Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie


Posted: 25/05/2015 at 14:59

 Sounds like stinkhorn to me. You usually smell it before you can see it. Smells a bit as if some animal or bird has died and rotted. I have never noticed a smell from red valerian, which we have in our garden and in the lanes around here.


Posted: 25/05/2015 at 14:55

Ooh, that's quite exciting! It sounds lime the sort of place they'll be very happy, and your garden will benefit from the pollination. I don't think these bees survive the winter as a colony, so you will be able to clear out the box later in the year if you want to.

Broad beans - should they look like this?

Posted: 25/05/2015 at 10:21

Mine aren't like that, they're all straight. If they're not dried out, I dont know what it can be. Sorry not to be more helpful.

bean seed germinating

Posted: 25/05/2015 at 09:23

I was a bit short of healthy French bean plants, after a couple of setbacks, so I ordered some more seeds from Moreveg online. They came in a few days and are now safely tucked up in a the soil. It isn't too late for French beans and probably runners, but it's a bit late for broad beans.


Posted: 24/05/2015 at 22:22

Are they honey bees? How big is your bird house? If it's not very big, it's not likely to be a swarm. Could there be something edible or sweet in the bird house that's  attracting them? A bird house doesn't sound like a big enough place for a swarm to choose to colonise, they may just be curious visitors in search of food.

Lily beetles

Posted: 24/05/2015 at 20:49

M y lilies are in two clumps of three, in a mixed border, and somehow only one of the lilies has had beetles so far. I have just been out to check some different lilies in pots elsewhere in the garden, and they're OK.

No matter how mixed the arrangement is, snails always seem to find their favourite plants. I have a single blue phlox on which most of the leaves, from the bottom up, were chomped off in a short time. I put down a few slug pellets and next morning removed about 6 snails from around its base.


Can anyone identify this weed and suggest how we can get rid of it?

Posted: 24/05/2015 at 20:00

If it is vinca, it does tend to smother everything around it. We found it didn't like being cut right back - even if we couldn't get the roots out,  chopping it close to the ground was quite effective. But it does tend to come back eventually.


Posted: 24/05/2015 at 18:53

We keep bees and agree with Beekeeper 2 above. We look after our bees well and they stay healthy and survive the winters.

Monty alluded to "wild bees" that might choose to make their home in your top-bar hive. There are virtually no honey bee colonies living successfully  in the wild in this country now - any stray swarms will have orignated in an apiary, and are unlikely to survive for long if left unchecked and uncared for. It is a sad fact that various diseases,  probably imported by beekeepers importing queens etc from abroad, will wipe out most colonies quite quickly.

Monty also implies that you can just take some of the honey if you like. To do this when the  comb is not on frames is very difficult; you can't just help yourself to a lump of comb if you don't know how to tell honey stores from brood cells, and you can't use an extractor to spin off the honey without frames. You may also leave the bees short of food if you can't tell whether they have stored more than they need, and then don't offer them any replacement food. Then they will simply starve in the winter, if they don't die of cold or varroa.

That's just a few of the points we take issue with. Anyone interested in beekeeping should take the trouble to find out a bit about it first. There are, as this thread shows, differing views on how best to keep bees,  but it really isn't kind or "bee-friendly" to assume that you can just set up a swarm in any box in your garden and leave the bees to get on with it.



Help in identifying this plant please

Posted: 24/05/2015 at 18:16

I think it may prove hard to get rid of, although it may depend on how long it's been there. Moving it might also be difficult if you find you can't get all the root out, and as it seems to be next to a path, the roots may not be easy to dig out. If you decide to get rid of it, a chemical solution (glyphosate) might be the most effective way if the roots are too deep.

Lily beetles

Posted: 24/05/2015 at 15:20

I found some a few days ago, in a lily that was planted in the autumn and is making its first appearance as a plant. I mean, how did they find my new lilies? I squished three at the time, and then another four this morning (all, incidentally, on only one of the six lilies in the bed).

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