• The Blooming Old Gardener

Gather the plants

Midsummer is the time to stay out all night revelling and then gather plants before calling it a night Judika Illes

More people are socialising now. And with the warm weather and longer days, there are night time gatherings in gardens and bars. I keep finding myself weeding and deadheading when I go to a garden party. It’s become a habit now. I think maybe people only invite me because they need help with their gardening!

Another busy few weeks. We held a second, smaller, plant sale. Along with a tidy up and a weed of the WI area. Our hard working students have been busy laying down weed suppressant and chipped bark, along with rearranging some of our containers. Volunteers collected more bricks to edge the weed suppressant, too (we still need more.) We have had watering sessions at least 3 times a week, thanks to a nearby supply of water and an accessible hose.

After leaving the grass to grow in ‘nomowMay’, we have had a long cut. This way the wild flowers growing round the garden are still protected. The wild flower area has long grass now, mainly with daisy varieties in it. The area still gets walked on of course, but we are hoping that wont be a serious problem.

In the veg garden, our raised beds from the railway station are looking good, with their selection of herbs. The broad beans have started to appear. I always find it strange that these beans grow up vertically. Not downwards like most beans. They need strong stems to do this. There’s not much veg in our ‘edible’ area at the moment. This is to make it easier to move the containers while the garden is being reorganised.

The gooseberries and blackcurrants have lots of fruit on now. They just need to ripen. Both should be purple when they are ready. Talking of fruit, our two crab apple trees have fruit on now too. We need to thin out some of the apples, where there are too many. Or maybe the excess apples will just drop anyway, something they do at this time of the year.

Flower-wise, the pink rose is full of flowers (and greenfly) and is having it’s best year so far. I need to remember to deadhead the flowers as they die off, to encourage more flowers. As you walk round the garden there seems to be a purple theme against the sunny wall. With many of our shrubs there, producing purple flowers. An exception is the amazing white lily. It has two flowers this year and a lot of large leaves. It tends to take over the whole container, so the other plants in it are smothered. The Peruvian lily is having to peep through where it can.

The flowers, both wild and planned, will help keep our local bees and bugs happy. We have all sorts of bees visiting, including honey bees. A friend killed one the other day as she thought it was a wasp. She seemed to think that all bees looked like bumble bees. But there are all sorts. My favourites are the solitary bees. They have no hive, no queen and don’t make honey. But they are great pollinators, so good for your garden.

You can easily make a bee house using a plastic bottle and hollow canes or sticks. Just cut the ends of the bottle. And fill it by laying down 6 inch or longer hollow canes. Then just hang it up somewhere sheltered and see what happens. Bees use it to rest, and some to store eggs. You need to change the hollow canes each year to keep it a healthy environment. The solitary bee females might lay their eggs here, with a store of pollen. They seal the eggs up with a plug of mud, ready for the young bees to emerge the following year. While I am talking about bees, did you know that the 10th July is . Don’t Step On A Bee Day’? I really must tell my neighbour… and you can book onto our workshop at Halton Library with the amazing Andrea from B4Biodiversity - Link to Book


The Blooming Old Gardener

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