I must admit to enjoying a bit of gardening. Unfortunately, I don’t spend as much time as I would like pottering around doing gardening stuff like dead heading, planting out new plants, taking cuttings and enjoying the physical effort involved. Some of this is down to work but more often it’s the rubbish English weather on my days off that stop me.
I have been planning and plotting the other side of our front garden for some months now and progress has been slow.
What I want to achieve is a “cottage” garden, which is very relaxed and informal. I think that’s what a garden is all about – somewhere to be relaxed and informal, just like the garden. There is still lots to do. I have 30 odd allium bulbs to plant, daffodils, the big thing you can see in the background in the first few photos with white daisy like flowers is being moved to the centre, there are plants in the back garden I want to move and then once spring has sprung, I’ll fill in gaps and move plants around because it looks like shit with colour clashes all over the place. I want lots of scent so two or three honeysuckles will be added to festoon themselves over the walls. But I’ll enjoy doing it.
Other people prefer a more formal and regulated garden. Good for them. If that’s what they like then I’m not going to criticise them. When it comes to gardens, I firmly believe in “Whatever turns you on.” Want gnomes? As many as you want mate. Nothing but roses? Good for you.
One of the things I also try and do is encourage wildlife into our garden, particularly insects and bees. While I have been known to use weed killer on those pernicious perennial weeds like dandelions, I don’t use pesticides. Pesticides don’t discriminate between good bugs and bad bugs. It’s a bug so it dies. Not a good idea. I try to achieve a natural balance in our garden. Doing so, particularly if you have used pesticides, can take a couple of years and you never actually get rid of every bad bug but you do get levels of infestation that are manageable.
Taking bees aside, I try to encourage hover flies and lady birds into the garden. If you have roses in your garden or grow vegetables and have a problem with aphids, I suggest you do the same.
Ladybirds and their larvae will scoff upwards of 4000 aphids during their life cycle. That’s right! 4000! Hoverfly larvae will each munch their way through several hundred aphids before eventually becoming nectar eating hoverflies. So they are worth encouraging. Both hoverflies and lady birds like to feed on nectar but they need to do so on plants with fairly open flowers. Plants like ox-eye daisies, coreopsis, marigolds and Rudbeckia are ideal. If you’re happy to suffer a few aphids chomping your roses or lettuce, you will notice the difference in the wildlife attracted into your garden. More insects, often means more and different types of birds, hedgehogs, frogs and toads in the garden and that, to my mind, is a good thing. I have had sparrow hawks chasing blackbirds in my garden and that is a sight to behold.
Gardening can also be dangerous. It’s not just the tools like shears, secateurs, strimmers and mowers involved. It’s bloody zombie gardeners!
They’ll stop at nothing to nick all the good stuff in your garden and transfer to their own.
They’ve been known to bump off a gardener or two and they pop up out of nowhere.
I must admit it’s a bit of a pain disposing of a zombie head but, like with slugs and snails, I usually lob them into next doors garden and they have a moan and a groan:
“I bloody told you Chardonnay, them bleedin’ hollyhocks you wanted planted up attract those buggers like flies to a dog dump.”
“Are you sayin’ it’s my bloody fault we always find zombie heads in our garden? How come that bloke next door never gets any?”
“Coz he ain’t got any fuckin’ ‘olly’ocks in his garden you silly cow!”
“Silly cow? You bastard. That’s it! I’m staying round me mums. You can sod off.”
“Oh that’s right. Leave it to me to clear up all the bloody gore and brains again, then take it down the council tip and hope they don’t notice. Thanks a bunch you selfish old moo.”
“Stick it up your bum Terry. I’ve had enough. Where are the car keys………”
All over a bloody stray zombie head. See what I mean? Zombie gardeners are bloody dangerous. Pinch your plants, bury a trowel in your head and cause matrimonial conflict. Bastards.
Finally, a quick message for SDG. I’m afraid the slug deterrent experiment will have to wait until next year now. By the time I got round to trying out the nettle juice and smuggling the hostas out of PILs sight, they had all started to die back and slugs wouldn’t have been interested. Looks like we’ll have to wait until 2016 to make our fortunes.
On that note, it is time for me to leave.
Have a great day.