The Hungry Slug

As the garden is slowly being put to bed for the Winter, like a naughty child it’s decided that it’s not quite bedtime yet! There are new flowers appearing on the hydrangeas, green buds in the hedgerow and even asparagus spears are too impatient to wait for Spring! The sunshine has been lovely today, and although it’s been frosty, there was much activity. However everything stopped, albeit briefly, at 11 o’clock for Remembrance Day.

I don’t think there will be many flowers left next weekend as the mornings are really frosty now. That’s probably why a mouse has decided to come indoors and leave presents everywhere…. but more of that later ;-)

Winter Breaks for Insects

The mornings are darker, the air is cooler and there is definitely a whiff of Autumn in the air. With the success of the Nectar Bar this year I’m already thinking of expanding my interests into insect real estate….

There is already a simple insect dwelling like the one below by the front door. The Lacewings and Ladybirds love it and there are a few crafty little spiders who act as security guards. It’s easy to maintain, looks attractive and provides good shelter against the elements. Unfortunately, it gets a little cramped over Winter and there is only one bathroom so it’s time for an upgrade.

Okay, I need to source various materials such as bricks, drilled wood, pallets, tiles and pipes… thankfully I have a huge heap of these in the paddock and, once the thistles have died down, I’ll gather these up. I just need to think about what style to have. I like the thought of a country retreat for them but, as many of the insects around here already live in the country, they may wish to try something different.

Maybe I could build them a town house….

… or a whole metropolis! The nightlife is certainly going to be more vibrant and they’ll meet all sorts of interesting multi-legged friends. The only problem is that it took us SO long to get planning permission for the outbuildings that buiding an insect city may not be worth the stress!

On reflection I’ll probably build a simple pallet structure that is tucked away in a quiet corner similar to the one below! As an organic gardener I have to take care of the friendly bugs so that they can scare away the nasty ones (I was once told that they eat their enemies but this is too gruesome to contemplate).

Ever since I saw Malc’s insect hotel over at Green Bench Ramblings I have been mulling these ideas over so watch this space in a couple of months and you may just be surprised (hopefully in a good way!).

Hidden Gems….

The nectar bar is lovely and the bees can’t seem to get enough…. word has got out that it’s permanent Happy Hour and they’re starting to bring friends with them!

The Nectar Bar

…but if you walk around the back of the garden there is a very different view.

Not so pretty!

… it’s overgrown with grass, nettles, thistles & there is a disturbingly large pile of wood that needs to be sorted before winter. There are piles of building materials lying around, waiting for the building work to recommence, and a big pile of sand that the bunnies have turned into a maternity unit.
I keep telling myself (and anyone who questions my garden housekeeping) that this is a haven for wildlife and an essential part of organic gardening. I confess that, whilst this is true, a little part of me is cringing! There really is an abundance of insect activity, rabbits, foxes, birds of prey and other UFOs (Unidentified Furry Objects).

You see I am so contrary in many ways – I love order but need some chaos. I enjoy soft pastel colours in the borders but crave the gaudiness of Dahlias and, more worryingly, I plan most things in advance and then ditch the ideas at the last minute so I can be spontaneous! Many would call this trait indecisiveness but I like to think it’s creativity (… I haven’t made my mind up about this yet though!!)

So let me end on a positive note at the end of July…

Alstroemeria

The Alstroemeria have been stunning despite the very wet weather!
See you in August x