of the garden.

While it is important to clear the paths and walkways of leaves to prevent them from becoming slippery, we do allow drifts and piles of leaves to build up under hedges and trees to provide shelter for overwintering animals. Branches and twigs are added to the dead hedge to provide more habitat.

Garden Lights and Wildlife

As days shorten it is tempting to brighten things up with outdoor lighting, but it is important to consider night- time visitors when lighting up your garden. For example, two thirds of common moths have been in decline in recent years and although habitat loss and climate change are the main contributors, light pollution is impactful too. If you do want to light up a part of your garden there are a few things you can do.

Try to minimize disturbance by positioning lights low and point them down to avoid distracting moths and bats. Choose low intensity lights and warmer hues to reduce disruption to wildlife. Solar lighting is cheap, safe and emits a dull glow that is less blinding to animals, although it may not be so efficient in the Scottish winter! Finally, turn off lights when not in use or fit timers so they are only on when necessary.

Bird Club

Our keen birdwatchers continue to meet once a month and were rewarded with sightings of Redwing and Fieldfare as well as a large flock of migratory Blackbirds. These birds join our residents to eat the berries on the hawthorns and rowans. If you would like to join us, the next meeting will be on Wednesday 22nd November at 10am. Meet at the chimney, dress for outdoors, and we can provide binoculars but bring them along if you have your own.

The Hidden Gardens Zine

The Hidden Gardens Zine was born during Growing Together, the celebration event of 20 years of The Hidden Gardens, in collaboration with the Glasgow Zine Library. Within its colourful pages you’ll discover a compilation of thoughts, wishes, memories and artistic impressions of the garden as shared by visitors and volunteers.

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The Hidden Gardens Zine was born during Growing Together, the celebration event of 20 years of The Hidden Gardens, in collaboration with the Glasgow Zine Library. Within its colourful pages you’ll discover a compilation of thoughts, wishes, memories and artistic impressions of the garden as shared by visitors and volunteers.

The Gardener’s Diary: September 2023

With the arrival of September summer is drawing to a close, the nights are cooler and the days shorter, but there will still be warmth on a sunny day, and the seasonal harvests and colours of autumn tinge the foliage around us. We are enjoying the late flowering annuals; cosmos, calendula, snapdragons, which will keep […]

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With the arrival of September summer is drawing to a close, the nights are cooler and the days shorter, but there will still be warmth on a sunny day, and the seasonal harvests and colours of autumn tinge the foliage around us. We are enjoying the late flowering annuals; cosmos, calendula, snapdragons, which will keep going as long as we continue deadheading until the first frosts. Our fruit trees are laden with apples and pears, and nuts and berries provide a feast for the birds and squirrels.

Our Lawn is Getting a Close Trim

Its now time to cut back all our lawn, including the sections left unmown throughout the year, and remove all clipping to the compost heap. We will begin to aerate, rake and brush in a top dressing of sand to keep our lawn healthy and help it withstand picnics, tai chi and events throughout the year.

Planning our Spring Garden

And it always pays to be continually planning ahead. It’s time to think about next Spring! Bulbs are in the shops and available online so don’t leave it too late to get the best choices. If you’re not sure where the gaps are in your Spring garden then plant up some pots that can be placed in spaces next year. You may need to protect from scavenging squirrels by covering with chicken wire or jaggy prunings such as holly.

Deadheading

At this time of year, it is tempting to think it’s time to ‘tidy’ the garden; cutting back plants that have finished flowering, clearing borders and removing fallen leaves. However, it is worth taking a moment to think about what is happening in the garden and how important it is to allow nature to head towards autumn and winter in its own time. This will be appreciated by the wildlife living in the garden as well as benefiting the soil and the environment. The colours, textures and shapes of developing seedheads and autumnal leaves adds a whole new dimension to the garden landscape. And by leaving seedheads to mature we can collect seed for next year. Also leaving vital food sources for birds and shelter for mini beast. All you have to do is collect your seed heads on a dry day, its very important to make sure they are dry! Pop them into a paper bag, the seeds will fall out and can be separated from the pods or seed casings and stored in a paper bag or envelope until next Spring.

Amazing Mini-beasties

We have carried out two moth surveys in the past month. Earlier in August Richard Weddle identified a new record for the Gardens – the Iron Prominent. The larvae of this moth feed on birch and sometime oak and hazel, all of which grow here.

Richard has also been busy identifying insects from previous visits and has recorded an unusual metallic green weevil Polydrusus formosus. This is a first for The Hidden Gardens and there are only a handful of other Glasgow records, all from the last 3 years.

Our experience of this group of beetles tends to be their potential destruction of plant roots, or spoiling bags of flour and grains. However only a tiny minority of weevils cause destruction while the majority contribute to functioning ecosystems. One way they do this is by pollinating a range of plants. 

