Thursday, March 26, 2009

Autumn is Here

Chookie was asking how we know autumn is here. In my case, it is usually the Autumn Crocus coming up.


This year the first one was on the 20th February - and then all the rest waited until 25 March. So I am confused.

Except the ornamental grape started to change colour, about a week or so ago. That is one of my other first indicators of autumn.

The other annual indicator I use around this time is, as soon as the first petals come out on the Tree Dahlia, the first frost will arrive. So I never seem to get a good show on them any more, as they are cut down before their prime. And that may not work this year anyway, as in the heatwave a month or so ago, the Tree Dahlias were totally destroyed. Or so I thought.

But no - they are back again, as good as ever, but probably very confused about when they are supposed to flower. So it will be "wait and see".

The season is dry - so I am glad to announce I have found a good way to have water out for the Bees. They soak water up, rather than drink it, which is why they can often be found on mud at the edge of water. I have tried using cloth and sponges in the bird bath, but without luck. Then I lucked on this:


This is a cheap flower from a cheap shop - a sort of thin spongy plastic, that once was purple. The bees are very attached to it, as it gives a lot of spots where they can suck the water up. It seems to me that, as it ages and breaks down, it becomes more popular - or maybe they are just finding it difficult to find water elsewhere.

Or maybe they have a sort of "map" of how to find it now - bees return to the hive and carry out a complex dance that lets other bees know where they have found nectar - maybe they do the same for water. I wonder if there are bees within a hive tasked to find water, and others to find nectar?

So don't forget to leave water out for the bees. And experiment around to find a platform from which they can soak it up.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lovely idea

Have just been watching Gardening Australia. Josh in WA has a brilliant worm farm - it is an old bath where the top is just a hinged lid of boards. It doubles as a garden seat. My worms eat stuff so quickly I don't have an odour problem, so it looks good. He has interior liners, and is running two different lots - I would possibly go for three.

I assume the liquid runs out the liner and out through the plug hole - where you have something handy to catch it.

Wish he had put a photo on there.