More reasons to love dandelions


Spotted in the South paddock this week were both male and female bullfinches and a pair of swifts, the latter returning to the meadows from their wintering grounds in Africa. Distinguishable from swallows by the distinctive sickle shape of their wings, swifts are rare and especially welcome visitors to Greenhillock.

At the beginning of the week the dandelion flowers in the North Paddock began to go over to seed heads and we were treated to the delightful sight of goldfinches balanced on them, feeding away. Amazing to think something as flimsy as a dandelion stalk can support the weight of a bird, they are incredibly light.

We caught our first sight of Mrs Duck’s much awaited ducklings last Sunday afternoon, Bryan counted eleven. A slightly impatient mum moved them all over to the pond during the course of the afternoon, with some of the smaller ones reluctant to make the giant leap from the raised bed to the ground. Unfortunately, we haven’t managed to see all eleven chicks since and have had to conclude that Mr Fox has been doing his worst but we are still hopeful of a successful brood.

Stig has had his work cut out keeping on top of mowing in all the paddocks and the car park this week. The hay meadow is really coming away. Flowers in the North and South paddocks are a little slower to appear mostly due to the dry April weather. We were delighted to spot large quantities of self-set yellow rattle in the South paddock. This has migrated from the North paddock where we sowed it in 2014. Yellow rattle provides strong competition for the more vigorous grasses and helps us keep the flowers prevalent in the meadows.

In domestic news, courgettes and cucumbers planted out in the new raised beds at the Tiny House and in the polytunnel all succumbed to the cold snap at the beginning of the week. Even some of the nasturtiums have been zapped! The propagator has been fired up once again for batch two and hopefully we will be more successful second time around. We celebrated Radley’s eighth birthday on Saturday with presents and treats for him and Islay and some fizz for the grown-ups. All very civilised!

Take care and stay safe.

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