Horticultural Society

Gardening Notes for

Finally some heavy rain today. The good news is that the dry conditions seem to have kept hungry slugs grounded on the whole.  I have been remaking my garlic spray as I have a few slug catastrophes, namely squash plants severed right through and my nicotiana seedlings grown from seed completely gone, the next batch will be heavily doused.  I make the spray by simple boiling up a whole head of garlic for 10 mins, in sufficient water just to cover.  I then chop the garlic up and leave it to infuse into the water overnight, straining off the liquid the next day.  I dilute it down approx 1 part garlic water to ten parts water and then, using a plant spray, copiously spray both under and the top surface of the leaf.  I also use the sieved remains around any vulnerable looking plants.  I repeat spray frequently and definitely after heavy rain.

Are your plants bee friendly?  A lot of bedding plants such as annual geraniums really arenít.  I like to wander and see what is being most visited by insects.  A large purple flowered sage is a current bee magnet, as well as catmint and verbena bonsariensis.

Big blocks of the same plant rather than small clumps help foraging insects.  A variety of heights also helps to create suitable habitats.  Some of the best plants in my garden are the really low maintenance ones, which seem to have arrived and made themselves at home with little help from me, a white flowered valerian is gently spreading itself around.  The white flowered  Queen Anne's lace has been magnificent, I let it self seed at will.  A good self sown patch of red robin and a beautiful white comfrey have also appeared.  Forget me nots have been prolific, they are so easy to pull out once they have gone over and hopefully have set seed again for next year.  There are lots of great websites with bee friendly advice, try www.rosybee.com and the bumblebee conservation trust.

A word of warning, earlier this year I managed to catch my eye with a very whippy stem of willow, a couple of visits to A and E and all was well but it was a salutary reminder to wear those safety glasses or at least large frame sunglasses when gardening.

I canít describe how much pleasure my garden gives me, early morning dew soaked walks or in evening sunlight gathering flowers to decorate the house.
I hope you enjoy your own garden as much as I do mine.

Louise Buchanan