We had the day off work today, to relax after our wild weekend. The rain drummed on the roof as we awoke and I worried that today was not going to be the day for random acts of wildness. I was wrong. A rainy day was the perfect opportunity to check our toiletries for microplastics. These little plastic beads are washed down the drain and make their way out into the oceans, polluting as they go, soaking up toxins and acting as toxic pills for the creatures that swallow them. Microplastics add to the plastic pollution in our oceans, and I don’t want to contribute to this problem. Fortunately I found that most of our products were microbead free, with two exceptions, both facial scrubs, one from Aldi and the other a clean and clear scrub.
One was empty, and the other has been binned, off to be burnt with the rest of the rubbish to make electricity, an exception to my usual strict recycling regime. I’ve tweeted Johnson and Johnson and Aldi about the microplastics I’ve found and hope that pressure on companies that use them will lead to a rethink. Other scrubs we have use natural exfoliants like apricot kernels and sugar, that won’t cause a problem in the environment.
The rain had started to clear and I wanted to get some gardening done, so off to the garden centre I went for peat free compost. I couldn’t resist a wander round the plants, despite the rain, and fitted in a Great British Bee Count as the bees were buzzing despite the showers.
Home again and the garden birds kept me entertained for a while. A mother blue tit brought two fledglings to the garden, one still being fed, both fluffy and cute, and bigger than their slightly ragged Mum. The starling squadron were out in full force, especially once a picnic with cheese was provided, provoking quite a furore. The magpies popped in for take out and a bath and the woodpigeon had a gang of angry starlings sitting on the fence shouting at him while he hogged the bird table, finally a great tit also passed by for a snack.
Inspired by some of the conversations on our Nordic Crafts course at the weekend, I added a wild flavour for lunch, making simple flat breads with garlic mustard or Jack by the hedge added for a subtle garlic flavour. Jack by the hedge grows in our wild area of the garden, it’s tiny flowers are visited by the bees, but just this handful won’t make a difference. The flatbreads were really simple to make, just two mugs of plain flour, a pinch of salt, a glug of olive oil and a handful of chopped garlic mustard, mixed with enough warm water to form a dough. I made them into flatbreads on a floured board, pressing them thin with my hands, then cooked them in a very lightly oiled frying pan, until just charred and crispy. They were delicious and will also be really easy to make over the fire when we camp later in the summer.
After lunch, the sun was out and gardening got underway. I’ve received a pack of wildflower seeds from Grow Wild and although there is no room in the garden to sow them, I wanted to get them planted. Container gardening to the rescue! I lined a wooden crate, filled it with compost, sowed my seeds on top of the soil and have placed it in a sunny spot at the front of the house. Looking forward to seeing how they grow.
The wildflower crate is next to a Pot for Pollinators, and I wanted to improve the hanging basket above it for pollinators too, so have today added Armeria, Arabis and a snapdragon to the basket. I want to give pollinators as much help as possible, especially our precious bees.
One of the other suggested random acts of wildness from the Wildlife Trust’s was to mark out an area of lawn and leave it to grow wild. We’ve decided not to cut our small front lawn during June to see what emerges. It’s looking good so far. I need to spend some time identifying all the small flowers that have come out but today I admired the bird’s foot trefoil and the red bottomed bees browsing on it.
In the back garden, my husband was planting Erysimum and penstemons grown from cuttings and I added snapdragons and some bee friendly plug plants into spaces in the borders and pots.
Gardening complete and the rain once again coming down I settled down to flick through BBC Wildlife Magazine, Kew’s member magazine, all about bees and our local badger group newsletter before enjoying all the action on Springwatch. A pretty wild day after all!