Hello! It’s been a while – how have you been? Using all this lockdown time to work on your garden? The combination of torrential downpours and a lot of sunshine have made gardening interesting, to say the least.
Yesterday a couple of us met up (in a responsible, socially-distanced way, of course) to tackle the nectar bed at the Kingfisher. It had been looking very promising at the beginning of May…
Unfortunately, it then took a bit of a beating whilst work was going on at the Kingfisher – used as a resting place for a ladder and blocked off by fencing, with no access for us.
At last, yesterday, we finally managed to get to work – we removed the damaged plants, and trimmed back the fleabane around the edges.
We put in many new plants (donated by Sudbury in Bloom) to fill the gaps, and gave the soil a much needed drink – it’s all looking a lot healthier. As well as the red and purple of the salvias and verbena bonariensis, etc, there are sunny marigolds around the edges, and soon there will be pops of pale pink and white against the green. Next time you visit the gym or pool, do swing by to see how it looks!
A little bit of rain didn’t deter us during our Friday Tidy…
At Roy’s, we split the snowdrops and planted a few miniature tulips. Down at the Kingfisher beds we trimmed back a few of the leggier plants in the nectar bed, just to neaten things up a bit – and then discussed what to do with the ‘edible’ bed. We have big plans for the next month or two – a revamp on the scale of the nectar bed is long overdue!
After a very welcome cup of tea (big thank you to the Kingfisher for that – it was just what we needed to take the chill off!) we headed round to the Quay, to have a look and make some notes. Lovely to see buds on the trees and bushes – it’s all very green at the moment (the wild strawberries are rampant….) with a splash of bright yellow, but it shouldn’t be too long before we get some more colour in there too.
Well, we haven’t been completely idle, even if the blog has been badly neglected! Among other things, bulbs and a few new plants have been added to the Kingfisher bed and a bit of weeding has gone on. There are shoots coming up, and there is some welcome colour to brighten up the (last of…?) the winter months.
So, as Friday 13th approaches (and no, we are not in the least superstitious) we aim to do a round up of what needs to be done in each of the areas we maintain. We will meet at the tubs at the back of Roys at 10:00 and then make our way on to the Kingfisher beds, and finish at the Quay. We hope you can join us at one or all of the sites.
We are taking a bit of a break from the Friday Tidy this month – lots of other commitments, like gathering winter fuel, setting fire to figgy puddings, sourcing some discounted myrrh, as well as some serious wassailing to be done before the big day!
In case you haven’t been there recently this photograph, taken just 10 days ago, shows that there is still some colour to be found in the new nectar bed at the Kingfisher.
We will resume normal service in the new year!
Yesterday, we were very pleased to see that the pollinator bed has not only survived, it appears to be thriving. A little bit of weeding, some dead-heading, and a good watering was all it needed. We will add bulbs and other plants as we go into late summer and Autumn to fill all the empty spaces.
Can you spot the butterfly?
The edible bed needed a bit more tlc. So, we’ve trimmed back the rosemary and lavender, got rid of the weeds and grass that had sprung up in between the main plants, and added a few bits and bobs, including marigolds, for colour.
Looking good, don’t you think?
It can be thirsty work, so a big thank you to the lovely folks at the Kingfisher for bringing us a much needed drink!
It’s August already! We have had extreme heat and torrential downpours, but hopefully our newly planted pollinator bed at the Kingfisher has survived all that nature has thrown at it in the last couple of weeks.
This Friday we will visit the Kingfisher to check on the pollinator bed and to tackle the edible bed just around the corner – a bit of weeding, a bit of cutting back, and some planting.
Join us if you can – we’ll be there 10:00-12:00.
Whenever we are weeding or watering at the Kingfisher beds, we invariably find quite a bit of litter hidden among the plants – parking tickets, broken bottles, empty cans and, most noticeably, a lot of cigarette butts.
There is an interesting article on the BBC news site today about a study, “led by Anglia Ruskin University, [which] found the presence of butts in soil reduced the germination success and shoot length of clover by 27% and 28% respectively.
Lead author Dr Dannielle Green said while dropping butts seemed to be “socially acceptable”, they had the ability to “cause serious damage to the environment”.
“Ryegrass and white clover, the two species we tested, are important forage crops for livestock as well as being commonly found in urban green spaces.
“These plants support a wealth of biodiversity, even in city parks, and white clover is ecologically important for pollinators and nitrogen fixation.”
She said that the filters can take years, if not decades, to break down.”
Read the full article here on the BBC website.
Well, if we do say so ourselves, even a last minute Friday Tidy can achieve a lot. Our new ‘pollinator’ bed (previously a wildflower bed) had been cleared ready for planting – but all the rain, and now the sunshine, meant that when we went along today we had to clear it all again!
Once cleared we added in some fresh compost, and started planting up. First one in…!
So far, we have planted sedums, marigolds, pasque flowers, verbena bonariensus, wallflowers, cerinthe, nicotiana and more. We will add more plants later to fill the space and try to ensure colour, interest (and nectar) year round.
Even as we were planting, the pollinators were buzzing around.
A particular thank you to John, who came along at such short notice – we’d have struggled to get quite as much done without you!
Apologies for the last minute reminder – the sunshine has clearly frazzled my brain!
Today’s Friday Tidy, at the Kingfisher, is all about weeding the pollinator bed, and then doing some planting. If you can come along, please do – we’ll be there 10:00 – 12:00.
Yesterday’s Friday Tidy was all about preparation after our wildflower bed at the Kingfisher had got slightly out of hand. With some wildflowers and grasses doing much better than others and beginning to dominate the bed, we were starting to lose the healthy diversity, the colour and the interest we had aimed for. Such is life!
So, as mentioned before, we’ve made the decision to change the bed to make it even more pollinator friendly, and to try to make it much more interesting and colourful all year round. In the next month we will rejuvenate the soil, and begin planting. Watch this space!