22 April is Earth Day, and 2020 this marks fifty years of trying to draw attention to the beauty and biodiversity of mother earth. Fifty years of conservation efforts and trying to get human beings to value their environment, with more and more of the world’s beautiful creatures slipping into extinction and rarity. Are we listening yet?
The great Malink and me spent Earth Day up at the plot and were rewarded upon arrival with the vision of the first damselfly of our summer – a tiny little red coloured beauty! The transparent delicacy of the wings are astonishing – a real mother nature miracle!
A quick review on the British Dragonfly Society’s website indicates this one – a small red damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum) – might actually be endangered in the UK – but seemed happy enough to keep us company and even stayed still long enough for the big guy to take a great photo.
Because these little red-eyed damselflies are rated as ‘rare’, I took the time this morning to submit a photo and grid reference to the British Dragonfly Society’s Citizen Science records. It’s so easy and you don’t have to provide any personal details – so safe to do from a digital hack/privacy point of view. Citizen Science is the future – and we’re very happy to play a part!
Another treat was spotting the large tropical flowers which have emerged at the end of the growing season for Arum Italicum. The one shown here is nestled and growing in under our blackberry bushes, which shelter it from getting too much sun.
Arum Italicum (AKA Italian Lords & Ladies) is a perennial plant grown for its foliage, but the flowers are pretty spectacular too! As a winter plant, these will die back over summer, but should emerge again in autumn.
Yesterday I fiddled with potting up our yellow cherry tomatoes – tumbling tom yellow tomato to be precise about the type name – and also potted up the courgette. We have two courgette purchased from a garden centre just before everything locked down due to coronavirus.. And yesterday a seedling emerged from the pots I started by seed (but sadly no sign yet of the pumpkin seeds coming to life).
We were running out of room in the growing shed for the larger started plants.
Advice about planting courgette and tomato are to do this in May/June when all danger of frost has passed….
I’m typically impatient, and have jumped the gun but then again the weather’s been blistering these days, with daytime temperatures close to 20 degrees. All the same, it still does get cool in the evenings/ mornings, so they have cloches on for nights until all danger passes. Here’s hoping!
The photo above shows our bottom level tier on the plot. At the far end there are our swiss chard and spinach beds which were planted in the late summer and are almost finished. The plants keep trying to bolt to seed but I’ve extended our harvest season by cutting the developing flowerheads before they set flowers. This is a good strategy for a while… but you simply cannot stop mother nature!
The middle bed has our garlic crop in, into which I added six small red curly lettuce plants. In front of the garlic bed we have a small bed of five cauliflower plants growing. The closest larger front bed remains empty – to be filled with beefsteak tomato (still in the shed). The near smaller bed is our broad beans – of which 4 of the six seeds have come up and are growing. The plant stakes were added to the plot at the same time as planting the seeds – partly to mark each seed, and also partly to avoid damaging the roots by adding support stakes later on.
This last shot shows the raised strawberry bed – reinforced with ‘found’ scaffolding pipe, with the self-seeded patch of annual wildflowers – big G’s new favourite the ‘poached egg plant’ (Limnanthes douglasii).
We’ve left them growing into the path – there’s no room in the beds for wildflowers anymore! Growing in among these are also nigella (aka love in a mist), which has delicate blue flowers which won’t appear until June or so..