Three beautiful different swans – The largest is the Whooper with a yellow beak and straight neck, the common Mute swan with an elegance and ornage beak, and finally the small straighter necked individually patterned yellow billed Bewick swan.
Swans mate for life and I think this is part of our love affair with these birds, known as a cob and pen, it is easy to tell the sexes apart for the cob has the larger black knob just above the orange beak. Cob and knob helpfully rhyme.
Three different memories –
- The sighting of a group of Whooper swans on isolated remote Loch Katrine this spring. Beautiful large birds who migrate here from Iceland.
- Our common swan that is annually counted in the event known as swan upping in July on the river Thames.
- Finally the smaller Bewick who also migrates here for the winter and is the annual sign that once they arrive, so has the cold weather. I also adore the artwork created by Sir Peter Scott’s daughter Dafila. She has drawn the bill patterns that are a little like our fingerprints, so you can easily identify each swan by carefully looking at their bill pattern. These drawings have now been made into a graphic design that appears on mugs, dinner mats and even tea towels. If you love yellow and black – take a look at this,
So, in my garden I am planning to have three swan plants, Euphorbia white swan, Swan river daisy and Echinacea white swan All are struggling, but, I am hoping, have my fingers crossed and will let you know how successful I am.
Euphorbia White swan is an extremely useful evergreen and was taken as a cutting last year. It has survived the winter and I think it will make it. A little like me on a diet, I am sure it is getting bigger.
I have sown the Swan river daisies, they have germinated and are really tiny and in theory they will flower later this year. The miracle of seeds, germination and flowering still amazes me.
Meanwhile this is the second year I have tried to grow Echinacea and yet again it is struggling, the slugs are so very fond of it! However I now have 2 leaves on both plants but if it rains I remain concerned about how many leaves will vanish overnight. I will proudly show a photo of the flower in autumn if we get that far.
Finally for those of you who read the blog about Pippa potatoes, I saw the very first sign of a shoot yesterday, so hopefully will be able to take photos of earthing them up soon.
Happy hyggering -enjoy your garden.