Beneficial wildlife such as ladybirds, lacewings, bees and hoverflies are a very welcome sight here at the garden smallholding. I put a great deal of thought and care into attracting these wonderful little pollinators and pest munchers, it made perfect sense to include a safe haven for them to hibernate during winter or just escape a sudden heavy downpour.
Ideally the bug box should have been put in place during autumn just before the onset of winter, bit late I know but it’s already being occupied! Putting a bug box in the garden was on my to do list that I never actually got around to doing, I bought this lovely pre-made box to get a head start. I fully intend on making some boxes of my own, I have the raw materials to hand and some ideas from books and the internet to keep our bug friends safe and snug this autumn. Bugtastic!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on February 1, 2011
I can’t wait to get cracking for the growing season ahead, I have Charlotte seed potatoes chitting away, a second attempt at peas and broad beans (potted up undercover) and my impatient fingers are still itching to sow more seed. Our soil is not a hospitable place right now, it’s far too wet and cold for outdoor sowing and a little too early to sow anything else indoors for our tummies so I made a head start with sowing flower seed.
I have quite a few packets of flower seeds to choose from, I decided to sow lupin and foxglove because they are amongst my absolute favourites. I know from experience how hardy foxglove can be if planted out slightly early also how slow lupin can be to germinate, what I’m aiming for is strong little plants to put outside as soon as conditions are right – hopefully flowering the same year too.
I will sow more tender flowers around March/April, the garden should be a riot of colour and a haven for beneficial insects. Yay!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on January 30, 2011
This welcome sight for hungry bees and other beneficial insects is the flower of Fatsia Japonica, an evergreen shrub that’s as tough as old boots. After the flowers are finished tiny purple/black seed heads are food for small birds. We planted this shrub around 5 years ago and now it must be well over 10 ft high by 9 ft wide, every autumn it’s teeming with hungry bees when the creamy white flowers emerge. They are very similar to the flower spikes of ivy Hedera helix but are more than double the size. Flowering commences from the bottom of the spike which elongates as it matures, so it’s quite a spectacular plant when there are several spikes in flower.
Fatsia Japonica likes full shade or part shade, in full sun its deep glossy leaves will end up burnt and sickly looking but it will probably still cope!
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on October 28, 2008