Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Good news and not so good

OK, the bad(ish) first. We were due to go to Appleby this afternoon for Mr Hairy's acupuncture. This morning he had an iffy tummy and that, combined with heat which feels like 100 degrees in the shade means that the appointment has been cancelled. Shame because he could really have done with the treatment.

The other bad news concerns the runner beans from Mr Photo and the purchased Kale and PSB. None have fared well whilst waiting to be planted in the raised beds. I don't know whether it is slug, mouse or pigeon damage as all three are prevalent at Bag End but the plants are in a dreadful state and I've made the difficult decision to compost-bin the lot. I really don't think they are worth the time and soil-space to try and save them.

The good is that, despite furnace-like temperatures and wall-to-wall sunshine all day, I've achieved quite a lot whilst pottering about from job to job.

Pulled up most of the Goose Grass (cleavers) which was threatening to over-run the comfrey, plus lots that was throttling everything else on the verge between our fence and the lane. That topped up the compost bin quite nicely!

Moved another 4 barrow loads of cow muck to compost heap to cover all the Goose Grass.

Re cut all the grass paths and grassed areas which pretend to be lawn; the clover is still in flower and being much enjoyed by the bees.

Sadly, have seen a couple of dead bees recently. They don't appear to have Varroa Mite so no idea what killed them. In all likelihood, there are probably always a few dead bees around but at the moment we're more aware of it. Of course, eventually bad beekeeping practises and the chemical companies will have killed them all and then we will have to buy genetically engineered crops which do not require bees for pollination.

The mowing regime has had to be altered (again) to take account of the Self-Heal which is just about to flower.

The Forget Me Not plants I pulled up recently had dried nicely so I spread their seed on a bare area, and then cut down the Welsh Poppy and chucked much of its seed around too. In future years I may well regret this because both plants are profligate little buggers and don't really need much help in spreading but whilst we have so few plants at Bag End they will be very welcome.

The best bit of the day came right at the end when I finally started to use one of the raised beds for its intended purpose which is to be a nursery bed for some of the self-seeded lovelies which we find around the garden. So far I have moved some yew, hawthorn and holly. Loads more to dig up and rescue, Bag End hedging in the making! Finally, some quick and temporary cover (greenhouse shading) to protect the plants if tomorrow is as scorching hot as today was.


  1. Oh dear - round one to the pests! My guess would be slugs for the runners, and pigeons for the brassicas.

    You did know that any crops this year would be a bonus, I guess, but frustrating, nonetheless.

  2. The blue self-heal certainly adds a nice colour to the grass, but that heat sounds oh so oppressive.

    Let's hope that the bees are making the most of the clover you've kindly left them, and that next year's nectar bar gives them nectar-overload! Sounds like they need all the help they can get right now.

  3. Thanks Hazel, I think your diagnosis of slugs and pigeons is correct. Yes, it is frustrating but my own fault for not protecting properly - lesson learnt?

    James - sorry I haven't written, maybe you'll be photographing the self-heal and our latest "find" yourself at the weekend?

  4. Lesson learnt I guess with the crops.

    The grass/wild flowers look great. I'm sure the bees appreciate your efforts.

  5. What a nuisance on the plants, not even sure you can take comfort from keeping various wildlife going, I'm not particularly fond of pigeons and can't bear slugs! Nice to see all the other stuff thriving though.

  6. Angela, I hope it helps the bees a little, I am still finding dead ones which is very worrying.

    SewAli, the trouble with feeding all this wildlife is you cannot discriminate against one bird or another but I have bought oven-ready chickens which are smaller than a couple of the pigeons that frequent Bag End. They're so flippin' big I am surprised they can fly!


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