The Donheads Gardening Club - Page reproduced from the Donhead Digest.

June/July 2018

VISITORS WELCOME in my garden especially of the wildlife variety, the inspiring Garden Club speakers have emphasised the need of all creatures in our gardens even the slugs and snails as they all have a purpose. None more so than Brigit Strawbridge with her enthusiastic talk on solitary bees and of their importance in our gardens. I have been watching the solitary common carder bee pollinating the soft fruit and have learned another valuable lesson here that it is so important to take time to 'stand and stare'.

I may think I'm pottering about in blissful solitude as I'm pruning, weeding or tieing in but I am rarely alone. During my spring tidy up I had frogs jumping from under the cool damp haven of leaf litter, these with the toads found in the vegetable garden are helping us to control the slugs and snails; beetles are also helpful in this respect, you may find them in your compost which when returned to the soil will attack slugs and snails. Most beetles are friends there are only four baddies, Lily Beetle, Viburnum Beetle, Vine Weevil and Rosemary Beetle.

The visiting birds should also be encouraged as they will clean our plants of aphids and caterpillars and the robins will always be at our feet waiting for us to fork over the soil to reveal the slug eggs, when they will dash in for a meal. Then there is the pleasure of seeing them which is worth the cost of all the food we provide, of course the blackbird will try to eat our strawberries and redcurrants even when netted (make sure they don't get caught up in it) but the thrushes will seek out the snails and beat their shells until they extract their meal.

Let's not forget that what we consider to be pests in our garden are there to help balance nature and are someone else's food, we must remember that slug pellets not only kill slugs but in turn may be taken by others in the food chain; when did you last see a hedgehog, of course there are other reasons for their demise, but I find it very disheartening to see in our garden centres shelves packed with products for killing, so much nicer to spend our money on plants.

It isn't too late to make your borders even more beautiful so if you still have space there are plants to go in now which are high summer nectar plants and will encourage butterflies, bees, lacewings and hoverflies into our gardens to pollinate and attack aphids.

Here are some suggestions for these and late flowering performers which will keep our wildlife happy helping to maintain nature's harmony:

High Summer.
Nepeta grandiflora 'Bramdean'
Geranium x riverslaianum 'Mavis Simpson'
Verbascum chaixii 'Album'
Lavandula angustifolia 'Melissa Lilac'
Centaurea dealbata 'Steenbergii'
Digitalis purpurea
Sedum telephium (Atropurpureum group)
Agastache 'Blackadder'

Late Performers.
Rudbeckia triloba AGM
Verbena macdougalii
Penstemon 'Andenken an Friedrich Halm' Hedera helix
Dahlia 'The Bishop of Llandaff' AGM
Salvia microphylla
Kniphofia rooperi AGM
Aconitum carmichaelii 'Arendii' AGM


Christine Giles

The Donheads Gardening Club is affiliated to:

The RHS, The Gardens Group Sherborne and the Wiltshire Gardens Trust.

We always welcome new members, please see our membership page for details.

Useful Links

Country Gardener Magazine

Open Gardens - National Directory

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