Greenfingers - May 2017

Whilst taking a very short break in between mowing, digging and potting-on, I noticed an odd looking insect that looks like a bee hovering over the lawn (photo). Some research revealed that it is not a bee, but a large bee-fly (Bombylius Major) which flicks its eggs into the nests of bumble bees. By looking like a bee, it is able to approach the nests without being attacked, and presumably, it was hanging around the garden looking out for passing bumble bees to follow. The bee-fly larvae eat the bumble bee food supplies and larva, but their up-side is that the adults do pollinate plants whilst drinking nectar through their impressive proboscis.

BeeflyThe digging is associated with the removal of a bed along the ‘dog-path’. This bed is under a hedge of Leylandii conifers, and although the bed has a block wall at the back, and was lined, plants in the bed failed to thrive. The timber palisade at the front has also seen better days, so we’ll replace the bed with pots of nasturtium and clematis, and see how they manage.

Some plants and cuttings have been potted up to sell at the next Gardening Club talk on 15th May, and at the Open Garden event on 2nd July, for which a few more gardens would be welcome, particularly around the town centre and in Besbury, as this would provide 3 centres – Holcombe Glen, Town Centre and Besbury. It’s in aid of the Minchinhampton Holy Trinity Church 6Ps campaign and Horsfall House. Please let me know if you are able to help on 883611 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The moon will be full on 10th May, and if the sky is clear, this provides an opportunity to hunt for slugs and snails when they are active after nightfall. But you don’t have to wait for a full moon, use a torch to find them, and protect tender and tasty young plants with wood ash, sharp gravel and copper strips.

Pete Smith