Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Week 16

Blue skies. Warm sunshine. A little breeze, and the excited chatter as the Busy Beez come together to overhaul an overgrown bed. Two very large Hebe's dominate the space, but they have become leggy, and lost their shape, so they have to go. But before we rolled up our sleeves, there were cuttings of the old shrubs to take. We found suitable sideshoots, and once we'd removed the lower leaves, we popped them into small pots of compost. This time next year, these should be new hebe shrubs.

The Beez worked tirelessly today removing the old hebes. There was much digging, pulling, heaving and puffing, but not one moan or groan, and within a matter of minutes, both monsterous plants had been uprooted, like the Enormous Turnip!

Everyone worked really well as a team to remove any last roots and weeds in the cleared area in preparation to the planting of the new acquisitions.

Here we have our replacement plants. They don't look much right now, but they will encourage bees and butterflies, and their scents should waft into the offices on a warm day.

First up are the lillies. Strongly fragrant, these will give a little height in the border while the smaller plants establish.

The Hebe is nice and compact with grey/green foliage. It's flowers will attract butterflies.

A hardy fuschia with dark pink ballerina flowers, which although will lose it's leaves in the Winter, will come back each Spring bigger and better. Not fragrant, but a very pretty shrub.

Three old fashioned 'Pinks' with a scent of cloves. Over time these will spread into larger clumps, and flower over a very long period.

Two hardy Geraniums, also known as 'Cranesbills', will soon spread out and make very effective ground cover plants to help keep the weeds at bay. These are herbacious perennials, so will die back in the Winter, resprouting again bigger and better each Spring.

And finally this is of course Lavender. It might look a little different than the average Lavender, with it's 'Bunny Rabbit Ears', but it smells just as wonderful.

Come the Autumn, we have a huge amount of daffodils to plant in the spaces between these new plants, but for now there is watering, and pest-checking to be done.

The beans are begining to flower...

...as are the cherry tomatoes

And how about this for a head of lettuce!

Lets hope for more good weather, with perhaps some evening rain. Happy gardening!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Week 15

Summer has certainly arrived in the Shooter's Grove gardens. We have had little rain and our young plants can get stressed very quickly in the heat. Usually, watering is done either early in the mornings before the sun hits the plants to prevent scorch, or as the sun sets to help prevent too much evaporation. Our younger Beez have been given the responsibility of watering all our containers each morning before the sun reaches the containers.

The Veg-e-tables in the Junior area were planted up this week. In each of these colourful containers, the Busy Beez planted a couple of cherry tomato plants called Minibel. These were started off as seeds and kept in my own greenhouse until we were ready to plant them out. This is a tomato suitable to grow in hanging baskets and containers, and the small red fruits should appeal to the children.
At the moment, each plant has small yellow flowers, called sets. These will be visited by passing insects who will pollinate them, and then when the flowers fall off, the tiny tomatoes will be forming behind, within a few weeks, these will swell and turn red. Yummy.

Also in these containers, we have planted a variety of pepper called Razzamatazz, and a couple of courgettes called Black Beauty from the BBC's Dig In Campaign. The courgettes have flower buds already, so it shouldn't be too long before our Busy Beez begin to see the fruits of their labour.

The planters are in full sun for pretty much all of the day, so they will need attending to each day, watering, feeding, and checking for pests.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Week 14


There's a buzz in the air, and for once it's not a Vuvuzela! It is the hum of tiny insects busy at their work. There are flowers to pollinate, food to be had and honey to be made. They have little time for football, let alone the World Cup.

We had a mammoth task on our hands for this weeks Busy Beez Gardening Club. All our young plants needed to be planted out. From Sweet Peas with the promise of their heavenly scent, to the Pumpkins for our Halloween Disco.

These are our 'Veg-e-tables'. We have two at the Infants entrance and two at the Junior's. This week we planted up the ones in the Infants with pumpkins and the violas from the hanging baskets. Seeds were also sown of lettuce, beetroot and radish. These large, brightly coloured containers have already generated much interest, which hopefully will continue as the plants grow and crop.

Mrs H kindly donated some bedding plants, which were quickly put to good use in the hanging baskets in the courtyard. Here we have the trusty stalwarts begonia's and petunia's. They might not look much right now, but in the coming weeks will explode into a fireball of colour.

All the plants are making the most of the warmer weather this week. This includes the dreaded weeds. If allowed, these will flower and set seed, multiplying a small problem into a much larger one. As the Busy Beez only meet once a week for around 30 minutes, and we have had so many jobs to do in such a short time, weeding often gets forgotten. This week, some of our Beez made a start on conquering these beasts, beginning with the garden by the carpark.

Once cleared of dandelions, thistles, speedwell and chickweed, we were able to plant out the last of our Sunflowers and Sweetpeas, both of which will use the raillings as support. The daffoldil foliage is yet to be trimmed back, but the fresh green leaves here are those of Crocosmia, also known as 'Montbretia'. These were planted by our Beez last year, and will provide fiery orange spikes later in the year.
There is colour to be found right now though. From the Hardy Geraniums (Cranesbill) to this little fellow. From an unfriendly looking flower spike, these beautiful Sweet Williams have burst into colour.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Week 13

Since we were all on half term last week (week 12), no photo's were taken and no update on the Busy Beez Gardening Blog. However, our caretaker kept everything ticking along in our absence, and everything has grown really well.

We have some wonderful news. While we were away, the base was laid, and the greenhouse was erected!! May we take this opportunity to thank those involved, and for all those parents who sent in the Morrison's Let's Grow Vouchers last time around!

Our lettuce and carrot seedlings have germinated in the herb wheel, beans and one of our cabbages which has run to seed, have come on apace, and there has been some growth on the nasturtiums.

The marigolds are filling our nicely, and there is a splash of colour in the courtyard border.

Round in the Enviromental Garden, the plants in the cold frame should be able to be planted out next week.

Our Veg-e-tables have arrived too. These are large colourful containers, and our veg are going to be very happy in them. Watch this space!