My Patch – A Garden update: June 2019

June 3rd – The borage has started to form buds 🙂 

I wanted to plant some plants in the garden this evening but first I had to make the decision to pull up the Forget-me-not!  It was taking up a huge amount of space and the majority of flowers had gone over.  I am sure it spilled lots of seeds so I’m sure I will have lots more next year.  

I managed to plant out 18 common fleabane, 6 lady’s bedstraw, 6 red campion, 10 oxeye daisy and into a pot, 4 marigolds. 

June 4th – The cat has decided to use one of the garden pots as a toilet! I have discovered that last year the scarlet pimpernel had self-seeded and is growing again this year 🙂 I planted out another 2 teasel, 2 perennial flax and 3 birds-foot-trefoil, put 8 field marigold and 3 borage in pots and tidied up the tomato area!

June 5th – planted out some of the herbs; mint, thyme and marjoram in a trough container and also potted on the cucumber.   Its the first cucumber I have tried to grow so we will see how it goes! 

June 6th – Planted out 5 cornflowers, 1 marigold, 1 common fleabane, 1 red campion, 6 oxeye daisies, 1 rudbeckia, 2 love-in-a-mist, 4 birds-foot-trefoil, 1 teasel and 2 perennial flax! I moved a sow thistle to the field. One of the poppies has started to flower 🙂

June 7th – I noticed today that the hazel has started to develop this years fruit

June 10th – It has been raining heavily all day.  What I had forgotten is some of the trays on the racking don’t have holes in the bottom.  I had put the plants out to get acclimatised and… well…. bless them they went for a swim today!  I had to go out in my waterproofs and rescue them.  Thankfully there were not too many but I had to find any empty pots or trays I could to put them in, they have been moved to the glasshouse to dry out!

June 11th – I put out the stakes for the sunflowers I would have done it sooner but it has been raining on and off for nearly a week.  I have had to put the tomatoes back in the greenhouse as they are too wet and looking a little unwell.  There are however 5 baby tomatoes starting to appear.

June 14th – I thought it best to start to feed the tomatoes seeing more fruit is appearing.

June 17th – The red campion in the pot has started to go to seed, the lavender and scarlet pimpernel are starting to flower and the cornflowers and roses are starting to show their first buds 🙂 

I had to remove a few nettles that had crept into the garden to put in the sunflowers.  I checked them over before removing them and put them over the fence in the field so any creatures I may not have spotted could safely escape.  I planted out 7 sunflowers, 6 rudbeckia, 6 field marigold, 2 bird’s-foot-trefoil, 2 love-in-a-mist, 6 oxeye daisy, 6 red campion, 1 lady’s bedstraw and 4 borage in a pot!

June 18th – Tonight I only managed to plant 6 rudbeckia and 4 marigold’s in pots.

June 19th – The cat has trashed the rudbeckia!  I have dug them back out but I don’t know if they will survive.

The Penstemon I bought earlier in the year has started to come into bud, the cornflower and marigold have started to flower and I found a black medick in the raised bed. I like it when wildflowers start to fill the bed without me having to plant them.  

I decided the best way to try and deter the cat was to put some hawthorn in the pot!  I just hope it makes him think twice!

I planted into pots, 4 borage and 10 zinnia.  I staked the tomatoes and tidied the left side of the garden as it was just untidy; it was starting to annoy me.

June 20th – The borage has started to flower 

I planted out 6 cornflowers, 6 lady’s bedstraw, 6 common fleabane, 6 red campion, 4 love-in-a-mist, 2 perennial flax, 3 oxeye daisy and 9 bird’s-foot-trefoil.

June 23rd – The cat has pooed in the pots AGAIN, but not just one pot THREE!!! he’s now killed three of my zinnia!  I’ve stupidly planted more as I guess he will probably dig them up again 🙁 

June 24th – deadheaded roses and removed some of the weeds from the front garden. It looks better than it did – honest! – it still needs more work.

