Springing in to Growth

Its now officially spring and so it’s been great to see so many of the bulbs that myself and my little boy planted in our tiny lawn last autumn, are finally starting to come in to flower

Grape Hyacinths, below, are a great addition to any wildlife garden. They are a great source of nectar for early emerging bees and butterflies and now that they seem so well established, after only planting them last autumn, they should keep spreading into our lawn year after year

I didn’t want to plant larger species daffodils in to my tiny bit of lawn as they would have looked out of scale and not very naturalistic in such a small area of grass. After planting these miniature daffodil “Narcissus Canaliculatus” in to the lawn last autumn (with the help of my little boy) , and finally seeing them in flower, I think they were a good choice

My “spring flowering bucket” , brought over with me from my previous home’s “Wildlife Balcony Garden” , has also sprung in to life with small daffodils and grape hyacinths now in flower. Daffodils , grape hyacinths and crocuses are a really good source of pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies which are starting to emerge right now. One advantage of growing bulbs in a bucket or other container is that you can use them to underplant other herbaceous perennials in the same container, which will then eventually emerge and flower after the bulbs have finished flowering. In my spring bucket, below, I have a Bear’s breeches plant which sends up its statuesque spikes of bumble bee attracting flowers a few weeks after the underplanted bulbs have finished blooming

In my hugelcuture raised bed, the wild garlic bulbs which I also planted last autumn, appear to be growing really well with flower buds already starting to emerge from some of them. I’m really looking forward to their fragrant, garlicky scent permeating the garden once their white flowers finally unfold and also in seeing the range of pollinators attracted to them. Depending on how well they establish and spread over the next few seasons , I’m also looking forward to harvesting some of their leaves to make delicious Wild Garlic Pesto at some point in the not too distant future

My lovely Juneberry shrub is also in flower right now and seems to be doing really well in its 90 litre galvanised dustbin “planter”. Great for pollinating bees in the early spring, it will also reward me (and the birds) with delicious blueberry like berries later in the summer. If you have a small garden or yard with very little in the way of soil to plant into , then planting small fruiting shrubs or dwarf rooted fruit trees in to large, galvanised dustbins is both an easy and economical way to add instant wildlife friendly habitat in to your garden, offering pollen and nectar for our pollinating insects and fruit for both yourself and the birds. Its important to drill drainage holes at the base and use good , moisture retentive soil/compost mix as your growing medium. Regular watering in the drier , warmer months is also important though using the left over dustbin lid as a drip tray for the dustbin to sit on can also help with retaining moisture in the bin

Grape Hyacinths and crocuses in flower . Both great sources of nectar for early, emerging bees and which should eventually start to naturalise and spread around the rest of the garden

I was really pleased to see that the Snakes Head Fritillary bulbs we planted last autumn are now starting to flower in the area of rough grass by the mini-wildlife pond . Loved by bumblebees, I’m really hoping that these delicate , nodding beauties eventually start to spread out and multiply in this area.

As you can see from the photo below, my tiny “lawn” was in a dreadful state when I first moved here last January. The addition of these spring flowering bulbs around its edges, chosen for their ability to offer both nectar and pollen to bees and butterflies , has helped to transform this tiny, barren bit of thatch into a valuable and attractive habitat for wildlife in the spring. By setting my lawnmower blades a little higher, I now cut the revived grass so as to allow dandelions and other wild flowers to emerge and flower without having their heads chopped off. This enables it to be used as a lawn for relaxing and playing out on during the summer months whilst also offering sources of nectar and pollen to visiting bees, butterflies and hoverflies. If you haven’t got any bulbs in your lawn, raised beds or other containers already, or want to add more, then why not get planning now and planting this autumn.


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