• Ian Cognito

‘Through The Window’ by Ian Cognito

Updated: Jun 27, 2021

Welcome to this first ‘Through The Window’. I’ll be taking a look at what is taking place looking through the window into my garden, as well as things I see on my ramblings about the wider area around Necton, and even further afield if something catches my eye.


April started with a siren’s promise. On a beautiful sunny day, my wife and I made our first visit to Lynford Arboretum (how we’d not heard of this place before I don’t know). We thought it a lovely place with well kept, user friendly paths to follow and explore. The temperature nudged into the 20’sC. Sun glasses and silly sunhats were in abundance. Children paddled in the lake. Some people even spread out rugs to picnic on. Then a few days later it was 3C and snowing. Such is an English spring.


Blackcurrant in early stages of flowering in April
Blackcurrant in early stages of flowering

As I write this at home in Necton it is great to see the stirrings of spring in the garden. The flowering blackcurrant is putting on one of its best shows we’ve seen so far. And to think I cut it back the first year I saw it. I thought it was a weed. Flowering plum trees have just gone over the best of their blossom but their glory will show during the year as the sun shines through the red leaves. Types of flowering cherry and a nectarine are popping open in blossom in what we hope is the timed sequence we thought we’d planned for. Time will tell.


We are trying to make our garden bee and butterfly friendly so where we can, we allow ‘weeds’ (or wild flowers) to grow so as to attract nectar sucking insects. Speaking of which, I mentioned the snow which again gave a quaint happening in the garden. I was wandering round and in the bright sunshine, next to a bank of snow, I saw a bumble bee feeding off a flower. Nature finds a way. Although on a couple of times we have helped bees that have got a bit cold, or disoriented and look in need of help. We pick a blossom and gently push it against the bee so that it climbs onto the flower. Once it is onboard it is carried into a sunny spot and placed on a secure flower to recover before flying off. Another trick is to dissolve a little sugar on a saucer and place the bee in the rim so it can drink and get a bit of energy.


On the wildlife front it is very apparent that the birds are taking the start of spring in their usual serious way. Pairing up is going on and blackbirds have been seen collecting material for nest building. We have noticed the return to the garden of Chaffinches and greater numbers of Greenfinches. We have seen only one or two sparrows. They leave the garden for the winter and return in spring.


two sparrows perched on a snowy topped hedge in April
House sparrows surprised by April snow in Necton

I’m not sure what is the first event that signals spring in my garden. Is it the first sighting of a yellow Brimstone butterfly? Or the frogs spawning in the pond? Or the resident red legged partridges leading their 17 youngsters across the lawn? Each is a special moment in its own right. But the whole adds up to spring.


It is interesting to see the farming year unfold by watching the two Necton farms going about their business and seeing how the landscape changes colour as the crops grow. This year has been different in that it has been possible to see a smooth, slick operation take place to prepare the land and plant potatoes on fields owned by Necton Farm. It was interesting to see. To my mind, the furrows (is that the right word for potatoes?) look very pleasing on the eye.


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