About a month ago Mum put up a bee house. As it was put up so late in the year, we didn't expect it to be used. I went to move it today as there were branches in front of it, and found it had in fact been used twice. You can just see the blocked green holes, one on the top right and one to the left.
Further investigations around the garden, found this. The tell tale sign that a female Leaf-cutter Bee has used her jaws to cut out bits from this leaf.
The leaf pieces are then used to make sausage shaped cells for the bee grubs in the bee's nest, which in this case is Mum's bee box. So another success story from the gardens of Marks Mansions.
During the week I purchased some seeds for my under-construction meadow. It's the first time I've actually brought anything for it. Everything so far has been free or liberated from else where in the garden.
Where the meadow will be next year, the soil needs to remain weedless but also not enriched. Wild flowers prefer poor soil to rich soil. However, on Mums side of the garden, the soil needs to be good for her growing collection of plants. Also where the stepping stone path is down the middle, the soil around that needs to be quite good too as I want to grow saxifrage and mind-your-own-business between the slabs. So I brought some crimson clover seeds. The clover will set down long tap roots which will open up air pockets. It can be left over winter and dug in during early spring. So today I sowed some out to see what happens. I've only done a small area, just to see if it works. I have plenty of seeds left to do the whole path and plenty of time left to sow.
I marked out the area with old broken terracotta pieces, which I will leave down to remind the Lady of the Manor not to put her size 5's on my seeds. I dug over the area with trowel and fork, removed all the stones and spread my seed.
On the other side of the path the soil in front of the rockery and by my insect/toad house is actually quite good. So after lightly digging over the top few inches and removing the stones, I decided to sow some meadow saxifrage to see how it takes.
The rest of the area I will leave covered up until next year. Some saxifrage seeds were also sown at the front of the rockery to hopefully tumble down and hide the concrete retainer.
Elsewhere in the garden I found this little chap. He's the caterpillar of the Cinnabar moth. They generally live on ragwort until they pupate, so I chucked him in to the field at the back of the garden.
Before the rain came, I managed to tidy up the rest of Mum's side of the garden so it's all ready to be dug over.
The soil there is very hard to dig. Mum still wants to get a man in to do it for us, and as it's her side of the garden I don't mind if she does, but on my side I'll do it my way.
You can see from my gloves just how hard I've tried !