Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Attracting Beneficial Insects to the Plot

Feverfew with the parsnips
For all you veggie growing purists out there my veg garden will come as a bit of a shock.  It is a bit of a mish-mash with flowers growing in amongst the veg.  But there is a reason why it has ended up like this.  At the beginning of the year I mentioned that I was going to leave a strip around the edge of the plot where I would be planting wild flowers in the hope of attracting more insects and bees.  Well, my first attempt came to nought.  The seed that I sowed was either demolished by slugs or didn't germinate because of the cold weather.  So I started again and grew the seed in the greenhouse before planting out.  This time my venture was a little more successful.
Poppies and Phacelia in amongst the onions
Sweet William where I saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth feeding last week
Pot Marigolds at the edge of the cabbage patch
Mallow and Corncockle still waiting to flower
Teasles
Plantains
Runner bean flowers
Runner bean flowers
Runner bean flowers
Courgette flowers
Day lilies
Cosmos
Not quite sure what this is ?
Clematis - variety unknown
I usually have a patch on the plot for cutting flowers - but the sweet peas are only slowly coming into flower and the sunflowers haven't opened yet, as for the Zinnias - well, they haven't moved since I planted them - so they are a failure.  But on the whole, my plan has come to fruition fairly well - except there aren't many beneficial insects about because of the constant rain.      SLUGS DON'T COUNT AS BENEFICIAL - AND THERE ARE PLENTY OF THOSE!!!!!

36 comments:

  1. Really nice. I have Marigolds, and have just noticed that the Cosmos and Zinnias of previous years have self sown and are popping up again. Otherwise it's courgette and pumpkin flowers chez Cro.

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    1. The patch of Sweet Williams are self-sown which is great - saves me a lot of work.

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  2. Elaine, you have a beautiful plot.
    I like to have a row of sweet peas growing on cordons edgeing the side of one of the veg beds. Violas edging the front, marigolds, foxgloves & poppies have self self seeded throughout the growing veg. The fruit plot is combined with flowers anyway. It just makes it look more brighter doesn't it.

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    1. Yes it certainly does - can't wait for the sweet peas and sunflowers to get going now - the sun we have had today might help a bit.

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  3. I agree with you that flowers most definitely have a place on the vegetable plot. I have lupins, sweet williams, marigolds, lavender, alliums, sweet peas, nasturtiums, and borage. The marigolds and nasturtiums are there in an attempt to detract pests away from the veg, but the rest are there purely because I think they look lovely! The fact that the bees love them is an extra bonus.

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    1. My nasturtiums didn't re-seed this year - the seed probably rotted in all the rain - the more variety the better for flowers mixed in with the veg.

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  4. We like to have flowers on our plot too but beware we once grew teasel and it seeded and became a real nuisance.

    Is the yellow flower an annual chrysanthemum?

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    1. I'll make sure I remove the seed heads of the teasel before they dry - thanks for the tip Sue - no the yellow flower is a corn marigold I have just found out, went to Hidcote Manor Gardens today and they have a wildflower meadow full of them - I can wait for mine to spread now.

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    2. We've visited Hidcote and loved it. I took loads of photos that are on my website under places to visit if you want to compare notes. Our visit was during September.

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    3. Hi Sue - I don't think Hidcote was looking its best for our visit - the rain had ruined all the roses and a lot of plants were bent and broken. Seems they are having the same problems as the rest of us.

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  5. The Sweet William is really colourful and the pot marigold with the cabbage looks great. I enjoy mixing flowers and veg as well. Makes things a bit more interesting too.

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    1. It certainly makes for a more colourful veg garden - the sweet williams are fantastic - I have been cutting them like crazy for the house - but it is all the better for them being self-seeders from last year.

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  6. Hi Eileen,

    Is the mystery yellow bloom a Corn Marigold ?

    I love your planting....I am not purist in any way shape or form :)

    My father used to plant flowers and veggies together, typical cottage garden planting. I suppose I grew up with that. I love the fact that you have used wildflowers.....great idea.

