Birds, Flowers, Gardening, Gary, Scott, Wildlife

We can’t ignore it anymore – summer is finally here. As the days get longer, and flowers bloom nature kicks into full gear. But the changes you see in in the garden go way beyond more sun and some blooming flowers. If you take the time to look at the natural world around you there is plenty to see. 

Pollinators 

The first and most noticeable thing about the coming of summer is the colour that appears as plants come to life all around us,  but in the background, a small army of critters and insects are working to pollinate these plants and keep our countryside vibrant. Keep an eye out when your in your garden or out for a walk and see if you can spot any of these underacknowledged pollinators at work.

bees

Ants  – not as effective as the pollinating powerhouses such as bees and wasps, they do however have a limited role in pollinating your garden. Next time you see some in your garden, see if you can see where they are walking.

Bees – did you know that the UK has around 250 different species of bee? Bees are some of our best pollinators and not only for our gardens. They also have a big role in pollinating a lot fo the food we eat.

Butterflies – always a happy sight in the garden, this month you may spot the Painted Lady Butterfly. It has a distinct rusty red colour with black wingtips spotted with white.

Moths –  when they’re not flying around your house to try and get to the lightbulbs, these little creatures spend a lot of their time outdoors pollinating plants, but because it happens at night we never see it. If you have fragrant flowers like jasmine in your garden it’s likely a moth that is doing the pollination work.  

Beetles  – known as mess-and-soil pollinators, Beetles will eat parts of a plant and pollinate through their droppings. If you’re out for a walk, take a closer look at some of the plants and you might see a beetle at work.  

New birds 

The dawn chorus is one of the sweetest sounds of summer, and a lot of those voices come from birds who have come over for the summer. If you keep your eyes and ears open when you sit outside or take your daily walk there are a lot of new birds to see so keep your eye out.  

Most birds will be feeding their young on insects this time of year. Below is a list of birds you might spot in your garden:

  • Sparrows
  • Blue Tit
  • Robin
  • Starling
  • Greenfinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Common Chiffchaff
  • Willow Warbler

Flowers

Poppies

There are many kinds of wildflower that will begin to emerge and bloom this time of year. See the list below for some of our favourites; how many have you spotted?

  • Poppies
  • Cornflowers
  • Marsh Marigold
  • Meadow Buttercup
  • Forget-Me-Nots
  • Foxglove
  • Yarrow

 

Birds, Gardening Year, Planting, Scott, Watering, Weeding

In June you will often get the longest days of the year, which means more sun and more growing time for your garden plants. You can achieve a beautiful abundant outdoors in June if properly managed and planned. Be wary, the extra hours of light will also be helping weeds so it’s important to keep on top of things to enjoy the best of what June has to offer your garden. 

General

garden lawn

  • Water your lawn: an inch of water a week on your grass will be enough to keep it from going brown. Deep watering once a week is much better than regular watering every day.
  • Control weeds: use a handheld fork to remove individual weeds from the root.
  • Plant summer beds: get your summer bedding plants into the soil so they can take advantage of the extra hours of light.
  • Check and water: check the soil around your plants regularly, digging your finger into the soil to see if there is moisture underneath. Water accordingly when the soil appears too dry. 

Plants

summer bedding

  • Protect from pests: most aphids can be dealt with using a spray bottle filled with a simple solution of water and a little washing-up liquid. This will deal with greenfly and aphids without damaging to the plant. 
  • Plant out summer bedding: fill your flower beds and borders for a colourful display. Discover our selection of summer bedding plants. 
  • Grow sunflowers: now is a great time to grow sunflowers from seed; a fun project for getting the kids involved with the outdoors. 
  • Sow Nigella seeds: these unusual looking flowers can fill an area of your garden with charming blue whilst providing pollen for bees and butterflies.
  • Sow Nasturtium seeds: these colourful plants are fast-growing and will quickly fill any gaps you have in your bedding. They can also be trained up trellises and such to provide interest at different heights. 

Animals

Blue Tit on a branch

  • Top up birdbaths: keep your birdbath topped up to provide a place to drink, wash and cool down. 
  • Top up bird tables: this time of year most birds will be collecting bugs for their young (a bonus for pest control) but bird tables and feeders are still needed for a quick energy top-up for parents as they do this.
  • Avoid trimming hedges: be careful when trimming hedges as birds can be nesting inside
  • Allow some weeds to flourish: letting a small part of your lawn to grow wild will be incredibly beneficial for all sorts of wildlife. I can provide a habitat for insects which in turn will support the growth of birds. 

What June gardening jobs have you been up to this month? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

Scott at PrimroseScott Roberts is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

 

Birds, Bulbs, Flowers, Gardening, Gardening Year, Gardens, Grow Your Own, Planting, Plants, Scott, Wildlife

With Spring truly on its way now and the clocks going forward, there’s plenty to be doing in the garden. March gardening is all about setting yourself up for the return of warmer days. With a little preparation, you’ll have an outdoor space filled with colourful blooms and happy wildlife. This is an important month for wildlife when insects start becoming more abundant, birds begin working on their nests and smaller mammals come out of their winter hibernation.    

march garden

General

  • Mulch to protect soil: bare soil is in a vulnerable state as it’s coming out of frosty weather and heading into drier, warmer days. This means water will start evaporating from the soil; to ensure that doesn’t happen too much, a good layer of organic mulch can keep water in and also help stop the growth of unwanted weeds.  
  • Begin mowing the lawn: grass will now start growing more steadily. A lawn will stay greener the less you take from it each time you mow so little and often is ideal this time of year. 
  • Plan your summer planting: start thinking ahead to summer and begin planting your summer flowering bulbs.
  • Protect plants from pests: warmer weather means more pests will be coming into the garden. Try to stick to natural pesticides where possible and if chemicals are required be sure to use it late in the day when the majority of beneficial insects will have made themselves scarce. 

garden mulch

Plants

  • Plant summer bulbs: you may be enjoying some colour from spring bulbs but now is a great time to think about summer planting. Plan out your arrangments now to ensure you get the full benefit of their colours come summer. 
  • Plant in containers: lots of plants can successfully be grown in containers; a great option for when space is limited to perhaps just a balcony or patio area. Hardy plants like roses can be an excellent choice for providing dramatic colour without taking up lots of space. 
  • Relocate shrubs: if you want o re-arrange the layout of your garden a little, now is a great time to move evergreen shrubs. The shrub will not have begun taking water from the soil yet so moving it now will give it time to recover and prepare for a good growing season. 
  • Control weeds: use a fork or hoe to get ahead on clearing garden weeds. This can help prevent more serious outbreaks later in the year.

summer flowers

Produce

  • Prepare seedbeds: break down large clumps of soil before raking over to create a ridge effect. Apply an organic fertiliser two weeks before sowing any seeds and your bed will be ready for growing success.  
  • Plant shallots and onions: a perfect grow your own project that can be used in all sorts of dishes. Onions can begin growing in march and finish off in the summer. 
  • Plant early potatoes: seed potatoes can be planted in trenches with an organic fertiliser to get off to the best start.  
  • Sow herbs: hardy herbs like chives, dill, marjoram and coriander are perfect for sowing this time fo year. Plant seeds into drills and pant out when large enough o handle. 

herb garden

Greenhouse

  • Plant summer seeds: you can propagate summer blooms like marigolds in the greenhouse in preparation for warmer days in summer when they can be transplanted outside.
  • Clean the glass: with the warm weather returning you can give the glass a good clean to remove the marks left by winter and maximise the amount of light getting through.
  • Plant summer vegetables: courgettes, cucumbers, squashes and sweetcorn are ideal for planting in the greenhouse ready for transplanting to the outside when the summer warms the garden properly. 

summer saplings

Animals

  • Prepare for hedgehogs: hedgehogs will start coming out of hibernation. Having food and shelter in your garden as well as easy access in and out can make your garden a preferred hedgehog spot. 
  • Feed the birds: this time of year can see a scarcity of wild food for birds who will be working hard to build nests in preparation for chicks. Give them a helping hand by putting out appropriate foods. 
  • Provide a home: butterflies and bees will begin to emerge. Having bug hotels and feeding stations in your garden can make your space a sanctuary for these important pollinators.  
  • Top up birdbaths: make sure the birds in your garden have open access to water for cleaning and drinking. 

hedgehogs

Scott at PrimroseScott Roberts is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Birds, Conservation, Gary

 

 

The ultimate goal for most gardeners is to have a space that’s teaming with wildlife. A diverse garden is a healthy garden, and birds are an important part of keeping it all balanced. They are the most effective non-chemical method of insect control, they’re pollinators and even take care of some of your weeding; its also really fun to watch them from your window. This guide will go over the basics of creating a garden that will successfully attract birds.

 

Step One – Prepare the space 

 

Just like humans, birds like 5-star accommodation. Before adding bird tables and nesting boxes, you need to first make sure that your garden is somewhere birds want to visit. Below are a few of the first steps you should take to increase your chances of regular visitors

  • Plant the correct trees – trees provide food, water and nesting space for birds as well as being an easy escape from predators. You want to strike a good balance of vegetation in your garden to make it interesting and to satisfy the needs of the birds you want to attract. Fruit trees bearing trees such as Crab apple and plum will provide food and safe space whilst larger species like Oak or Willow are great for shelter. Avoid Sycamores or Cherry trees as they attract insects that  birds don’t

 

  • Be clever with your flowers –  there are an estimated 612 species of bird in the UK, and each one has different food and nesting needs, many are also only active at certain times of the year. Fill your garden with an array of plants that will provide food and nesting material year-round. In summer, try to provide sweet fruits like Blackberries and Mulberries and seeds from sunflowers. In spring you should provide fatty fruits like Mapleleaf and Dogwood whilst autumn and winter should be geared towards persistent fruits like Crabapples and Conifers. By providing year-round food you will see the birds in your garden change with the seasons, keeping it interesting and ever-changing. A list of the best plant choices can be found here

 

  • Place shrubs and plants in same species clumps – in general, this is good practice to help with pollination and fruit yields, but birds love dense foliage to hide in and watch for predators. You will often find that these clumps attract large groups of smaller birds like finches, goldcrests and Wrens. 

 

  • Be insect friendly – inviting insects into your garden may sound counterproductive, but the right species help get rid of pests and aid pollination. You don’t need to worry about the populations getting too big either as they make a tasty snack for lots of bird species. Think about putting a bug hotel, Ladybird tower or Nectar feeder in your garden to establish a healthy and diverse insect species that will attract lots of hungry birds to your garden. 

 

Step Two – Dress it up 

 

Once you have the basics right you can start to add little extras that will keep the birds coming to your garden and make them stay longer. 

 

  • Provide Water –  your plants will provide some water for your birds, but they could always do with a little more. Bird tables are a great way to provide this water as it’s suitable for both drinking and bathing, just ensure that any bird tabes are put close to shrubs so your birds feel safe from predators.

 

  • Make Food Available Year-round – living in the wild is difficult, food is not always available and can cost a lot of energy to obtain. A garden that has a constant and varied supply of food is a win for any passing bird and they will certainly be repeat visitors. You should provide a good mixture of seeds and fat balls that change every now and then to keep birds interested.  

 

  • Put Up Nest Boxes – a garden with ample supplies of food and water is an ideal environment for birds to raise their young. Bird boxes provide shelter and secure living spaces to birds who are rearing their chicks. Place them in trees or up high to protect them from cats and other predators and ensure they are out of direct sunlight. You will get the best results from only putting up 1-2 boxes as many bird species don’t like to compete over feeding and nesting space. 

 

 

Step Three – Make it safe 

A safe garden is one that will bird will return to. Like all animals, if they feel unsafe they will stay away. Providing thick foliage will go some of the ways of doing this, but there are a few small steps you can take to make your garden as safe as possible. 

 

  • Avoid putting food on the ground – It’s best to put any food on a bird table or raised surface as it keeps the food away from competitors or predators.  

 

 

  • Hang bird feeders out of the way – Hang any bird feeders out of the reach of other animals by hanging them from a tree or high place 

 

  • Deter cats from coming into your garden – Birds will sometimes avoid gardens that they know cats often visit. If you don’t want them around consider installing a cat deterrent  

 

Step four – Enjoy the wildlife

 

Following these simple steps will invite birds into your garden year-round bringing your garden to life and giving you a space where something is always going on. How have you made your garden bird-friendly? and what have you seen visiting? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter 

 

 

Gary at PrimroseGary works in the Primrose product loading team, writing product descriptions and other copy. With seven years as a professional chef under his belt, he can usually be found experimenting in the kitchen or sat reading a book.

See all of Gary’s posts.