Many of our pollinating insects are in decline. This is not good for our food supplies. Without bees and the like, who will pollinate our apple crops etc?
We can all help and it is not difficult. When you next buy flowers for your garden pick something bee friendly. A rule of thumb is that exotic, highly cultivated and double flowers are not very good. Much of the bedding plants like Busy Lizzies, Begonias and Geraniums have no nectar for the bees to feed on. I have added a list of bee friendly plants at the bottom of this blog.
You can also change your mowing habits to help. Try having a small meadow around the base of trees and in front of hedges.
Do not cut your grass often and allow lawn flowers to grown. You can still spot treat or hand …
Now is the time to start thinking about the coming months gardening tasks.
Any shrubs that flower after mid-summer usually produce flowers at the end of the current season’s growth, so pruning in early spring allows time for the new growth to mature for flowering in the same year.
Cut away dead leaves on Pampas grass.
Fuchsias will need to be cut down to near ground level (spikey mounds).
If you have not yet re-edged your lawn now is a good time.
Once the winter warms in early spring, start mowing. This is also a good time to seed any damaged areas.
When mowing, spare a thought for our pollinating insects. Cultivate a small meadow under trees or in front of hedges. Allow wild flowers in these areas and never feed. After about 8 weeks you can cut these areas down, or just leave and watch …
Prune late flowering shrubs and during warmer days keep watch for pests.
Slugs are now active and will decimate new shoots on bulbs and herbaceous. Sprinkling fire ash around these tender plants will stop the slugs without environmental damage. You will need to reapply after rainfall but please be advised you do not want to get large amounts of ash close to the centre of the new shoots as this can scorch. Ideally you want to achieve a doughnut effect.
In my own garden, on my larger herbaceous beds, I do one continuous line of fire ash around the edges. Later on when you are hoeing this will help improve the condition and lift potassium levels in the soil which will help retain moisture through the year.
Fire ash is alkaline and should not be put around azaleas, camellias and …