If you are interested in reading more about this fascinating aspect of weevils lifecycle, here’s a good read.

Collecting the Seeds from our Tomatoes

We have been enjoying the varieties of tomatoes we have grown this year so now is a good time to think about collecting seeds for next year – saves a bit of money and it means you can save seeds from the plants you know grew well in your own conditions.

To save tomato seeds first pick ripe fruit, free from any diseases, and not from F1 varieties which won’t necessarily grow with same characteristics again (it will say on the seed packet

Scoop out the seeds along with the flesh and put into a container with a lid and leave for a few days, stirring twice a day. It will become mouldy and smelly which is what we want, this breaks down the gelatinous substances surrounding the seeds which contain inhibitors to germination.

After a few days fill the container with clean water and swirl, the healthy seeds should fall to the bottom, and the mouldy material can be poured away, repeat several times until you are left with clean seeds in the bottom of your jar.

Tip these out onto kitchen paper to dry then store them in an envelope in a cool dry place, ready for sowing next year. Remember to label with the variety and the date.

The Gardener’s Diary: August 2023

The freshness of early summer may be over and the gardens are tinged with maturity but late summer blooms are preparing to take over with cosmos peeking through the phlox and acanthus along the white wall border. There is plenty to distract attention while cutting back foliage, weeding and pruning along the borders; bumblebees crawling […]

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The freshness of early summer may be over and the gardens are tinged with maturity but late summer blooms are preparing to take over with cosmos peeking through the phlox and acanthus along the white wall border. There is plenty to distract attention while cutting back foliage, weeding and pruning along the borders; bumblebees crawling into the depths of the acanthus flowers, the heady scent wafting from the jasmine, and a spectacular second flowering of the wisteria.

Updates from our kitchen garden

We continue to harvest vegetables, salads and herbs from the potager and herb borders. Slugs have enjoyed feasting on many of our cauliflowers but the surviving one was carefully picked and divided between volunteers!

Our greenhouse is bursting with tomatoes of every colour shape and size: green zebra, black cherry, yellow pear, orange burst, tigerella and a classic gardeners delight. Aubergines and cucumbers are ripening and a fig or two have been shared at tea break

To make sure all the green tomatoes fully ripen over the coming months now is the time to cut the bottom leaves on each plant. This will let in light and air so the fruit get more sun-light and the ventilation reduces the risk of disease. As the month progresses more leaves can be removed. We will continue with a weekly seaweed or comfrey feed to maximise flower and fruit production, and water regularly to prevent blossom end rot – a blackening at the tip of the fruit caused by calcium deficiency due to irregular watering

Gardening Tips

Gardening need not be a costly undertaking; there are many ways to enjoy a beautiful garden while spending little or no money. For example, many mature plants can be divided (geraniums, rhubarb, chives), strawberries produce baby plants from runners and these can be potted up, or you can expand your plant collection by taking cuttings. Now is the perfect time for taking semi-ripe cuttings and it’s a deeply satisfying process when successful.

Semi-ripe cuttings are taken from this season’s growth as it starts to harden off. Choose healthy strong straight growth, free from flowers or flower buds. Once you have cut your plant material place them immediately in a polythene bag to stop them drying and pot them up as soon as possible.

Strip off all the lower leaves and side shoots, and cut the stem with sharp secateurs or a knife, just below a node (the point the leaves join the stem).

Place around the edge of a pot of gritty compost, or a mix of perlite and compost. To form roots the plant doesn’t need nutrients but does needs oxygen and water so the planting medium needs to be well draining but do not allow it to dry out.

Place somewhere warm and light but not direct sunlight and keep moist. Once you see signs of new growth and roots emerging from the bottom of the pot, maybe 4-6 weeks later, then it will be time to pot on to a more nutritious compost. Plants to try now are salvias, nepeta, rosemary and lavender. Experiment with what you have, give it a go, and enjoy your free plants ready for next year!

Nature Notes

At this time of year the garden birds take time to moult and tend to lay low, singing less to avoid attracting too much attention. However, on our last bird club meeting we were treated to blackcap singing in the trees, our ever curious juvenile robin, and a dunnock enjoying a dusty bath in a sunny spot in the woodland glade. Next bird club will be on Wednesday 16th August at 10am. All welcome, meet at chimney.

Although we have not enjoyed many sunny days in July we have spotted a few butterflies fluttering through the borders. Green-veined, Large and Small Whites, Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown have all been spotted. The whites can be difficult to distinguish but the key is to look at the underside of the wings, visible when the butterfly is resting. Butterfly conservation has some useful tips here.

And if you have a spare 15 minutes there is still time to take part in the Big Butterfly Count until 6th August. National surveys like these are an important method of monitoring the health of our butterfly populations and by taking part you are contributing to vital science.