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Archive for May, 2016

 

Spring Plants – Pussy Willow, Apple/Crab Apple Trees, Lungwort, Crocus, Redcurrant, Kale

Late Spring Plants – Cotoneaster, Hawthorn, Comfrey, Phacelia, Chives, Strawberry

Summer Plants – Lavender, Honeysuckle, Monarda ‘Bee balm’, Foxglove, Sunflower, Runner/Broad Bean, Sage

Autumn Plants – Abelia ‘Bee bush’, Strawberry Tree, Sedum, Perennial Wallflower, Marjoram, Raspberry

Winter Plants – Mahonia, Ivy, Winter Aconite, Snowdrop

For more information and ideas how to help Bees in our gardens and our communities click here.

Bumble Bee

Bees play a huge part in our lives, much of the food that we eat, the plants and flowers that we love and the crops that we grow wouldn’t be possible without them. There are around 250 species of Bee in the UK which include 24 species of Bumblebees, around 225 species of Solitary Bees and one species of Honeybee. Bumblebees are easy to identify as they are usually larger and covered with dense hair but do you know which species it is? Identifying Solitary Bees is even trickier with a choice of 225 species, help is at hand – download the FREE Great British Bee Count App this will enable you to identify the Bees that you see and submit your sightings.

Last year over 100,000 individual sightings of Bees were submitted, this year an amazing 18,200 have been recorded already, it is a great way to learn how to recognise our British Bees as well as the different species that we have, so join the Great British Bee Count, download the App today and get outdoors: at home, at School, in the park or on a walk and get spotting.

Have fun

Gill

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A big thank you to everyone who entered the March April Family Competition we had lots of entries, the winning entry was from Lily Fisher aged 7 from Exeter who correctly identified the Wild flowers, she has won a fantastic

Kids Wooden Raised Bed Growing Table

Kids Wooden Standing Raised Bed Growing Table

and a Selection of Seeds.

SCHOOL ZONE COMPETITION DEADLINE FRIDAY 27TH MAY

Don’t forget to enter the School Zone Competition time is running out for a chance to win a Wooden Raised Bed Kit for your School containing:

Twin Standard and Deep Tall Post Raised Bed

Wooden Raised Beds With Tall Posts - Deep

3 x 1.5m Cloche Hoops

12 Cloche Clips

Enviromesh Extra Fine Netting

THIS IS A FANTASTIC PRIZE WORTH OVER £100

What you have to do

Join our Club – become a member of the Gardening with Children Club its FREE, members receive special discounts and offers on gardening equipment and wildlife products as well as Seasonal Newsletters containing fun activities to make, cook and do and their own unique membership number which you will need to enter this competition.

NB As there is not much time to process new club applications and issue membership numbers before the competition closes, competition entries will be permitted from non club members who by entering this competition will automatically be made members and later issued with a membership number, please state ‘NEW MEMBER’ on the entry form.

Then answer the following questions

Why would you like to win the Wooden Raised Bed Kit for your School?

What would you grow in it?

Send in a photograph of something that you have grown or are growing at School.

For full details and an entry form click here, the closing date is Friday 27th May 2016.

Good Luck

Gill

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Nasturtiums

Why not impress your friends and liven up your salads with Nasturtium petals, flowers, leaves, stems and seeds, they are all edible and have a peppery watercress like taste, the flowers are the mildest and the seed pods the strongest.

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are easy to grow, have wonderful bright orange, yellow and red flowers and are delicious to eat, sow now to pick throughout the Summer.

Nasturtium seeds are widely available in shops, and garden centres, check on the packet that it is an edible variety. Sow seeds 1cm deep in small pots of compost and place on a warm sunny windowsill at 15-25C to germinate this will take approx. 7-14 days. Grow your plants on and harden off before planting outside after all risk of frost has passed.

Nasturtiums are fast growing and will sprawl across the ground if planted in the border or trail and create an attractive cascade if planted in a hanging basket, window box or container. Nasturtiums need very little attention, they grow best in full sun preferring the soil to be slightly dry, containers can dry out quickly so may need to be watered more often, Rain Gel Water Storage granules added to the compost will hold the moisture in and reduce the frequency of watering.

