Saturday, August 20, 2022

Ace pollinators

 The heat this summer has given my Lavender bushes a boost. I have never appreciated before just how , being Mediterranean natives , they prefer dry and hot conditions. Similarly the Rosemary bushes are thriving, and we have olives on the potted Olive tree, my friend Ann is harvesting figs, and our Oleander in the yard continues flowering. I am hopeful for bananas on the small Banana plant , but it only has 4 leaves yet as it is only young. 
This year I have sat longer on my plot, enjoying the bee loud glade. I’ve pulled out unwanted plants and laid on bed to act as mulch, anything to keep the soil moist.

Barbara on next plot is harvesting her Lavender today. She cuts carefully into even sized bunches and hangs in her light and beautifully made greenhouse/shed that husband Terry built for her. She was widowed recently after a being a full time carer, and she gradually brings the plot back to its usual perfection as she restores the years the locusts have eaten . She is leaving some of her lavender , as I am , for the bees. My daughter has just messaged me to ask if we should get a beehive. She can forget that idea. I do however love to drive round these Wolds and spot hives hiding in the fields of Borage , Oilseed rape and Linseed, purple, citric yellow and blue. My honey is produced by a local beekeeper, a Mr Danby of Seamer. I buy it at Reighton Nurseries. The borage honey is the palest yellow. 

I let Borage and Nasturtiums seed freely all over my plot. No dig gardeners like the soil all covered with beneficial plants, bringing in insects and keeping down the unwanted  but not unloved Sow Thistles , and Spurges, the delightful Scarlet Pimpernel . I like the Dandelions and love the chickweed (beloved of Budgie keepers). I have a favourite wild plant which adores my plot, but it is wind pollinated I think, as it is green. I know its not Good king Henry, Chenopodium bonus henricus, I wish it was, I wasted seeds every year and still not managed to get even one to germinate .This is an annual relative , Fat Hen, but my Wild Food Book says it can also be eaten. The leaves are a lovely gray green and this  amongst my 3 sisters planting of Sweetcorn , Sunflowers and Mangetout managed to sneak up to 3feet high in as many weeks.

Echium is 12ft tall , still covered in bees, and cucurbit  flowers are beloved by tiny pollinators. I have succeeded , she says proudly of having something to attract pollinators during every day of the year, letting my brassicas go to seed, allowing dead nettles to grow through winter, and never hanging on for the bulbs, as there is always a wild flower arriving to fill in any gaps.

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