Growing wildflowers

It’s day 3 of the 30 Days Wild challenge and the weather has been so lovely, I thought it was a great day for a spot of gardening.

I have been growing some wildflowers from seed in trays so now seemed like a good time to transplant them somewhere in the garden, but where??

I found a few empty plant pots that I had no plans for so I decided that the flowers would look nice in them dotted about the paving slabs along the garden path.

I have planted wildflowers in pots before and the bees and hoverflies loved them.  It just goes to show that you don’t need a big garden to have wildflowers, and pollinators appreciate them no matter how small a patch.

It will also be fun to see what flowers appear as I just put a mix of different seeds in trays and forgot what I’d sown.  I don’t mind though, as it’s fun to have a bit of mystery sometimes.

I can’t wait to see them grow and become beautiful flowers.  I’m sure the bees will love them as much as I will.

A rainy gardening day

All the miserable cold rainy weather last week gave me a good excuse to start sowing some seeds.  I cleared the greenhouse and windowsills got out my propagator and seedling trays and opened up my tin of seeds.  I love routing through my tin of seeds wondering which ones to start sowing first.  This year I have bought some specific seeds especially for my garden wildlife.

First to be sown was birds foot trefoil and red clover.  I was amazed how quickly they have both grown this week and it looks like I’ll have to transplant them before the end of the week. These lovely little plants will be grown in any bare patches of soil around the garden and especially near my bug/bee hotels.

I have also sown some agastache and echinops to attracts bees and other beneficial insects too.

Around the lawn and cracks in the pavement I’m going to grow creeping thyme as well as patches of chamomile lawn.  These tiny seeds will be sown straight in the garden when it gets a bit warmer but I’m also starting a few of the seeds off in trays first to give them a better chance especially against the slugs and pigeons.

Finally for the moths and other night time pollinator I have sown some night scented stock.  It so lovely to come out into the garden at dusk and watch as the moths dance about them and my honeysuckle enjoying their heavenly night time scent as much I do. 

If you want more information on the best plants to grow to attract bumblebee then check out the wildlife trust page here.

Of course I still have much more to sow and I have 2 trough planters ready to sow some wildflower seeds in as well.  Hopefully the bees, hoverflies, butterflies moths and other pollinators will benefit greatly from these plants and they will hopefully be a welcome addition to my wildlife garden.

An insect view of flowers

I love to sit and admire all the flowers in my garden and watch how much the insects love them too.  I love their beautiful colours, different textures and exquisite scents.  I sit and watch delicate flower heads nodding in the soft summer breeze and listen to the tall grasses rustling.  A tortoiseshell butterfly flutters upward as I brush past the lavender bushes, whilst bees buzz past me trying to capture the lavenders sweet nectar.  Hoverflies land on the wildflowers whilst trying to hang on as the breeze throws the long flower stems from side to side and tiny pollen beetles nestle securely deep inside the flowers stamen.

Sitting here, I wonder what these flowers look like to insects.  I sat down on the grass and looked closely at a daisy.  The many delicate white petals surrounding the intricate yellow flower head.  One daisy flower in the garden even has a red dot in its centre too.daisy petal

I decided that the only way I could get a closer look was to see what the flowers looked like under a microscope.  Luckily for me, I have a microscope attachment for my phone so I was able to instantly see the delicate structure of the flowers in-situ in the garden.

A yellow viola’s centre looks like its covered in white powder under the microscope.viola petal

A buttercup looks just as shiny and buttery close up and the stamens are large and protruding to entice pollinator in. buttercup petal

I always think hedge woundwort flowers looks like pretty little orchid flowers but they look even more stunning under a microscope.  It’s amazing to see all the tiny hairs on the flowers which makes it look furry close up.  You can see why it entices so many bees to its flower.horshound petal

Finally I took a microscopic photo of a geranium petal.  A close up photo shows the petal looks wrinkled with white hairs in its centre.  Under the microscope though, it looks a wonderful metallic colour full of minute dots.geranium petalI’m glad I took the time to have a closer look at flowers and it’s made me appreciate even more how they attract pollinators.  Next time you are in your garden why not stop and take a closer look at your flowers too, as you maybe surprised at what you find.

