When I was young, I had Alice in Wonderland on LP with Frankie Howerd. At one point Alice sings the following line, which seems to always be playing in my subconscious juke-box.
“Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are such an awful bore.”
The Mock Turtle then goes on to tell Alice about the four branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.
This week has felt like I have done a lot of reading, multiplying of plants and a lot of plant dividing! Plus I’ve had ambitious plans and been responsible for the uglification of my Hostas, Yarrow and Geums.
Reading about Wildlife Gardening
I’ve been devouring Kate Bradbury’s “The Wildlife Gardener” which is brilliant. I’ve then stalked her on Twitter to try and glean even more wisdom from her!
It’s the first wildlife gardening book that actually goes into the nitty gritty of inviting in insects and wildlife. Plus it goes beyond putting up a cheap bug box or bird food but how to attract lesser known, and not as friendly animals too.
I’ve got the kids intrigued about building a hoverfly lagoon. Kate gives you step by step details about how to make this stagnant lagoon out of grass and leaf mould, so that will be the weekend plans.
I’m also excited to try a solitary bee house and add in another mini pond somewhere.
Increasing biodiversity – multiplying my plants
I usually stick to plants I know or I’m familiar with, but I know it’s important to increase biodiversity in our gardens. So I’ve made a conscious effort to get a more species-rich garden to attract different insects.
That’s why I’ve branched out this week with Tree Peonies, Asters and Foxgloves.
I’ve multiplied my stock of Red Hot Poker varieties, adding in Kniphofia ‘Alcazar’ and Kniphofia ‘Royal Standard.’
Plus a new addition to my very small fern collection, Polystichum setiferum (Divisilobum Group) ‘Herrenhausen’ which has lovely lacy leaves.
I also want to add in a few more wildflowers, but I’m giving them a fighting chance by sowing a few from seed in seed trays first.
I’ve not had much luck with wildflowers. I’ve scattered the seeds expecting miracles, but I now realise that it’s because I’ve been too impatient, expecting a meadow full of rainbow flowers immediately.
In actual fact, I was ignoring the conditions that wildflowers actually like:
- Soil that is not very fertile
- Not too much competing vegetation
- Rattle – yellow rattle is a parasite to grass and stops the grass from growing which gives your wildflowers a chance to establish
Last year I planted a grass bank full of rattle seeds, which established really quickly. This year I’m hoping other wildflowers will come through. I’ve also added in some white clover.
We saw some amazing examples of public spaces using verges to grow wildflowers. Like this plot in the middle of Portrush.
Hillsborough Castle Gardens also had a beautiful meadow at the back of their walled kitchen garden. You can see in the video all the rattle seeds waiting to distribute for next year.
I’ve also been dividing up a lot of plants to make even more!! Who doesn’t like free plants?
Plants that I’ve divided:
- Achillea (Yarrow)
I adore hostas, but they require the most brute force to cut.
I watched Monty Don divide up his Hostas into pizza wedges and tried to do the same with mine but it was like slicing through rock. I eventually managed to get it sliced in half after much cursing.
What are you up to in your gardens this week?