• The Blooming Old Gardener

The Hum of the Bees is the Voice of the Garden

“The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.” Elizabeth Lawrence

With the recent mild weather, the bees have been leaving their hives to find nectar. Luckily, there are the early bulbs to provide them with this. We have quite a few coming up in the garden for them. Particularly crocus. Apparently, it’s a really good year for crocus, but even the RHS doesn’t seem to know why. Perhaps it’s because there aren’t so many people out and about to walk on them.

I’m bee mad this month after listening to a Zoom talk about honey bees from Richard Rickitt. That, and our plans to make the garden even more attractive to bees, by creating a wildflower area. We don’t need to do anything apart from putting a sign up. The trick is to just leave an area of the garden to grow wild for the summer. Tim, who mows the grass, often mows around patches of flowers in the grass anyway. It will be great to see what grows each year. So, look out for the sign in the garden and watch that space. Some wildflower areas are created with packets of wildflower seeds. I’ve read that you have to be careful of some seed packets though. They may contain some non-native plants, or plants that are not even wild. If you are interested in helping bees, have a look at the Friends of the Earth bee pack. It contains a pack of wildflower seeds and lots of information on bees.

Although we have flowers and bulbs coming up in most of the garden, the veg area is looking a bit bare at the moment. The cabbage and kale haven’t done very well this year. The cabbage got eaten by mystery bugs, leaving two tiny kale. And the sign is bigger than the kale plant. I’m in the process of taking the last of the veg out and preparing the containers for spring planting.

When volunteers can finally start meeting up, we have a lot to do in the Bloomers garden. Individually we have been popping in to do a bit of weeding and tidying. But there are jobs that need close teamwork. One of these is to put weed suppressing fabric under containers round some of the borders. Then we need to create a brick barrier to hold back chipped bark on top of the fabric. We need a lot more bricks though. So have a look round your garden and if you find a spare brick or two just place them on the right wall of the garden ready to be put in place.

Talking about bricks. The sunny brick wall has quite a few plants growing in it. Some are ok, like the ferns. But there are a lot of buddleia shooting out from between the bricks. They can grow very large and destroy the cement between the bricks and stone. So if you aren’t sure what to do in the garden, taking these out would be useful. I’m too short to reach a lot of them. And if you know how to use secateurs, we have a couple of shrubs that need cutting into shape. You wouldn’t believe that the one on the left was a peacock!

The first of the series of March Bloomers Zoom meetings and activity sessions has taken place. People interested in local community gardens met together to talk about their gardens. This was followed by making pinecone bird feeders while we learnt more about birds and bees. What I needed to make these feeders was put into a parcel and personally delivered to my home. It was quite exciting to receive it (I’m easily pleased) and so kind of the organisers to do this. Next week we are finding out about wildflower bombs, which might be handy for the Bloomers new patch. And I’m looking forward to finding out more about herbs later in the month too. There are still spaces on these sessions if you want to join in.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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