Tag Archives: hoverflies

Bees and Poppies – A Simple Post

We have been averaging 14-18 poppies each day. They make a good show in the morning but the petals fall by lunch, so they aren’t the best at providing a showy display. On the other hand, they did drift in free of charge. Others, which I have paid for, have failed to prosper. I keep saying I will have another go with the big red oriental ones, but never get round to it. Perhaps I will simply buy some cheap seed and sprinkle it in the gaps between flagstones. We established¬† a massive drift of Californian poppies on the farm by emptying some seed packets onto newly dug earth, so it’s worth a try.

Bee on Welsh Poppy

Bee on Welsh Poppy

There are some wonderful drifts of poppies on the ring road where they are letting the grass grow for the pollinators, with Californian and red poppies. They still have their petals when I drive home, so I’m thinking they may be better than the ones we have which, I think, are Welsh poppies. I always thought the yellow ones were Welsh poppies but when I looked them up I found these were an orange variety. There are yellow ones along the street, one of my gardening clients used to have them, but they don’t seem to have spread this far.

Hoverfly on Welsh Poppy

Hoverfly on Welsh Poppy

At one time we had a lot of marigolds. I was given them by a customer, and they spread well and kept coming back, but then declined over a couple of years. We still have three or four of them, but they are not showing any signs of recolonising the garden. It is strange how some things flourish and others don’t. The alyssum isn’t doing so well either, though I’m fairly sure that is being shaded out by the red valerian. That could be the reason why the marigolds have gone, as they would have been overshadowed by the valerian, which is a real thug of a plant, but I always think of them being tough enough to fight back.

Bee on Red Valerian

Bee on Red Valerian

That’s the trouble with gardening the way we do in the front garden – you get what you’re given, which in our case is red valerian. I’m thinking it might be time to cut some of it back and give other things a chance. The only thing that stops me is that it attracts hummingbird hawkmoths, which are always a pleasure to see.

The last bee is on Red Valerian because it would stay still in the morning when it was on the poppies. By 4pm there were no poppies.

I’m wondering id the black bee is a Field Cuckoo Bumble Bee because of the all black colouring. I’m not sure what else to look for to ID it, or if there are any other similar species. I’m hoping the hoverfly is a Marmalade Hoverfly because I like the name. It’s common round here, according to the ID guide, so I feel safe with that ID.

Marmalade Hoverfly

Marmalade Hoverfly

Good day: rubbish title!

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Interesting day. Weatherwise we had some threatening clouds, a couple of sharp downpours and some sticky interludes. In terms of visitors we had a couple of random cyclists and a group of walkers round so I did a bit of promotion and talked about pizza ovens. Then I had a potential volunteer come to visit. We’ve arranged for her to come back in a few weeks time and she’s said she’s happy to help with some gardening, despite seeing the effort that will be needed. I’m not sure whether to be happy or worry about her sanity. I must say that the prospect of some help has lightened my mood a little.

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This week has really seen the butterflies emerge. We’ve also had plenty of bees and today we had hoverflies. It’s nice when a plan works out and people have been commenting on the number of pollinators we’re attracting so we must be doing something right.

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We have a plan for some mini-ponds now. We’ve always had the idea in mind but it’s taken some time to find out how to build something we’ll be happy with. This week we had an email from ¬†Mark Ridsdill Smith¬†detailing exactly the sort of pond we’re aiming for. We have various plastic containers, gravel, rocks and rain water so that’s about it – no excuses now.