Happy New Year and hello to some sunshine at long last. It feels as if it has been very grey and damp for weeks and weeks but  that has finally changed. I went down to the wildlife plot on a sunny afternoon this week only to find the bees out on the heather. I have moved the heather to pots with ericaceous compost and they are doing much better. I don't think the soil on the plot is that acidic nowadays and so they were looking a bit straggly and like they were suffering. There is a white and pink heather both flowering now, but the white one wins hands down as the bees' favourite of the two.

Noel has been on the plot working hard. We are trying to control the Vinca major which is fairly out of control and the Solidago or Golden Rod. They have both spread themselves throughout the bed and need to be reined in so that we can put other flowers and plants in. I have called the side bed the Thugs Bed because everything in there is a bit of a bully but some things are bigger bullies than others. Growing well at the moment are the Echium pininana - bright green and getting taller. I am looking forward to the summer to see them flower and covered in bees so thank you Dave and Chris for the seedlings. I will never be without them now.

One of the things that is really important in a wildlife garden is to have lots of different habitats as that attracts a wider variety of insects and invertebrates and that then brings the birds. At present we have flower beds of various kinds, pond, woodland (very tiny), bug hotels, native hedge, a bed of hazels that are never disturbed, compost heaps, a dead hedge, log piles, and shady and sunny areas. Dry stone walls are very insect and invertebrate friendly but we don't have the stone to create one so I am making one out of waste building materials called a dry rubble wall. Broken paving slabs can create really nice looking walls that are not a million miles away from dry stone walls, so I am in the process of creating this facing south so that critters can bask on it.  If you have any broken paving slabs that you do not need, please drop them off on the plot or let me know and I will come and collect them.

There are quite a few flowers out on the plot just because it faces south and when the sun does shine, it can be quite warm. One plant that has not really stopped flowering all year is the Bowles mauve erysimum.  People talk about letting dandelions flower because they are some of the earliest plants to bloom for the bees but they have not beaten the wallflower this year.

 May the sunshine continue through January.