These past few days of sunshine have envigorated a gardening spirit and I've been pottering, tidying and planning. I'm extending an area which is to be left natural. Last year it was very successful, in terms of wildlife, food for birds and insects. In fact I'm planning altogether to encourage more insects, and help pollinators. Bees and butterflies hibernate in winter, so don't forage when it's truly cold, but I would like to have a few winter-flowering plants that bees can use on warmer days and then offer a regular food source from March to November.
To celebrate the new planned 'insect friendly' garden, I've made some insect mini pots in stone
I need early crocus and some winter aconites to cover the beginning of the year, and then for March and April - violets and cowslips, followed by borage and strawberry. The hedgerow helps, and my apple tree does really well blossom wise - but perhaps a pear would be good as this blossom comes a little earlier. I would love to train a pear along a fence, which would help with shelter and for birds too. My wildflower area last summer was a total loss, so I will re-visit this with hopefully more success. The little pots of lavender, which I grew from seed last year, will be a great help and my gooseberry bushes too are well loved by insects.
Beetle on a mini stone plant pot
My herb bed is always teeming with bees and butterflies, so I will make bigger areas for dill, fennel and parsley and allow the sage and thyme their spread. The mint always romps away, but I might try a different variety as well. Enough to be going on with!
Bronze beetle on a mini stone plant pot
So, they'll have shelter, with my odd pile of stone around, food and water.
Beetles and Bees - Mini stone pots - planted with sempervivums