June 26th – I planted the buddleja into the front garden.  I had to dig though the gravel and cut the weed suppressing membrane and then dig a hole to put it in! hopefully it will be happy there and won’t mind too much that it is surrounded by gravel. 

The love-in-a-mist, marigolds, sunflower, and poppy are all flowering, or starting to.

June 27th – The jasmine has been producing lots of growth so today it needed to be supported.  I couldn’t tie it up so some canes have been weaved into the top of the metal support to make it a little wider so it is all held up (I forgot to take a photo!)

June 30th – the sweet pea has started to flower 🙂

My Patch – A Garden update: May 2019

May 1st – I potted on 25 lady’s bedstraw and 46 teasel, though there are many more left to do! I have moved some of the plants into the ‘potted plant display area’ and potted on the budleja; they are still quite small but are developing well. 


May 2nd – tonight I potted on another 32 teasel and tried to make more room in the glasshouse; I am rapidly running out of space! 

May 3rd – I finally finished potting on the teasel; another 68! which gives me a total of 215! I wasn’t expecting that many to germinate; good job I have a large field I can plant them in! I saw some down by the river last year, so when they are big enough I think I will start by planting them out there. I’m sure the birds that live there will appreciate them when they go to seed.

May 4th – I spent the whole day in the garden; I ‘weeded’ all pots and gravel on the right hand side of the garden; I was primarily pulling up herb robert, I did feel bad as it was in flower, although it was starting to take over much of the garden space 🙁  I moved a large thistle from the raised bed and put it out in the field hoping it will survive; in its place in the garden I have put the peony. I knew there were some old pots chucked in the field underneath the hedge so I took the opportunity to drag them out; I was expecting them to be broken but they are perfectly fine and full of compost!  I actually think they have been there that long the compost is actually leaves that have broken down.  They are now in the garden for me to use 🙂

I have moved some of the pots around and now have a ‘development’ area, this has all my plants which have been recently potted out and pots that are yet to be filled.  I have deadheaded all the daffodils and potted on 32 ox-eye daisy’s – I have run out space to pot on anymore at the moment!  Some of the sweet williams have been planted in the pot with a rose.  I did want to get them all planted out but I have decided that the pots at the front of the house which do not have holes in need to have internal pots to have some drainage so I have to wait until I can buy some.

The aquilegia has started to flower, I wasn’t expecting them to be white – I didn’t plant them so had no idea what colour they would be, I have never seen white ones before.  I am glad there are now some flowers starting to bloom for the insects.

May 5th – I went to buy more peat free compost today; there was one bag left and I was told they wouldn’t be getting anymore for another 3 weeks as its difficult to get hold of!  They said there might be more outside as they had compost in a few different areas; thankfully I found some.  I guess it is good that they had run out and that it is difficult to source as it indicates more people are using it.  However, its not great if being out of stock means it forces people to use peat instead – I would have had to have gone without! 

May 7th – I was going to pot on more of the ox-eye daisy’s today but I noticed the field marigolds had grown rapidly, I potted on all of them, which turned out to be 41 and then I decided to sow some more!  The intention was to have some as cut flowers (my friend often visits his mothers grave and I think she would like to know they have been grown in her garden).  Also I have not had a lot of luck with the rudbeckia, not many have germinated; last year I had quite a few in the garden and the bees loved them.  This year I do have more plants growing but I feel bad I have failed them with the rudbeckia, hopefully the borage will make up for it!  There are a few pots that go back and forth to the grave site and I had noticed that the skimmia japonica rubella hasn’t been looking too well.  I bought some larger plastic pots to pot them on (I don’t like buying plastic but to be put on a grave I thought they would be more appropriate).  The poor things were completely root bound!  I believe there are actually three plants in each pot and one of the pots is looking half dead!  I will watch it for a few weeks and may have to try and divide it up to remove the dying ones.  They do look much happier in their new pots though.  

