Saturday, 27 June 2015


So the solstice has been and gone and I can finally stop living off asparagus and leaf beet. Broad beans, peas, carrots and cabbage all coming on stream now. A bit behind with the blogging this year but I can't get everything right.

I'm continuing my experiments with which plants are best for bees and butterflies and have planted my favorites along with some newbies, more of which later.

Hope you're all having a good season and enjoying the sun at last!

Plants for bees and butterflies in June

Plenty of candy this month, here's what's flowering out on the plot:

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
Astrantia major
Blood Pink (Dianthus cruentus)
Campion - red and rose
Catmint (Nepeta mussini)
Cirsium rivulare "Atropurpureum"
Cupid's Dart (Catananche)
Dahlia "Redskin"
Echium "Blue Bedder"
Felicia "The Blues"
Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis)
Geranium "Johnsons Blue"
Geranium pratense "Mrs Kendall Clark"
Giant Scabious (Cephalaria gigantia)
Golden Marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria "Sauce Hollandaise")
Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)
Nicotiana "Lime Green"
Night-scented stock
Penstemon "Summer Bluebell"
Phacelia bolanderi
Phacelia tanacetifolia
Poppies - cornfield and Shirley
Rose - wild
Sainfoin (Onobrychis vicifolia)
Wallflower - wild and "Bowles Mauve"

 Tree bumblebee on Giant Scabious

 Red-tailed bumblebee going for Bladder Campion

 Buff-tailed bumblebee on Phacelia

 Buff-tailed on Borage

 Astrantia major

 Carder bees on Sainfoin

 The humble clover


Night-scented stock

 Blood Pink

In the orchard

Looks like I'll be in for a bumper crop from the top fruit this year: apples, pears, plums and cherries all looking good. I've managed the grass a little differently this year - still leaving most of it long but cutting it until mid May so it doesn't grow quite so long and thick, but plenty long enough for the wildlife to benefit from. As far as flowers for the meadow go I've planted some hardy geranium "Johnson's Blue" in there - it's a good plant for the pollinators and vigorous enough to compete with the grass. The ox-eye daisies which I put in as plug plants a few years ago have all but disappeared - I've since found out that it's a pioneer plant and that's how it behaves. You live and learn. The other plugs I put in were some vetches and they're thriving. The red campion which I put in as seed still keeps doing it's thing. Other than that there's what was there all along - a profusion of dandelions which in the spring are a useful source of nectar when there's not much else flowering and now clover, buttercups and self-heal. And there's more than enough flowers in the garden, it's the long grass which is so good for the wildlife.

The other pleasure in June is the flowering of the elderberry trees and dog roses, especially the one which has climbed into my plum tree:

Most modern garden roses are hopeless for pollinators but any of the wild or open-centred single flower types are great.