Garden Robin

Garden Robin

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Bits and Pieces - mainly Flowers

A few flower photos from around the garden -


Thyme is flowering in the wall - bees love this plant. In fact, I've planted several other thyme and marjoram plants in the same wall for this reason.

Red Valerian - much loved by Hummingbird Hawkmoths. Although I've only seen this species in Dorset and Jersey I live in hope one might one day visit the garden.

Fringe Cups (Tellima grandiflora). I first saw this pretty little plant in a wood when I was doing a Plantlife Survey and I hadn't a clue what it was. The person who identified it for me very kindly took a cutting from one of his own plants for me.

We have several red and orange Azaleas - to be honest they are a bit too gaudy for me but the colours are stunning.

Welsh Poppy

I love the colour combination of this primula.

Choisea - mum and dad bought us this shrub and its rather special to me as Dad passed away 18 years ago and mum is currently in a Nursing Home with advanced Alzheimer's. The plant is a reminder of happier times with them.

I am rather chuffed that my Christmas Tree is putting out new growth. I first bought it as one of those miniature Christmas trees about 8 inches high - its now about four feet. I didn't bring it in the porch last Christmas as we usually do because it really didn't look well. But re-potting seems to have worked wonders.

B found this self-seeded Oak in the garden and is nurturing it in a pot. I am not sure if he intends to plant it out one day or whether he is planning on turning it into a bonsai tree!

Ever since I discovered Cosmos a few years ago (bees and hoverflies just adore the flowers) we've grown it from seed and plant it in several borders around the front and back garden.

I am also pleased that the two Echinops plants I bought last year from the Botanical Gardens are really thriving. I am hoping for a lot more flowers this year. Another plant loved by pollinators.

B has weeded and cleared one of the raised beds which has been rather neglected over the years and behind it is the garden where D used to grow flowers when he was little - also now cleared. Am not quite sure yet what we are going to plant but

I did pick up these plants from Morrisons (have to say Morrisons is a good place to pick up cheap shrubs, climbers and perennials - I know they are much smaller than you would get from a Nursery but these days Nurseries seem to want about £7 for just one perennial!|).

The rest of the border will be planted with wildflower seeds (received a free packet recently from Kew Gardens) and today I bought these. As there is a connection with the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust I would think these seeds are free of any neonicotinoid coating!!!

Whilst in Morrisons I picked up another Bee hotel - again these are good value and the one I have already which is identical is used by leaf cutter bees.

I couldn't resist this little ornament - I thought of Amanda when I saw this!! :)


Forgot to mention that the female Blue Tit started incubating yesterday when there were four eggs and this morning she has laid another one. The male is bringing her food in the nest :)


  1. What a lot is going on! I always feel that after a rather long wait, the seasons suddenly start running away with us! What a smart new insect house ... my ladybird house has lost its base, so perhaps I shall have to follow you to the shops! I'm grateful for the Cosmos-insect tip ... thank you!

    1. Thanks so much for the comment :) Yes, you are so right about seasons running away with us! Do hope you get a replacement ladybird house. Cosmos is wonderful - flowers for ages too. Definitely worth planting. Top 5 plants in our garden for butterflies, bees and hoverflies are: Lavender, Buddleia, Golden Rod, Cosmos and Red Valerian.

  2. Lovely post, you are tempting me to do a garden blog !! have grown a few trees from seeds, son planted a conker way back, about six foot now ,but still in same pot.My Thyme is yet to start flowering and have grown Cosmos many times before, very expensive to buy the plant. Also have quite a few plants/ shrubs from Morrison's and they have done very well, they have run out of insect hotels, might be back in tomorrow, going to put a few up but re-paint the roof's in different colours. Might need a sheep or two :))
    Amanda xx

    1. Thanks so much Amanda. Would love to see you do a garden blog :) My son collected some seeds from the floor by the ancient sweet chestnut tree last year but nothing has come up!

      As you say much cheaper to grow things like Cosmos from seed. We planted some Lavender seeds yesterday - probably won't flower this year but will be good in future years :)

      Hope you manage to get an insect hotel from Morrisons - I am sure I read somewhere that Poundland do a very basic version but haven't had time to go and have a look. Hope Morrisons have some sheep left :)

  3. You have some lovely plants in your garden, and I love the azaleas, gaudy or not! It will be interesting to see what flowers you get in the bumble bee mix. No doubt other pollinators will like them too.

