Latest posts by Lunarz

Are astilbes poisonous to some insects?

Posted: 08/08/2012 at 09:55

Hi higgy - yesterday I saw one of these spiders in my garden too.  I think that's problem solved.  Thanks 

Are astilbes poisonous to some insects?

Posted: 03/08/2012 at 11:47
Thanks higgy. Unfortunately between my poor camera and my poor photography skills, none of my photos came out, but there are large black flies, small black flies, hover flies and those little things that look like mosquitoes but aren't. There are also assorted legs and wings which don't seem to belong to any bodies. Your spider hypothesis is really interesting and sounds like it could be right, although I haven't seen one, the bodies do have that dessicated look to them as if the moistuire has been sucked out. Poor creatures! Thanks for the insight...

Are astilbes poisonous to some insects?

Posted: 02/08/2012 at 14:03
Hi - I have got quite a few astilbes in my garden primarily because they were in a list I read of plants which are good for beneficial insects. However, they always seem to have several dead insects stuck to them. Not sure if this is a good sign - the insects like them so much they keep on eating their nectar until they die doing it, or whether it is a bad sign - the insects are being killed by the astilbes? Really hoping it's he former! Thanks as ever for all your helpful replies

Are sterile plants any good for wildlife?

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 18:56
Thanks very much Phytographer - that's great news. Gary, I hadn't realised that it was upside down - the colour is slightly garish, I agree, but what appealed to me was the perennial aspect - I am not completely confident yet in the garden and feel safer with perennials, and also I have such a small patch, biennials seem a waste of space. I can see where you are coming from though - it's not great if the plant has been chsnged so much from its native form...


Posted: 31/07/2012 at 17:22
In my garden, scabious is the bees' number one favourite, then salvias and lavenders plus hyssops and open flower dahlias (don't use any plant that is pom pom shaped or overly complex as the insects can't get to the pollen) for hover flies (as important as bees for pollination) and insects it's mexican fleabane, any type of daisy type flowers and lobellia. For butterflies it's buddleja which they adore. Generally, any wildflower is great too. Don't use pesticides or herbicides and plant lots of flowers and you'll soon have lots of bees and insects that will then attract lots of birds. Good luck - I've been wildlife gardening for two years now and it's incredibly rewarding

Are sterile plants any good for wildlife?

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 16:22
PS. Sorry for all the spelling mistakes - damn tiny screen on my blackberry...!

Are sterile plants any good for wildlife?

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 16:19
Hi - I have a wildlife garden and I don't use any plants that aren't beneficial to bees and beneficial insects. I recently bought 6 plugs of Foxglove Pink Illumination which is the brand new perrennial foxglove which won at Chelsea. They are coming on well but I happened to read that they are sterile recently. I know that this will mean that they don't produce pollen, but does it also mean that they won't have nectar? If there is no pollen, does the plant not bothering producung nectar either as there is no point attracting insects? It will be such a shame to take them out, but they only went in as Foxgloves are o good for wildlide. Thanks for any replies

Feeding poor-soil loving plants in pots?

Posted: 16/07/2012 at 10:41

Thanks Alina and Gary, I appreciate the answers.  Gary - I totally agree, it is very hard to find information on how to keep your soil naturally fertile.  I also wish that programmes like Gardeners' World were more informative, although the BBC have put pressure on Monty Don to actively promote fungicides and pesticides and he has stood firm and said that he will only promote organic methods, so perhaps that is the best we can hope for for now: I have used mycorrhizal fungi before when planting plants - do you think it might be worth giving the garden a sprinkle of that too when doing the autumn and spring chicken manure feed perhaps?  Thanks 

Is organic fertilizer OK?

Posted: 15/07/2012 at 16:53

Hi - I have been reading a lot about how adding artificial NPK fertilizers to the soil can kill off all of the natural fungus, bacteria and micro-organisms that would normally help to fertilize plants.  I garden organically and this would not be very desirable for me on principle, but also because it apparently creates a cycle where the garden needs the artificial NPK fertilizer more and more each year as all the natural fertilizers are killed off.  I have bought some 'organic feed', but I noticed that it still has an NPK rating on it.  Is this OK to use in an organic garden - i.e. will it preserve the natural micro-organisms?  Or does it just mean that it has been created using organic methods but will still kill off the natural fertilizers like artificial NPK fertilizers?  Thanks for any help - I don't understand this topic as much as I would like!

Not all bad news in the garden

Posted: 15/07/2012 at 16:46

You're right and that's a nice attitude - probably a lot more charitable than mine is towards the weather at the moment!  A lot of the shade tolerant plants in my garden are having a good year - geraniums, fuschias and hydrangea, and also some of the more persistent plants, such as the buddleas and valerian - I think because there is more room for them where the other plants haven't grown up.  The echinaceas and sweet peas on the other hand, are not happy!

Discussions started by Lunarz

Starlings not migrating

When will they sod off! 
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So sad... 
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Absolutely enormous slug

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So much work cleaning it out! 
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Where have they gone? 
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Discouraging Starlings

Any bright ideas? 
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Very short echinacea

One normal size, one very short 
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Last Post: 08/08/2012 at 23:14

Are astilbes poisonous to some insects?

Lots of dead insects on my astilbes 
Replies: 7    Views: 2506
Last Post: 08/08/2012 at 13:24

Are sterile plants any good for wildlife?

Foxglove Pink Illumination - any nectar 
Replies: 19    Views: 10480
Last Post: 22/08/2013 at 18:45

Is organic fertilizer OK?

Or does it still count as an undesirable NPK fertilizer? 
Replies: 3    Views: 1878
Last Post: 19/07/2012 at 23:58

Feeding poor-soil loving plants in pots?

Should these plants ever be fed even if in pots? 
Replies: 3    Views: 1496
Last Post: 16/07/2012 at 10:41

How long do Lupins live?

How short-lived are Lupins? 
Replies: 31    Views: 46860
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 20:35

Where have all the birds gone?

Birds have deserted my garden 
Replies: 17    Views: 9193
Last Post: 21/06/2012 at 09:27

Is everyone else's plants very late this year?

Plants very late? 
Replies: 12    Views: 1515
Last Post: 20/06/2012 at 10:04
1 to 15 of 19 threads