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  • Writer's pictureThe Blooming Old Gardener

The dandelions and buttercups gild all the lawn

"The dandelions and buttercups gild all the lawn: the drowsy bee stumbles among the clover tops, and summer sweetens all to me." - James Russell Lowell

The Bloomers Garden doesn’t really have a lawn. But we do have grass with lots of plants, clover, dandelions and buttercups growing in it. The grass gets a cut most months from Tim. He knows about the plants we have naturally growing in the grass and often cuts round them. I sometimes think our grass looks more like a wild meadow. Much more interesting. And Fred my tortoise loves it.

We have things in the garden to attract bees, as they are very important to us. Our little water pot on Bugingham Palace keeps them refreshed and they love plants like our beans and our lilies for the nectar. Luck is often associated with bees. One landing on you is lucky. And one coming into your house brings luck or a visitor. Bees won’t stay in an argumentative household and they don’t like swearing. I assume because they are so sensitive. So remember to behave well in the garden! Bees are also quite nosy as the hive expects to be kept informed if someone in the family dies, or a daughter marries. You have to whisper this news to them.

This is the time of year when beekeepers take their first honey. In medieval times it was the time to make mead. And the full moon this month was known as the Mead Moon, as a result. I can imagine all those beekeepers testing out their mead by the light of the moon. I quite like it myself. Talking of things in the sky, the Southern Delta Aquariids meteor shower runs from July 21 to August 23. Peaking on Tuesday, July 28.

Our first sunflower is out, a sign of summer. There’s plenty of summer veg ready to pick in the garden. Runner and dwarf beans, peas, radish, beetroot and the last of the kale. Volunteers and visitors are picking them to take home. Plants like the beans need to be picked regularly so that they keep producing. So we encourage people to eat what we produce. We also have plants like the Peruvian lilies that need to be pulled to encourage it to produce flowers. So feel free to take some home.

I often use the herbs from the garden at home. Trying things out for my blog. I read that you can replace lemon in your gin and tonic with lemon balm. So I experimented with this. Several times. (What a hardship). I found it only really flavoured the gin if you bruised it. I also tried freezing a few sprigs so it would act like ice and lemon, but had mixed results. Give it a try using our lemon balm and see what you think.

I’ve been sowing some of the winter veg this month. So I have lots of baby winter cabbage, winter lettuce, leeks and dwarf kale plants growing so far. I’ve spare plants if anyone wants any. I’m struggling to keep butterflies away though. I inspect the leaves for eggs or caterpillars every day and usually find something. Makes a change from slugs and snails though. Talking of things that slime. Did you know that snails can climb, but slugs don’t like to? So raised beds could halve the slimy things that eat your plants.

Bloomers met up for a Sunday session this month. The first in ages. It was so nice to be able to get together at last, at a distance. We had a good session pulling up the weeds that were growing round the containers and doing a general tidy. And we had a good natter too.

Teamwork is what it’s all about and it will be needed for a couple of our big garden projects this year too. We are planning to put sheets of black weed suppressant down under containers to reduce the weeds. Then put a brick edging round them to make it easier to mow. We are also in the process of building a rockery using donated bricks and sandstone. I’m propagating plants for it ready to plant next year. It looks like we will need more bricks for these two big jobs, so bring them along to the garden if you have any.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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