A few notes about insects:
Bumble Bees – Coventry University have been doing research into which blooms provide a gourmet diet for bumble bees. If you want to keep them healthy the best plants to grow are: Borage, Sage, Lavender, Runner Beans, Marjoram, Foxgloves, Raspberries, Silene (Red Campion), Sedum and some hardy Geraniums,. Look up the research at Coventry.ac.uk/bumblebees. It looks as if the best solution is to grow a diverse range of plants and to make sure you have a herb garden!
Pests - To keep fruit trees healthy you need to encourage the natural predators of pests that attack the trees and the fruit. There are plants that attract these predators and which are worth growing alongside your fruit trees. Garden Organic recommend growing Golden Rod (Solidago), Michelmas Daisies, Achillea, Fennel, hardy Geraniums, Scabious and Bugle (Ajuga).
I have a little yellow flower in spring which is often one of the first to flower. It is called Celandine and is very beautiful, but very invasive. It is almost impossible to dig out as its little bulbils fall off the roots and re-grow. If you want to eradicate it then a plastic mulch is your best option. However, it dislikes competition when in an open sunny position and only really thrives in a cool, dark place. My best advice is to leave it to grow where it is happy, but never put clumps that you have dug up onto the compost heap or it will be all over the garden in no time!
If you have a bonfire ready to be lit this November, please dismantle and re-build it before lighting. You might find Mrs Tiggywinkle and family at home. Hedgehogs are very important in the fight against all those slimy slugs and gardeners badly need their help!
It often feels as if Conifers shed pine needles and cones all year round and there can be a problem of what to do with them. Pine needles can be added to the compost heap as long as there is lots of green material to compost alongside them. The resulting compost may be a little acidic but will be ideal round the camellias. Pine cones are best used as firelighters or Christmas decorations! Not long now!
Marion, Blue Gecko Plants, 01386 751 802