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Communal Front bed, Slinky Malinky, bee post occupied, rain at last, bees and butterflies

Date posted: Thursday 13th July 2017

Communal Front bed, Slinky Malinky, bee post occupied, rain at last, bees and butterflies

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Yes, it is over planted, but hey – doesn’t it look good! Our front entrance flower bed, planted up with a variety of flowering annuals and perennials is now well established and attracting bees, butterflies, hoverflies and other beneficial pollinating insects. It’s looking really good, enhanced by Nick Baylis’s neat brick edging. Plotholders have contributed additional plants – calendulas, hyacinths, dahlias, ‘Hot Lips’ salvias – and Lindsay’s sunflowers provide a real focal point! Meanwhile, it’s also attracted a different sort of wildlife; slinking through the back of the bed and totally uninterested in me – our very own Slinky Malinky:

Spot the latest occupant! The bee post has also attracted interest from prospective residents from the go – different sized solitary bees that may lay an egg in a hole, seal it up with earth or leaves and leave the larva to incubate through the winter months, until the new bee emerges in the spring:

We’ll assess the bed later in the season, after the annuals have gone over and move or re-arrange plants to give everything space to flourish and thrive.

Spring bulbs and alliums will be planted in the autumn. Meanwhile, the work goes on: weeding is ongoing – bindweed, couch grass etc all need pulling out regularly; deadheading maintains flower production and watering may be required, particularly in dry spells, where you see anything wilting. Feel free to do whatever you can for our communal bed – every little helps! Watering cans and hoe are in the pedestrian gate shed. Thanks to all who have helped make this such a worthwhile project!

After what felt like weeks of baking hot sun, no rain and plots increasingly looking like overgrown Serenghetti landscapes (mine, anyway!) we had RAIN, lots of it on Tuesday – almost 40mm. Predictably, I’d just put up a notice reminding plotholders to use pump water responsibly, to spot water, heavily mulch and only water where really necessary. So the rain was a huge welcome – as I sheltered under my neighbour’s apple tree I watched the juvenile robin perched on a bean cane, having a good wash down in the downpour, cleaning itself and fluffing up feathers for several minutes.

Butterflies and bees continuing to enjoy the buddleja, the marjoram and lavenders.. this comma much the worse for wear, but still fluttering around and others still in full wing:

My cinnabar moth caterpillars continue to grow apace and I’m keeping well clear of their hairy bits, as they can cause irritation to the skin. I’ve cordoned off the plant so that next week’s plot inspector doesn’t inadvertantly knock them off or brush up against them (or, alarmingly, think they’re pests and destroy them!).. This lovely red admiral was posing perfectly on Flora’s buddleja:

I’m off to singing camp tomorrow for a weekend of community songs in the old barn, yoga on the grass, campfire singsong and all things summer camp in a gorgeous Surrey hills setting.. weather looks good and no watering necessary on t’plot for a few days – will return to monster courgettes and french beans galore!
Hiy di hiy!