Tag Archives: flowers

Charlotte’s Garden

We have just returned from our annual trip to Wales to see my husband’s family. When there, I always like to include a garden visit, and this year we were in for an extra treat as we stayed at self-catering accommodation at the Old Oak Barn, near St Clears, where we got to enjoy Charlotte’s garden every day.

Charlotte's Garden

Charlotte’s Garden

Charlotte has the most beautiful flower garden, but she also grows vegetables (which we also got to enjoy). Her garden is a riot of colour, form and scent.

Charlotte's Garden

Charlotte’s Garden

So I thought for this week’s Six on Saturday I would share some of the highlights from her garden.

  1. A pot full of pink cosmos greeted us.
Cosmos

Cosmos

2. Charlotte grows in mixed beds of flowers and vegetables. Every looks so healthy. And the lettuce and peas were delicious.

Vegetables

Vegetables

3. She had a couple of different poppies, which self-seed around the garden including this dark one and this really flouncy one.

 

4. She has beautiful roses, here are just two examples.

5. And her lupins, like my own, are popular with the bees.

Bee on lupin

Bee on lupin

6. She also grows teasel, which is another great wildlife plant being good for bees and later on for birds who will eat the seeds.

Teasel

Teasel

So that is my six and to finish just a few general photographs of Charlotte’s lovely garden. We all really enjoyed our stay at the Old Oak Barn and would recommend it for anyone looking for Self catering Accommodation in Wales. For more information you can following the link:

Old Oak Barn

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Gardens for Pollinators

Spring just around the corner (I hope). So it is time to start planning the garden. And with a new UK scientific paper out telling us that allotments and gardens supported the highest bee and hoverfly abundances, our own gardens are a great place to start helping our local pollinator populations.

If this is something you like doing I thought I could provide you with a list of Pollinator Friendly Plants. This list is based solely on what works in my garden. The garden is situated in Co Mayo, Ireland.  We have relatively mild climate but we do get frosts, and they can occur anything from late September till May. We have both native wildflower areas and cultivated areas with flowers and also a vegetable plot.

Best Garden Flowers and Herbs

White tailed bumble on lupin

Delphiniums – the bigger bumblebees,  like garden bumblebees love these.

Lupins – a number of different bumblebees will use them and I have also seen honey bees try (but I don’t think they were successful).

Russian Comfrey – these plants are always full of bumblebees.  Carders, early bumbles, love it. A number of hoverflies also feed on it especially Rhingia campestris. Another great positive about this species is it keep on flowering once it starts.

Poppies – I have pink, opium poppies that self seed in the vegetable plot. It appears to be a magnet for honey bees but white tailed bumbles and early bumblebees will use it to.

Snapdragon – again a favourite for carder bee.

Nasturtiums – these self seed in my vegetable plot. Again they will be used by a variety of bees.

Bumbles on sage

Bumbles on sage

Sage – a wonderful herb that is always buzzing in my garden. Appears to be particular favourite of common carder bees.

Oregano – grows both in the greenhouse and outside. The one in the greenhouse is always full of white tailed bumbles, the outside ones less so. The plant is probably happier and producing more nectar in the warmer greenhouse.

Calendula – hoverflies love this flower.

Fennel flowers – another favourite for hoverflies.

Borage – another great all rounder for bumblebees and honeybees.

Native Flowers and plants

Foxgloves – again suit the larger bees like garden bumblebees.

Ragged robin – this plant does well near the pond seems a particular favourite of green veined white butterfly.

Bumblebee on dandelion

Bumblebee on dandelion

Dandelion – a brilliant early pollen source.

Ox-eyed daisy – hoverflies and butterflies will both use this.

Willow – I have both native and cultivated willows. The catkins are really important for bumblebees queens emerging from hibernation early in the spring.

Fruit blossom – Again I have native and cultivated forms. Hoverflies seem to love blossom, but bumblebees and butterflies will feed on them to.

 

Interestingly in the scientific paper just published a number of these plants have also proved popular in the UK. The following nine native plants were found to have significantly more pollinator visitors than expected based on their abundance – Creeping thistle, Wood avens, Common hogweed, Cat’s ear, Ox-eye daisy, Creeping buttercup, bramble/blackberry, Autumn hawkbit and Dandelion. And the non-native top five were: Borage, Butterfly bush, Common marigold (Calendula), Lavender and Comfrey.

Further reading

A systems approach reveals urban pollinator hotspots and conservation opportunities

Katherine C. R. Baldock, Mark A. Goddard, Damien M. Hicks, William E. Kunin, Nadine Mitschunas, Helen Morse, Lynne M. Osgathorpe, Simon G. Potts, Kirsty M. Robertson, Anna V. Scott, Phillip P. A. Staniczenko, Graham N. Stone, Ian P. Vaughan & Jane Memmott

Nature Ecology & Evolution (2019) |

 

 

 

 

 

Allium – Flower of the day

We are experiencing exceptional high temperatures for the West of Ireland – we seem to be going from one extreme to another this year. Yesterday, we hit 27 degrees and today the forecasters say we may hit the 30s! In the garden, flowers are suffering – not being used to this heat and constant sunshine.

However, one flower is looking pretty groovy. I planted these alliums last winter and am really impressed by the geometric patterns. They really are like fireworks. And I will be seeing if I can get some more this autumn.

Allium

Allium

Also joining in Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Allium

Allium

 

 

June Garden Update

Our late spring has jumped to mid summer and we seem to have missed a whole month, as temperatures soar to 24 degrees – not really typical for the west of Ireland, where we’d be happy with temperatures in the high teens. Everyone is afraid to complain about the heat in case the rain comes back! We Irish have a funny relationship with the weather.

Still, my June garden is blooming. Lupins are proving very popular with the bees and other, perhaps not so welcome, creatures! Though with the heat the flowers seem to be going over quickly.

The blue irises have put on a great show – much better than last year. And seem popular with hoverflies and the larger bumblebees like Garden Bumbles.

My favourite areas are the new wildflower meadow and also around the pond, where ragged robin adds it’s glorious pink. Butterflies enjoy the blooms, while hoverflies, are keen on the ox-eyed daisies.

Foxgloves, aquilegia and geraniums are dotted elsewhere. Certainly June adds colour!

Dazzling Dandelions

This month’s Monthly Meet-up Photo Challenge hosted by Wild Daffodil asks us to consider flower as our theme. You may have already noticed that I am a fan of spring flowers. And the humble dandelion is no exception. In fact, you may have noticed that the same flower already featured in last month’s challenge “yellow“.

Well since then, the dandelions around us have really come into their own. They adorn my “lawn”, the road verges and many fields. They are like a milky way of yellow and green. Often seen only as a “weed”, the dandelion has so much to offer. You can make salad from the young leaves, wine from it flowers, and a coffee substitute from its roots.

Dandelions

Dandelions

As some of you will have heard me say before, dandelions are also great for bees, butterflies and hoverflies. These pollinators were all using the flowers when I completed my bee and butterfly transect last Saturday. Pollinators can collect both pollen and nectar from the flowers.

 

If you let your dandelions go to seed, you will also provide a valued food source for birds such as chaffinches, bullfinches and goldfinch.

Bullfinch eating dandelion seeds

Bullfinch eating dandelion seeds (not best photo as taken from inside)