Sunday, 19 October 2014

Autumn

Oh dear it's weeks since I posted but life goes on...

Still plenty to eat from the plot - potatoes, carrots, leeks, kale, the last of the tomatoes and grapes from the greenhouse and apples now of course.

Lots of blooms still going too for the bees as we haven't had a frost yet - phacelia, scabious, cosmos and dahlias all providing nectar and pollen.





Tuesday, 29 July 2014

July

No shortage of fresh produce from the plot at this time of year. The peas are over but there's runner and climbing French beans, carrots, cabbages, kale, tomatoes, wild rocket and mizuna, blackberries, raspberries and cherry plums.

A heatwave in the middle of the month has brought out plenty of butterflies and there's been no shortage of bees either. Plenty of nectar rich plants for them here of course - just about everything that was flowering last July is at it again, plus a few new ones too.


Also around this month is the beautiful white plume moth. I call them angel moths, although that's probably something altogether different . Apparently the caterpillars feed on bindweed. I knew it must be useful for something - so now I know.


Newbies

New this year and all grown from seed.


Echium plantanigium "Dwarf Blue Bedder" - the cultivated variety of the wild E. vulgare or Vipers Bugloss - very popular with the bees as unlike most plants in gives off nectar all day long. Like phacelia the stems uncurl producing more and more flowers.

Madia elegans "Tropical Fruits" - another one popular with the bees and smells like pineapple. Fruity.


Cosmos "Pied Piper". Cosmos are a useful plant for the bees as they'll go on flowering right up to the first frosts if dead-headed regularly. This new one has these rather funky fluted petals.


Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop) - another useful addition, this tender perennial smells of liquorice.

 Nicotiana alata "Lime Green" - I couldn't resist the unusual colour of this one. Good for moths and smells lush too.


 Achillea "Summer Pastels" - the shape of achillea flowers make the perfect landing pad for butterflies.
  
 Salvia farinacia "Victoria". Another tender perennial for the bees.


Heliotrope "Marine". So many bedding plants are hopeless for bees and butterflies (think geraniums and begonias) but not so this Victorian favorite. Excellent in the ground or pots.  

Scabious

The scabious family is worth a mention of it's own as they're so good for attracting the bees and butterflies. Earlier in the summer the giant scabious Cephaloria gigantia was out and now there's a few more of the tribe, all grown from seed: the wild field scabious (Knautia arvensis), the perennial S. caucasia "Perfect Blue" and two annuals - "Tall Double Mixed" - which got through the winter and is flowering for a second summer - and new this year "Cambridge Blue".



Meadow mix

Nearing the end of the month now and the meadow mix is in full swing...


...with poppies, bishop's flower and a smattering of cornflowers:
The bees just love hitting those poppies first thing in the morning.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Top of the year

The solstice has been and gone. The dynamic of the garden changes from the manic energy of spring to a slow and steady growth ~ nature has so much to teach us.

So much for philosophising; I'm eating lovely young cabbages, peas, carrots, broad beans, garlic, salad leaves, berries. Flowers are flowering, the birds and the bees and all the rest are doing their thing.

The solstice has been and gone. But there's so much more yet to come.


A few favorites from June

 Shirley poppy

 Mullein moth caterpillar

 Magpie moth

 Echium "Blue Bedder"

Sleepy buff-tailed queen

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Busy busy

Busy busy this last few weeks with the usual sowing and planting; I'm just about on top of things and the plot is all set out now, more or less.

Slim pickings on the food front at this time of year, been eating asparagus and wild rocket till it's coming out my ears, no doubt I'd pay big money for it in a fancy restaurant but to be honest I'm glad there's finally some broad beans ready.


Early summer flowers for bees and butterflies

 Sweet William...

...attracting a rather ropey peacock.

 Small white on Erysium "Bowles Mauve"

 Phacelia

 Cirsium rivulare "Atropurpureum"

 Self-seeded mustard...

 ...popular with tree bumblebees.

 Scabious

 Welsh poppy

 Red mason bee on Erysium "Bowles Mauve"

Foxgloves - classic bumblebee plant

Bladder campion being forced open by white-tailed bumblebee.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Cat deterent

The cats round here are a pain in the arse, no sooner have I prepared an area for sowing or planting and they start using it as a toilet. I read somewhere that cats don't like snakes so I thought I'd set up a few decoys.

Bits of hosepipe seem to seem to work OK:


So do toy snakes, these even glow in the dark:


It could be a fluke but so far so good. 

More spring flowers for bees and butterflies

All in flower this month on the allotment and in my garden:

 Pulmonaria

 Honesty

 Forget-me-not

Dandelion

 Ajuga

 Wild wallflower

 Red campion

 Sweet William "Messenger"

 Strawberry

 Tree bumblebee on bluebell

 Speckled wood sunning on raspberry leaf

 Dusky cranesbill

 Jacob's ladder

 Cowslip

Welsh poppy