May 8th – This evening I popped to The Range to buy pots, (again plastic ones :() to put in the pots with no holes for the sweet williams, I need to be able to lift it out if the weather is really wet so I can allow them to drain, unfortunately this means plastic.  I do plan on looking after all my pots and hope they last for many years to come, at least they weren’t black so hopefully at the end of their life they can be recycled.  I also bought two more terricotta pots as I remembered that I needed to pot on the hellebores!

May 9th – Today was planned in advance, I hate going to the dentist so I took the whole day off of work so I could turn a horrible day into a productive day.  The plan was to clear out more of the glasshouse to create more space for the plants.  I have to say it was a mess!

After about an hours worth of sorting and tidying there was a trailer full of broken items to go to the recycling centre and a lot more space in the glasshouse.  There is still more tidying to be done but it makes it workable for the rest of the summer and it can be thoroughly cleaned and sorted in the winter.  

I also potted out 4 more borage, potted on 111 ox-eye daisies (until I ran out of paper pots!) and made 80 more newspaper pots ready for next week.  I need to make some more though as I have more than 80 seedlings in the glasshouse!

May 13th – Potted out another 2 pots of sweet williams, I don’t think I will ever need to sow anymore seeds for them, I still have loads left!  I have been giving them away at work; hopefully I can give away a few more!  I was going to pot on the ox-eye daisies tonight but I noticed the perennial flax were growing rather fast so potted them on instead, I only have 9, as I didn’t collect many seeds; I only had one growing in the garden last year, it must have sprung up from a pack of wildflower seeds.  

May 14th – some of the plants need to be put into the raised bed so tonight I spent some time ‘weeding’ out all of the plants I know are going to take over, I didn’t get very far as there were so many of them 🙁

May 16th – I finished ‘weeding’ the rest of the raised bed and planted out 33 cornflowers 🙂 I didn’t put them all out at once as I wanted to see if the slugs were going to eat them or not first!  

May 17th – I’m pleased to report that the slugs left the cornflowers alone so hopefully next week I will be able to get the rest in.  The chive has started to flower 🙂

May 18th – I potted on 96 bird’s-foot trefoil; I have a lot more than I thought I had! 

May 20th – I didn’t have a lot of time in the garden tonight as I had to work late but I managed to tie in some of the jasmine that has started to sprout after it was cut back last year, and I started to sort out some pots to put some more of the borage in.  I feel really bad as they are still in tiny pots and not looking too well 🙁 I hope they will perk up once they have been transplanted.  I finally remember to take a photo of the Rhododendron which has started to flower 🙂

May 21st – I potted on 9 of the borage tonight; I still have a lot to go but 9 is a start.  I planted out 14 of the sunflowers, I am hoping the slugs and snails stay away from them this year; I have left the rest in reserve just in case the ones now in the garden get eaten! 

May 22nd – I don’t normally do very much to the front garden as it is generally left for the owners Dad to potter with; as he’s not been too well, tonight I have removed the herb robert from the window box, rescued the daffodil bulbs, refreshed the compost and then re-potted the bulbs and added some pansies that were being root bound in a pot as some ‘weeds’ had taken over.  It looks much better, but now I feel I need to ‘tidy up’ the rest of the space too 🙁 I just have too much to do in the back garden to worry about the front at the moment!  I finished potting on the last of the bird’s-foot trefoil – another 32; gardening by head torch isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, at least it meant another task was ticked off the list!

Tiny strawberries have started to develop in the hanging basket 🙂

May 23rd – Tonight I managed to tie in some more of the Jasmine.  It has started to sprout more and is waving stems around in the wind, if I don’t keep it in check then it will probably get broken off so I have been doing my best to weave it back into the lattice or tie it to itself! I managed to plant out 20 cornflower and 15 teasels into the raised bed and potted on another 56 ox-eye daisy – I have way too many!

May 24th – Today I was busy potting on 131 red campion!  I also managed to ‘weed’ all of the pots and the raised bed.  Although I hate to say it, it looks a lot ‘tidier’ now, much more cared for.  I feel I can tidy every now and again as I will leave as much as I can for the wildlife.

