Happy Monday everyone. Sorry for the delay in posting, things have been a little bit crazy! I hope, however, to redeem myself by telling you about the launch of brand new magazine, The Simple Things, which will be out in early September. From the same stable as the rather lovely Mollie Makes, The Simple Things has been devised to celebrate ‘homemade values and simple living – from urban gardening to thrift store shopping, simple cooking and relaxed entertaining to collecting vintage finds’. What more could anyone want?! I of course, given the premise of JustALittleJoy, am very excited about this, and cannot wait to get my hands on their first issue. A little taster of what to expect below…
This post takes its title from a lovely gardening program I watched this week (God I sound old), presented by writer, gardener and broadcaster Sarah Raven. Sarah’s on a mission to halt the rapid decline in Britain’s bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects, and she’s trying to get people to start sowing wildflower meadows and grasslands, which were once in abundance throughout the UK. These habitats are a vital support network for insect pollinators, who in turn are crucial to the world’s agriculture. Without these pollinators, the future of our food supply is under threat.
So anyway, the episode I watched, which was the last in a three-part series, saw Sarah trying to persuade Britain’s cities to ditch the acres of close-mown parks and Victorian bedding displays and embrace nectar-rich wildflower meadows instead. I love this idea… why have all those arrangements of rigid-looking bedding plants when you could be sitting in a glorious mini meadow filled with sweet-smelling grasses, amongst the bees and butterflies, and the bobbing heads of pastel-coloured flowers?
But it’s not just up to the park authorities; anyone with an outdoor space can get gardening to help save the bees. All you need to do is create your very own wildflower meadow area (which can be as small as a pot on your balcony), which you dedicate to nectar-rich, long-flowering plants. Sarah’s even created a colourful, pollinator-friendly flowerbed recipe, which I’ve listed below, but you can also buy ready-made wildflower seed mixes to sow. There are other ways to take care of our pollinators too – check out a few more of her tips here, and turn your garden into a much-needed haven for Britain’s bees and butterflies.
Bright, beautiful and bee-friendly flowerbed recipe
Single dahlia varieties – Dahlia ‘Bishops children’ (can be grown from seed so inexpensive) plus single varieties such as Dahlia ‘Juliet’, Bishop of Auckland’, ‘Roxy’, ‘Rosamund’, ‘Twinings After Eight’, ‘Scoura’, ‘Magenta Star’
Cosmos ‘Antiquity’ (good because shorter and doesn’t need staking) & ‘Dazzler’ (brighter colours but bit taller)
Zinnia – single types best + ‘Sprite mix’, ‘Giant Cactus Mix’, ‘Envy’ (these may need a dose of Bordeaux Mixture to do their absolute best)
Runner Bean ‘Painted Lady’, ‘White Lady’ & ‘Polestar’ plus Borlotti Bean (pods look great)
Calendula ‘Indian Prince’ (may need Bordeaux mixture spray once or twice to keep it free of mildew right through the summer)
Echium vulgare (pref sown this year for next as a biennial)
Antirrhinum ‘Liberty Classic Crimson’ and ‘Night & Day’
Scabiosa ‘Tall Mix’
Nasturtium ‘Alaska’ and ‘Tip Top Mahogany’
Centaurea cyanus (Cornflower) ‘Blue Boy’ and ‘Black Ball’
Rudbekia ‘Prairie Sun’ and ‘Cappucino’
Monarda ‘On Parade’
Angelica gigas (Big burgundy dot plant – brilliant for bees)