PANSTARRS and Wildflowers

Look up, look down.  It’s an exciting week if only the weather was better.  Excitement mounts as PANSTARRS, the first naked-eye coment to be seen in our skies since Hale-Bopp, arrives in the northern hemisphere in the west just after sundown (it is there earlier, but heading towards the sun, so can’t be seen).  Tuesday 12th should be its best chance of a good view for UK observers as it is close to the crescent moon, then still visible till until after Easter.  The current forecast for 12th March is poor.

You can read more about it and check its path here http://www.sen.com/news/naked-eye-comet-panstarrs-heads-to-northern-skies.html

Closer to home I’ve planted out eight plug plants each of seventeen wildflowers in my wildflower patch.  I may be overdoing it, especially as I haven’t got all the grass out, although the moss is doing its best to crowd it out.  Last autumn, I sowed some mixed wildflower seed, including yellow rattle, which parasitises grass.  This month I planted Autumn Hawkbit, Wild Basil, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Bladder Campion, Clustered Bellflower, Common Mallow, Hoary Cinquefoil, Lady’s Bedstraw, Lesser Knapweed, Maiden Pink, Red Clover, Red Valerian, Reflexed Stonecrop, Small Scabious, Vervain, Vipers’ Bugloss and Wild Clary.  Those should add even more nectar flowers for bees and butterflies and other beneficial insects.

I’m also waiting for some results of planting in modules bits of a birthday card from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden which was impregnated with wildflower seed.  I’m not sure what, and whether they will be native US species, but I’m hoping that some of them will come up and then be planted out in the spring.

There are loads of birds in the garden at present, largely because most of the wild food will be pretty much gone by now and they are getting ready to nest.  The pride of the garden are the reed buntings who come to the bird table all through the day.  There are at least four males and at least three females.  The male who came first when we had snow on the ground in mid-January must have told his friends.  We also have a pair of sparrowhawks who visit most days, but I havent seen them take anything so far.  The birds are all quite canny!

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