Wildlife Report just in May 23, 2016

Identifying moths before they are released

Brian Perry our volunteer wildlife recorder, popped in with his latest report. Once a week, he tours the Gardens, recording what he sees. The data is logged at Eco Record . The weather today is cool – today’s report is full of sightings of insects.

Butterflies: Red Admiral; Orange-tip; holly blue; speckled wood;

Bees: white-tailed bu,ble bee; tree bumblebee; buff-tailed bumble bee

Ladybirds: the summer meadow (behind the shipwreck play area) is rewarding for sights of ladybirds – today Brian has seen: one seven spot; two 14 spot (yellow and black) ; orange lady bird and several of the non-native harlequin variety.

Spiders: along the track, small spider with a pale green upperside has been spotted – it’s name is cucumber green spider.

Moths and Beetles: Brian and Andrew Curran regularly carry out moth surveys, using a moth trap. you can find out more about moth-trapping here (no moths are harmed during this nocturnal activity). Brian says, “It’s really too cold at nights for moths, but we did have one visitor recorded: the Flame Shoulder Moth – accompanied by two beetles, the may bug (or cock chafer) and a black sexton beetle.”

Red Campion in the Summer Meadow at Martineau Gardens

Red Campion in the Summer Meadow at Martineau Gardens

Spring Event Sun 8 May May 5, 2016

banner screenshot

Just a few days to go until our Spring Event on Sunday 8 May, from 11am until 3pm  -it’s been a week of sun, rain and even a flurry of snow but the Gardens are responding well! Primroses, bluebells, blossom are in full flower – the perfect backdrop for our family friendly green fete.  We’ve got so much planned (live music, craft activities, gardening tips, batik / silk-screen printing displays, delicious food and more!) – click here to read the latest details.

Why not gather family, friends and picnic rugs and come to Martineau Gardens on Sunday, and enjoy Spring.

Food Growing Event Sat 16 April April 15, 2016

Big Dig 2016 banner

Spring is in the air, we’re sowing seeds, enjoying watching the leafy foliage of the broad bean plants in the veg beds and seeing the first blossom on the fruit trees appearing.

If you’re in need of gardening inspiration, or simply want to enjoy thinking about food growing, then come and join us at our first event of the year, the Big Dig Food Growing Event on Saturday 16 April, 2pm until 4pm – it’s free to enter. Find out the latest event details here.



Colour and Fragrance in March March 8, 2016

If you’re lucky enough to be walking past the sarcoccoca (pictured above) when the sun is out, the sweet smell is so welcome when outdoor fragrance is few and far between. You can find this evergreen shrub, on the small lawn in between the orchard and the hot house.  Enjoy Virbunum davidii, Viburnum tinus and clusters of pulminaria around the tai chi lawn, further on in the woodland, look out for snowdrops and daffodils. In the woodland garden, highlights include the helibores, primroses and winter aconites.

If you’ve not visited Martineau Gardens before – find out more here .

Photo credits: Roxy Gale, Jean Fletcher and Sarah Hill-Daniel.

Care Compost March 8, 2016


Martineau Gardens sells Care Compost. A 40 litre bag costs £2.50

 This compost is a 100% peat free and has been recycled from the green waste collected from Birmingham residents’ garden clippings.

The compost can be dug in to beds. Or you could let the worms do the work, put it on top of the soil and it will retain moisture, prevent weeds and feed the soil

If you’re considering using it for potting up plants in containers, we recommend that you mix it to a ratio of 50/50 with a multi-purpose compost.

Donate to Bird Hide appeal January 18, 2016

Bluetit (c) M Hughes 031

Bluetit at Martineau Gardens – photocredit M Bowers

Our former hide has been removed because it had become much more of a ‘lean-to’ than was needed and we’re raising money for a sturdy new one. We need £850 to fund the cost of materials and labour to build the bird hide, ensure  it’s weather proof and provide equipment to support learning (and a love for wildlife); it will be equipped with wildlife information charts (to aid identification), a wildlife recording board, seating and binoculars.

Ways to donate:

To make a donation to our new bird hide, please post a cheque made payable to ‘Martineau Gardens’ (post to: Martineau Gardens, 27 Priory Road, Edgbaston, B5 7UG) or donate on-line via our appeal page at LocalGiving:




Winter brightness January 6, 2016

It might be a drizzly day in January, but there’s plenty of colour here at Martineau Gardens to lift the spirits – here’s a selection of plants in bloom, photographed this week. Don’t forget we’re open daily (except Sundays) until 4pm and entry is free of charge.

