Wednesday, 20 April 2011

GBBD, Updates & RHS advice/warning on holiday cuttings

Garden captures were made from my garden on the 15th of the month to join others celebrating blooms that day. Perhaps it was fortunate I was late with my posting as yesterday a Press Release came in from the RHS which I’d like to pass on.

The RHS are concerned about
the risk of holiday makers travelling overseas bringing back cuttings (with potentially new diseases) and suggest seeds are a much safer option. You can read the full Press Release further down this post.



Back garden, Pieris & Rhododendron



Briefly going back to my garden on April 15th shows everything was just alive with new growth. I do love this time of year. Following on from my previous posting about the Cuckoo flower we’ve also been enjoying Wood anemones, Fritillaries and native Primroses flowering in my garden which are blending wonderfully with other plants. They have been with us for a few years now.




Back garden, Wood Anemone, Fritillary & Primrose



Red Campion has successfully seeded itself around two areas of my garden including the area below. No probs for germination with this plant then. A tidy up in this area at the weekend had some temporary lifted and potted up. I’ll come back to this area in a future posting but just to say a few cuckoo flowers and some primroses have a new home here. I’m loving the transformation :-)


Back garden, behind gate, area under tidy-up



Coming back to garden wildlife, sadly we’ve still had no signs of passing hedgehogs. Although, the camera in my feeding station (Hedgehog Manor) isn’t showing images just now as I cut through the cable during a pruning session nearby. Oops… making enquiries about getting a replacement cable.


Back garden, green/yellow buds on dwarf rhododendron



Re nestbox activity in the garden, not much to report there either. We still have a rooster Blue tit in the nestbox with a B&W camera which is pretty untidy with droppings after it being used throughout winter. Some moss has appeared in it though. In contrast we have a brand new clean and colour cam nestbox that I have agreed to trial for someone ready and waiting for tenants. :-)


Back garden, grass mound, cuckoo flowers open



Previously, Blackbirds were spotted collecting nesting material from around my plants but now an egg shell has been spotted at the bottom of my hedge so I guess there are chicks hatched somewhere nearby. Last week it was the turn of Starlings to collect nesting material. Two Starlings were spotted collecting material alongside each other. I wonder if it was a pair.

Looking up my book I see that nest material is largely collecting by the male Starling. I didn’t know that. He also builds the nest too which is a rough nest of grass and stems. I love this… it seems the male Starling likes to decorate his nest too with green leaves and flower petals!

Nice… although there is a good reason behind this nest decoration. He picks his decorative plants that have Insecticidal properties which probably protects the nest by killing parasites. I have heard that a number of birds will do this with different plants. I wonder how they know which plants to collect.


Back garden, tiny white flowers brighten space under tree



Nature is fascinating isn't it? We can make just a few changes in planting and can help things along too. I’m thinking now about the plight of the Bumble bee in particular.

Just as I did with bird feeders (scattering them around my garden so birds passing through on different flight paths find them) I am now doing the same with plants in the hope that more bees and butterflies will find my garden as a stopover instead of a fly through.


Back garden, Christmas rose hellebore gone to seed



I’m thrilled to say that it seems to be working in my partially shaded back garden. I’ve seen a few bumble bees feeding and appearing to be looking out for a new home. There seems to be one particular spot in a rock cave around my small pond that is getting regular visits.


Back garden, Geum showing flower buds



Also, the area getting the tidy up (mentioned above) is seeing a lot of interest too. I fear that perhaps one particular bee visiting there was interested in the hay protection over my Gunnera and I have just removed it so the plant can grow. I am finding it visiting all the time here especially in the evening when I am trying to continue clearing.

The ceramic Bumble bee nester was moved over to this area to help this bee out which seems very flighty in this area. I know nothing about bees behaviour but I might guess this is a queen in a panic trying to find a place to lay her eggs and it looks like I wrecked her plans. Oops.


