The Countryside About Us: February 1992

posted 31 Jan 2012, 11:32 by James Mansell
Nature’s seasonal cycle is well underway again. In garden and field there is ample evidence of growth and regeneration. For sometime now the ground between the drilled rows of winter wheat has been covered by the welcome greenery of growth. It looks like being a bad season for damage to crops by the ever hungry slugs.The worry is when they chew off the stems below ground level. This will much reduce the plant population per acre, and obviously the subsequent yield.

It is not too late to encourage birds to nest in your garden by siting some suitable accommodation in well chosen places. As well as the familiar blue tit style nest box, why not try making, from an old piece of wire netting, a “dish” like shape. The size of a cereal or soup bowl would do.  Placed in a climbing honeysuckle or Russian vine such assistance towards a nest would more than likely be appreciated by a song thrush or blackbird. Open fronted nest boxes are popular with robins. If you enjoy making things the RSPB have drawings of various styles of boxes to work from. Nest boxes used last year should really by now be cleaned out and boiling water poured in to destroy any parasites that would infect the new chicks.

Fungi add much interest and colour to decaying tree stumps but certain varieties are far from “good news”.  I hope your garden is not playing host to the dreaded honey fungus. More likely to be found in the autumn, its black threads will invade and destroy neighbouring trees.  Once established a concerted attack by fungicide and digging out might win the day.           

Roger Sykes