Rhododendron, by J Fletcher

Rhododendron, by J Fletcher

A splash of colour, and warmth, in the Hot House, by S Hill-Daniel

A splash of colour, and warmth, in the Hot House, by S Hill-Daniel

Rosehips on the Sundial Lawn, S Hill-Daniel

Rosehips on the Sundial Lawn, S Hill-Daniel

Catkins by J Fletcher

Catkins by J Fletcher

Glastonbury thorn (hawthorn) by J Fletcher

Glastonbury thorn (hawthorn) by J Fletcher

Helebores in the Winter Garden, by j Fletcher

Helebores in the Winter Garden, by j Fletcher

Night-time visitor November 13, 2015

A Night-time visitor is captured on film!

Badger filmed in night time vision, visiting Martineau Gardens

Badger filmed in night time vision, visiting Martineau Gardens

If you’ve ever followed our nature trail, within our wildlife area,  then you will have noticed that Post Number 5, marks a badger path. Badgers are creatures of habit and follow set paths. A regular visitor to Martineau Gardens, our badger ‘tends’ the path itself, shoots and brambles are nibbled away  the path is kept clear so that the badger always enters the garden along the same route. It digs up insects, earthworms and other grubs – when we arrive in the Gardens the next morning, we can often see scuffle marks in the leaves, particularly at this time of year.

Being a nocturnal animal, we’ve never seen the badger that is, until last week. One of our wildlife supporters was taking an evening stroll, whilst managing the rat population, and managed to catch the badger on UV film. Click below to watch the film.


We’re delighted to be able to add a badger to our species list – view the full list here: www.martineau-gardens.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Species-Lists1.pdf

Martineau Gardens manages the wildlife area for its biodiversity – part of our wooded area is a SLINC. 

For more details about badgers – read this: http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/inthewild/badgers/law


Unusual moth spotted November 13, 2015

Red Sword-grass Moth ac Nov 2015

Once again, our wildlife volunteer surveyor Andrew Curran has spotted a moth unusual for this area of Britain. Resembling a twig, this is the Red Sword-grass moth (Xylena vetusta). The moth was recorded on the most recent moth session earlier this month. We understand this is a scarce visitor to the Midlands and is a new moth for our moth species record. Find out more about this moth here:





In summer we reported this beautiful moth – the Scarlet Tiger, and a new species to add to our list of wildlife. It’s also rare to see this moth in the midlands, find out more about this and its part as a possible climate change indicator here, with this article by MothsCount: http://bit.ly/1IrvfLs




Andrew with Brian Perry, regularly carry out moth trappings throughout the year, here at Martineau Gardens. Our moth trap is a light-box contained within wood – it’s put out in the evening, the light attracts the moths and a few fly in. The box is filled with cardboard egg boxes providing dark nooks ad crannies where moths can hide. The moths settle. The next morning, our willdlife surveyors inspect the egg trays, and the moths are released unharmed.

Wildlife volunteers surveying moths in summer at Martineau Gardens

Wildlife volunteers surveying moths in summer at Martineau Gardens

Identifying moth before it is released at Martineau Gardens

Identifying moth before it is released at Martineau Gardens

Yellow brimstone moth, recorded one summer

Yellow brimstone moth, recorded one summer


Winter conservation returns November 6, 2015

Working in the woodland at Martineau Gardens

Working in the woodland at Martineau Gardens

Great  exercise that helps our wildlife! Saturday 14 November  marks the return of our Winter Working Parties. This is a chance to work with others in the woodland at Martineau Gardens, on a range of conservation tasks.

Conservation work includes:

  • Coppicing trees and bushes
  • Digging out roots
  • Pruning hedges
  • Clearing  brambles, ivy etc

Stewart Holmes (Therapeutic Horticulturalist, Martineau Gardens) will be leading the sessions, Brian Perry will join him as the volunteer wildlife recorder. Read a report with more details and photos here:

The sessions run on the second Saturday each month 10.30am until 3.30pm, on the following dates:

2015: 14 November, 12 December. 2016: 9 January, 13 February  and 12 March.   

 Please note:

1) If you can only do morning or afternoon—that’s fine

2) In the event of severe weather, work parties will be cancelled

3) If you want to join us, there’s no charge, but please book a place in advance at the Office or call us on 0121 440 7430. We will need your contact details in case the party gets cancelled.