Attracting the bees

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It was heaven on the allotment this morning. Tranquil, sparklingly green, and hot – so those baby courgette plants will need some water.

My allotment guru friend, Tom, is having a peaceful pre-watering cup of tea and I join him for a quick sit down under his hawthorn tree – an enviable shady spot.

Tom’s plot is a haven for wildlife – with his valerian-fringed pond and great swathes of phacelia – a beautiful and eco-friendly green manure, which literally hums with bees and improves the nutrient status and texture of the soil.

The lavender blue phacelia contrasts beautifully with the bright yellow mass of poached egg plants ‘Limnanthes douglasii’. It can be used as winter ground cover and stripped off for the compost bin in spring, but it’s a shame to miss out on those flowers and they attract bees and hoverflies, which will eat aphids and pollinate plants.

Tom takes a relaxed approach to gardening – he lets the chard self-seed where it wants and the raspberries move themselves from bed to bed. As I head back to my own plot and the chard that’s popped up in the potato bed – I think perhaps I should take a tip from Tom, and just let it be!