Saturday, 22 June 2013

By Request

I mentioned in my last post that the cotoneaster in my front garden is attracting lots of bees. I was asked if I would put a photo of the cotoneaster on my blog, so here it is. As you can see, it's not a showy shrub, the flowers are extremely small, but they're so loved by bees. It also produces berries which are a favourite with the birds, especially blackbirds, so it's a great shrub to have if you want to help wildlife, or attract wildlife to the garden.

The fruit bushes which I planted a little while ago at the allotment have settled in well. There's a small cluster of fruit on the blackcurrant bush but nothing on the gooseberry, though it seems to be growing well. I think I'll have to wait until next year to taste it's wares. The rhubarb has put out lots of stems but I've resisted harvesting any for fear of weakening the plant. I'm looking forward to taking a few stems from this plant next year. You may remember, I planted out a second rhubarb crown which had started growing again after I thought it was dead. It's very spindly, but it looks to be growing a little stronger now, so with plenty of feeding I'm hoping that it may come good next year.

My daughter spotted the strawberry I mentioned in my last post, so we ended up sharing it. That first taste of home grown strawberry is something I look forward to every year, as is the taste of home grown tomatoes. My tomato plants are growing nice and strong and are flowering away, so it's only a matter of time until I get my hands on that first fruit, and this time I'll have it all to myself as the rest of the family don't like tomatoes. They don't know what they're missing.

38 comments:

  1. My neighbour has a cotoneaster in his front garden & it is always smothered in bees.I haven't harvested any of my rhubarb this year as I moved them, I was very tempted but resisted. We can both look forward to picking some stalks next year though.

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    1. It's a great shrub to attract bees, and butterflies too, though I haven't seen many around this year. I'm sure we'll both make the most of our rhubarb next year.

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  2. Hello Jo, I planted a cotoneaster shrub last year and am hoping it will cover most of a fence at the front of the garden to the side.It really does attract a lot of bees as is my ceanothus at the moment.

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    1. My cotoneaster is between our garden and next door's and it's really spread, so I'm sure yours will cover the fence well. The bees will love it.

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  3. Yes, the Cotoneaster is a good example of the type of plant that we all ought to grow. We really should not go for just the showy brightly-coloured flowers that look good to us but not to the bees. Cotonester is a very tolerant plant and will grow practically anywhere, which is why it is planted in so many municipal gardens!

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    1. My cotoneaster is in a darkish place and it seems to like it there. It's very close to the house so I can see all the bees through the window, and the blackbirds when they come to eat the berries.

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  4. I've always like cotoneaster plants as they're so good for wildlife and they look quite nice as well.

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    1. The bees love cotoneasters, I can't believe how buzzy the plant becomes when they're around.

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  5. Our cotoneaster has been covered with bees too..Our Buddleja globosa is a buzz with bumbles and other pollinators at the moment - such a wonderful sight.
    Julie :o)

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    1. It's great to see so many buzzy things around at the moment, they've been very scarce this year. I always try to plant things with bees in mind.

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  6. Thanks Jo, I haven't seen one before and I think they will make a lovely border around the bee plot!

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    1. I think a cotoneaster would make a great addition to your bee plot, the bees would be very thankful if my plant is anything to go by, it's covered all the time at the moment.

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  7. Woah - first fruits - nothing like the taste. So far I've had the first mange tout. The beetroot is all mine and I'm keeping an eye out for our first strawberry.
    Love from Mum
    xx

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    1. I planted my mange tout out a while ago but they're taking their time in getting going. It will be a while yet before I get a harvest. Plenty of beetroot has germinated, I just need it to grow now.

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  8. Wonderful first strawberries. We each had a bowl of them on summer solstice. They are a little late this year I think. But oh so very delicious.

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    1. I've only had the one strawberry so far, but I'm looking forward to the rest ripening now. Lucky you managing a bowl each already.