 

Sowing wildflowers

A few weeks ago I sowed a variety of wildflower seeds in trays and today I decided to sow some more. 20180518_161144.jpg The little shoots of the first lot of seeds I sowed are already starting to poke through the soil and I can’t wait till they grow a bit bigger so I can then plant them in containers by my front steps.

20180531_141037.jpgThe wildflowers I have sown are:  a variety of poppy seed, chamomile, oxeye daisies, foxgloves, red campion, and mullein. (just to name a few)

I have also sown other flowers such as: night stocks, love-in-a-mist and corn flowers

A number of the plants will also be planted around the garden as well as in a wild garden patch I made.

I dug a wild patch last year and it self seeded this year with red campions, alkanet and foxgloves.20180519_140519.jpg

It doesn’t matter if you sow wild seed in your garden or a garden container, it wont take long for the bees, hoverflies and other insects to find them and they will enjoy them all summer.20170626_180620.jpg

The cold garden

I ventured out into the garden yesterday. It was a cold February morning but according to the news, worse weather was to come. As I walked through the garden, the frost was starting to thaw beneath my feet as the low sun touched the grass, leaving behind a cold, wet, muddy ground.
Some shady patches of the garden still lingered where the sun’s rays hadn’t yet reached. In these dark areas the grass stood stiff, like little icy soldiers on parade.
Even though it was cold, there were still signs that the garden was slowly starting to awaken from its deep winter slumber.

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Vibrant crocuses shone brightly in the sunshine, primroses and snowdrops showed off their dainty flowers, and beautiful dwarf irises stood proud by the edge of the pond.

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20180217_123930.jpg Hellebores bowed their pretty pastel flower heads to the sun whilst the green stems of daffodils and crocosmia poked out from last year’s leaf debris.

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Plants aren’t the only sign that Spring isn’t far away…..
The sun is still low in the sky but does its best to shine, and daylight is getting a little long with each passing day. Birds are very active at the moment, they are fighting for mates, singing for territories and looking for places to nest.
As I stood under a tree, the robin was singing high up on a branch claiming his territory whilst I watched blackbirds and bluetits fighting for a mate. The garden was full of bird song and I had some more nest boxes to put up to help my feathered friends out.
Today however……. is completely different, and reminds me that we are a still in winter.

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There is snow everywhere. All those pretty flowers and young shoots are covered in a white fluffy blanket and where there was water there is now ice. I can still see glimpses under the snow of buds and small shoots on the cotoneaster and honeysuckle and, there is even a tiny hint of yellow as a daffodil wearily pokes its head the white powdery fluff.

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As I walked round the garden, I made sure all the bird feeders were topped up as they will go down very quickly in this cold weather. I also broke the thin layer of ice in the pond and put fresh water in all the birdbaths. The birds didn’t even wait for me to leave as within minutes there were blue tits, starlings, a long tailed tit and a robin straight on the feeders not wanting to waste anytime fuelling their tiny fluffed up bodies.
It’s important in this cold weather, while you are tucked up inside your warm cosy homes, to think of the wildlife that live or visit your garden. They don’t have the luxury  of central heating and a supermarket, so please help them out.

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Day 1 of 30 Days Wild

Today is the start of 30 Days Wild were The Wildlife Trust challenge you to do something inspired by nature each day throughout June.  Everyone taking part will be busy bees at the moment I’m sure; taking photos, writing blogs and doing nature based activities.

I can’t believe a whole year has gone by since the last 30 Days Wild.  It only seems like yesterday I was busily planning my months worth of “Random acts of wilderness”.

This year I spent my first “Wild” day at work

…..but don’t sigh….

I work outdoors surrounded by an array of beautiful flowers which attract a variety of wondrous small creatures 🙂

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The wild areas dotted with vibrant red poppies entice hoverflies, butterflies, a variety of bees and other insects

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Caterpillars hide from the mid-day sun and from beady eyed birds ready to carry them away to feed their young family.

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But a silver Y moth and a small copper butterfly look like have had a few near misses

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The ladybirds however, seem to be enjoying the sunshine and are helping keep all those pesky aphids away from the plants.

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Of course, my favourite creatures to watch whilst i’m working amongst the plants are bees.

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I think they bring a ray of sunshine to even the most dreariest of days.

All of these tiny creatures have a big part to play in any garden and I think we must cherish them more.

Hopefully you’ll all have a go at doing something “Wild” this June and show nature just how much you appreciate it.