Tag Archives: water

OK, Slugs. Do I have to buy a BB gun?

New garden and home. Lots of hope for a new life. So slugs, when are you going to let something grow? I know it’s wet, but the ravages at the moment are destroying basil in the greenhouse, dahlias, and my second lot of runner beans. Torches, slug collections, copper tape, collars smeared in vaseline, nothing seems to work. I’m sure I can’t be the only one. So I’m frustrated enough to have remarked, while buying a white Agapanthus, that I was off to buy a BB gun. Do you blame me? Only joking of course, but really, wildlife should leave my runners alone. They can nibble at other things, but I need to eat, too!

Container with bee friendly plants. Marguerite, lobelia and verbena (still in bud)

Soooo, I’ve relented and used a FEW slug pellets in the greenhouse where I can gleefully collect dead bodies before hedgehogs get anywhere near them. Thankfully I’ve found frogs and toads in the garden, but even they couldn’t manage the slug I found earlier this week. It had a body the size of a mouse!

On the plus side, I’ve now got tomatoes ripeningĀ  and peppers growing quite strongly inside the greenhouse. I also had room for a couple of courgette plants in a grow bag, so I’ve kept them in there this year. Normally I’d expect to have them outside, but the weather or slugs would prevent a decent crop and I’m taking no chances.

Sweet Williams and Snapdragons in the new border

Containers on the patio are now starting to flower, I’ve had visits from bees and the new border is beginning to come to life. So despite the slugs, some progress is being made. We have three rain barrels up and running (overflowing this summer) so there’s been no need to run the tap for the greenhouse and I don’t have to carry heavy cans down to it. My partner did a nifty connection to the greenhouse barrel, as we couldn’t source the correct connection. He siliconed into the gutter a pipe which is fashioned to feed the water straight into the barrel, and overnight it was half full.

Herbs are doing well, too. I can now make a full bouquet garni fresh whenever I want one. Parsley, sage rosemary, thyme and bay are all growing strongly. Too tasty and astringent for slugs! I’ve added some wildflowers and good bee plants to the borders, including Jacob’s Ladder, doronicum and Welsh poppies. The bees seem to like the tiny flowers of my dark purple heuchera and the large-flowered blue clematis, too! I’ve spotted white-tailed bumble bees, honey bees, buff tailed bumblebees and a couple of other species I don’t know the names of. This summer, I’m glad to see them at all. Naturally, there haven’t been many butterflies around, but when I have seen any, they’ve been small common blues, a cabbage white and a fritillary. Birds have been grateful for feeding them, and have made extensive use of the food I put out, especially when the rain has been heavy.

Newly planted alpine trough

It’s not all about conservation. I’ve also been renovating my alpine sinks. I’ve turned old Belfast sinks and polystyrene boxes into troughs for them, as I’ve always adored them. Now I have space for more! There have to be some things in this garden that are just purely for pleasure, and these are one of my indulgencies. What do you indulge yourself with in the garden?

Squirrel thief charms my garden

I woke this morning and as usual took my coffee through to the conservatory and peered out of the window. It’s raining, again, but there on my bird feeder was another visitor. We’ve seen this squirrel around before, but he’s never sat for half an hour helping himself to a bird food in such a blatant way. Local ecology in action! It’s a good job we like all our garden wildlife. He’s a charming little chap! I took the photo through the window, from about 20 metres away, but it seems to have come out quite well.

squirrel thief

squirrel thief

The second he ran off all the birds descended from the apple tree just behind the feeder and in glorious full bloom and the moment.

We’ve had, like a lot of the country, the heaviest rain in a long time. Water, water everywhere! On Sunday my weather station registered 1 3/4″ of the stuff in 24 hours. Of course we need it, and our gardens will benefit greatly. That was a lot of rain all at once, though. We’re fortunately not on a flood plain! Also fortunately, this soil seems to be very well-drained, as yesterday I was actually able to go out and use my new mower for the first time, so the rough grass has had a haircut.

If you need a mower, choose an electric model, as petrol ones are much less energy-efficient, and of course petrol is rocketing in price. You can do without the extra expense! Plus petrol mowers are three times heavier than electric ones. If, like me, you want a natural, rambling look to your garden and care for the wildlife, you only need a hover mower. This will trim the grass, but not give you stripes and a perfect finish. As we don’t want that, hover was the obvious choice.

The rain has now delayed my greenhouse build three times. At the moment I can barely get into my conservatory for towering tomato plants and seedlings that should by now be planted up in the greenhouse, but what can I do? Hopefully this rain will die out by the end of the week and I’ll finally see a glass house I can use instead of a potential swimming pool!

No Butts – There’s a drought on!

With this announcement of drought restrictions this summer it looks as though we’d all better take care of what water there is. Not only should we be saving as much as we can in the home, but in the garden where hose pipe bans may mean the difference between a crop growing well or not, water butts will be essential.

drought water butt

Water butt ready for guttering

We’ve just put a new shed in our garden, and have bought guttering to run round it for extra rain collection. It will be fitted very soon. We raised the shed up from the ground to extend its life and left extra space at the end to ensure the water butt is raised and I can easily obtain any water we collect for my precious vegetables.

The greenhouse will also be fitted with a water-butt, and there is already one gathering rain from the house. So, we should be able to avoid turning on a hose pipe!

Inside the house, we have reduced the number of times we flush, make sure the dishwasher and washing machine are always fully loaded before running them and shower rather than bath. Taps are never left running, not even when brushing our teeth or cleaning vegetables. We all need to take care. Not only are supplies low, but rivers are actually drying up or their ecology being damaged by the lack of water flowing through them.

For more information on the drought restrictions now in force or imminent, click here