Gift / Grow / Make / nature

30 Days Wild: Day 14 – Go Wild on Your Doorstep

Today, I was tired and achy after the last fortnight’s activities. However, the weather was too glorious to resist so I headed just outside my flat to enjoy the sunshine.

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The daisies looked happy filling the lawn and I couldn’t bear to pick them to make a daisy chain, which had been my initial plan.

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Instead, I made a daisy ring so that I only had to take one daisy.

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The idea was inspired by a clover ring I saw a photo of on Twitter yesterday. (Please let me know in the comments if it was you so I can credit you as I can’t remember the Twitter handle for the person who came up with the idea, and I love it.)

The wildflowers in the lawn were abundant – which made me realise the ‘lawnmower men’ are probably imminent – they always come when the flowers are starting to thrive (sadly, not my decision and outside my control. I have tried…)

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I decided to rescue at least some of the wildflowers from the edges of the lawn, by potting them on before they could be chopped or treated. How well they’ll last, I don’t know, but I had to give it a go. If they thrive, maybe I can pot on cuttings faster than the lawnmower men can kill the ones in the lawn… (it’s certainly possible as the lawn plants seem incredibly resilient. I like them for that.)

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The skies were blue, and I found a cloud that looked like a fish jumping out of the sea.

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As the light was so wonderful, I took my bottle gardens into the sunshine to admire the roots that had started growing from my cuttings. I find the roots as beautiful as the parts of plants we usually see. I love seeing them emerge from a seemingly dead plant which slowly springs back to life. (My proudest moment was managing to get roots out of a pre-cut packet of supermarket thyme and turn it back into a viable plant.)

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I’m lucky, in that I inherited a hanging basket plant that seems indestructible, and grows so fast that I’m not entirely certain it’s not invasive (I only have it in containers as I don’t have my own garden, so there’s no risk of it taking over outdoors).

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It’s doubled in size (at least) and I’ve got at least eight plants from its cuttings that all fill large plant pots, under two years since I first got it. I have taken to given friends and family cuttings to get them into indoor gardening as it’s such a hardy plant, and is much prettier than a spider plant (the only other plant I’ve found that is as giving when it comes to ‘babies’).

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It can thrive in water alone for months – even flowering. When a cutting that was already starting to flower broke off the plant, I put it in water with no great hopes of its survival, only to be pleasantly surprised the next day by it producing flowers – and continuing to both thrive and put out roots.

I’d love to know what it is. I’ll take some photos of the full plant and flowers, as it’s hard to tell from the bottle gardens. (I know the one on the right is a tomato!)

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Having access to a forgiving plant (that can survive for six months and counting on water alone) with many tendrils escaping the pot daily means I can easily turn every plastic bottle I find when I’m litter-picking into a garden.

I currently have a bowl full of cuttings in need  of new homes. What I’ll do with the bottle gardens once I’ve made them,  I don’t know, but they may be useful to a local eco organisation or school. If not, I still have some windowsill space left in my office…

Bottle gardens are a great way to teach kids about plants. It’s well worth showing them pictures of neurons and veins to see if they can see any echoes between our bodies and the way that plants grow. (Look at the veins of a leaf, or the bare branches of a tree against the sky, and the veins in your arm to see a similar echo without a bottle garden).

After that, I lifted up all my plant pots to see the ‘mini beasts’ that lay beneath and was rewarded by a woodlouse and a nest of red ants. They didn’t seem all that bothered by me, despite their reputation, and I watched them scurry for a while before checking on the bird feeder I put up a couple of days ago.

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While there were no birds for me to capture, there was evidence they’d discovered it, in the form of tiny peck marks. Luckily, there was no sign of cat attack, and I think it’s sited safely enough.

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I did find two tiny feathers. They don’t look like those of the swans or ducks nearby – they’re shorter, fluffier and speckled. This makes me suspect they are fledgling feathers, though I still need to work out which sort (I’d guess on some form of sparrow but I’m far from sure.)

I investigated my neighbour’s garden and was pleased to find the ‘tiny palm tree’ plants that look like aliens had started to emerge again, after a winter of lying low.

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I find it fascinating how alien plants can look up close: and even more intriguing since learning about the wood wide web which allows trees to talk to each other using fungi as go-betweens (Robert Macfarlane’s article on the wood wide web is one of the best pieces of nature writing I’ve read, and is well worth reading to get a deeper insight into this.)

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After my outdoor explorations, I headed inside for coffee. Emptying the cafetiere always annoys me: doing it down the sink clogs the drains, and putting it into the bin either takes ages or results in a wet bin-bag, with all the unpleasant potential leaks that brings. I have long been looking for a solution.

My kitchen is currently full of plant pots, as I’ve been potting seedlings on. I had a thought, put a laddered stocking over the plant pot, poured the coffee from my cafetiere into that, and watched as the tights saved the coffee grounds from escaping down the sink but let the liquid drain away.

After giving it a good squeeze, I set it aside to dry and use again: not for drinking (I love coffee and could never dream of treating it so badly.) However, used coffee grounds can be used to make cosmetics.

I don’t see the point of spending a fortune on expensive body scrubs when spent coffee grounds, salt, oats and oil or butter (shea or mango, not dairy) can be combined to create a simple body scrub that is just as good for your skin (possibly better, if you have issues with allergies).

