My Edwardian Townhouse GardenBeneficial Insects | Butterfly Conservation | Garden Diary
Introducing the Courtyard Garden:
The courtyard is a paved north facing small brick-walled garden located at the rear of our Edwardian mid-terraced townhouse home. This means that the courtyard garden spends October to March in shade. On a bright sunny day during the first week of March, the first rays of sunshine touch the end wall. Gradually, the amount of sunshine increases as spring turns to summer, but then diminishes until late October when the garden sits the late autumn and winter out in shade.
The north facing courtyard garden has a stone-walled raised border, but most of the planting is in large galvanised containers, pots and hanging baskets. Many of the plants have been chosen to attract beneficial garden insects and for their ability to thrive in shady or hot dry conditions.
Introducing the Front Garden:
The front garden is the complete opposite and I would describe it as a traditional old fashioned english front garden. It is a south facing rose and geranium garden and receives sunlight (weather permitting! ) all year. The colour scheme ranges from white to pinks and reds and paleblue to lavender, mauve and deeper blues.
Beneficial Garden Insects and Animals
I do not use slug/snail pellets and instead opt for plants that withstand slugs, snails and other weird and wonderful creatures. The benefit of this is an increase in wildlife.
Beneficial garden insects and animals in my garden: Hedgehogs, shrews, frogs, toads, spiders, centipedes (not millipedes), ladybird beetles and their larvae, ground beetles, assassin bugs, honey bees, hover flies, slow-worms. Birds do an excellent job feeding on the variety of bugs and aphids.
I have found from experience that if I leave the pests alone and encourage the more beneficial insects, then the garden looks after itself. The only issue I have is black spot on the roses; all the aphids get ate especially by the spiders and ladybirds. Ladybird larvae are voracious eaters of aphids.
The most detested bug in my garden is the vine weevil. Do not confuse with the larger Ground Beetle, which is a good beastie that feeds on slug eggs. Evidence of active vine weevils are irregular shaped notches cut around leaves. Vine weevils walk everywhere and are really good climbers. Unfortunately, by the time you have found the white grubs with orange-brown heads (like a 'C' shaped maggot) it is usually because the apparent healthy plant has suddenly wilted. I've found that the grubs tend to be in pots, so I check the roots of pot plants to remove the problem before it becomes one! The best time to catch the grubs is in winter and early spring. A natural predator of these pests is the centipede. Another method is to use a product called 'Nemasys Vine weevil control'.
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
There are probably several reasons why our Butterflies, Bees and other insects are struggling; climate change; unfavourable and damaging farming practices and a lack of garden plants that provide food for butterflies, their caterpillars and other insect wildlife.
To help with Butterfly conservation, I have decided to consider the food value of the plants for our native insect wildlife When choosing plants for the garden. It is important to choose good nectar plants, which will flower in succession throughout the year. Spring flowering plants will help those butterflies that have hibernated over the winter. Food throughout the summer will offer a continuance of nectar food source. My acquisition of 'Honesty', an old-fashioned dual-purpose plant has been a resounding success. It produces scented flowers in spring and early summer followed by silver penny shaped seed heads. The hop plant in my Courtyard Garden attracts the Comma Butterfly. Other successful plants include Valarian, Woodland Violet, and Lavender. My recent purchase of Chives and Cat-Mint attracted some Mint Moths and my nastursium attracted the cabbage whites to lay eggs.
If you are fortunate to have a larger garden you can allow some areas to 'go wild'. You will discover a wealth of meadow flowers appearing. There are several plants that need to be given space to grow for our british wildlife. If you are like me and only have very limited garden, then choose your plants carefully. Plants need to be able to survive the conditions specific to your garden, but next time you visit the garden centre, pay some attention to those flowers that attract butterflies and bees. Help to make your garden a useful garden for our british wildlife.
Visit this website Butterfly Conservation , for excellent advise on what plants to put in your garden.
Birds seen in my garden
Blackbird, Blackcap, Crow, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Grey Wagtail, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Meadow Pipit, Redwing, Robin, Rook, Sparrow Hawk, Thrush, Wood Pigeon, Wren.
The Ravens and Swifts can be seen flying above the house.
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The seed heads on the Clematis tangutica are looking marvellous and the Winter Jasmin brightens the courtyard. Usually the Snowflake and the Hellibores are up and flowering by the end of January.
Notes: The blackbird has been singing day and night since the 1st of January. The first week saw several flowers open.
Notes: Early March sees the last of the Winter Jasmin flowers. Both the Periwinkle and the Bergenia are looking particularly spendid, although they usually start flowering in April. Watch out for vine weavil grubs in the soil of plant pots and they devour roots. Once the soil is warm enough apply some 'Nemasys Vine weevil control'.
Notes: The Berberis Darwinii is just starting to flower and it will not be long before the Lily of the Valley will fill the air with scent. The first campanula bell flowers have opened.
Notes: This is the month to do the hanging baskets ready for the summer. Watch out for vine weavils, as soon they will be wandering about. They are excellent climbers and start to emerge from the ground, soon they will be trying to lay their eggs.
In 2019, the House Sparrows first brood had already fledged by May Day! The Swifts have been seen flying over the house.
Notes: An abundance of summer flowering plants have started flowering. The roses look splendid and the scent produced is wonderful.
Notes: The Ligularia Przewalskii produces tall spires of small yellow flowers, which last for about a month. The added bonus are the large deeply divided leaves sculpural in green shot with purple-red veins and tips. This plant lives in the courtyard garden in a cool spot where the spires receive sunlight, but the lower plant lives in shade and the pot sits in a shallow water container all year.
Notes: I am pleased with the hanging basket plant combinations. See Courtyard Garden.
Notes: The yellow nodding heads of the Clematis Tangutica (see Courtyard Garden) are flowering like their is no tomorrow. They are looking truly magnificent. This clematis has been flowering for weeks and at this time of year, it is a splendid show that lights up the garden
Notes: The seed heads of the Clematis Tangutica (see Courtyard Garden.) are a double bonus and look fabulous covered in frost. The nasturium continues to flower and produce leaves, but the first hard frost will kill it off. A few roses are still producing buds and flowers. The variagated leaves of the Cyclamen create a carpet of greens beneath the hedge in the front garden and in the dry stone wall in the courtyard garden.
Notes: The seed heads of the Clematis Tangutica (see Courtyard Garden) are a double bonus and look fabulous covered in frost. The nasturium continues to flower and produce leaves, but the first hard frost will kill it off. A few roses are still producing buds and flowers. The variagated leaves of the Cyclamen create a carpet of greens beneath the hedge in the front garden and in the dry stone wall in the courtyard garden.