My Patch – A Garden update: June & July

When I last wrote about the garden on May 27th it was still looking rather unloved, as you can see over the summer it has been developing rather well πŸ™‚ 

I was concerned that I would only have a sparse covering of wildflowers this year, I was partially right.  Now I planted half of the garden a few weeks before the other half and with a different brand of seeds, so, there are a lot of variables to take into account.  The part I planted first really took hold and is full of greenery with some flowers in bloom.  The other half, well, its more soil than it is greenery!  Some ‘things’ have grown under the roses but I’m fairly sure they have naturally occurred and are not what I sowed.  I have left them as at least its vegetation protecting the soil from the intense heat – I am yet to investigate what they actually are, mainly because they are all leaf!

As plants have been flowering I have been taking photos and doing my best to identify them, so far I think I have: Red Dead-nettle, Great Willowherb, Love-in-a-mist, Corncockle, Cornflower and Hollyhock.

and lots that I still don’t know what they are!

The stinging nettles haven’t come through the fence as much as I thought they would, so have not been too much of a problem, but the ivy is starting to come in again and bind weed has been untangled from a sunflower!  The Velvet Queen sunflowers are doing really well and are still flowering.  

The sunflower seeds that I sowed back at the beginning of June have grown into strong plants and have been planted out into the garden, I actually had more than I expected and a few are in pots.  The birds have also been helping to grow sunflowers and I had two spring up that are doing really well, other smaller ones have been eaten by the slugs and snails.  To help with this issue I ‘collected’ the snails that I could find and took them on vacation; out into the field! 

What I have noticed about the garden is the section by the pond is in a lot more shaded than I initially thought it would be, this could be part of the reason why there is very little growth occurring there.  Next year I either need to sow plants earlier or I need to make sure that only shade loving plants are put there.  I’m not sure what route to take yet, I want to see what they do during what’s left of the Summer/Autumn. 

I have also relocated all of the pots to one location in the garden, it makes them easier to water and also adds more greenery to the borderless sections.  I have a few plans for developing it further next year to add more flowering plants and already have a very small lavender that is destined for one of the currently empty pots! 

One of the things I like about working in the garden is the sense of achieving something. If it’s 10 mins looking after the tomatoes or 15 putting supports in for some of the flowers you can see what you have done. After a long day at work feeling like you have been wading through mud it’s nice to have a sense of achievement at the end of the day. 

My Patch – The Garden

As I mentioned in January’s patch post I have been given permission to make the landowners garden more ‘wildlife friendly’. Well I’ll be honest, it wont be too difficult to do!  This is what the garden looked like in December…

As you can see it is plant-less more or less.  There are some roses, and a pussy willow tree to the left with a bush beside it and a hazelnut tree to the right but other than that ‘weeds’ covers it for the vegetation, I guess weeds is a harsh term ‘plants that have not been chosen’ might be a better way of putting it.  I raked through the dead plants and it was mainly grasses and crop that have crept through from the field and taken over the raised bed.     

In January I marked out where the snowdrops have come up so I know not to dig them up once they have died back and also the cyclamen that I have identified.  Now I don’t know a lot about gardening so it will be a new experience for me and the owner as he doesn’t know much either!  The bird feeder was a new addition in December and the birds seem happy that their feed has been moved away from the windows.  They seem to like that it is located near the tree and the bush. It does need to be put into a base rather than just the soil as high winds have blown it over on a couple of occasions. I plan to plant a shrub behind the feeder to give the birds even more cover to dart into if the sparrowhawk comes looking for lunch!

The first stage of the garden plan is cleaning and protecting the fence and moving the rose bushes back in the beds. I have also learnt that I need to prune the roses back harder! as a first attempt in December, apparently it wasn’t too bad.  I pruned them a second time in February and have done a better job! I think I’ll be tuning into Monty Don and Gardener’s World on a Friday night for some advice!

Over Easter I spent a morning in the garden tidying, there was a lot of leaf litter that had been left decomposing over Winter.  When I lifted it there were a lot of creatures scurrying around. Although a lot of it was removed I also used some of it at the base of a basic log pile I started to create.  I have put it in an old wooden plant pot so it can be moved if necessary.  There was a lot of rubbish in the garden and turning over a car mat I found a centipede (Cryptops parisi), I was quite excited as I have never found one before! I moved it to the log pile for safety.  

There is a lot of work to do and I realise I might not get it all done this year but I do hope by the end of summer it will be a wildlife friendly habitat.