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I ended the day by researching some of the fantastic citizen science projects that people can get involved with. I want to take part in all of them – but the one thing nature can’t provide is more hours in the day…

Random Acts of Wildness So Far…

  1. Spread the word.
  2. Start a weather/pain diary.
  3. Look at the clouds.
  4. Photograph wildflowers.
  5. Look for urban nature.
  6. ID a butterfly.
  7. Find a fledgling.
  8. Feed a swan.
  9. Collect feathers.
  10. Stake out a foraging site.
  11. ID birdsong.
  12. Tweet using the #30DaysWild hashtag.
  13. Plant a virtual seed.
  14. See new life growing.
  15. Feed the ducks.
  16. Protect an animal from a predator.
  17. Reflect on nature.
  18. Look closely at your lawn.
  19. Make someone a nature hamper from recycled materials.
  20. Share nature photos using #30DaysWild on Instagram (and help the hashtag trend).
  21. Show your houseplants some love.
  22. Tell friends about #30DaysWild.
  23. Talk to a junior naturalist and encourage their creativity.
  24. Photograph a favourite cuddly toy in nature.
  25. Add a nature event to your diary.
  26. Look closely at a friend’s garden.
  27. Take photos for #Rainbowblooms.
  28. Find a plant that looks like a bug.
  29. Watch a bee.
  30. Read a nature-based research paper.
  31. Get overawed by nature
  32. Watch the dawn.
  33. Walk barefoot in dewy grass.
  34. Try a nature meditation.
  35. Raid and repurpose the recycling.
  36. Go on a wild date.
  37. Go litter picking.
  38. Protect the soil.
  39. Make nature art.
  40. Watch the sunset
  41. Turn your desk wild.
  42. Water your plants.
  43. Celebrate World Environment Day.
  44. Take part in the plastic challenge.
  45. Watch nature videos.
  46. Tell people who run your favourite hashtag hour on Twitter about 30 Days Wild.
  47. Tell a colleague about 30 Days Wild.
  48. Take a closer look at foxgloves.
  49. Share nature-themed recycled crafting ideas.
  50. Have a natural aromatherapy bath.
  51. Dress for the weather.
  52. Connect with a local nature lover.
  53. Look at a puddle closely.
  54. Rescue a plant.
  55. Make a mini meadow in a recycled container.
  56. Photograph wet leaves.
  57. Welcome new wildlife to the area.
  58. Make a bottle garden.
  59. Make a wild bouquet.
  60. Collect flower petals for your nature crafting box.
  61. Tend a garden.
  62. Feel the wind in your hair.
  63. Collect leaves for crafting.
  64. Grow a tomato.
  65. Create a 30 second wildlife habitat.
  66. Admire an insect.
  67. Photograph something blue.
  68. Make a nature video.
  69. Go on a flower pot hunt.
  70. Wear nature-inspired fashion.
  71. Vote for nature.
  72. Plan a windowbox walk.
  73. Celebrate World Oceans Day.
  74. Go wild in a graveyard.
  75. Love lichen.
  76. Be amazed by moss.
  77. Find fungi.
  78. Stock up on wild supplies.
  79. Bag a bargain to bring back to life.
  80. Find something new in nature.
  81. Grow your own food.
  82. Reflect on nature and what it means to you.
  83. Look closely at cuckoo spit.
  84. Plant something pollinator friendly.
  85. Plant a herb garden and share cuttings.
  86. Look for bugs.
  87. Let your garden go wild.
  88. Read the weather.
  89. Brighten a corner of your home with plants.
  90. Use an eco friendly search engine.
  91. Repurpose plastic packaging.
  92. Use biodegradable glitter.
  93. Collect flower petals.
  94. Find the perfect feather to make a quill.
  95. Add fairyland magic to your home with a fairy doll made from recycled materials.
  96. Use feathers as home decor.
  97. Wear nature-inspired jewellery.
  98. Watch the moon.
  99. Go for a dawn walk.
  100. Invite people to a wild cocktail party.
  101. (Try to) put up a bird box.
  102. Make a bug habitat.
  103. Take a bug’s eye view.
  104. Follow an ant.
  105. Take a macro shot of the earth.
  106. Plant strawberries.
  107. Plant a bird seed garden.
  108. Collect rainwater for the garden.
  109. Think about light pollution (and turn off garden lights when not in use).
  110. Create a kitchen herb garden.
  111. Put out a bird feeder.
  112. Photograph flowers in the dark.
  113. Go for a canal walk at dusk.
  114. Forage for your supper.
  115. Make flower tea.
  116. Make a floral face wash.
  117. Press flowers.
  118. Craft a story with wild finds.
  119. Read William Morris’ s nature writing.
  120. Fill your pockets with pine cones.
  121. See fledglings fly the nest.
  122. Look through the leaves.
  123. Find a baby ladybird.
  124. See a seed you sowed grow wild.
  125. Pay attention to a warning sign in nature.
  126. Find ferns.
  127. Find a flower fairy.
  128. ID a wildflower.
  129. Find nature art.
  130. Made floral cocktail ingredients.
  131. (Try to) rescue a wildflower.
  132. Make a daisy ring.
  133. Make a bottle garden and get back to your roots.
  134. Follow an ant.
  135. Check for evidence of wildlife, in the absence of any obvious creatures.
  136. Collect a feather to ID.
  137. Find wildlife in the clouds.
  138. Find a plant that looks like an alien.
  139. Find a solution for a waste problem that annoys you.
  140. Research nature-based citizen science.

 

3 thoughts on “30 Days Wild: Day 14 – Go Wild on Your Doorstep

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