Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Time to bee friendly

IT’S amazing how much wildlife three average-sized planters on your back yard patio can deliver.

I’ve always had a soft spot for lavender; its scent is heavenly and the sight of a lavender bush in full bloom and smothered with bees is surely one to gladden the heart.

But this year I wanted to try insect-friendly thyme in one of its many guises and marjoram, the latter an aromatic herb in the mint family.

Both have proved a huge success and, as we trug through the sunny days of August, the marjoram has finally come into its own.

It is spilling over the pots in profusion and attracting all kinds of pollinating insects, including a variety of different bees and butterflies.

This morning it was rewarding to sit in the early morning sun and watch the constant stream of delicately winged visitors to these delicious flowers.

I’ve grouped a couple of the marjoram pots together along with a small pot of strawberry scented mint, with its delicate spikes of lilac-coloured flowers, which the insects equally love.

The thyme plant was at its best a few weeks before so, after its tiny flowers had finally spent themselves, I trimmed it all right back, hoping maybe for a second burst early in the autumn.

Indeed, it is already sprouting lots of new growth and looks like it will flower a second time, though probably not as profusely as its initial display.

The planters themselves have required minimal preparation and looking after, apart from a regular water on hot days and the occasional drop of liquid plant feed.

I started out with just one small plant in each pot but reckon by next spring they can all be split to at least double my tally for next year.