May has seen an explosion of colour on the land and plants and wildlife woo equally for our attention. An inquisitive young Coal-tit found his way into the conservatory and had to be rescued. He spent a few moments relaxing outside the door and was a great target for the camera before he flew off on new adventures.
We also had to rescue a lovely Elephant Hawkmoth from the poly tunnel. We are happy to report a huge increase of Moths on the land this year. We think it is down to the fact that we leave most of nature to do its own thing without interfering. We have planted a lot of trees, shrubs groundcovers and herbs for food and other purposes but we let the local flora and fauna happily coexist with our additions.
Our annual vegetable beds are looking great and we harvest onions for literally every meal. There was some frost and a storm with very high winds but now things have calmed down and as the plants are bigger and more established they should be able to fend off any dangers.
Around the main circle flowers and leaves weave a tapestry of colour and we stop now and again to admire the splendour.
Each month we like to take photos of the circle in the four main directions. This month we went out on a very sunny evening for our snaps.
Down by the large wildlife pond the newts are busy mating and we counted more than fifty.
Our coffee breaks are usually taken in the conservatory and sometimes our resident baby frog makes an appearance. This past month we also admired the flowers of the rare Pelargonium Zonartic ‘Unicorn Frills’. Isn’t the colour and form just beautiful? It makes us smile every time it flowers. We have constant visitors from pollinators and this moth was particularly fond of the scented Pelargonium flowers of ‘Attar of Rose’.
In other news we have taken the opportunity to collect herbs and leaves for winter teas and remedies and everyday our dehydrator is busy with another batch. So far we have dried leaves of Sage, Mint, Nettle, Dandelion, Hawthorn, Birch, Lemon Balm, Raspberry, Lady’s Mantle and Plantain along with the flowers of Lawn Daisy. Next up are Rose petals, Black Currant leaves and more Mint. We store our dried treasures in metal tins that exclude light and keep them as whole as possible to retain their nutritional and healing properties. Apart from making teas from them we use some for infusing oils that can be used in healing ointments and creams. We wrote a bit about that in this post a few years back. We get more and more fascinated by the healing properties of plants and the largely forgotten craft of preparing our own remedies. There are many interesting books and courses on the subject. There is so much to learn and we are enthralled by the thought that we can mostly avoid visits to the Doctor by staying healthy the natural way. Two out of the six of us have never needed antibiotics, the rest of us only rarely. If you are thinking of venturing into the wonderful world of healing herbs, it is good to study and learn to recognize all the different plants. It is also good to know that some herbs interfere with other medicines and pregnant or breastfeeding women need to be extra careful in their choices of herbs to use.
This coming month we are looking forward to planting even more vegetables, enjoying sharing the land with all the creatures that inhabit it and maybe, just maybe putting up a hammock for stolen moments.