Updates & Insects

 Alpine strawberries really go the distance compared to normal ones – my ‘Cambridge Favourite’ plants only have a few late fruit clinging to them but my little alpines (‘Mignonette’) are still bursting with tiny, sweet, aromatic fruit.  Not on that, but they’re also still flowering! I was getting handfuls of these little things into September last year and I’m hoping for the same again.  Another great thing about these tiny, tasty plants is that they don’t produce runners – so unlike my other strawberries I’m not having to check every week for sneaky attempts to invade the rest of the veg patch.

The container garden is maturing a little – there are now fewer potatoes (3 bags have been harvested) and the older nasturtiums are starting to look a little ragged as they go into seed production mode.  Since I want seeds as both food and for next year’s ‘crop’ I’m happy to let them go.  The gladioli are throwing up flower spikes, though none have opened yet, the buddleja are starting to grow again after a midsummer break, and there have been a few additions – some little Dahlias and a spectacular, if still small, Acer.

There are a few species of plants I’ve wanted for a while and this is one of them – and about the only tree which is likely to fit in such a little garden ;)  Andy picked the type – ‘Butterfly’, which is a lovely green, yellow and red-edged variety.  I think it’s a rather beautiful little thing and it’ll stand out nicely versus our red fence where a red one would just fade into the background.  I aim to plant it in the half-barrel where the larger gladioli are currently residing, but until then it’s hiding in a terracotta cachepot.

The tomatoes are going strong – I’ve thinned out a few branches to allow for better airflow and to stop a few of them resting against the condensation-damp sides.  The nasturtiums are enjoying being planted alongside them, it seems, and with being planted so much later than the others, will hopefully give a little bit of colour in a few weeks.

Finally, the ‘miscellaneous brassicas’ rescued when my greenhouse fell over are showing their ‘true colours’.  I have one purple sprouting broccoli (hooray!), one cauliflower and two cabbages all growing happily side-by-side.

One thing I’ve really noticed a lot this year is the increased traffic of wildlife in the garden – mainly insects of course.  Above are a hoverfly, spider and tiny bee taking advantage of the flowers and shade given by my garden plants – all of which are all sitting on what was bare patio or slate-stone when we moved in.  I don’t know if I’ve noticed more bees this year or less, but I’ve certainly seen more varieties of bees.  I can’t be sure if it’s just that I’m recognising more of them, now, or if there is actually a wider range, but it’s really nice to see so many little critters buzzing around hard at work.  Unfortunately there are also a tonne of earwigs, woodlice, ants and scale insects alongside slugs and snails – I can only hope that the nesting birds and ladybugs make inroads on those as my poor turnips are starting to look a bit ragged =(  Oddly, all of my aphid problems are indoor!

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