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

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Spring in the air

So how was it for you? Wettest winter since the dawn of time etc etc. And so mild. I've been cropping purple sprouting broccoli for a fortnight now when usually it's not ready till the end of March, not that I'm complaining. Plans for the year ahead - lots more plants for bees and butterflies of course - watch this space.

Early season flowers for bees and butterflies

Three species of butterfly seen on the plot this weekend with the warm weather - small tortoiseshell, peacock and comma. And plenty of queen bees coming out of hibernation and bumbling about. Here's a few nectar sources for them from around my plot and garden:

Crocus

 Rosemary

 Cherry plum blossom

 Erysimum "Bowle's Mauve"

 Hellebores

Pulmonaria

Friday, 7 March 2014

Records 2014

Acillea F2 hybrid "Summer Pastels" (HP) - Sown in seed pot in greenhouse 22.3. Pricked out 12.4 to medium modules x20. Potted on 1.5 to 11cm pots x15. Moved to coldframe 6.5. Planted out 17.5 30cm apart..

Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop) (HHP) - Sown in heated propagator 29.3. Moved to greenhouse 5.4. Pricked out 18.4 to medium modules x20. Potted on 10.5 to 13cm pots x15. Moved to coldframe 13.5. Planted out 23.5 45cm apart.

Birds Foot Trefoil - Sown little patch 26.6.

Borage - Sown direct by strawbs 11.4. 

Broad beans "Aquadulce" - Sown last autumn in coldframe, 9cm pots x24. 8 planted out 24.2. More sown in coldframe in pots x12. 6 planted out 10.4.

Broccoli "Sprouting Redhead" - Sown in greenhouse 26.4, small modules x10. Potted on 17.5 to 9cm pots x9. Moved to coldframe 23.5. Planted out 31.5, 75cm apart.

Brussels Sprout "Cascade F1" - Sown in greenhouse 26.4, small modules x10. Potted on 17.5 to 9cm pots x8. Moved to coldframe 23.5. Planted out 31.5 50cm apart (should be 60cm).

Cabbage "Greyhound" - Sown in greenhouse 28.3, deep root trainers x20 and small modules x20. In root trainers moved to coldframe24.4, others pricked out to 9cm pots x12 same day. Planted out 4.5 30cm apart, others moved to coldframe same day, planted out 10.5.

Cabbage "Hispi" - Sown 14.6 in open coldframe, root trainers x32.

Carrot "Early Nantes" - Sown 28.3. in trough in greenhouse. Moved to coldframe 24.4.

Carrot "Autumn King 2" - Sown direct 24.5, 1/2 row. Very poor germination; more sown broadcast 20.6.

Climbing bean "Blauhilde" - Sown in greenhouse 6.5, root trainers x30, medium modules x24. Moved to colframe 13.5, planted out from 23.5.

Clover (white) - for path - Sown 11.3.

Cosmos "Candy Stripe" (saved seed) - Sown 4.4 in greenhouse, small modules x20. Potted on to 9cm pots x12 19.4. Moved to coldframe 6.5. Planted out 19.5 45cm apart.

Cosmos "Pied Piper" - Sown 22.3 in greenhouse, small modules x10. Potted on 18.4 to 9cm pots x5. Moved to coldframe 3.5. Planted out 10.5, 50cm apart.

Cosmos "Sonata Mixed" - Sown 26.4, small modules x10. Potted on 17.5 to 9cm pots x9. Moved to coldframe 23.5.

Crimson clover - Sown broadcast 26.6.

Dahlia coccinea "Species Mixed" - Sown in greenhouse 22.3, small modules x20. Potted on to 9cm pots x12 from 18.4. Moved to coldframe from 6.5. Planted out from 17.5 45cm apart.

Dianthus cruentus (Blood Pink) (HP) - Sown 22.3 in heated propagator, small modules x20. Moved to greenhouse 29.3. Potted on 1.5 to 9cm pots x12. Moved to coldframe 23.5. Planted out 31.5, 30cm apart.

Echium plantaginium "Dwarf Blue Bedder" - Sown 22.3 in greenhouse, small modules x10. Potted on 12.4 to 9cm pots x4. Moved to coldframe 24.4. Planted out 7.5. And 2 short rows sown direct 11.4.

Helichrysum monstrosum "Eternity" - Sown in seed pot in greenhouse 28.3. Pricked out 18.4 to medium modules x12. Potted on 10.5 to 11cm pots x12. Moved to coldframe 17.5. Planted out 23.5, 45cm apart.

Heliotrope "Marine" - Sown 22.3 in seed pot in greenhouse. Moved to heated prop 29.3. Poor germination, more sown 4.4 as before in heated propagator. Pricked out to medium modules x8 24.4. Potted on 17.5 to 11cm pots x11. Moved to coldframe 31.5. Planted out 6.6 30cm apart.

