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.
The 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.
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.