Our Gardens and our Pollinating Insects

Well hello there internet friends. I might have slightly neglected this blog..again but oh well it’ll fine. So really I’ve come to ask for some help from you guys for a project that I am undertaking at college which comes in the form of a little survey and poll. Which will be below after I give you a little overview about what it’s about.

So as the title entails my report is going to be about our gardens and our pollinators but more specifically I’m going to research about what we do as gardeners and horticulturists. For example do you provide habitats for bees by providing bumblebee houses or give a selection of what plants you grow that you think is beneficial to the pollinators. I’ll do an example just to get the ball rolling and if you have any queries or want to add anything else just comment at the bottom! I’d love for you guys to comment some of your favourite insect friendly flowers!

And please remember to like and subscribe to me and share this post with your friends so I can get a bigger response and get a varied response.

I promise to actually do something and make this blog a more regular occurrence (I know I keep saying this but it WILL happen) So come back I will try to post every Monday, so come back next week and I’ll update you all on like everything, and also I’ll have a more regular look through all your posts because you guys are awesome!

Anthony x


Let it grow, Let it grow…

Hello, Hello, long time no see to this blog, thought I better update it and get back into the swing of things. So what’s changed then? Um well not much, the garden still hasn’t been finished so there’s not a lot I can do in there really until it has been so there’s nothing to do really. Everything has had to be called off because the garden isn’t complete so no show this year. Well I can’t do anything until it has been so I’m like not going to do anything till it has been. Enough of that because I could easily spend a blog post moaning about the garden so I’m not going to.

So I read somewhere recently that it takes about 7 trees to offset an average uk families carbon emissions. This got me thinking about things. If people just planted one tree, they would be making a difference. Not only would they be reducing their own CO2 emissions but they would be creating a new mini biodiversity by providing the tree. You will attract the butterflies and their caterpillars which in turn would attract the hungry birds. As your tree began to grow, evolving and changing the more creatures it will be able to support in its fragile and complex eco-system. As it begins to mature you may see the squirrels clambering through and even maybe have hungry jays feasting on acorns.

I’m going to leave some simple instructions on what you need and how you do it. I’ve done it, I did it all the way back in 2004 and now my oak sapling is starting to overtake me in height. Any queries you have will hopefully be answered in the instructions to follow. If they aren’t just leave a comment or tweet me and I’ll get back to you 🙂

So What Do I Need to do???

1. Firstly you need to gather a few bits and in order to partake in this activity. It’s perfect to do with anyone so you could even get children involved and plant their own which they can grow up with. You need will need some Compost, A large pot, An English Oak Acorn or two. Below is an image of an English Oak with its leaves and acorn, it is fairly easy to identify. The acorns will soon be ready to collect, they usually start to ripen in September, but get out quickly otherwise the squirrels will get them before you do!!

You want to collect the ripe brown acorns

2. After you’ve collected your acorns and things you are ready to start. Fill your pot/s with compost and firm down. 

3. Plant ONE acorn per pot. This is to eliminate competition between saplings. Push down so the acorn is covered. 

4. Patience is now required. Now you need to place your newly planted acorns in a quiet part of the garden in order for them to overwinter. As acorns have to go through a winter before they will germinate.

5. Check on your pot the following spring and hopefully your new oak sapling will have started to grow.

6. The final step is to repot your tree when you see roots come through the bottom 0f your pot and either plant out into the garden or repot into a larger pot.

I hope that you will give this a try and if you do I will gladly help anyone with any problems and would love to see the saplings progress. I chose the English Oak because it is a native species to England and if you are reading this from another part of the globe simply replace this with a native species of your own 🙂

My Oak Tree this Spring

Anyway I hope you take up this small challenge if you don’t then please share this message. Just doing one thing can start to help the planet. I hope you liked this post and my new look blog 🙂 The fonts should look like this but I’m not paying $30 for them. You’ll just have to use your imagination 😉

It suits the theme and everything, I really want them

Elmwood Gardening Show 2012 – Seed’n’Plant Swap

Well it’s that time of the year again, planning for this year’s show has started and it’s going to be a big one! Not only will there be the usual competition and get together but it will be situated in a new garden. It’s still mine but it’s being completely revamped this spring and will be utterly different. I’ll just give you a sneak preview of whats instore…

February 2012



Next I would like to invite you to 2012’s plant swap; again it will be held in my garden. When you come to the plant swap you will be able to bring a plant (or seeds) and swap with each or trade it for one of the items in the shop. Mentioning the shop there will be a range of plants for you to purchase in order to grow on later this year. If you have any special requests for plants please mention them in the form and I will do my best.

The Swap – Saturday 14th April 2012

The Show – Saturday 18th August 2012

I know that it’s rather brief but I think that’s about it for now then. I look forward to seeing you later on this year and wish you all a successful growing season…

Anthony Cunningham

Goodbye Allotment and Hello New Garden…

Well if you read my last post you will know that I am redesigning my garden after a rather harsh winter on my garden, what with the wet weather earlier on as well as the chickens coming home and completely destroying what was left (so thanks for that) Anyway after much deliberation I am pleased to show you my garden plan…

My new garden

It has traces of my allotment in it as you can see with the layout of the beds. These will be done with railway sleepers so it should hopefully have a nice finish. I’m also turning my greenhouse around and the cat house will be moving net door. Hopefully at the end of march/april my garden will be ready.

