I was so happy to see our snake’s head fritillary appear this week. She’s such a loyal thing, showing up at the base of our honeysuckle arch each spring, the one fritillary that came through after Ade planted some bulbs in the garden about five years ago. Continue reading “Simple Things”
Earlier this week, a work colleague, uncomfortable with natural silences, forced a comment that he never knew would create such a fiery response: ‘With the arrival of autumn, things must be grinding to a halt for you gardener types?’ Stretching to full height and meeting him mano a mano, I could tell he immediately wished polite conversation had never been invented.
But it was too late. The timid matador had waved his red rag and the ferocity of the Adey-bull was unleashed. Quickly I came at him with a barrage of horticulture tasks that needed doing: primary cultivation, netting, cloching tender crops, cleaning tools, cleaning the greenhouse, cleaning both sheds, insulating the greenhouse…
Like so many people, he had no idea our busy little friends were in so much trouble. So I explained the different reasons for their decline: agricultural development, pesticides, natural habitats given over to building contractors looking for their next paycheque. Even residential front gardens being dug up and replaced with stone and concrete driveways to park more cars on and keep neighbours’ curtains twitching.
I’m a big fan of the bee, and this year I gave so much of the garden over to them by planting numerous bee-friendly plants. In the mornings before work, I would stroll up my garden path, only to watch these tireless creatures going about their business; it was truly hypnotic. And as they bring me so much pleasure, the least I can do is show my appreciation for them. Every year, normally in October, I ensure I have logs, a few homemade bee hotels, bamboo and hideaways in the garden for our pollen-loving chums, so they can safely wait out those chilly months before making a welcome return next spring. Up on the allotment, I’ve created a mound surrounding my plot to encourage both bee and other bugs to nest, feed and generally feel protected.
Our countryside has changed drastically in the last fifty years, what the next fifty years hold is worrying to say the least. Bees are the key link in nature and the food chain, and we need to let them know they matter.
If you have a little time and a little space, please give a bee a home. Better still why not take a look at what you can do for them here.
With two new vegetables plots being dug and a further bed in the wings dedicated to wildflowers and all things petalled, it’s been a productive weekend up on the plot.
At home, I can feel the garden turn and stir from her long winter’s nap as she announces spring is nearly upon us with a floral celebration of crocuses and snowdrops dotted across her frosty blanket. With these hints of colour emerging across the landscape, I know things in the next few weeks will start to gather pace as I make good on her with promises of summer blooms.
In the house, windowsill space is at a premium as I’ve crammed them with seed trays and pots growing everything from leeks to peppers to Rudbeckia, and they’re all fighting for heat and light. The more I sow and bring inside, the more I see Soph looking concerned as her clean home is overrun by pots and trays! Realising this is going to be a (literally) growing problem in the years to come, this week I dug deep into my moth-filled pockets, tapped in the wallet security code and withdrew a little hard-earned cash and purchased a polytunnel. More to follow once it arrives but I’m hoping big things from this plastic haven.