    I have never seen so many slugs....I have frogs, hedgehogs etc in the garden, but I still have more than i like. The hosta look like lace, a first for me.

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    1. Yes Cheryl you are right about it being a Corn Marigold I found that out when visiting a wild meadow garden at Hidcote today. I think planting flowers and veg together is an old-fashioned idea that is being brought into practice again - not before time.

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  7. Looking good hun! Such a shame the weather isn't being very nice to all our lovely bees and ladybirds. So darned chilly, I had the heating on yesterday!! My crop is looking quite feeble. Hope you have more success down there! xx

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    1. Some things are doing okay others are rubbish - it's just one of those years where we have to be grateful for what little we can harvest.

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  8. It looks great. I love to see flowers mingling with veg, and the veg will be well pollinated when you're bringing in the insects with those gorgeous flowers.

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    1. They seem to have been few and far between this year Jo it would be nice if the weather gave them a chance to appreciate what I am trying to do for them.

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  9. It all looks lovely. I never have any success sowing straight into the ground either and my sunflowers just refused to grow. I love your clematis. xx

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    1. I think I'll just stick to growing in the greenhouse in future. I think the Clematis was just a cheapo from Wilko's.

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  10. It all looks great, and that's what I do. I thought for a moment that the pot marigold and poppy picture was mine!
    I've got a handful of sunflowers on the way which are self-seeded ones, the rest all got slugged.

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    1. I lost all the dwarf sun flowers but managed to hang on to half a dozen tall ones which are not far off flowering - can't blame them for not wanting to open to all this rain.

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  11. So pretty Elaine - you've inspired me to grow sweet william to cut for the house next year. Those pesky slugs are monsters this year!

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    1. They are really good value - they flower forever in the garden and last for weeks in a vase and they smell divine - what more could you want.

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  12. What a beautiful mix of colour you have there, Elaine. I have marigolds among the toms, nasturtiums are winding their way around inside the edge of the tunnel with a few sweet william dotted around in there too. I put a dainty row of dark blue trailing lobelia at the edge of the outside parsnip and leek bed. A row of dwarf sunflowers stand guard outside the "Sheebeen" and some are near flowering. With the dull weather all this colour gives one's spirit a lift.

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    1. I think we all need our spirits lifting at the moment - flowers do it for me no question

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  13. Sweet William were my favourite flower to grow growing up as a child in the UK, my Dad let me have my own bed and that was all I chose to grow, lovely perfume and colours.

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    1. How sweet - I grow them every year and am never disappointed.

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  14. A lovely bright mix of colours Elaine. The Teazels down my plot (from 1 plant last year) are quite prolific. The Feverfew is very good at attracting pollinators. The Victorians used to keep them in pots and move them around their veggies to ward off toads?? Can't see why.

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    1. I'll know what to do if I get a plague of toads then.

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  15. First Feverfew and now Sweet Williams, you're educating me! Wouldn't have thought of adding those but they're very pretty. My self sown sunflowers are loving all this rain. I had so many pop up from last year that I've had to thin them out. They've grown at least a foot in the last week, I can't see the tops anymore. It seems to be all or nothing in the veg patch this year; at least I've got my broad beans and hope to dig up some taters this weekend if it stops raining long enough. I really need a greenhouse, it's the way the progress in this weather.

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    1. I lost one batch of sunflowers and the ones I managed to save were weak and spindley for ages - now like yours they have taken off - maybe we should call them rain flowers instead.

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  16. I have trouble growing wildflowers by direct sowing. Like you, I have to go to the effort of starting the plants off, then planting them out, but it's well worth the trouble. I love sweet williams - they always make me smile. The courgette flower and day lily flowers made me do a double-take! I thought you had planted a decorative courgette and I wanted one too!

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    1. It drives me mad when I see gardening programmes where they direct sow and get great results - no such luck for me.

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  17. Love your garden Elaine with its lovely mixture of flowers...now so hot here today and I can’t quite believe it as I’ll have to water everything this evening!!

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    1. One extreme to the other eh - you can't win with gardening!

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