Janice and John's Allotment Blog - May Bank Holiday

27th May 2019 - A day of wildlife discovery alongside the digging

Plot 20B and the work continued on May Bank Holiday Monday, but with a couple of helpers this time: our son Simon and his wife Bethany.  

 

Beth tended the pond, being careful not to disturb the wildlife too much. She counted twenty newts plus one big frog, hopefully now they will be able to breath.  She gently added some fresh water to the the pond, which diluted the stagnant and smelly existing water.  The white slug/snail eggs in the newt photo were found by Simon and John and they thought the newts would enjoy them.....who knows? Better than them hatching and enjoying our crops (crops? what crops?  ha ha...)  I identified them as slug/snail from a website garden blog and the overriding advice was to squash them!

We have since been given a water lily by Derrick, which is a nice addition but we have no knowledge of what colour it is, what it's name or how large it is likely to get.  It's an adventure!  Thank you Derrick.

Simon helped John with the digging and tackling the ubiquitous couch grass and it provided some great father and son bonding - not the same as a pint but reached the parts Heineken-style even so.  They didn't stop talking, lovely to watch.  Beth helped them too, once the pond was sorted.

Our discoveries didn't stop at newts, frogs and couch grass though, as we unearthed the existence of ground, or miner bees a few days later, on 2nd June.  How so?  John was emptying one of the compost bins in order to clear the ground for our new shed (new = next door's castoffs, as our neighbours at home are having their garden overhauled and no longer need their shed!  What a peachy gift, as there is no shed on 20B at the moment).  The compost was really good and he laid it over two of the raised beds, hoping it will keep the couch down until we (he 🙂) gets round to digging them.  So, digging the bin out, he discovered the nest in the photo (the shovel photo) and there were lots of bees in and out of it and he had obviously disturbed them.  We had seen plenty of them buzzing around the comfrey plant but didn't dream we had a nest!!!  We didn't even know that there were such things as ground bees, but our wildlife loving son reliably informed us that's what they are. We are now more knowledgeable but unfortunately couldn't keep the nest in tact.  Looking on the Internet, it seems that they will be back and buzzing around again, nesting building soon and are very gentle bees, not given to stinging, phew.