Friday, 9 July 2010
Flowers around the garden
Alongside the mulching something I'm focusing on this year is growing more flowers to attract beneficial insects. In nearly everyone of my raised beds I've added flowers, and at the garden entrance I have a hedge of Cat-mint. This has been in place for about 8 years or so, and at the moment is covered in flowers and if you are working near it, you can hear that it's also full of the hum of bees working. For me that is an essential sound of summer. A strong memory from childhood is of spending summer afternoons in my Grandma's garden. She had a large campanula plant that was always full of bees, so that sound was always part of summer. I took a rooted bit from her plant years ago, and have had it in every garden since. It is in my home garden now.
In the allotment garden Borage and Nasturtiums seed themselves every year. Mullein blew in, probably from the nearby railway line, and I've encouraged it to stay - for it's architectural beauty, soft colour, and for the bees. Gorgeous double Marigold's have self-seeded from plants bought in the market last year. Heartsease is another self-seed from plants grown from seed sown many years ago. This is a favourite of mine, and the plants are useful to move to any bare spots.
This year I've added Yellow Trefoil and Phacelia - grown from seed I purchased from Sarah Raven's catalogue earlier this year. I'm really pleased with both of them. The Phacelia is full of bees...and both will be regulars from now on.
I love the bees and hoverflies that come into the garden, and the presence of birds - who love to work through the mulch looking for food. some nearby allotment plots are immaculate - not a single weed in site. But to me they seem sterile - no wildlife to share the space. I wouldn't want to garden in that way.
Another flower is that of any vegetable plants I leave to go to seed. I did this last year with Mizuna and Chard and have had great success with self-sown plants as a result. This is something I want to encourage more of....so will be leaving more things to self seed where I can as seen in Emilia Hazelip's garden. See video by going to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugFd1JdFaE0
and finally today's harvest...