Sunday 31 May 2015

Down With The Bees

Yesterday making the most of the sunshine
 I went down to the bee hives to see how they are getting on,
This was me investigating the Top Bar Hive
Top bar hives the bees build there own comb to the shape of the hive, there was plenty of brood cells and the colony seems to building well, they were capping off honey on some of the frames in this hive, they were only a small colony last year when we moved so its yet undecided if we will take a harvest from them this year.
Martin didn't suit up as he was manning a bonfire so there are no close up photos of the bees and its extremely difficult to man a camera in those thick gloves.
The national hive when I checked it had some queen cells
This is one of the queen cells, they are shaped like a peanut and hang down from the comb, this wasn't the comb I took it from I put it on here so you can see it clearly, I removed all the queen cells I found, to try and prevent the bees from swarming, if left to produce a new queen the older queen will go off with half the workers and form a new colony, although sometimes the old queen kills of new hatching queens, swarming depletes the hives.
The area were we have the hives is were the fruit trees are and we allow the grasses and wild flowers to grow, this area will remain wild.
I don't use a smoker while doing the hives unless I was doing something really intrusive, the bees remain calm and its all done nice and calmly and quiet so as not to agitate them.

I finished the path in the poly tunnel yesterday
I have laid the path with ash and cinders from the Rayburn, it didn't cost anything and makes a nice firm walking surface.

Thank you for all the comments on Kara's passing, she has been laid to rest in the woodland we are planting up amongst Kev's willow and Amy's maples and her grave has been planted up with wild garlics and wild flower seeds scattered on top, we are so glad we have Sol.
He has settled in lovely

Saturday 30 May 2015

Urban Foxes

The other day I found out that animal do gooders have released some urban foxes into the forest, these foxes are trapped in urban areas and released into the countryside to prevent them being destroyed, what a stupid thing to do, these people have no consideration for the well being of animals at all. The same day I had just finished doing the animals in the morning when the alpacas started alarm calling so I went to see what was setting them off.
A fox in the next field, 

These photos I took from about 20ft away at 9-30 in the morning, I had walked through 3 fields with it looking at me and it was no put off by my being there at all.
I am thinking this is one of the urban foxes, it seems they come out during the day and are not put off by humans or dogs.
I even managed to do a short video of it
now we are on regular fox patrol and it will be dispatched.

Thursday 28 May 2015

Saying Goodbye

The time has come to goodbye to Kara, 
I just want to leave you with some photos of some of the good times Kara has enjoyed in her retirement,  although its only been 8 months Kara brought us a lot of happiness and joy.

She will be missed, we know we are making the right decision on Kara's behalf, it has been a privilege to have had Kara with us.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Time For Cuttings

Its the time of year to take soft wood cuttings, I snipped a few bits of the Blueberry bushes
They have been popped in a pot of compost and covered with a propagator lid to keep the humidity up this helps the cuttings take, cuttings will always wilt to start with in a few days any that haven't perked up I will take out. I will have a good look around to see what else I can take cuttings from, I might have to speak nicely to my neighbour C senior and see if I can have a few bits from her Hydrangea.
Last month I took a chance  and took some cuttings off the old Blackcurrant bush in the garden
I had to move them as they were pushed into the ground were I wanted to plant the pumpkins as you can see they have roots now formed, all 10 cuttings have taken. Ideally you should take cuttings after fruiting. It was a chance and it has paid off.
Here is a list of what you can take cuttings from at the moment
Busy Lizzie
added to that list should be Tomatoes, when pinching out the side shoots if you pop them into a pot of compost they will root, you will get a later harvest also ideal for a crop of green tomatoes.
Taking cuttings is an ideal way of filling your garden for free.

Monday 25 May 2015

It Was Love At First Sight

Today we paid a visit to Farmyard Nurseries, what a wonderful place and only up the road from us as well, I spotted this and couldn't resist
What a handsome fella he is and I have just the place in mind for it
I consider it a bargain £39.99, I am now considering getting another one.
I love plants with large foliage and even better when they become large plants,
 this is another plant I purchased
Here it is growing in situ in the nursery
Stunning plant and lovely varigated markings 
Here are a few more plants I picked up

There is an area ear marked for these and I am working on it at the moment.
The Farmyard Nursery has a lovely woodland walk these areas I hope to incorporate in some way into my garden

If you are ever in the area pop in and visit them its a fantastic place and has a lovely little tea room in a log cabin that serves home made cake.
Its off the beaten track down a single lane road, the verges are full of wild flowers and Aqueliga
 and you pass through a farmyard with a very inventive recycled post box.
I will be returning very soon :-)

Thursday 21 May 2015

Five On Friday

I have spent the week watching Chelsea Flower Show getting lots of ideas and inspiration, our edible garden is all up and running now so at last I can concentrate on pretty garden now.
I love plants with strong architectural shapes, I love exotic looking plants with big leaves, I also like formal gardens and blousey flowing cottage gardens, so I plan to intermingle all of that together,
I brought plants with me and now they are all getting planted.
For my five on Friday this week I want to share some of the plants that helping me shape the garden.

1- This is my cup of tea corner
Sedums and Thyme
House leeks and Agave that I have grown from a baby brought back from Gozo

more House Leeks planted into a rotten log

2- Trees 
I love trees of all shapes and sizes Pam spotted this one that has been with me for some years
I think it an Abies Fir but I could be wrong
Acer's I love the shape of the leaves and the colours, this tree I have had for 24 years now.

3 More Unusual
A new carnivorous plant to add to my collection
Another new one a tiny carnivorous pitcher with stunning markings.

4- Container Plantings

I do like containers and every year I say I am cutting back, I have hanging baskets to put up and containers of all shapes and sizes to add splashes of colour.

5- Borders
My borders are looking sparse at the moment they are work in progress, I have planted 100 Lily bulbs, 
These Lily's I brought with me I have added to the collection
This Peony has come too although will not flower this year
I dug up 50 Aliums to bring they are just starting to bloom
 The Herb border is coming on great and was all brought with me.
This border out the front of the cabin will be my shady corner filled with ferns and hellebore's and the Acer trees will be planted here

The garden will fill up a lot over the coming years so this is just a small snap shot of what is going on.

Many thanks to Amy for organising Five on Friday.