Dear Readers, you might remember a post a few weeks back when I was asking for everybody’s opinion on whether my new containers should retain their water reservoir or not, and very helpful it was too! In the end, I decided to take the reservoirs out – they seemed to take up quite a lot of the inside of the containers, and so I thought it might be better not to risk the whole thing getting waterlogged and/or frozen. I’ve kept the ‘bits’ that you need to put in the reservoir, though, so if it all goes pear-shaped it won’t be too much work to empty the containers and fit them. Let’s hope not, though….
In Container Number One, I have planted some sedum and some catmint. I put the plants out in their box while I was waiting for the containers to arrive, and looked out of the kitchen window to see an enormous cat plonked down on top of the catmint, so let’s see how long it survives. The cat managed to break one of the sedum stems, so let’s see how that does. I was half expecting all the mammals in the area to use the container as a toilet, but maybe there’s enough planting to deter them.Only time will tell.
The other container has some asters and some Bowle’s Mauve perennial wallflower, the latter chosen for its ridiculously long flowering period and most-favoured status with all sorts of bees.
I am finding the way that the volume of (peat-free) compost is slightly deforming the shape of the containers both amusing and a little alarming. Let’s see what happens.
I will be popping in some bulbs too, probably some grape hyacinths because the squirrels don’t seem to like them that much, plus some of the Sicilian Honey Garlic that I love so much, and maybe some squill. Bulbs do pretty well in the back garden too, but it’s less sunny so they take their time.
I also tidied up the green alkanet – when it goes brown it is absolutely covered in little crystalline prickles. They don’t sting, but they are very annoying. Why I was doing this without gloves on I can only put down to sheer laziness.
In other news, the windowboxes are still going strong – the honeybees are all over the marjoram, although the candytuft is past its best now. Those delosperma really were a bargain.
My Achillea is also doing well – the candy-pink flowers mature to shades of mauve and lilac, and it just keeps flowering. It’s a big favourite with hoverflies, and I seem to be getting a lot of these chaps at the moment. I think this is Syritta pipiens, a rather ferocious little hoverfly with enormous ‘thighs’. The males face off against one another like stags, pushing one another backwards and forwards until one of them gives up. The lives of these insects are every bit as complicated and interesting as those of the big charismatic mammals that we all love so much.
Speaking of which, there are orb web spiders all over the garden at the moment – one had spun a web between the newly-planted asters and the wall within a couple of hours of me finishing off the containers yesterday. And so it’s no surprise that every so often, a pollinator will be caught. This spider is feasting on a honeybee that was probably visiting the marjoram in the window box above. Still, that’s nature for you, and the bee will provide the spider with enough sustenance to last for a good few days. Many bees are coming to the end of their lives now, so it’s at least a more useful end than just crashing to the pavement.