Flower Fairies to the rescue

Every garden should have at least one flower fairy, preferably two. They are difficult to spot as they dress to blend with the flowers. For example, they use hollyhocks for skirts and nasturtiums for bonnets, on their love-in-the-mist inspired heads.

Their aprons may be fashioned from rose petals and their arms resemble honeysuckle stems. They are the masters of disguise.

One place to look is in a willow den, where they may be enjoying a cup of acorn tea, shaded by a squash leaf. We are in need of their expertise. The black fly is still attacking our broad beans. They are spreading to the courgettes. The next advance will include the peas.

The peas have taken shape and just need to swell. It would be best if the aphid front line could be halted.

Well, I’m guessing that these flower fairies are very busy orchestrating the friendly bugs in the garden. We have spotted ladybirds and hoverfly, which enjoy munching on the aphids. Today we spotted a new bug.

I have seen it in previous years, but this year there are several of these fast moving beetles among my aphid infested broad beans. I knew it wasn’t a lily beetle. Too thin, but I didn’t want another baddie.Β  I googled itΒ  and it looks like a soldier beetle, which is good news. They eat lots of aphids every day. So I reckon those flower fairies must have it in hand. I’ll just leave it to them.

Boy, oh boy, I don’t think I would like to tangle with this fellow if I was an aphid. Not very cuddly!

This year I’m also taking more of a back seat with our nature table. The children always keep an eye out for interesting nature bits for our nature table. They have a really good idea of what is appropriate to add to the table. For instance, they don’t bring in a hazel branch, but they do bring in the clusters of nuts. They don’t bring in a live slow worm, just a bit of its tail. No buzzing bees, flapping moths or scuttling ladybirds. No, they only bring in the dead ones. They made miniature water gardens, with parts of plants. I love seeing each child spend time looking at the bits and pieces. Picking them up and examining them. Asking questions and adding to it. My role is to answer questions and relocate any decaying plant life to the compost. It still surprises me that they don’t have a nature table at school, but at least we can do it at home. I wonder if any flower fairies will visit.

I’m linking this up to The Magic Onions Friday Nature Table. Inspiration abound, so hop on over and take a look.

20 thoughts on “Flower Fairies to the rescue

  • Thursday 8 July, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Country Living had (have?) a campaign to bring back the nature table and I think it’s a great idea. When I was young my cousin and I used to collect all manner of things. We even had an old bath in his garden where we kept our pond dipping finds. Including a trout. My uncle would periodically release everything, much to our dismay! I’m still very much the same, and even have a collection of feathers in a corner of the greenhouse. I don’t think you ever grow out of it, and I don’t really want to.

    • Friday 9 July, 2010 at 9:53 am

      I still have a vivid memory of taking a birds nest into school at the age of 5. I put it in a tissue box to protect it. The nest maker had lined it with the fur from my pyrenean mountain dog. You would think it was a win-win for the teachers. So many more eyes to find interesting bits of nature. I wonder if the change in the curriculums has squeezed out nature tables. I saw the Country Living campaign a couple of years ago. They had examples of the most beautiful nature study books. You’re right, I’ve not grown out of it, either.

  • Friday 9 July, 2010 at 3:44 am

    What wonderful flower fairies you have! Ours are rather lazy, it seems. Perhaps we should offer them some acorn tea. πŸ™‚

    • Friday 9 July, 2010 at 9:54 am

      Oh, I would give it a go. A little bit of flower fairy magic is always welcome.

  • Friday 9 July, 2010 at 6:04 am

    I used to teach in a two class rural school and we had a freshwater aquarium that was brilliant fun ..we even managed to have Newts breed in it ..so now I know they wrap there eggs in leaves using their back feet…logical but it surprised me.

    The nature table at home or school is a great idea ..yours looks lovely :0)

    • Friday 9 July, 2010 at 10:00 am

      I didn’t know that. I might have read it, but there is nothing like seing nature in action. TF’s nursery has a huge container of tadpoles each year, where they can see the life cycle first hand. The frogs are released back into the same river and ten more children have first hand knowledge of the lifes of these wonderful little creatures.

      I’m a great believer in real experiences feeding into later problem solving.

  • Friday 9 July, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Don’t suppose you could send me some of your soldier beetles to sort out my black fly as there is no sign of the local ladybirds. Maybe I need to encourage the local fairies, do you think a den like yours would help? πŸ˜‰

    • Friday 9 July, 2010 at 10:05 am

      Just checked and they have disappeared. I saw then late afternoon, so maybe it depends on the time of day. I’ve also transplanted a nasturtium, to attract a few more friendly bugs. I really think it is a bad year for black fly. Who knows maybe a fairy den is worth a try!

  • Friday 9 July, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    that was a truly magical post, my children really loved it too, and now want to make those lovely fairies..
    Precious pictures and lovely words…

    • Friday 9 July, 2010 at 11:57 pm

      Oh how sweet. I do hope your children make some. Adding to the world, one flower fairy at a time!

  • Saturday 10 July, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Beautiful flower fairies. Our son is a great insect enthusiast. We have had a great deal of soldier beetles visiting us this year too.

    • Saturday 10 July, 2010 at 12:52 am

      I’m sure there are more insects in general around this year.

  • Saturday 10 July, 2010 at 4:14 am

    The fairy flowers are striking. Very imaginative!

    • Saturday 10 July, 2010 at 8:53 am

      Thank you. We had fun using nothing but nature.

  • Saturday 10 July, 2010 at 4:29 am

    They are such pretty ladies !! … I will have to look more closely as I pass by in the gardens and meadows to see if I see any flower fairies nearby. πŸ™‚ Pamela

  • Tuesday 13 July, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Beautiful flower fairies. What creativity!! Love the little bug too. What a vibrant red for a bug. That would be a wonderful find.

    • Tuesday 13 July, 2010 at 11:19 pm

      I had overlooked the soldier beetles in previous years, so it is a new find for me. The children are finding them entertaining as these bugs flit between plants.

  • Friday 16 July, 2010 at 12:24 am

    I adore your flower fairies! I have many in my garden too! The pea flower is gorgeous!

    • Friday 16 July, 2010 at 1:59 pm

      Thank you. I’m glad flower fairies are so wide spread. The flower fairies keep giving. The seed heads are starting to scatter their seeds.

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