Hyssop officinalis - Sown 28.3 on paper towel indoors at room temp out of direct sunlight. Seedlings moved into small modules x30 in greenhouse 1.4. Potted on to 9cm pots x24 24.4. Moved to coldframe 13.5. Planted out 31.5, 30cmapart as hedge round brasicas (supposed to deter whitefly).

Kale "Nero Di Toscana Presoce" - Sown in greenhouse 26.4, small modules x10. Potted on 17.5 to 9cm pots x4. Moved to coldframe 23.5. Planted out 31.5, 50cm apart.

Leek "Musselburgh" - Sown 24.5 (oops a month late) - 15cm pot in greenhouse. Moved to coldframe 2.6.

Madia elegans "Tropical Fruits" - Sown 22.3 in greenhouse, small modules x20. Potted on 18.4 to 9cm pots x12. Moved to coldframe 29.4. Planted out 10.5, 40cm apart.

Monarda fistulosa "Bergamot" (Bee Balm) (HP) - Sown in seed pot in heated propagator 22.3. Moved to greenhouse 28.3. Pricked out 12.4 to medium modules x20. Potted 10.5 to 13cm pots x12. Moved to coldframe 13.5. Planted out 31.5, 40cm apart.

Nicotiana "Lime Green" - Sown 22.3 in seed pot in greenhouse. Moved to heated prop 29.3. Back to greenhouse 5.4. Pricked out 18.4 to medium modules x20. Potted on to 10.5 to 11cm pots x15. Moved to coldframe 17.5. Planted out 23.5, 45cm apart.

Onion "Lilia" (for salad onions) - Sown direct 24.5, short row in broad drill.

Pea "Kelvedon Wonder" - Sown in greenhouse 7.3, 9cm pots x48, 3 seeds per pot. Germination in 15 pots by 28.3; moved to coldframe. Planted out and rest of row sown direct 10.4.

Phacelia tanacetifolia "Lisette" - Sown broadcast 19.4.

Potato "Pentland Javelin" - Bought in for chitting 7.3. Planted out 10.4, 30cm apart, 15cm deep.

Runner bean "Enorma" - Sown in greenhouse 6.5, large modules x36. Moved to coldframe 19.5. Planted out from 26.5.

Salad Leaves "Mixed" - Sown in 15cm pot in greenhouse 28.3. Moved to coldframe 24.4.

Salad Leaves "Mixed Spicy Leaves" - Sown direct 24.5, short row.

Salvia farinacea "Victoria" (HHP) - Sown 22.3 in seed pot in heated propagator. Moved to greenhouse 28.3. Pricked out 12.4 to medium modules x20. Potted on 10.5 to 11cm pots x15. Moved to coldframe 17.5. Planted out 31.5, 30cm apart.

Scabiosa "Oxford Blue" - Sown in greenhouse 22.3, small modules x20. Potted on 18.4 to 9cm pots x12. Moved to coldframe 6.5. Planted out 17.5 30cm apart.

Sunflower "Total Eclipse" - Sown in greenhouse 26.4, 9cm pots x12. Moved to coldframe 17.5.

Sweet Pea "Giant Waved" (saved seed) - Sown in coldframe last autumn, planted out 10.3.

Tomato "Gardeners Delight" - Sown 22.3 in heated propagator, small modules x10. Moved to greenhouse 28.3. Potted on 12.4 to 9cm pots x7. Potted on to large pots 3.5. Planted in growbags 18.5.

Wild Rocket - Sown in seed pot in greenhouse 30.3. Pricked out 18.4 to medium modules x12. Potted on 17.5 to 11cm pots x4. Planted out 31.5.

MEADOW MIX

Pictorial Meadows Annual Mix sown broadcast 19.4 with added saved seed (corn marigolds, snapdragons) and ammi majus, scabious "tall double mixed", cornflower "black ball".

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Autumn

'Tis the season - in danger of falling fruit, mystical fruitiness and all that.

Plenty to eat from the plot as usual especially fruit - blackberries, raspberries, grapes, pears, tons of plums and apples.


And spiders - lots of spiders:

Late season plants for pollinators

Many of the plants for bees and butterflies which were flowering in summer are still going strong: phacelia, nepeta, nicotiana, rose campion, snapdragons and the lovely cosmos:


And these helechrysum...



...still popular with the bees...


Not forgetting the scabious:



And the Verbena bonariensis:


Some like this Anthemis tinctoria "Sauce Hollandaise" are having a second flowering:


Whilst the perrennial wallflower "Bowle's Mauve" has been flowering non-stop since early spring:




Then there are those which save their display until now. Amongst them are the asters; some of the older varieties are prone to mildew but others like "Little Carlow" are always reliable:



This A. frikartii "Monch" has been flowering since July...



...But this A. novae angliae "Barr's Pink" which I planted new this year has only just opened it's buds:



You can see where the comma gets it's name from:


Another new one which has just come out is this Eupatorium purpureum subsp "Atropurpureum", another great butterfly plant:



But the bees favourite at the moment is this Helenium "Lemon Queen":


Also in colour: