I have probably seen more ladybirds in the garden today, than I saw all last summer, which is great news for us and bad news for the aphids! I watched these little guys/gals for ages crawling on the forget-me-not flowers (Mysotis).

Ladybird on forget-me-not flowers

The forget-me-not blue contrasts so well with the yellow flowers that dominate spring gardens. I love them planted around the base of tulips. They are so easy to grow, just scatter some seed down in the summer/autumn and the following year you will be rewarded with lots of flowers on compact plants. I bought a packet of forget-me-not seed some years ago and have never had to buy any since! I always leave some plants to self-seed after flowering. When the plantlets grow, I just move them to where I want them and pull up any excess.

forgetmenots

In the language of flowers, Forget-me-nots mean True Love, Memories, Do not forget.

Spotted the first ladybird of the year today – a Seven spot ladybird. We hardly saw any last year and as a result had so many aphids on the runner beans. I do hope this little lady survives and has lots of babies to eat the aphids!

7 spot Ladybird on daffodil

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The runner beans are still not big enough to pick at the moment and I suspect they don’t like this heat. Unfortunatley they are severely infested with blackfly, even though I planted marigolds around the plants. Despite our best efforts we cannot seem to get rid of the blackfly by squashing them. Even spent an hour the other night hosing them off, only for them to return the following day. Have now resorted to using an organic insecticide, suitable for vegetables.

I discovered a lone ladybird on the beans tonight, the first seen this year – just need a few more to join him!

We are picking the climbing beans most days. They get placed in a bag in the freezer and kept for winter meals. They seem to freeze better than the runner beans, which seem to get a peculiar taste when frozen. Strangely these beans do not have any blackfly on the leaves at all. Even some runners planted in the same row have blackfly, but not the climbing beans.

Baby robinI am pleased to report that we have a new addition to our garden. This evening I was delighted to meet ‘my’ baby robin – the one I have helped to feed over the last few months!

Curious baby robinHe/she was hopping around me when I was weeding and seems just as curious and friendly as his mum. No sign of his parents though, so I guess he’s fending for himself now.

Pair of robins waiting to be fedMeet Mr and Mrs Robin, his parents, who absolutely loved the suet pellets I fed them through the long cold winter.

beeflyJust recently I noticed a strange looking bee flying around, with a long spike at its front end, which made it look quite scary. It did not behave quite the same as a bee does, and its legs looked mosquito-like. I cannot remember ever seeing one of these strange insects until a week or so ago, and now I seem to spot them all the time.

I managed to get a photograph of one today and then did some research. It turns out it is a bee-fly, or Bombylius major  which is harmless to humans but is parasitic to solitary bees, wasps and beetles. They do however, pollinate flowers.