The Birds and Bees

So far my planting has been mainly for the table but I still get concerned about our disappearing urban gardens’ effect on wildlife. Having cut down a juniper bush which had been accidentally trimmed too severely, I decided to remove it. I’ve only cut it down to above ground level as the roots will probably be entangled in lilac and choisya shrubs which started life off many years ago as tiny plants. Now I am not very sure about what roots belong to which but it will be removed in due time.

My neighbour puts food out at the rear of the building and it’s devoured by magpies, cats, a fox, a hedgehog and any small birds that seize the opportunity. However, it’s a risky business for the little ones and they tend to get chased away. The magpies had started building in our roof and had pecked away parts of the eaves to build their nests. They have been messy and noisy, and at last we’ve managed to patch up the entrances to the nests now. We don’t see just so many in the front garden but after seeing yellowhammers and chaffinches on the bare branches of the lilac, I decided to risk putting a bird feeding station where the entanglement of juniper roots are, in the hope that will deter the neighbour’s cats and allow the birds time to grab a bite to eat.

I was appalled to learn that the UK government had approved a bee-killing insecticide which has been banned in the EU. Don’t they realise how valuable bees are to humanity? With the decline of urban gardens in favour of hard landscaping, the little pollinators need all the help they can get. This on top of natural predators they have to cope with, is really sad news. With this in mind, I plan putting more flowers in the front garden which should keep at least some of the bees a bit happier. One small step in the hope that others will follow, until our government puts on some sensible heads.

I’m in the process of checking my stock of seed at the moment and most seed due to be sown around now are vegetables. I do have sweet peas in the greenhouse. They seem to be quite tough in surviving sub-zero temperatures. Since I grow the flowers mainly for the little polinators, keeping them happy helps to keep me happy as well.

Sweet peas were sown in November 2019 and are about 20 cm tall now. I can transplant them into their planter and re-pot the rest into individual pots for use elsewhere.


5 thoughts on “The Birds and Bees

  1. I had to get out my magnifying glass to read what your sweet pea variety was!!! Always curious what other gardeners pick and why. I see it’s Harlequin Mix. Why did you pick that one? Trying to help the bees here as well. All the pollinators need every aid we can give them, as well as the toads and frogs, and birds….and elephants…and on and on…

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  2. I have two varieties, Harlequin Mix are seeds I received in a seed swop on a gardening forum I was on. The other variety I have is Parfumier Mix which I bought and was chosen as a mix of most perfumed varieties. I didn’t feel there were as many bees around last year as in the previous. Generally the cotoneaster and the Photinia Red Robin are alive with them, not last year, The drop in numbers were worrying but we did have a dreadful summer. Not just the bees were noticably low in numbers, but the hoverflies and wasps were as well.

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  3. Yes indeed. I have been surprised the past couple years to hear bees in mid-May in northern Minnesota on our land. Following the sound, they can always be seen amongst the early wildflowers! Not any effort on our part at all – except to keep the wildflowers.
    Thanks always for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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