Which now brings me to my allotment. I have decided to give it up as the people who own it have decided to move so I thought I might as well, at least everything will fit into my garden I suppose.

Finally I was wondering what to do with the roundabout, well its not a roundabout here, its a squareabout?? I have been watching bees, butterfiles and blooms and that has kind of inspired my to have a meadow, so maybe a mini raised up meadow would have a nice effect. Anyway if you have any ideas please suggest them.

One final note is that I am one step closer to have my bees. I go to my first bee meeting in a couple of weeks and start to learn about how to look after them, so watch this space…

New Year, New Designs…

Following the start of 2012, I had to create a new design to replace last years for my allotment. To my surprise it only  took one afternoon and I am very pleased with it:

Allotment 2012

I just hope that it will work a bit better than last years. I had a few space issues, but this time I think I’ve fixed it.

Now following the complete obliteration of my garden by the weather and the chickens :S I have gotten my way in having it done up this year. So today I came up with one main design and 4 sub garden designs. We can’t agree on which sub design to go with because we like them one way and another, the other way. So I have create a poll at the bottom of this post just to get some feedback on which one others liked. So please after reading vote on which you like best. Anyway below is the main design.

Design Number One

The bit we can’t decide on is the left hand corner with the greenhouse and cat house, below are 4 other possible designs. They each have their pro’s and con’s so I will let you decide.

Design 2

Design 3

These two designs mean that I lose around a 1m of from the right of the garden when compared to the other design.

Design 4

Design 5

These two designs may mean that greenhouse doesn’t get that much light…

Anyway, the writing maybe rather breif but never mind. Now before going please vote on which you like best and also if you have anything to say just comment as normal. Thank you 😀

Kew Gardens

Yesterday I went to The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. It was a long way to go, up a 6 to be on the platform at Lancaster for 7:30. The train journey wasn’t so bad and I managed to direct us around on the underground (with the help of my iPod) The underground trains don’t hang about, whizzing round.

Anyway I had an afternoon to explore the gardens after meeting with somebody about learning at kew. Because we had limited time we only really went to the main attractions but even though they were still amazing. Here are some of the photos I took when I was there.

The Alpine House, I think...


Scilla Maderensis


A fern in the Princess of Wales Conservatory


An orchid of some sort also in the conservatory


The Princess of Wales Conservatory


I enjoyed the conservatory, it is very modern looking. It contains 10 different climatic zones and is full of plants including ferns, orchids and cacti.

The Palm House


Weeping Willow by the lake?


Inside the palm house


double coconut leaf??


Round weird fruit thing


These photos are from the palm house, it was really hot and humid and my mum nearly died from the palm house because of the humidity which I found rather funny because we had to rush out quickly.

The Japanese pointy thing (right in the distance)


The temperate house


The stairs up the tree top walk

I couldn’t leave with out going around the tree tops walk. It was really high up. If you walked on it a certain way it shook and it shook in the wind which wasn’t to my mum’s taste.

A view on the tree tops


Some strange tree that I can't remember the name of, it looks cool though!

Before leaving we went on this holly walk as my mum likes them, we found this yellow berried holly and this sort of weeping holly

Yellow Holly


Weeping holly


Finally  before leaving London we went to covent garden for a look round and then headed back to euston where I swear I got eye and neck strain from staring at our train on the departure board slowly edging its way across…

Before I go, I have had a dramatic development in my garden, A sparrowhawk attack at my bird feeders. It ate one of my starlings and made guard cats fluff up scared, it would probably eat them given half a chance as they are so gormless.

The sparrowhawk, you better not come back or else....


...I'll send my one of my guard cats out, oh and by the way the cat was watching TV while I took this

Its been too long…

Oh my, it has been soooo long since I have updated the blog. Oops. Never mind. Anyway a lot has happened since last time. For example my garden is now more gardeny (you’ll see later) the allotment has gone wild (which you won’t see later – give me a few weeks!!). Elmwood Gardening Show was held and there is some news on the bees. So there is something for more or less everyone today. Firstly I would like to say a big thanks to all who have come to the gardening show. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves and that there was plenty for you all to do. This years activity was hapazome, a Japanese print making technique in which you place flowers or leaves onto a side of natural fabric, in our case bags. I got the idea after watching Alys Fowler’s the edible garden. If you would like to do this yourself it is in the show guide. I would like to attach this PDFwhich is my show guide, which you can print out if you want to if you didn’t manage to pick one up or just have a look through. Luckily the rain held off on the day until right at the end and even then it was only spitting a little bit. Below is few pics from the Gardening Show…

The Food Stand

My Great Nana making a fat ball for the birds

Next the garden in now more gardeny news. After my little tidy up, which was more like an operation, just saying 😉 I decided to elminate the veggie element from the borders at home and created bee border mark 3. I am still going to keep the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and chilli’s in the greenhouse as I can’t let them go, just can’t. The fruit along the fence have had a serious haircut, maybe a little too serious, but never mind. As another thing to prepare for the bees I am in the process of sorting out a mini wildflower meadow to put the beehouse in. It may look a bit bland at the moment however its moment is coming. Writing about bees, my bees will be arriving hopefully between March and June next year and it looks like it is going to be an interesting affair.

