One of my favourite places to be is in gardens – if I am not in my own garden, I love to explore other people’s gardens. Gardening allows me to switch off, relax and become engrossed in my own little world. If I did not have to work for a living I think I would happily spend all my day pottering in the garden.
Back to my own garden this week for six on Saturday. There is a lot going on so it is hard to know what to choose.
CLOVER: On our return from Wales the red and white clover was at it’s peak. Both are great bee food. The white clover comes up on our “lawn”, because we don’t cut it too often. It smells heavenly. Red clover is in the wildflower meadow and the gravel drive. It is particularly food this year.
2. RINGLET: Ringlet butterflies are also doing well this year and are loving the wildflower meadow.
3. WORCESTER BERRIES: It is not a great fruit year for us (we’ve no apples or plums because of late frosts) but we do have some berries. Here Worcester berries (cross between gooseberry and blackcurrant).
4. CAMPANULA. Campanula (bellflowers) are one of my favourite summer flowers. These ones grow to about 1m tall and do suffer a bit of wind damage, but always give a great display of colour.
5. VERBENA: I grew this from seed a couple of years ago and really like the way the tall stalks rise above all the other flowers in the flower bed.
6. BORAGE: I grow borage in the vegetable plot where it self-seeds. This is another great bee plant.
We know when spring is coming when the frogs arrive back in the garden pond. Last year they were late (early March), but this year they are already back in force – first ones arrive earlier in the week.
There appears to be a little fewer than last year – about 100, compared to around 120 last year. They are not easy to count though so it is just an estimate!
The Creating a Four Season Pollinator Garden course that was suppose to run last Saturday but was postponed due to wet weather, has been re-scheduled for this coming Saturday, 3rd June. For more information click on this link.
Creating a Four-Season Pollinator Garden The workshop will investigate the foraging behaviour of different native pollinator groups, honey, bumble, and solitary bees, hoverflies, and butterflies. We will also discuss appropriate garden design: siting and shelter; choice layout and flowering sequence of forage plants. The location is an established pollinator garden and the day will include […]
I took this photo last September. At the time, this newly emerged queen buff tailed bumblebee was building up her fat stores, before hibernating for the winter. In the next couple of weeks, against the odds of all an Irish winter can throw at them, queen bumbles will start emerging from their winter hibernation. When they emerge, it is vital that they find sources of pollen and nectar to restore what they have lost over the winter and to allow them to start building a new nest and laying eggs. In this way, they start the whole bumblebee life cycle all over again.
Buff tailed bumblebee
What can you do to help? Ensure a plentiful supply of nectar and pollen rich plants in your garden. Good early plants include crocuses, snowdrops, willows (female – ie with catkins), and fruit tree blossoms. If you have a lawn allow dandelions to flower before cutting.
Start thinking about what you can plant for the summer. Most herbs are great for bees. Many traditional cottage garden type flowers are also good like delphiniums, bellflowers, lupnis, foxgloves and aquilegia. Annuals like nasturtiums, snapdragon and poppies are all worth growing too.