I used to post a lot about our garden. We have worked very hard on it, since we moved here seven years ago, but in the last couple of years activity came to a bit of a full stop because we were so busy doing other things (trying to earn money mostly!). It was continually at the bottom of our list of priorities – jobs went unfinished, it got scruffier and scruffier, and in the end I really began to dislike going out there because of all the work that needed to be done. I didn’t know where to start… Ever been there – you know that the most important thing is to get started, but you don’t know where to start…?
In the spring we took the decision to pay someone else to finish off landscaping the veggie garden. We just needed paths, weed-suppressing membrane and gravel, but we didn’t have the time or energy to do it ourselves. This simple change, created by the hard-working Kev & Barry, made all the difference, and I was enthusiastic to get growing again.
So we have runner beans, French beans, courgettes, salads, basil, parsley, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants all happily growing away in the raised beds. Since I last properly gardened, the squirrel population seems to have exploded, and I am having terrible trouble keeping them, and the pigeons and magpies, off the plants. So you can see all the canes and netting and various other prevention measures!
Given the bee crisis, we are trying to plant for bees as much as we can. We have a LOT of lupins that I picked up from the sale section (aka dead plant section) of our local DIY store (always rich pickings there!). The bees seem to like them:
We have some fabulous fold out charts from the Field Studies Council that help us to identify wildlife when we are out and about or in the garden. Judging from our Bees of Britain leaflet, I think this bee (who has clearly been really busy, judging by those bright orange pollen sacs), is a buff-tailed bumblebee.
The bees have also been busy on the blue geraniums, which my dad must have put in the garden – and which have spread everywhere – they are so gorgeous at this time of year:
This one is a red-tailed bumblebee, which is nice and easy to identify, unlike some of the others – identifying bees has caused no end of disagreements in this house over the last couple of years. To think that 3 years ago I thought there was only 2 types of bee, bumblebees and honey bees…
In pursuit of supporting our garden bees, earlier in the summer, I bought some plants from Rosy Bee – a plant nursery that specialises in plants for UK pollinators (here’s their mission statement). Amongst the first to come into flower is this lovely member of the scabious family – Knautea macedonia. You can also see some red valerian in the background, also bought from Rosy Bee, I expect that will spread all over the garden, but I don’t mind – I love it!
It’s so great to have my gardening mojo back… Any other gardeners out there in Very Berry blog reading land?