Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘soil’

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.

Daffodils blooming, grass growing @ Prospect Cottage.

In Gardening, sustainable living on March 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm

The first Daffodils opened here yesterday. Things happen a little later here as we are 110 metres above sea level. The bees are in ecstacy to have a supply of nectar again. It’s lovely to watch them flitting from flower to flower.

I wonder why so many Spring flowers are yellow?

The fields are greening up again, almost recovered from the hard Winter frost. Daphne is delighted to have fresh pickings again. No artificial fertilisers are used on the land here so no pollution runoff. Actually we are very lucky here as our smallholding is bounded by an organic farm. The only thing we put on the land is lime every few years. The land here is fairly acidic because of the high rainfall. The application of lime helps to sweeten the land and improves grass growth. Everything here, vegetables, fruits and animal health is dependant on soil health so it is incredibly important to look after it. 

These hyacinths were some of my January sales buys. They were brought on in the polytunnel. The flowers started opening up yesterday so I brought them into the house to get the full benefit of their glorious scent. This morning the heat in the house had coaxed the flowers to open fully. The scent pervading the whole house today is gorgeous, I love it.

The weather here today is great, sunny since early morning. It feels like Summer. It’s the first day this year that I am only wearing one layer of clothing. Yippee, I’m off now to sow parsnip seed and continue mulching the fruit area.