Practical Ecology

Nature Switched On





in the Pyrenees  the first 10 years

floristic catalogue
faunistic catalogue
gallery 1: 2006-2012
gallery 2: 2012-
>> 2011 May  8
<< 2011 Mar 21

Nice cumulus clouds in the eastern sky.
25 Apr 13:32

                         a   S T A M M E R  project              

2011 April 4 to 28

Beautiful skies these days and I used the opportunity to update the heading picture at the top of these pages. The weather is quite capricious though; today at  midday the rain was pouring down but I was having a shower with hot water, heated by the full sun hours before.

Inside the climate is remarkably constant and comfortable. No woodstove heating anymore: our bodies, the refrigerator and the straw bales maintain the temperature above 20C (humidity almost always below 40%), when outside temperatures drop till 7 in the early mornings. It has of course also a lot to do with scale:  the space inside the 'garden house'  is with 15m2 quite limited but the heating advantages should definitively come into account when one is to decide about the right dimensions of a living space.

The recent rain showers come quite handy for the roof vegetation which had dried out a bit during the relatively warm and dry days in March. The Iris germanica on the roof doesn't seem to have suffered from drought or frost in winter and is doing remarkably well, showing a lot of flowers these days.


Iris germanica flowering on the green roof.
25 Apr 13:18


Also 'on the floor' Iris germanica is flowering as never before. I have come to like this spontaneous and conspicuous invader. The leaves have style, the buttons and flowers are impressive and they have a pleasant smell.



Iris germanica is growing and flowering especially near the terrace borders.
24 Apr 10:36
In a vase usually all buttons open up and then each flower stays for about 2 days.
25 Apr 15:17


The smell of Jasminum polyanthum is legendary and it is perfuming the inside and surroundings of the greenhouse. More subtle and modest is the odour of Clematis montana (var. Rubens) which is also flowering now.









Jasminum polyanthum flowering inside the greenhouse.
10 Apr 10:53

White flowering Crataegus monogyna and pink flowering Clematis montana.
21 Apr 10:09



Close-up of Clematis montana var. 'Rubens'
21 Apr 10:16



Nice architectural design of the Loquat leaves.
16 Apr 10:37



In the vegetable garden other vines have started their seasonal long distance career, guided by the metal strand for the fence. The Kiwi has started with a delay though as the upper parts of the plant were frozen dead last winter. Let's see if it becomes a bit more hardy when it matures; on my part I will have to take more care with the killing effects of the thick straw layer in winter. 







A 'Red Globe' cultivar of the vine.
24 Apr 10:51






Almost animal-like hair on the Kiwi sprouting.
24 Apr 10:48




Dead and new branches of a female Kiwi plant, the only survivor of a group of four.
23 Apr 11:30



Late frosts might also kill the plantings of tomatoes, peppers and zucchinis but I planted them under the protection of plastic bottles with which I had some success last year. Besides the frost they also protect against slugs and snails and maintain humidity.


'El Camarero' and 'la Frisona' had a brief but intense affair.
24 Apr 11:46
'El Camarero' waiting.
4 Apr 20:48


 Euphorbia cyparissias, Helianthemum violaceum and Thymus vulgaris  are giving the dominating colours to the vegetation around the house.






Euphorbia cyparissias  in front of the house with 'el Camarero' looking for some kind of tip.
24 Apr 11:50

Helianthemum violaceum on the left, Thymus vulgaris on the right, Euphorbia cyparissias around the house.
Looking east.
24 Apr 11:02


Cytisophyllum sessilifolium on the lowest terrace.
Looking south-east.
27 Apr 10:50



The filtering pond and channel into which the solar shower and the washing machine drain their grey water is giving some trouble in the form of mosquito larvae. They seem to be the only living insects in this water, together with the larvae of another mud and dirt loving insect, Helophilus pendulus, a hoverfly.  When the washing machine was running I observed these two species and noticed they had quite a hard time when the grey water was running into the pond. But the following day the water had recovered to a great deal its former colour (which is a good sign) and both species were doing their thing again.  Fortunately they haven't caused any trouble yet but in summer I will perhaps have to fill the pond with sand or soil and convert the pond into a marshland to avoid a mosquito plague.







In another pond (the higher of the two) there are two other species which get a bit out of hand: Sparganium erectum (Burreed) and the Chara species. I am thinking of cutting out bunches of Sparganium leaves to make some room and open up the water surface, but will first wait for most of the dragon- and damselfly larvae to climb up these leaves and get out of their old skin.





The little black monsters swimming happily in the 'grey' water.
13 Apr 13:43

A rat-tailed maggot of a hoverfly has left its former vertical position (breathing through its telescopically extensible tube) and is having difficulty with the really grey water now.
13 Apr 13:48
Sparganium erectum and Chara sp. which is partly white and dead because of the falling water level. On the Burreed leaves a total of 4 dragonfly larvae can be see.
28 Apr 12:30





Dozens of damselflies of the genus Ischnura (forktails) were circling around the upper pond.
28 Apr 12:42



The following four photos don't have anything special in common to comment except that they were taken on the same spring evening.









Bird feeder and at the back the barley field .
27 Apr 19:35
The toilet building with some Almond tree trunks on the left.
27 Apr 19:36
A snake in a tree snapped by the photographer.
27 Apr 19:42
Driftwood on and in front of the green house.
27 Apr 19:45

floristic catalogue
faunistic catalogue
gallery 1: 2006-2012
gallery 2: 2012-
>> 2011 May  8
<< 2011 Mar 21











Latest revision on:  01/08/2018