25 May 2012

The bee, the borage and the netting ...

Pigeons are greedy intelligent creatures.  I've spent a disproportionate amount of time this year devising a means to keep them away from my seedlings and from nesting on my herbs (they seem very particular to thyme, must be the woody stems).  Shouting at them and banging the door used to work quite well in previous years but as there are now at least 8 pigeons (or more) who regard the balcony next to mine as their home, stronger measures were called for. I devised a means of completely closing off my balcony with fine gauge garden netting and now they patrol the ledge on the other side of the net looking for any gaps that they might squeeze through.  There are none; I have pegged the net down on my side and closed the sides with taped loops.  Hahaha!  (Sorry, but it really has driven me to distraction over the years.)

The system was completed about 4 weeks ago and I've been a tad anxious as to whether bees would be able to get through the netting. Although I live on the second floor, they have found found their way up here in the past.  This evening, as I watered my seedlings (completely crusty after a day's photosynthesizing in the sun) I heard a very welcome droning sound... 

The Bee and the Borage
"The Bees are Back in Town ...  "

This little guy made it through the netting to get to the borage nectar and, having checked around for further goodies (interestingly, didn't stop at either the rosemary flowers, the broad beans, the violas or the strawberries), he then zoomed off back through the netting. Isn't nature amazing?

14 comments:

  1. Pesky pigeons are such a nuisance glad you've solved the problem - and happy the bee did too.

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    1. Yes, me too Elaine! The only problem left is the numbers of pigeons within feet of my balcony, albeit on the other side of the netting. It's a visual nightmare! (and probably a health one, too)

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  2. Lovely pic of the bumble bee. I find it hard to capture insects in pics. Maybe I need a better camera. Glad we don't have pigeons around our garden...they are demons.

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    1. I was lucky that my camera was to hand; other than that, it's just a question of patience and anticipating where they'll go next - and having a good sharp lens. Ladybirds are a good one - they move really slowly! I'm sure that you'll have other demons in your garden other than pigeons, there's always something to try the gardener's patience! Caro xx
      PS Lovely to see you back writing your blog again. Great post, too!

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  3. Glad to see the pollinators found you ! Yes nature is amazing, and determined!!

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    1. And thank goodness for that! Since that first bee, I've seen several on my balcony - the only thing attracting them all up here is the borage (for now). Meanwhile in the veg garden downstairs, I've seen a huge number of ladybirds hoverflies and bees this morning. Yesterday evening it was more Rosemary Beetle and a green shield bug. So nature has indeed found me!

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  4. When you think how fine a netting you need to stop things such as carrot root fly getting though, it would seem that insects and other pollinators will find a way. Pigeons have been known to bounce on netting in order to make it sag so that they can reach the top of plants.

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    1. Oh, no! bouncing pigeons! I haven't seen that but then I have vertical netting. They have tried to hang onto the net with their claws but I chase them off. It's the temptation of all that horticultural goodness on the other (my) side! Good comment about the netting, I haven't been bothered by carrot fly so I didn't think of that but you're quite right!

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  5. We get plenty of pigeons on the allotments but thankfully I grow little that is of interest to them.
    Yes nature is amazing! Flighty xx

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    1. Or you may be lucky and have allotment neighbours that grow plants that are of MORE interest to them!! I find it amazing that they'll eat bread crusts (one tenant regularly chucks out bread for them which keeps them away from my veg patch).

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  6. Great photo. Much as I love wildlife it can be a real pain sometimes. Last year it was blackbirds stealing my strawberries. I netted the whole bed but they still managed to get in. Quite a few though couldn't then get out, so I would go up to find birds flapping frantically in an attempt to escape. I've now had to put screws into my raised beds so I can secure the netting more. Of course all this makes picking them a pain and incredibly time consuming!!!

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    1. Thank you, wellywoman; it's always nice when my artistic efforts are appreciated!! I totally sympathise with the whole netting thing. I netted over several of my raised beds last year and found it such a nuisance to get in to weed. Same with the raspberries. In the end I decided that if the pigeons/starlings/wood pigeons, etc were that determined, I'd just have to share - and removed the netting. Pigeons trapped inside my balcony was something else - really quite scary as they flap endlessly to try and remember the way out! I've used plastic pegs (like you have for camping) to pin the netting down into the soil so I hope my balcony is now pigeon-proof!

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  7. Those bumblers just love Borage don't they? I'm so glad at least one has found its way to your balcony - it sounds like it's quite an obstacle course to get up there now and this little guy deserves his prize of sweet nectar!

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    1. Yes they do Tanya! I love to plant bee friendly flowers in the garden; last summer it was Honeywort (cerinthe) and this year I've added borage to the list.
      As the days have gone by there have been several bees up here on my balcony, I'm pleased to say! It's given me a good idea of where to plant the half dozen borage seedlings that I've grown and I've started to plant them out under the fruit trees. The garden will be buzzing this summer! Caro xx

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