Get out of the city and into nature with Roger Harrison
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