Start picking from your plants when several leaves and the bright flowers (approx. 6 weeks after sowing) have appeared. Always ask an adult before eating anything from the garden.

Here are some culinary suggestions for your Nasturtiums:

  • Make attractive flowery ice cubes, place the flowers/petals in an ice cube tray with water and freeze.
  • Nasturtium Butter – use to flavour potatoes, vegetables, fish or chicken.
  • Make Flavoured Oils, Vinegars or Dressings using the flowers and leaves.
  • Stuffed Nasturtium flowers – fill large flowers with, cream cheese, humus or guacamole and gently fold in the petals.
  • Include in a Salad or use as a garnish.

Towards the end of Summer allow some flowers to set seed, collect the seeds when they change from green to a tan colour, spread them out on a paper plate indoors to dry out for approx. two weeks before storing in an airtight container in a cool, dry place – you can plant these next year.

Even if you don’t fancy eating Nasturtiums or you dislike their taste they are definitely worthy of a place in your garden they are vibrant, easy to grow and will brighten up any corner.

Gill

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The warm weather has really made a big difference to our gardens, with lots of things emerging; buds, leaves, flowers, seedlings, butterflies, ladybirds, creatures and unfortunately ‘pests’ including:

Lily Beetles

Lily beetleThese are hard to miss they are like bright red jewels with a black head and legs and appear on your Fritillaries and Lilies, the adult beetles munch away at the flowers, leaves, stems and buds and their larvae, which are reddish brown with black heads, eat the leaves. Heavy infestations can be treated with organic pesticides, smaller populations can be picked off by hand ‘carefully’ as they soon drop off the plants and disappear into the undergrowth, you can report sightings of Lily Beetles on the RHS website, they are monitoring the spread of this pest. These two were spotted in my garden and quickly removed.

Ants

Ant Control - Nemasys No Ants

Ants are now becoming increasingly active, the ‘family’ that live under the flags in my greenhouse are becoming rather busy there are not a lot of them and they are not a problem, in summer when the flying young emerge I open the greenhouse doors and the Sparrows go in and feast on them. Large populations of ants can be a problem especially in the lawn or the garden borders creating mounds of earth and root disturbance.

Treat the affected areas with Nemasys No Ants which contains nematodes, it is safe for you, your children, pets, wildlife and for using near food crops, we had an enquiry this week regarding the Nemasys No Ants the customer was having problems with ants in their lawn, they were removing the newly sown grass seed.

Vine Weevils

Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer

It is at this time of the year that the adult beetles emerge and nibble the leaves of your plants, the beetles then lay their eggs on the plant root ball, these eggs hatch into grubs which feast on the roots and cause permanent damage or even death to your prized and often expensive container plants. Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer contains nematodes which attack the grubs before they attack your plants it is safe to use on indoor and outdoor containers as well as on food crops such as herbs and strawberries it is safe for you, your children, pets and wildlife.

Slugs

Nemaslug Slug Killer - Nematodes

It has been reported in the news recently that this year we can expect an invasion of larger than normal slugs (it sounds like a horror story), this is because of the mild winters and wetter summers, Slugs are active above 5C so have been reproducing through the winter when normally they are dormant, Slugs not only munch your prized flowers and your tasty vegetable crops they can also contain Lungworms which may infect dogs and be fatal to them. Nemaslug Slug Killer contains nematodes which invade the slug and kill it, it is safe to you, your children, pets and wildlife including birds, hedgehogs, frogs, toads and ground beetles who love to feed on slugs and their eggs.

slugAnother increasingly popular safe Slug control are Slug Gone which is natural pure organic wool pellets, spread a layer around your plants, once wet they swell and form a barrier which irritates the slugs foot so it looks for food elsewhere, they are ideal for organic gardening and can be used in pots, flower beds, borders, allotments, herb gardens, nurseries, garden centres, green houses and vegetable plots. Copper Slug and Snail Protection Tape is another method of Slug prevention, place the tape around the top of your pots, containers and Raised Beds, it does not kill slugs but gives them a small electrical shock which deters them from crossing over.

Be vigilant and act now before your pests become a problem

Gill

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