May 25th – I have potted on 28 cornflowers, 27 rudbeckia, 35 love-in-a-mist, 35 zinna, 29 mariglods, 45 common fleabane and made another 320 newspaper pots!

May 26th – Potted on 33 common feabane & 68 ox-eye daisy (I have more ox-eye daisy that needs to be potted on but I think I will now plant them straight out!)

May 27th – Planted out 15 cornflowers into the raised bed. And re-arranged the pots. Daisies, buttercups and wood avens are now all starting to flower.

May 30th: There are some potted plants that haven’t received much care over the years; I have now re-potted them 🙂 I also potted on some of the tomatoes. 

This year the total number of plants grown from seed and potted on are…
267 ox eye daisy’s 
217 teasel
160 bird’s-foot trefoil
131 red campion
127 cornflowers 
78 common fleabane
73 borage 
70 field marigolds
27 sunflowers
25 lady’s bedstraw
35 love-in-a-mist
35 zinnia
27 rudbeckia
9 perennial flax

30 Days Wild 2019 – Day 30

Today is the last day of 30 Days Wild.  I have enjoyed sharing my nature finds with you but at the same time this year I have found it hard to keep up to date with writing my blogs; hence some being added a little late! (sorry!)  The benefit of writing a blog about each day of 30 Days Wild is I also learn from researching information to share with you.  Some of the blogs aren’t as in depth as I would have liked but time hasn’t always permitted me to write as much as I would have liked but never the less many nuggets of information have been gleaned each day 🙂

Today I went into the garden to see if the common frog was at the pond.  He wasn’t there but what I did notice while I was perched on one of the garden stepping stones was some eggs and some of what I knew were shieldbug nymphs.  

I looked around the plant a little more and found another set of eggs and even more shieldbug nymphs.   

Once back inside and looking closely at the photographs I identified them as hairy shieldbug early instar nymphs.  I can see why they are called hairy; in the photograph below where the light is catching it just right, one of the lightest coloured nymps looks particularly hairy!

Hairy shieldbugs over winter as adults and emerge in spring and the new generation of shieldbugs are complete from August onwards.  If you want to find some of these interesting characters they can be mainly found on plants in the roasaceae family.

30 Days Wild 2019 – Day 29

Earlier in the year I wrote about the plants I was going to sow for the insects in the garden; one of them was borage.  Borage is a herb of non UK decent and native to the Middle East.  It’s leaves can be used for tea and its flowers for decorating salads, I however have planted them solely for the bees (and other pollinators who wish to visit them!) 🙂

I sowed some of my seeds in March hoping I would get a ready supply of flowers throughout the summer; flowering generally occurs in June and July.  I had read the plants can grow to 2 feet or more and because I don’t have a lot of bed space in the garden I have planted them in large pots.  This also means I have been able spread them throughout the garden so the bees can travel through the area collecting nectar as they go.  

I have been watching the borage ever since it started to flower and the bees have loved it.  I have recorded 3 species of pollinator visiting them since June 20th, though I am sure I would see more if I watched all day 🙂

I will definitely be sowing more for next year 🙂 I have read online that one person planted some borage in September and it over wintered well so this year I am going to collect seeds from my plants and do the same, hoping they survive and I will have flowers in April as well!  If you have borage in your garden they do self-sow, so you may need to keep an eye on the number of plants year on year if you have a small space! although the bees will love you more, the more plants you can support 🙂

30 Days Wild 2019 – Day 28

This afternoon I took a couple of hours off of work and headed to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Lower Moor Farm.  It was a quiet afternoon.  There were few birds flying (apart from a grey heron) and the only birds I saw on the water were a family of mute swans.

I guessed it was just too warm for our avian friends to be putting too much energy into moving around so my attention was drawn to looking at the flowers in bloom.  There were so many to look at; some I know and some which are new to me, like the grass vetchling. 

