Notes from a Garden Shed - June 2018

I’m writing this piece a week before the summer equinox and after a pretty tough spring (especially with the ‘beast from the east’ which kept us locked into winter). That said I think I’ve not seen such wonderful displays of roses for many years!

 Roses in the garden courtesy of Dr. Hauschka

Roses in the garden courtesy of Dr. Hauschka

But with wildlife and particularly insects in such present day peril shouldn’t we also be thinking of and supporting wildlife by our choice of flowers we grow? Do we have a choice with roses?  Well yes we do!

Plants create flowers not for our particular enjoyment but to create the next generation of plants using insects to carry pollen from one flower to the next flower fertilising their eggs to make seeds.

 Briar Rose

Briar Rose

Here’s a wild rose, a Briar or Dog rose. You can see all the structures that plants uses to both present pollen to visiting bees – and to catch the pollen that bees are already carrying.

 Floribunda Rose

Floribunda Rose

Now here’s a modern floribunda rose (a cross between a hybrid tea rose and a polyantha rose) so very beautiful and with a strong scent but where are its reproductive structures? Now I’m not saying dig up all the beautiful roses, what I’m suggesting is give a thought to the bees (and other insects) and grow some pay back flowers!

 Floribunda intertwined with Clematis

Floribunda intertwined with Clematis

By all means grow a beautiful floribunda rose or others varieties with tight flowers but why not also grown (even through them) something for the bees – perhaps a clematis!

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Now is the time to water - and water and water!  Not only for your vegetables but especially for pots or containers. How much I hear you ask?  Personally I use the finger test – a very sensitive instrument – stick your finger into the soil and you’ll soon tell just how wet/dry the soil is!  I often suggest watering days of Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during dry spells, leaving the weekends to do other nice stuff!

Using hoses is okay (although watering cans are best) but whatever you use do make sure you give the soil a good soak it’s so easy just to wet the surface and think you’re done. 

Happy summer equinox – afterwards the days might be getting short but you won’t really notice for a while as we lose most daylight time from the start of day rather than at sunset. 
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