    I have a home made by my hubby bee hotel with holes drilled in it of all different sizes, and it was amazing to study and watch it the first year as so many different kinds of bees use it. They are still using it, but I'm never quite sure what happens the following years, some of the holes are reused but some just have small holes in the material used to plug the hole up, so I guess something came out, but not sure if the hole is reused. I know some are, like the bigger holes used by the mason bees. But i have not the time to compare which tiny hole was filled up one year then see if something emerged, then whether it was plugged up again!

    1. Thanks so much. I've noticed over the last couple of days that bees seem to like the azaleas which I'm really pleased about :)

      Not sure now whether we will be planting bumble bee mix this year in the cleared area. My son has reclaimed his childhood garden and gone out and bought beetroot, parsnip and courgette seeds!! OH put plants I bought in other section so think we might add more perennials. Will let you know!! We are having problems with the wildflower "meadow" area as couch grass is taking it over :( So I suspect it will be cleared this autumn and dug over and wildflower seeds (including loads of Yellow Rattle!_) planted next Spring so may keep Bumble Bee mix until then. Will let you know!

      Fascinating to hear about your hubby bee hotel (will check out your blot and catch up on posts on bees). We found that with the bee box we put out a couple of years ago which were used by leaf cutter bees it was difficult to see if anything had emerged although new holes were used last year. There was, however, a parasitic insect lurking which lays eggs in holes used by leaf cutters so it could be leaf cutter bees were parasitised and something else emerged (have never managed to see what does come out!!). Whole thing is fascinating to watch though :) Now OH is retired I might try and persuade him to make a larger bee/insect hotel similar to those you see at NT properties!

      Sorry the above could do with rewording but am in middle of stuffing a sponge with fresh cream and strawberries!

    2. That cake sounds nice.... :-)

      I'll search for the posts on the bee hotel and give you the links here, as if you look at my tags for bees you'd be searching all day!! Couch grass is a pain in the butt, I have a lot of grass in flower beds that I can't get rid of without digging up all the plants and replanting... and that's not going to happen this year.

    3. I found two posts on the bee hotel from 2012 - I have to google my own blog to find the posts!!
      this one from July:
      and this from October:

    4. Hi again Cake now demolished :) Thanks so very much for giving me links to the bee hotel posts. I really apologise as I didn't mean to cause you lots of extra work looking for them - it really is very kind of you. I will work my way gradually as well through your old posts as your garden is so beautiful and the posts exceedingly interesting.

      Couch grass is a real garden enemy :( We planted the widlflower meadow and woodland area about 25 years ago when the children were little and OH didn't have time to continue growing all the fruit and vegetables we used too. Initially, after clearing the area and preparing it we grew a wildflower and wild grass seed mix but there was more grass than we wanted and couch grass started to re-appear! Then it was dug over again and "prepared" and we sowed just widlflower mix (with yellow rattle) which was fine for a few years until the dreaded couch grass appeared yet again and started to take over!! A few years ago OH dug half all over again and re-seeded that part but this year that bit is as full of couch grass as the other. Too late to do much this year and there are still wildflowers left but it makes you wonder if you should dig it over and just plant loads of yellow rattle for the first year. As you say its so difficult to get rid of without digging the whole area over :(

      Thanks so very much again for giving me the links :)

    5. Just been to check your bee hotel posts :) Very interesting posts and a very impressive bee hotel. I really enjoyed reading about your experiences and the bees that used it. Your garden is so lovely with so many gorgeous plants. We have Lavatera here although OH always seems to prune it within an inch of its life! I bought an Astrantia plant last year - and am very much hoping its come up again!

    6. I'm a bit of a plantaholic, but with the veg patch as well it's a lot of hard work keeping it looking tidy, and the weeding and edging that is required. I am managing to pull a few weeds now but poor hubby is doing so much! Glad you enjoyed the bee hotel posts - must admit whilst I cast an eye over it now and again now I'm not really studying what is happening with it and hope that the bees are reusing the holes, but I can't be sure. But you can't keep making/buying a fresh one every year! :-)

    7. Gardens are a lot of hard work - OH seems to be spending all his time out there at the moment! I checked my bee house the other day after talking to you and its difficult to see if anything has emerged from the used holes as with leaf cutter bees the leaves tend to shrivel and die anyway. I tend to notice more when the bees are actually taking stuff in and out!

      I got told off yesterday for buying 2 more plants!! Am trying to persuade OH to create more flower beds where the first large lawn is. We needed it when D and E were little so they could play out there but would love to do more with it now they are grown up.