Back garden, around pond, early Meconopsis flower



However on the flip side of my interference in this area bees can now get better access to the hellebore flowers that bob about furiously as this buff tail bumble feeds on them. I’m hoping these plants have enough clear ground now to self-seed and spread along with the primroses, cuckoo flowers and other wildflowers I could add here.

As the saying goes “You’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelette” and I’m pretty confident this area will be an oasis for passing bees in a short time. The other side of the fence is open and sunny with catmint and other plants that are very popular with bees over the summer months too. Time will tell. This will be an interesting area to watch.


Front garden, Narcissi Ice Follies, dried up in the sunshine.
Gravel covered area awash with alliums seeding around.
Can’t wait for flower buds to open :-)



So that’s the garden watching update over for the moment. Let’s come back again to RHS advice/warning for gardeners travelling overseas over the coming holidays. It does make a lot of sense to me being someone that has had the New Zealand Flatworm in my garden for many years. I find very few earthworms when I'm gardening :-(

Just one last thing, if you are going away for a few days, I'd like to wish you a safe journey and a good time :-D


PRESS RELEASE BY RHS, 19 April 2011:

Don’t Risk It

"The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Advisory Service is asking anyone travelling overseas for their spring break not to bring back plant cuttings, even if the plant looks healthy.

The UK’s foremost gardening charity is concerned that if UK holiday-makers take cuttings from plants that catch their eye they may run the risk of bringing in a new pest or disease. In most years the RHS detects two or three new plant diseases and pests from samples submitted to its science department for analysis. Some, like the Fuchsia Gall Mite and Horse Chestnut Leaf Mining Moth, have become established and have the potential to spoil millions of plants.

“We don’t want to be kill-joys,” says Guy Barter, Head of the RHS Advisory Service. “But we do know of some gardeners who, on seeing a plant that is new to them, take cuttings and bring them home. Unfortunately this increases the risk of new diseases or pests being imported. Seeds are, on the other hand, much safer.”

The advice from the RHS is that holiday-makers should buy seeds instead of taking cuttings. In general UK citizens are allowed to bring back up to five packets of seeds from recognised commercial growers.

“There are a number of different ways that new pests and diseases could potentially reach our shores,” says Guy. “They can, for example, arrive on aircraft, on timber with its bark still on and perhaps through commercial imports of plant stocks, although stringent precautions are in place to make sure this does not happen. It is feasible that holiday-makers, bringing fresh plant material home, could inadvertently import a new pest or disease or even weeds. So with everyone getting ready for their holidays we thought we should remind people of the risk they take when bringing that innocent looking cutting back.”"



This post was written by Shirley for http://blog.shirlsgardenwatch.co.uk/

10 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your garden is quite lively now Shirl. I rarely thinkof primroses as garden plants but I noticed that one of the nurseries here have them for sale. I might just have to try a few in honor of my blogging friends that grow them. I hope the little hedgehogs show up soon. It makes me worry about them. We had our first Ruby-throated Hummingbird yesterday. Yay

layanee said...

I have seen quite a bit of bird activity but just this morning they were all screaming. Must have been a hawk or two in the area. Mostly it is spring songs. The garden looks lovely and I am wondering why I have no wood anemones. Hmmmm....on the never ending list!

Christina said...

I love your lovely spring plants. Good for you passing on the message from the RHS, I think we gardeners can sometimes be a bit unthinking in the rush to bring back THAT special plant we find on holiday. Apart from diseases; the possibility that a plant might be over aggressive in a different envirnment is seldom considered. I have been very interested reading gardening blogs from other countries to hear that something that grows perfectly normally, causing no problems here in Italy is considered a dangerously invasive in other parts of the world.

Liz said...

Hi Shirl,

Lovely photos, so great to see so much happening in your garden!

I'm looking forward to your purple mecanopsis again this year, how beautiful :)

Today I noticed lots of Bees flying around, I think they were mostly Tawny Mining Bees making the most of my bare soil slopes and a new embankment I've made (lots of branch cuttings with soil on top to help rot them down and provide a haven for insects).

