Monday, 23 May 2011

Almost a photography nightmare

My memory card died this weekend. It's been on its last legs for a while now, but I'd been hoping to keep it working for a bit longer before needing to replace it. I certainly can't cope without one, because of all the photos I have to take, both for my challenges and for my WIPs and FOs!

I was very lucky though, as it died after I managed to take possibly my most exciting photo to date. Two days in and I already have my photo of the week. I'm very excited.

I thought I would share some pictures of my garden. Not because it's particularly well kept, or because I have an exciting Good Life vibe with raised beds filled with veggies and chickens roaming. No, our garden is something at the other end of the scale.

We're in a Victorian terrace (I believe the estate dates back to the 1890s), so to get to our small yard you go down a narrow alleyway. What you see above is what you see as you walk down the alley to the yard, which opens out to the right behind the house. Trying to grow proper garden plants here is impossible, because the entirety of the soil is filled with the roots of this weed. I believe it is cow parsley.

It didn't always look like this of course. When I first moved in, it looked more like this:

Grass and nettles, as well as the cow parsley! One bank holiday weekend, I transformed that into this:

But since then (2007, I think that was) it has been left to itself, and returned to its previous state (minus the nettles, as I dug the soil out and shifted it to the front yard. Now I have a front yard filled with nettles instead!).

The rest of the yard is fairly similar. A square paved area, with more weeds on the other side. When we first moved in it looked like this:

Nettles at least as tall as me! That entire back corner of the garden was completely inaccessible, and the garden behind very often contained two small, noisy and very nosy children. We quickly found a solution to that:

We built a shed. You can just about see to the right my one and only attempt at growing tomatoes. They all died. It was very wet, and they rotted from the ground up. Never mind!

Now, though, nature has reclaimed that side of the yard as well.

More cow parsley!!! It is everywhere. As soon as the flowers appear, so do the bees. Slowly at first, we get a few bumble bees and a few honey bees coming in. Then, as the porcelain berry vine on the fence flowers, more and more bees arrive until there are hundreds of them, buzzing around the flowers. Wasps too, they all come for the porcelain berry flowers. You can hear the hum of them from inside the house. It's incredible.

Of course, when you get flies and bees and wasps, you get other creatures too. Spiders, plenty of those. Wolf spiders, house spiders, those ones with the long spindly legs and small round bodies; more recently we've also got wasp spiders and false widows. Being in the south east means we get a lot of the new invasive species showing up (as evidenced by my breeding Harlequin ladybirds in the front yard).

But I wasn't expecting the spider I saw yesterday afternoon.

It's a crab spider! Perfectly camouflaged against the white flowers, this one had caught a bee and was enjoying its lunch. I only saw it because of the bee. I ran inside, grabbed my camera and snapped away.

Isn't it incredible? That's my photo for the week sorted! A little later on, we checked back up on its progress, and the bee had been turned completely around; I guess the spider is really after the abdomen to eat. But by that point my memory card was irreparably damaged and I couldn't take any more photos.

I was interrupted in my spider photography though, by a beautiful blue damselfy.

We don't only have insect life here though. We get plenty of birds, especially when we've got mealworms out on the feeder. We have plenty of slugs and snails, so we also have toads.

My favourite garden inhabitant though is Mr Popodopolous and his mate.

He's been here at least as long as we have. We know it's the same hedgehog, because each year he's a little bigger than he was the year before. We've already spotted him once or twice so far this spring.

So that's my garden, my fantastic weekly photo sorted, and a new memory card has been purchased and is ready to go. Unfortunately it's failure yesterday means no WIP shots of my latest FO, but I'm sure we can live with that!


  1.  I love hedgehogs! I wish they were native to the US. They are too cute!

  2. Crazy, I have NEVER seen a crab spider before! That's intense. Also, very cool with the hedgehog. We get possum. Yuck. 

  3. Maureen Speller24 May 2011 at 07:29

    Your crab spider photo is outstanding. I've read about their ability to camouflage (Gerald Durrell is very good on this) but I've never seen a crab spider before. Fantastic.

  4. Woah, that's a lot of wildlife for one garden ;) I love the crab spider picture, even if it makes me feel slightly icky! I've never seen one before, so that's pretty cool

  5. I love your pictures!!  They always look so amazing (although the spider is kinda icky - I'm not a spider fan!)

  6. xxxmckingbirdxx24 May 2011 at 15:06

    What amazing pictures. I love the one with the bee on the flowers.


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