Like I wrote, a serious haircut...

Bee Border Mark 3. We've moved into the raised bed

The remnants of bee border mark 2 but the beginnings of the wildflower meadow

Only the greenhouse left to tidy. YAY 🙂

My Tea Tree Oil Plant from harrogate!!!!

I hope the slugs don't get my chocolate daisy's

Newly planted patio pots

Cyclamen by the Greenhouse

Also I have been to the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show. I think it has been my favourite of the shows I have been to this year. I think it was because it wasn’t that busy and it was full of lots of interesting and unusual things. Here are a few photos from the marquees.

I’m not going to really mention the allotment in this post but in the next post there will probably be a lot more to show you.

Finally could anybody help me with identifying this moth or butterfly. It was on my sedum at the beginning of September. Anyway thats really all that has happened since last time. I hope to see you all later.


Elmwood Gardening Show – July Update


Well its just over a month to go until the gardening show now and my garden is growing at a fair rate now with the bee border coming along nicely now with a few new additions from the gardeners world live show and a few more plants will be coming back home with me when I go to  tatton park flower show. It now only needs a Buddleia bush and the plants within it include a phlox, lavender and scabious. Sorry the pic is a bit blurry but its raining and really cold so it was taken really quick but never mind.

The New and Improved Bee Border


Below are a few pics from Gardeners World Live. I didn’t really enjoy it this year because it was too busy and it was manic everywhere you went!

With the show coming near expect to see some important details appearing on here for if you are visiting the show: for example what to do when you arrive and how the day will be run however a show guide will be available to  download on my skydrive account.

All links and things will be available on 1st August or the following days. (Meaning I will aim for that day but me being me will probably miss the deadline)

Now for all you internet goers who will not be attending I am trying to find a way in which you could take part if you wanted to. I think the categories will remain the same and there will be one for your gardens too if you don’t have anything else to ‘ show off ‘ !  I think you will have to either give a link to photos in the comments section for the new page that will be created for the show day or if you can paste the photo into the comments…I don’t know, I’ll figure that out when I get there!! alternatively you can always email me the photos and I’ll put them on for you 🙂

All of the winners from this years show will be placed on the blog in the winners post shortly after the show along with all the pictures. I think I will keep you all posted on the show day.

Once again the date for your diaries is

Saturday 20th August 2011

13:30 – 16:30

Hope to see your all then and look out for updates on the show.


My Garden Pictures – June 2011

Well school has unfortunately started so I thought I should share with you what I have done during the holiday. I decided to tidy up the garden again and redo the bee border however it’s not just a bee border its the bee and butterfly border (and ladybird, lacewing etc) I don’t think that will catch on though! Below is a photo of the bee border below after it has been extended and planted up a bit.

The New Bee Border

I know it looks a bit bare at the moment however give it a few weeks as I’m picking up a load of plants from gardeners world live and tatton park flowers shows. I think the flower below is a scabious. I’ve had it a few years and the bumblebees love it so I moved it into the borders

Is this a scabious?

So far the bee border has the scabious, lavender, cosmos, chrysanthemums, sedums and bee balm.
My greenhouse is coming along nicely now despite the fact I didn’t buy the things for it. I am going to try New Horizon growbags in there as many people seem to recommend them so I’ll find out for myself how they do and let you know how they fare.
Anyway below is a gallery of the pics from my garden.


The New Birdfeeders!!!

he first of my things to buy list complete, next its the greenhouse or iphone…have to decide that later. I bought my pole two weeks ago from the RSPB at their Leighton Moss Shop, I think they got a bit of a shock when I went to the checkout as I appeared with all my feeders! It came to the grand old sum of £115. You’re probably thinking that this is a lot, but put it this way I shouldn’t have to buy feeders again for a long time and all the profit that the RSPB gets the more money will go to their wildlife conservation.

Anyway here is a photo of my new birdfeeders and some of the birds that have visited all within 2 weeks of feeding them again.

My New Birdfeeding Station

These are the birds that have so far visited my new pole:

  • Blue Tit
  • Coal Tit
  • Blackbird
  • Starling
  • House Sparrow
  • Goldfinch
  • Chaffinch
  • Greenfinch
  • Collared Dove
  • Woodpigeon
  • Jackdaw

Think that is all that has been for now, my robin, great tit and song thrush haven’t been back but fingers crossed. Here are the bird pics…


I wonder what will come and visit in the future!!!
Oh and let me know your wildlife experiences too…