The Gardener's Cottage

Welcome, visitor, to explore the B&B and garden.

Month: June 2016



Quite possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever taken photos of… sadly, it would have been so much better had I not had the opportunity.

She’s just over a week old, and being hand-reared at the Forth Hedgehog Hospital. And she’s there because somebody’s dogs found her nest. The dogs’ owner, instead of calling them off and making sure they didn’t go near the nest again, allowed them to pull the hogs out several times over the course of a few days, because “they wouldn’t hurt them”.

And it’s true, the dogs didn’t actually hurt them. But they stressed mother hedgehog out so much she eventually killed three of the hoglets and ran off. This is the only one that’s left, and although she’s doing really well, she has about a 50% chance of surviving.

So keep your fingers crossed and if you should ever come across orphaned or abandoned hoglets, call your nearest wildlife rescue… don’t try rearing them yourself. It takes experience, skill, and expertise. And they still need to be lucky.

UPDATE: She is now eating solid food all by herself, and has grown a name. Keep going, Ruby!
FINAL UPDATE: Ruby was released into my garden about a month or so ago and is now, I hope, happily hibernating in a nice, dry spot somewhere, as hedgehogs do. Very happy about that :0)

Pink Elephants…

B7 Elephant Hawk MothDSC_3731

… in my garden at night!

Elephant Hawk Moths, to be more precise… they’re stunning. As are the other several hundred species that disport themselves there in the hours of darkness. Yep…  hundreds.

I’ve just started trapping and recording them, with the help of a lovely volunteer from Butterfly Conservation. I put out this massive great light at dusk and turn it off again at dawn. The moths all settle on egg boxes in the light trap – they seem to like egg boxes – and go to sleep. Then I count them, and photograph them (not wasting too much time ’cause if they get warm in the daylight they wake up and fly off), and then shoo them into the undergrowth to resume their sleep. Then I spend hours and hours and hours trying to work out from my photos who’s who. Just as well I’ve got an expert who doesn’t mind checking the photos for me!

My first moth list, compiled two nights ago, consists of 48 moths and 22 species. It’s lovely to discover something utterly beautiful that you had no idea before was even there.


south americaDSC_3063

Careful what you wish for. “Rain”, I said, “the garden needs rain.” Well…. it’s had rain.

Forth Bridge

12.6.16 Forth Bridge

See… this is why you should visit Scotland, and come and stay here. My B&B is only about 10 minutes by car away from this marvel of engineering. And you’ve not even seen the other two bridges yet! Or any of the other beautiful things the area has to offer.

Go on… you know you need that holiday :0)

Look What I Found

Phalera bucephalaDSC_2110

Meet Phalera bucephala, the Buff-tip moth.

Isn’t it beautiful? The man from Butterfly Conservation put out a moth trap in the garden the night before my Wildlife in the Garden open day, and caught 29 different species! I had no idea, none at all.

(In case anyone’s worried, the moths are not harmed. They attach themselves within the trap to eggboxes, on which they fall asleep. The egg boxes with the sleeping moths on are then displayed on the day. When they get too warm in the sun, they wake up and fly away to find somewhere cool to resume sleeping. As good a reason as any to get to these events nice and early!)

This delicate little thing is the perfect imitation of a miniature log, which is likely to make it all but invisible among the deciduous trees its caterpillars feed on.

I am now in love with moths.

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