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  9. As you, and others, have said it's a good shrub to grow.
    I don't think that pulling just a few rhubarb stems will weaken the plant.
    Lucky you having all the tomatoes to yourself! Flighty xx

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    1. The birds and the bees certainly like it. I've read so many things about allowing rhubarb to establish itself before taking any stems that I thought I'd err on the side of caution. I'll wait until next year. I should get a decent tomato harvest this year, providing all the plants produce, so I'll use some for soups and sauces, that's one way to get the family to eat tomatoes.

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  10. Bees do tend to love the most insignificant of flowers like heuchera, gooseberry and currant flowers.

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    1. You're right. It's probably because they're such simple flowers which allow them to get straight at the nectar.

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  11. Cotoneasters are certainly a real bee magnet Jo. I have one like your plus another one which grows in a pot which I won as a raffle prize some years ago. It is has stayed small, has white flowers and attracts the bees too :) Sharing that strawberry was the perfect solution :)

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    1. Your raffle prize sounds lovely. I don't often win raffles but if I do, it's usually something like a cuddly toy or a bottle of sherry, I'd much rather win a pretty plant in a pot.

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  12. You can't beat the first strawberries. I go to the allotment on the way to work and eat the first ones off the plants. Pete asks when the strawberries will be ready nd I say probably next week! I am not going to share!!!!

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    1. I don't blame you. Strawberries fresh from the plant sounds like a lovely breakfast.

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  13. Hi Jo! Great to catch up on what you've got growing. I have mostly green strawberries but have my eye on one that's going red! We have a cotoneaster growing on the front of the house, coming over from next door. I love them. I think some people can look down on these plants but they are great and like you say, good for the bees :)

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    1. I'm still waiting for more strawberries to ripen, I don't think it's going to happen in the weather we've got today, dark and damp. I really like the cotoneaster, and the bees certainly do.

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  14. I shall be putting cotoneaster on my wishlist as I never know what to choose when I go to the garden centre. So many plants... We're looking forward to some fresh veggies very soon. This late Spring and Summer we haven't been in Italy so hubby has been able to tend the veggie plot over many weeks and now, hopefully, enjoy the produce. Home-grown tomatoes - of course we can't get enough of them!

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    1. Cotoneaster will bring lots of wildlife to your garden, it's a magnet. The harvests are just starting to come here, plenty more on the way too, I can't wait.

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  15. The cotoneaster is superb for wildlife, I have a few for that very reason.

    I'm smiling away at the thought of you and daughter sharing a strawberry... awwww...

    Lovely to hear the rhubarb is growing well...I'm enjoying mine. xxxx

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  16. I don't think I've seen so many bees round a plant as I've seen round the cotoneaster this year. We both love strawberries, I wasn't going to let her eat the lot. I'm waiting for a few more to ripen now. Glad you're getting to enjoy your rhubarb, I shall be making some crumbles next year.

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  17. many thanks for sharing your photo of cotoneaster I have never seen one before but will look out for one for my garden

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    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. They're a great shrub if you want to attract wildlife, my cotoneaster literally buzzes with all the bees in it.

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  18. Lovely to see the bees foraging on your Cotoneaster. As you say, it's a great plant for wildlife at different times in the summer. I completely agree about the taste of the first strawberry - and the first tomato, too!

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    1. I think I'd always include a cotoneaster in my garden now I know how loved it is by wildlife. I love to see the blackbirds with the berries in their beaks. I'm anxious every year for the first taste of strawberry and tomato, oh, and potato too.

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  19. I love your cotoneaster, Jo. My mom had one in her front garden, so I always think of her when I see one. I'm not sure if they thrive here in PA. I should give it a try. P. x

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    1. It would be lovely if you could get one to grow over there, it would be a nice reminder of your mum's garden in England.

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  20. Oh, I agree, there's nothing like that first strawberry picked fresh from the garden.

    It's always nice to have plants that are great for wildlife, I can imagine the bees enjoying your Cotoneaster, Jo.

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    1. I'm still waiting on the second one. I always try to garden with wildlife in mind, so I really love to find plants which bees, butterflies and birds enjoy.

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