a prickly issue

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Love or hate them cactus are amazing!

My gran was an enthusiastic grower and appreciator of cactus and I wish I knew what happened to her wonderful collection when she died.

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My dad has his theory on my Gran’s love for these spiked¬†green wonders and it is something along the lines of her being in good company……

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I don’t mind admitting that I LOVE a cactus.

I have them (they are practically the only green thing that I have indoors) in my home.

I am drawn to them in garden centre and places like Kew and the Eden Project.

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I wonder what it really does say about me and my gran, then?

I’m not bothered about succulents (pah!! pretenders!!), I love the full blown, nasty, needle covered cactus that is impossible to repot and will remind you (in no uncertain terms) what they are capable of if you forget yourself and get too close.

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They are the perfect architectural designer’s accessory and even if they are hugely uncool at the moment, this designer loves them.

I love them!!

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I love them for their architectural grace and interesting shapes.

I love them for their unforgiving ways (hmmm? some might say…….).

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I love them because they work perfectly in our understated london home which is mostly white with grey furniture and walnut floors that is only coloured by the contents of our shelves AND a carefully placed cactus here and there.

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They are neat and contained so they also fit in with my deep love of order and tidiness.

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It is in complete contrast, I have to say, to the outside which is a mix up of colour (not too much), green, wild stuff, compost and things not necessarily in the right place (rhubarb).

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Every time I look at one of my little beauties, my gran comes to mind.

What could be wrong with any of that?

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lovely lapwings

arial acrobatics

arial acrobatics

 

One of my favourite birds next to the Wren is the Lapwing.

 

with a beautiful clear blue sky backdrop

with a beautiful clear blue sky backdrop

 

Called peewits in the NE (& possibly elsewhere too) because of the sound they make, they are endlessly busy beauties that grace our skies with their amazing acrobatics.

 

endless activity in the sky

endless activity in the sky

 

They are graceful, athletic, full of character and have such lovely markings.

 

swooping down to the ground

swooping down to the ground

 

Their nesting habitat is easily ruined as they tend to nest in ground scrapes on flat farmland that is invariably ploughed, planted up and later harvested.

They are fierce defenders of their nest, eggs and youngsters; feigning a damaged wing if there is anyone or anything too close to the product of all their hard work and courtship.

 

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wading – is that a banksy?

I never get sick of watch and listening to them. I could do it for hours.


deer damage

old deer damage to a sapling

old deer damage to a sapling

 

We are lucky enough to see Roe Deer where we walk at the weekends and although they become harder to see when the crops get up, there is always a sign that they are about.

 

a healed area that has been nibbled in the past

a healed area that has been nibbled in the past

 

We see slots in the mud, beds of flattened grass where they have slept at night, nibbles on crops but also damage to tree bark where they have been having a feast.

 

this sapling has been targeted all up it's trunk until they have finally snapped it

this sapling has been targeted all up it’s trunk until they have finally snapped it

 

It is inevitable and one of their many wild habits although it is not very popular with anyone growing saplings.

 

freshly planted fruit tree with no protection has already been targeted

freshly planted fruit tree with no protection has already been targeted

 

I like seeing the secret signs that the deer are about and know that as long as the damage is not extensive the saplings will survive.

 

small areas of damage on lowu nprotected branches

small areas of damage on low unprotected branches

 

A deer damaged sapling will never grow to be the perfect specimen but this is nature and this is what happens – good, bad and indifferent.

 

self seeded whitebeam being stripped

self seeded whitebeam being stripped