Celebrate Easter With An Easy DIY Bee House

Bee House

Happy Easter!

To celebrate the warm springtime weather we’ve been having… I had a go at making some new bee houses.

These little hole-filled boxes provide safe sites for lots of insects, especially solitary bee species, who love to lay their eggs in the pre-drilled tunnels.

Using some spare wood, I drilled holes using a 7mm drill bit to about 6 cm in depth. I fixed a small bracket to the back, so that they could be securely hung outside.

In order that they looked extra smart, I painted the sides and a border in Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon. I took care not to get paint anywhere near the holes, as although this paint is very low in fumes and nasty bits, I didn’t want to take any chances.

As soon as I start to see little leafy/muddy stoppers in the end of the holes, I’ll know that the bees have started laying their eggs.

If you want to know more about these bees and their habits, have a read here…

The Garden Smallholder – Mason Bees

Inspiration Green – Insect Hotels

Relaxation by the Water

floating forget-me-not

{forget-me-not flower floating amongst the Lemna}

I have been pondering a section of the garden that is in need of a bit of a re-design.

In order to create a plan, I had to consider what I really value in this part of the garden…

…and yes, I want clever seating, storage ideas, mixtures of flooring…

…but the most important thing is water.

I have to have water featured somewhere.

There is nothing more relaxing (for me) than seeing light that has bounced off the surface of the pond, being reflected on the leaves of the surrounding plants. I adore searching for new plants and animals that have seemingly come from nowhere and made this patch of water their home. I am mesmerised by the dangling roots of the duckweed that thrives, just from sitting on the surface.

water boatman

{graceful water boatman}

So, whether it be a rill, a large bird bath or a koi pond… I’m not yet sure, but I am certain that I will only be able to create that ‘happy place’ in the garden with water nearby.

Lithops – From Seedlings To Stones

Lithop seedlings

{baby lithops – 3 months old}

Lithops (or Living Stones) are the most mesmerising plants ever…

…and boy do they fly out of the Finca fast?!

Adapted to mimic stones in their native South Africa, these plants have very few requirements.  All they need is bright, indirect light, free-draining soil and the odd water now and again (by odd, I really mean not very often, at all).

There are many varieties and come in different colours, shapes and sizes. They produce at least one new leaf pair a year and usually a beautiful daisy-like flower in the Autumn.

lithops

{adult lithops}

One thing is for sure, these plants are certainly not boring…!

A Promise of Plums

promise of plums

The year before last, the plum tree got a severe haircut.

I mean… like a No.2 all over…

…which meant that it spent most of 2013 in a state of shock.

Just before you start clamouring at me, I must defend myself.  The poor plum was in an awful state and had long been growing in the wrong direction, leading to poor quality plums, which were all growing right at the top of the tree and nowhere else!

However, this year’s blossom is looking incredible…

…and we all know what blossom equals:

PLUMS!

So I am hoping that the tree has forgiven me and that we are in for a bountiful plum harvest later on in the year.

I promise I’ll save you some plum jam.

Hyacinth – The Natural Springtime Air Freshener!

Hyacinth

This beautiful Hyacinth was given to me by a lovely friend.

Incredibly, it hasn’t become all top-heavy, with long leggy stems which struggle to support the weight of the flowers.

(Unfortunately, this seems to happen with many indoor Hyacinths).

It is completely stunning and has scented the room, so that I get a waft of loveliness every time I come inside.

I thought you’d like to enjoy it with me.

Have a great weekend.

Limed Coat Rack From Oak Floorboards

Coat Rack From Floorboards

Mr D-F decided he fancied getting crafty last weekend.

I think it was a result of me saying things like…

‘I wish I didn’t have to live under a pile of coats.’

‘…can you see the cat? I think he might have been smothered by coats.’

(You get the picture)

So, after selecting two old floorboards that we had carefully stored away, he set about making the coat rack of my dreams! It has a shelf for storing hats, twine and other useful things and has heavy-duty galvanised hooks to withstand the many years of hanging that it will have to do.

After asking my opinion on the finish, I opted for a limed effect.  It was my hope that this would work against the Farrow and Ball – Cornforth White, painted wall behind it.

Doesn’t it look brill? Maximum Brownie Points to Mr D-F!

Sprouting Despite The Rain

Anemone Sprouts

Now this was a real surprise this week.

I had planted my anemones (rather foolishly) months ago.  Since then, as all UK dwellers are well aware, we have had rain a-plenty… and flooding… and more rain… 

I had given up all hope that my plantings would make it through the inevitable rot, that would surely come after spending months in a rather waterlogged raised bed.

However – ha! Nature has toughed it out and I am seeing sprout after sprout appearing.  All fresh and green and lovely.  I now have my fingers firmly crossed that they will continue to grow healthily and produce their beautiful, almost poppy-like flowers, which always look incredible in hand-tied posies.

Have a great weekend!

A Houseplant With Serious Attitude – The Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle-Leaf Fig Leaf

Fiddle Leaf Fig leaf

Now there’s a tricky thing to say quickly.

Last week, I finally succeeded in my hunt for the houseplant to beat all houseplants…

…the Fiddle Leaf Fig.

With its big, beautiful leaves showing road-map like veins, it brings a sense of jungle architecture into the home.  Apparently not recommended for the houseplant ‘beginner’ – possibly due to our tendencies, as humans, to either over-fuss or completely neglect plants in our care.  However, given a good amount of indirect light, a weekly water (of about 2 cupfuls) and the occasional mist, this plant doesn’t require much else…

…and boy does it make an impact?!

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Trees seem to be available in 3 sizes (approx. 70cm – 120cm in height) with prices ranging from around £20 – £80.  They can either be branching (several stems coming from the pot) or as a single stem, which gives the more usual tree-like look.  Trees can be displayed singly, as focal points to add interest to the corners of rooms or used in pairs to frame an arch, doorway or fireplace… just don’t let it get too dry or hot… this guy likes a humid environment.

To see some truly beautiful examples take a look at these posts:

Gardenista – Considering the Fiddle Leaf Fig

The Fiddle Leaf Fig and I

Great advice on care from Purity Plants

Identification Help Please!

Beech Leaf Colony

 

I know you are full of clever knowledge… and this one has me stumped… although I have a few suspicions.

I stumbled across this little colony of… pustules… this morning on the leaf of one of my little Beech trees.

They appear to be egg cases, surrounded by a sort of web or silk and they were just dangling there, on the remnants of last year’s leaf.

Please let me know your thoughts.