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Where are the butterflies and bumblebees?


 
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Eyebright
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 08 Sep 2011
Posts: 19
Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:36 pm    Post subject: Where are the butterflies and bumblebees? Reply with quote

Did anyone else notice that there seemed to be far less butterflies and bees than usual?
We have lots of wildflowers, budliers and other butterfly and bee friendly flowers and usually see plenty of butterflies and bees, but not this year. I wonder if the cold winter affected them?
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tippben
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Joined: 15 Jan 2011
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Location: north tipperary

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. A lot of butterflies, such as the small tortoiseshell, overwinter as adults. Pupae and Bumblebees overwinter underground, so the "permafrost" deep freeze we experienced over the last two winters will have had a massive impact on populations. We can't control the weather, but we can keep planting food plants. For butterflies, "weeds" like nettles and brambles, and many wild grasses are crucial, as the larvae can't eat anything else. If you have nettles, brambles, long grass etc. please don't "tidy it up", unless it becomes a real problem, until the winter.
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Eyebright
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your response. I've lots and lots of nettles and brambles and definitely will not be tidying them up. In fact I'm thinking about planting a hedgerow, I'd really like some blackthorn.
Any idea if blackthorn can be grown from cuttings?
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Sive
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's easy to grow from cuttings. I had a bank of blackthorn blossom this spring from a section of old hedge and now have masses of sloes. I picked some yesterday and will make sloe gin today !
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Maeve Drogheda
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Location: Drogheda Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With regard to question 'where are al the butterflies and bumble bees?' well they are still in my garden in Drogheda, and do not show any sign of moving out for the winter!! I have never seen them so late especially with the weather not been so hot. I have some large headed sedums (can't remember the name) and they are so happy mooching around this pot.

And I have no intention of tidying around to give them a chance of survival.

Good luck with the sloe gin sive
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Sive
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Location: Co.Wexford

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Maeve...just finished and it looks delicious...and smells, well, it smells of gin at the moment ! I'll taste it at Christmas and see how it's going.
All a bit experimental really, as I've never made it before. Have you ?
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Eyebright
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your replies everyone. My mum made sloe gin one year and it was yummy, like a lovely purple sweet liquour, I hope I will be making it one day, when I have my hedgerow. I will take some backthorn cuttings. You are lucky Maeve, I had so many butterflies and bees last year and so few this year. I really miss them and just hope they make a comeback.
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Maeve Drogheda
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Location: Drogheda Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have all my neighbours growing plants, shrubs, flowers etc to encourage bees and butterflies and I thinkg that is why we are rewarded with so many.

I pay the neighbours in veg!! and give help with pruning etc like a mini co operative. None of my neighbours have used any chemicals in their gardens for the past 5 years and I think this has helped.

I have never made gin but I have made wine, which used to by syphoned directly from the wine barrell during parties when we ran out of alcohol. So we stopped a number of years ago and use the wind barrells for rain water harvesing.

This year I am brewing a nettle tea, and a sea weed tea to feed my plants and veg.
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Eyebright
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats very impressive! Very inspiring actually.

I've never used chemicals at all and no one lived here before we did so presumably our soil is completely organic. Most of our land is wild, but probably with too much brambles and gorse. They are getting too invasive I think. But there is plenty of plants for the butterflies and bees and i've dug three ponds too. My neighbours have uninspiring gardens that consist of large lawns and shrubs so that doesn't help the wildlife. They aren't the types to let any bits grow wild.

A friend gave me some comfrey this year so next year I hope to use it to make fertilizer for my raised borders. I'm planning to spread seaweed over the borders too.

I made blackberry wine once and it was delicious. The blackberries weren't so good here either this year. The rain got them and many were spoilt.

Are you making nettle tea from oldish nettles? I've piles of nettles. Don't they have to be young ones?
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