Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘beneficial insects’

Rainbows and other musings from Prospect Cottage.

In arigna, Gardening on June 23, 2011 at 10:46 am

Are’nt rainbows beautiful? This was one of several which adorned the valley yesterday evening. One benefit of the changeability of the current weather, rain and sunshine alternating produce these beautiful arches of prismatic colours in the sky.

A vase of Ferns and Snapdragons adorn the window in the fading evening light. The stained glass Trinity Knot has the same colours as the rainbow. The morning sun catches it here in the east facing window and throws it’s own rainbow on the kitchen table.

In the new flower bed this Aquilega has come into flower. Isn’t it pretty? I wonder if seeds from this will breed true. I will save some anyway and see what I get.

In the veg garden the Peas are flowering and the first pods have formed. These are Meteor a low growing variety. They are supported by a circle of sheep wire held in position with a couple of bits of bamboo.

Lots of edible flowers have self-seeded in the polytunnel. Marigold, Borage and Nasturtiums all add colour to our salad bowls,Kale and Carrots are growing in this patch too. This system of companion planting keeps everything healthy and disease free.

At the opposite end of the polytunnel Cosmos and Borage are also attracting lots of beneficial insects.

Growing Flowers Naturally @ Prospect Cottage.

In Bees, Gardening, sustainable living on March 31, 2011 at 10:24 am

Galega.

Fruit and veg are not the only things we grow here in Arigna, flowers also have a large part to play. The flower is an essential part of every plant as it contains the reproductive organs without which the species could not continue. Sometimes this can be forgotten, we may look on flowers as nice colour shots in the garden.

Honeysuckle by garden gate.

Growing flowers naturally is easy if you accept them as they come, no tittivating and selection for the show bench. The biggest concession is to accept what does well in your area. For us this means no Dahlias, they don’t do well in our heavy soil, no Magnolias, they don’t like the winds we get here in the valley, no Bergamot, I don’t know why it does’nt do well here, several attempts have failed, I can cope with that.

Self-seeded Snapdragons in polytunnel.

What ever your soil type there are flowers that will love it. Gravel gardens, bog gardens, rock gardens, the possibilities are endless. The use of chemical fertilisers on flowers I find very sad, they don’t need it, they want to flower, it is their way of propogating themselves. People wonder why bees and other benificial insects are declining! Maybe that weekly dose od Miracle-Gro has something to do with it?

Verbena bonariensis does well on our ground.

The other great way to grow flowers is as companion plants for your fruit and veg. The right combinations can reduce attack from pests and disease.

Nasturtiums will repel aphids while Poached Egg  Flowers will attract hoverflies. The fave food of the hoverfly is aphids! Nasturtiums repel wooly aphids from fruit trees and chives will keep away fungal diseases. French Marigolds planted among your Tomatoes promote growth and repel harmful soil nematodes.

P.S: The plant in the last pic is of course Joe-Pye Weed not Verbena bonariensis.