Get out of the city and into nature with Roger Har­ri­son

Harefield Gazette - - LEISURE -

WMy in­ter­est in nature be­gan watch­ing ducks and grebes with my dad, and has con­tin­ued over the last 12 years via weekly vis­its to Welsh Harp Lake in my lunch breaks. I’ve been amazed at what can be ex­pe­ri­enced so close to the north cir­cu­lar, Brent Cross and the M1, and I hope I can share its story through the year

ITH the sum­mer sea­son well un­der way and nearly all of the crops sown or planted out, there is now a more set­tled feel on the plot.

Flow­ers, in­clud­ing the roses and sweet peas give off their sweet scent and cab­bage white but­ter­flies ap­pear to end­lessly flit about dur­ing fine weather.

Ev­ery so of­ten I stop to take a closer look at bum­ble bees col­lect­ing pollen and can see the neat mounds of yel­low car­ried on their hind legs. They are es­pe­cially at­tracted to a plant called phacelia, which I sowed in a small patch of ground from a mixed packet of seeds in the spring.

It be­longs to the bor­age fam­ily and can also be used as a green ma­nure to be dug into the soil af­ter flow­er­ing.

There has been no short­age of wa­ter thanks to re­cent thun­dery down­pours and the first few cour­gettes, only just be­gin­ning to sprout from the bases of the fe­male flow­ers the pre­vi­ous time I had looked then grew rapidly to al­most mar­row size.

The red cur­rant bushes have pro­duced an­other large crop of fruit this year and these are now picked and ready to be made into ice-cream and jelly.

Many of the goose­ber­ries, how­ever, save for one well-hid­den bush be­neath the low grow­ing branches of the ap­ple tree, were eaten by birds and a fe­male robin caught my eye as it hopped nim­bly from a gap at the bot­tom of the net­ting through which she had likely made nu­mer­ous trips to feast well on her dis­cov­ery.

n FLOUR­ISH­ING FOR SUM­MER: Clock­wise from left – peony roses, phacelia, red­cur­rant bushes and yel­low-flow­ered cour­gette plants

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