Posts Tagged ‘hoverflies’

Garden Musings from Prospect Cottage.

In Gardening, sustainable living on May 9, 2011 at 9:50 am

The Poached Egg Plant (Limnanthes douglasii) is an easy to grow annual that is useful in any garden. Apart from looking pretty it is a great companion plant, especially useful near Broad Beans as it is an attractant for Hoverflies and Ladybirds who both like to dine on Blackfly, the main pest affecting Broad Beans. You won’t find Broad Beans in our garden as they are about the only vegetable we both dislike but Poached Egg Plant is more than welcome! It is a native of California but succeeds well in the climate here. It self seeds easily and can take over but any unwanted plants pull out easily.

The Bulgarian Lettuce has come on really well, we have been harvesting it for a couple of weeks mow. It is really crisp, like Little Gem, my fave Lettuce, but the heads are much bigger. I would love to save seed from this one.

Don’t know what’s happened here, never saw anything like it! Pulled back the leaves on this plant the other day expecting to see a Cauliflower forming. Nothing except this leaf growing from the centre of the plant which had formed a perfect little cup. It was attached to the centre by a “string” about 6 inches long. Bizarre! The rest of the plants were normal and the seed was organic.

All the Pumpkins and Sunflowers have germinated, these won’t be planted out until June when the weather will be settled again, hopefully, and the plants will be a good size and less attractive to slugs. All the seeds are home saved by ourselves or other local gardeners. Turk’s Turban always does well here, have been growing from our own seeds for about 5 years now so they are acclimatised to the area.

Growing Flowers Naturally @ Prospect Cottage.

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


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.