This week from Norfolk School of Gardening - Pests

This week from Norfolk School of Gardening - Pests

The latest from Ruth at Norfolk School of Gardening. Suffering with aphids and building bug hotels.

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You know those super-sized greenfly you see everywhere at the moment? Well it turns out we are not the only ones to have noticed that they seem bigger than ever this year. There are lots of comments on social media about the giant (little) green monsters. Back in the Walled Garden we are winning the battle against them with garlic spray, but have not yet won the war. The lupins are now in flower and looking lovely, but there are still greenfly attacking them. Happily the cavalry has finally arrived: ladybirds have joined us this week to help stop the aphids in their tracks.

We ran a course on Planting for Wildlife and Pollinators last week, and as well as looking at how to incorporate the right plants in your garden to attract pollinators we built a bug hotel in a shady corner using lots of discarded items from our gardens. We used old logs, bits of broken bamboo, broken terracotta pots, handfuls of dead leaves and straw. We topped it off with a green roof of turf which we were lifting to make another border. We are hoping to attract solitary bees as well as lacewings, butterflies, hoverflies, beetles and lots of spiders to make their home in our purpose built hotel over the coming months.

We have continued to lift turf to create new beds and borders in the Walled Garden and are now filling them up with tender annual flowers grown from seed in the Rhino greenhouse. We have several varieties of Cosmos, two different Calendula, half a dozen sweet peas, three different Nicotiana, Orlaya, Dahlia and many more flowers which we hope to be cutting for the Orangery Tearoom all summer and into early autumn. We have also made a start on growing flowers for next year, and the wallflowers are already being potted up.

Over in the Direct Plants polytunnel the salad leaves we sowed a couple of weeks ago are doing very well and the first ones will be ready to cut in another fortnight. In the raised beds the winter kale has been munched by the pigeons so we will be building netting cages this week to protect the cauliflowers and other brassicas from the same fate. The beans and peas are all doing well, though we won’t be picking any just yet.

We have a new course later this month, just after the Royal Norfolk Show, which is for the growing number of people who are greening up their homes with houseplants. Happy Houseplants will cover how to select and care for houseplants including dealing with pests and diseases, and Pretty Cactus will be joining us to show participants how to make a macramé plant holder to take home with them. Contact us for more information.


Courses with availability in the next few weeks:

Introduction to Garden Design 20th June (for 6 Thursdays)
Happy Houseplants 29th June (includes a macramé plant holder workshop)
Better Borders 5th July
Planting for Year Round Colour 12th July
Floristry Day with Sarah Hammond of English Peonies 13th July


Plant of the Week

Digitalis purpurea

Digitalis purpurea

The wild foxglove is a biennial with tall spires of varying heights and numerous flowers with spotted throats of deep pink through pale pink to white. It self-seeds profusely if it likes its growing spot and is just as happy in dappled shade as in full sun. The bees and other pollinators love the foxglove and can be seen going in and out of the flowers all day long. A must for the cottage garden, the flowers of the wild varieties of foxglove all face the same way.

The foxglove was named by Leonhard Fuchs in 1542. The botanical Latin name, Digitalis, is from the Latin digitus for finger. The common name, Foxglove, comes from the Old English foxes glofa as the flowers look like the fingers of a glove. It was belived that foxgloves grew on the woody slopes where foxes had burrows. The foxes needed magical gloves from the Digitalis to come out of the shadows to spirit chickens away.

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