But of course if you are looking at the flowers you can’t but help look at the insects too 🙂

30 Days Wild 2019 – Day 27

I was sat at work working my way through the ever expanding to do list when one of my office mates came up to me ‘you like birds, there are some swallows nesting above a door way. Thought you might like to know’. So of course I headed out to have a look.  I was quite surprised to find them nesting above an active door; their nest was above a light and below a concrete porch so it was very well protected.  If my colleague hadn’t seen one of the parents flying into the nest we would never had known it was there.  They have obviously found it to be a very good nest as there are five young not far from fledging.

I was very cautious about taking a photo.  At work the longest lens I have is 200mm! I waited for both of the parents to be well away from the nest before getting a little closer, grabbing a very quick photo, before fleeing back to the cover of a nearby tree before the parents returned.  I stood and watched them feeding for a minute or two before heading back to my desk. 

Nb. This photo is heavily cropped as I didn’t want to get too close and disturb them.

30 Days Wild 2019 – Day 26

Last year there were lots of common nettles (urtica dioica) in the field just next to the fence for the house.  I didn’t really pay that much attention to them but as my interest in botany and entomology has developed due partly to last years’ 30 Days Wild I have been paying a lot more attention. 

Common nettle, also known as stinging nettle is the one which we all would have met at some point in our lives, the one we all learnt from a young age; the one that hurts!  This year I have encouraged the nettles to grow by insuring the area they occupied last year has been left undisturbed.  They grow from seed from the previous years’ distribution but also over winter as rhizomes of the previous years’ plants. As a food plant for the caterpillars of the small tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies I thought it was important to have a patch growing in the field which I can monitor. Although common nettles are widespread many people remove them from their gardens as they are seen as a weed and of no purpose – I hope as more information about plants and planting for wildlife become better known, people will embrace the common nettle.

This evening I spent some time in the field investigating the nettles to see if I could find any of the 40+ kinds of insect that it supports. In total I found 11 insects and suspect there were a lot more hiding deeper in the nettle patch. 

30 Days Wild 2019 – Day 25

The great spotted woodpeckers are regular visitors to the garden; they can be spotted on the nut feeders or within the branches of the willow tree.  They can generally be heard before they are seen!  I knew there was a pair that visited the garden and in recent days thought there might also be young by the calls coming from the tree.  Today I finally saw them; one of the young landed on the fence and the parent landed to feed them.  The nuts are always topped up at the feeders so hopefully I will see them feeding again. 

30 Days Wild 2019 – Day 24

Today I saw my first painted lady butterfly.  I’ll be honest in the fact that at first thought it was a small tortoiseshell but quickly realised it wasn’t.  It looked really worn but was enjoying the lavender it was feeding on.  I hadn’t realised how far they travel to get to the UK and mainland Europe; all the way from North Africa, the Middle East and central Asia! No wonder it looks a little worn!

30 Days Wild 2019 – Day 23

For my birthday last weekend I was gifted a masonbees.co.uk Guardian Scheme for red mason bees.  My gift consisted of a bee lodge, nesting tubes and a release box for use next spring. Although it may be the end of the red mason bees nesting season; today I put up the bee lodge ready for any other solitary bees who might like to nest over the coming months.

With the guardian scheme, next spring I will be receive some red mason bee cocoons.  All I need to do is put up the release box, add the cocoons and monitor them to see when they hatch and fly away.  The males will hatch about a week before the females but it could all take about a month depending on the weather of course!  The bee lodge is to be located near the release box so they have somewhere to nest. 

All I have to do now is insure I have plenty of flowers in bloom for when they emerge 🙂 If anyone has any suggestions of flowers that are heavy with pollen I’d love to know (I don’t have space for fruit trees but I will be able to supply them with dandelions and buttercups).

Hopefully next summer I will have a garden full of red mason bees and lots of capped tubes!

I like that I will be able to care for and release some of our endangered solitary bees, it is also a responsibility but I think it is one that we should all try and do if we have the resources to do so.  They need all the bee-friendly gardens they can find 🙂