Thursday, June 28, 2007

The box is back!

The window box has returned from its travels. It was taken by the BBC in mid-May, first to Bristol, then to Islay off the west coast of Scotland for use in the Springwatch TV programme, then back to Bristol before returning home.

Some of the plants look a bit battered and the plastic is now starting to get brittle and crack, but generally it has survived the experience. I suspect it was allowed to get quite dry and this has had the effect of causing the soil to shrink, so the top is much lower down the box than it originally was and there is a narrow gap all round the sides. I shall have to work out how to address this problem as, once shrunk, soil does not seem to return to its former volume.

I spent some time tidying the plants up and cut back the rough meadow grass (Poa trivialis), the only grass plant to appear so far. I thought this might make a one plant lawn but, as the picture shows, it is more like grass topiary (a new art form?).

While dealing with the grass I noticed a small plant of Cotoneaster visible above the Poa in the picture. The Japanese maple has died after being clobbered by late spring frost, so the Cotoneaster, another exotic, will go some way to compensate.

The southern half of Wbx is totally different to the northern with very few plants. Many of those that do grow also seem not to have a strong hold on life. Why this should be I do not know, but there are a number of seedlings in the empty southern spaces, so we shall have to see what happens.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Welcome to Springwatch viewers

If you saw the Windowbox on BBC TV Springwatch tonight, first in Sussex, then in Islay off the western coast of Scotland, welcome.

There is plenty of detail about the project if you follow the links to the right and I hope it shows that even people who don't have a garden can create tiny wildlife reserves that deliver fascinating results.

Something of this type does, of course, have to be managed to optimise biodiversity, but every plant and animal has arrived under its own steam, some being with the project only for a short time, while others are more persistant.

Every day when I walk down our garden I look at the space where the windowbox was and remember, with a real sense of separation, that it is in Islay. I am sure the BBC will take good care of it though and I look forward to its return so that reunited we can continue our dialogue.

With all these minireserve endeavours I get the strong feeling after a while that I am not just an outside observer, but part of the project itself. We are somehow enfolded into one another.