A Spluttering Spring…..

In the autumn, last year, I’d introduced a number of spring flowering bulbs to the balcony to help provide nectar and pollen for insects emerging from their long winter slumbers. In February the… Continue reading

The City Planter article


Michaelmas Daisy (Aster)

This late flowering perennial is of great benefit to butterflies, bees and hoverflies in the late autumn – flowering at a time of year when many other sources of  nectar have come to… Continue reading

Purple Toadflax

The Perennial Snapdragon (Linaria Purpurea) Notwithstanding that it has such a great name,  this “purple toadflax” is also remarkable for its ability to provide pollinating insects with a source of  nectar from late spring … Continue reading

“The Shrieking Violet” article about Birley Fields

Here’s an article which I recently wrote for  Manchester’s rather excellent Shrieking Violet Fanzine (2nd birthday edition). It concerns the imminent loss of a large area of wild, urban green space  in my… Continue reading

Ichneumonid Wasp – “spiders beware!”

I was really pleased to get this shot of this particular  species of Parasitical Wasp Polysphincta tuberosa (Ichneumonidae:Pimplinae) which can be seen, here,  resting on a borage  plant on my balcony.According to http://chrisraper.org.uk  ”… Continue reading

Ice Plant (Sedum Spectabile)

The ice plant with its  large, waxy grey-green leaves , produces large flat clusters of small,  pinkish red flowers which are  a magnet to both bees and butterflies alike in late summer and… Continue reading

Manchester Evening News article about the Balcony!

Click on the image to read

Anise Hyssop

This Anise Hyssop (hysspagastache foeniculum) is in full flower right now and has been a magnet for bumblebees visiting my balcony. A native of America, the Anise Hyssop is supposed to be frost… Continue reading

March of the Harlequins

This is the larvae of the Harlequin Ladybird which can be seen feasting on aphids on my balcony’s hop plant. Although Harlequins closely resemble our own native Ladybirds they are  actually introductions from… Continue reading