Saturday, 4 May 2013

bugs and bees

A great week for bees, with the 2 year EU moratorium on neonicotinoidal pesticides. I was mowing part of my lawn (I do it in stages to give frogs and wild flowers a chance), when I saw a couple of bees on the fruit trees. Only a couple mind.

Last year was poor for fruit trees, I think the blossom was rained and blown off before the pollinators had a chance to do their work. We've had some sunny weather, and my Pear tree seems to be blossoming late, the cherry is in full flower, and the apples are catching them up. I hope there are enough bees around to visit all the flowers.

With a small urban garden, though I am strictly organic, I am at the mercy of what my neighbours do when it comes to pesticide and other influence on bees etc, which is why I personally am pleased at the EU decision. (as well as the wider impacts on colony collapse and agriculture). Sadly in a domestic setting the stocks in a single bottle may outlast the short term ban, but hopefully the gap will create some scientific evidence as compared with countries outside the EU which carry on using neonicotinoids.

And so to bugs, or rather slugs. My lawn is full of Dandelions, which I try and fork out before mowing, and risking spreading the broken leaves to re-root (I am sure this is just because my mother dealt with them this way).  A week ago I pulled one dandelion out, and left it by mistake on the lawn. So when I came to clear the shrivelled remains today, two things struck me (that I have seen before). Firstly, all the flowers had turned to seeds - how does it do that ? clearly an advanced panic reaction to preserve the next generation, or at least give it a chance. And secondly, there were loads of small slugs gathered around. They really are good clearance agents for the lazy gardener, Whilst I hate them taking my seedlings (or as currently eating my coriander and parsley in the greenhouse), I mostly stick them on the compost heap to help create new soil or maybe provide birds with some food.

Pleased that there are coal tits in residence in one of the bird boxes on the back of the house. I wasn't sure whether it was too exposed to be useful, but it is certainly out of reach of the far too many cats around here. Sadly the robins that were obviously feeding in a different box have stopped, and I fear our cat took the fledgeling.