I hope the Hedgies arrive soon for you :)

Frank said...

Hi Shirl,
Great to see all your little treasures have re-emerged for another season.
Down here the plants are getting way ahead of themselves. Native Bluebells now at their best AND 2 weeks earlier than the norm (whatever that is these days). Another blogger contact from Perthshire told me that they are still green up north.
Good advice from the 'old firm' but extreemly difficult to police.
Have a relaxing Easter, if you can. Cheers FAB.

shirl said...

Hello everyone, this is a great time of year isn’t it :-)

Lisa, I agree. Gosh… you’ve made my day :-)))) I too have planted plants in honor of friends. I’m thrilled to think you may have primroses in your garden in the future now too. I am certain you will love them too. Thanks, I have my fingers crossed for the hedgehogs too. Fantastic to hear of your hummingbird’s arrival… enjoy :-D

Layanee, lol… I can imagine the sound even with bird species I don’t know… in saying that I have an app on my iphone of some American birds so I have an idea of what you hear. It’s fun to listen through them. Delighted you’ve seen a little from my garden… thrilled you are considering wood anemones now too. Ah… that never ending list… good you’ve got a good sized plot for planting… going green now ;-)

Christina, delighted you like to see our plants. I get many emails with info but there are occasions (like this one) when it would be remiss of me not to pass it on especially when blogging is a good platform to do so. Needing pretty hardy plants to grow here I only occasionally consider plants or seeds when we are away… only in the UK though. Yes, reading blogs from other countries is an eye opener when it comes to growing plants. Not so nice when a plant is happy with you and dangerous in other parts of the world :-)

Liz, thank-you. I do enjoy wandering around my garden with my camera. Not quite at the standard of your images though :-) Not sure which meconopsis you are thinking of. I have wonderful blues and now this new pink but…. so excited… I have had three young plants growing for three years bought as mixed (expected to be red or yellow) and one has flower buds for the first time! I can’t wait to see what colour it will be…. Believe it or not, I will be disappointed if it is the blue that most people long to grow. Good luck with enticing bees. I have a wonderful rotting, mossy trunk of wood which many insects are attracted to. Thanks, I’ve scattered sultanas across paths tonight just in case any Hedgies wander by. Really hope they do :-D

Frank, ah our treasures re-emerging. I agree it’s great to see them again and new plants appearing too. Had some loses though which has been a shame. Plants I’ve had a long time. Wow…. Bluebells at their best with you. That does seem early. I too can confirm no colour from Bluebells up our way either. Yes, I agree policing must be hard. Thanks, wishing you a relaxing time this weekend too :-D

Garden Planner said...

Very nice flowers you have here. Like the rhododedron's etc! Im sure soon you will have a magnificent garden (if not already). Thanks it was a good read!

Gardeningbren said...

Your Pieris is beautiful and you have a white frittilaria! Pretty awesome. So many great flowers and such interesting info on birds and bees and catch up on your new bed! Some of our people came from a 'Cuckoo Oak' in England, and we always wondered whether it was named for the bird or the flower, but I like to think the flower, especially when I see how lovely it is. I always learn something from your posts. Thanks Shirl

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

Beautiful photographs Shirl, I particularly love the fritillaries, though this is probably just jealousy, they don't seem to like my garden. Fascinating about the way birds collect natural insecticides to decorate their nests with! Sounds as if the bees will soon be as at home as the birds clearly are in your garden. And thank you, I saw cuckoo flower on a walk in our local woods today and didn't know what it was...

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

You have a good selection in bloom and much is happening. I wish your bee some luck too. Ne bees here yet in my garden, but I found some digger bees are the farm. They are new to me and kinda interesting. As for the cuttings,how do they make it past customs? Here at the Canadian border, they check. But I guess if one wants to risk it, they can hide them in the car and hope to get waved through.