I’ve been lucky enough to have a garden or other outside area for growing and relaxing every where I’ve lived other than the two years I spent in a residential block on-site at the hospital where I was training to be a Registered Nurse back in the late 90s.
I started my first herb garden at 11 in my principal childhood home incorporating the common culinary herbs, some I knew to be medicinal and some I just wanted to try growing. Since then I’ve always had fresh herbs. My parents had a large garden at their house in France and grew a fair amount of their own produce, this was also the case for the family I used to do exchanges with in France. My husband and I had an allotment for a time in Southampton and growing my own food to some extent has become a joy.
Increasingly I like my garden to be productive and a space I share with nature. In my current garden I have a nettle patch, lots of “volunteers” and last year we put in a wildlife pond. The garden is a little overgrown and rambling and probably the closest I’ve ever got to a “cottage garden” despite having to keep a patch of lawn for the guinea pigs.
On this page I’d like to share with you some of the joys of my garden, what I’m growing; what I’m doing; projects I’ve completed or am looking at trying out. I’ll also try to link to recipes that utilise what I’ve grown and harvested here rather than what I’ve foraged.
Building a Bee and Bug Hotel
I generally leave the garden messy over the winter with hollow Lavatera and Rosebay Willowherb stems, patches of nettles and dandelions; Buddleia and other seed heads for the birds and leaf litter etc. for other insects and creepy crawlies to hide in. I’ve made little “houses” out of broken cups and pots and even a cracked fish tank with some pebbles, shells and chippings.
Like many I’ve looked at the bee and bug hotels available in various outlets and thought about buying. However I’ve also looked at those made of of pallets and bits and bobs and the frugal part of me feels that is a better way forward.
Then I found this article on the problems of mass-produced bee houses
https://colinpurrington.com/2019/05/horrors-of-mass-produced-bee-houses/?fbclid=IwAR1MofCrXHEILl-4upj1aOlgyJKsMxqWvSNPCI6YoOeMlkrU51nWSDiVMBA in a Facebook group I belong to.
Fortunately another member posted a link to an article giving some really useful info if you want to make your own. http://www.bwars.com/sites/www.bwars.com/files/info_sheets/Bee_Hotels_infosheet.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1OWzMLjdokJtQ7mJJAvmHsbLgeCuuRaadS_u_KOI9e3Vj3HjHsdt1nXgY