FROM THE MILL
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Planting different crops together is useful for several reasons. Some help control pests, improve pollination, add nutrients, fill up some unused space or just provide some support to grow.
Runner Beans are nitrogen fixing so improve the soil, planting with Sweetcorn gives the bean plants something to grow through. Plant a few Sweet Peas with the Beans to attract pollinators
Marigolds and Nasturtiums attract pollinating insects, plant around the edges or in between crops like Courgettes, Nasturtiums will self seed in a mix of different colours plus the leaves and flowers are edible,
Onions & Leeks planted with Carrots help deter Carrot root fly and Spring Onions & Chives planted with Lettuce will help keep aphids away.
Radish and Lettuce both grow fast and are quick to harvest, sow in rows between other slower growing vegetables like carrots and beans early in the season.
You may have noticed piles of twigs and leaves in quiet areas around the woodland and meadow. Several Hedgehog Houses have been provided by our Head Gardener to provide a safe location for Hedgehogs to hibernate in this winter.
In the last 30 years Hedgehog numbers have fallen by as much as 50%, leaving piles of twigs, branches and garden rubbish in the winter can really help. Our Hedgehog Houses are wooden boxes; filled with straw and are covered in polythene & soil to protect them, as well as leaves and branches piled on top.
Why not build your own Hedgehog House and encourage these prickly yet adorable creatures to rest, hibernate and raise their hoglets in your garden >https://www.rspb.org.uk/helping-nature/what-you-can-do/activities/build-a-hedgehog-house
Our Head Gardener, Tina is busy in the Mill Garden pruning the apple and pear trees.
January and February are the idea months to prune as the trees are in their dormant stage.
When pruning look to create an open goblet shape and take out any dead, diseased or damaged growth. Also look for any branches that rub together or criss- cross.
Tina also recommends sharp tools for a clean cut which is less damaging to the tree and sturdy boots as the ground can be super slippery at this time of year.
Entry to the Mill Gardens is free, so why not join us for an invigorating winter walk? We look forward to seeing you soon.
Jordans Mill is home to all sorts of wildlife, not all easy to see but worth looking for!
In the recent very hot weather the gardens and meadow have been full of insects; Butterflies, Moths, Dragonflies and other bugs have been seen including some which are quite unusual.
Several different large Dragonflies can often be seen hunting smaller insects on hot sunny days; Brown, Southern and Migrant Hawkers, Common Darters and Black-tailed Skimmers. The smaller Damselflies are very dainty and prefer the areas of rough cut grass, pale coloured White-legged Damselfly can sometimes be found in the meadow but can be quite hard to spot sitting in the grass.
Unlike Dragonflies they sit with the their wings folded, look for white females and very pale blue males amongst the more common blues.
The moth trap has been very full in the mornings after the warm nights; lots of Hawk Moths, a Scarlet Tiger moth and recently a rare Jersey Tiger. Both very colourful and sometimes active during the day, bright orange colours under their wings make them easy to spot.
Our meadows are full of Grasshoppers, they vary a lot in size and colour but are mostly quite small and either green and brown. Roesel’s Bush Crickets usually have short stubby wings making them flightless, a scarce long winged form was found in the grass near the bee hives.
Crickets are less common, a little bigger and can be identified by the long thin antennae on their heads.
Why not visit us to see what types of wildlife you can spot?! We're open Wednesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Don't forget to share your findings on social media and tag our pages!
Photo: White Legged Damselfly captured by Richard Webb.