Welcome to the SRT blog No. 65

20th August 2021 – Welcome to our blog post No. 65

It’s World Honey Bee day tomorrow.

Lucy recently became Sunnysides latest trainee beekeeper, supported by Mike at Hemel Food Garden. Their first work involved checking the hives for honey and looking for the Queen bee.















Paula’s great photo of a bee on the beautiful pink, echinacea flower. Perfect for bees and pollinators with it’s purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) pumps out as much nectar during the midday and afternoon hours as it does during the morning, so it is perhaps more useful to pollinators than many other flowers on a hot summer day. Bees and butterflies feed on the large centres, which become more cone-shaped and prominent with age.

Although some varieties will flower from early summer, the later flowering varieties are a real help to bees and butterflies to feed emerging young and help new queen bumble bees that need to build their energy reserves ready for mating, and then seek out a suitable location to hibernate.

The large central cone of the coneflower is made up of hundreds of tiny flowers called disc florets. Bees and butterflies can be seen circling around the cone, visiting each floret to sip nectar or gather pollen. These plants are happiest when grown in well-drained soils with dry to medium moisture in full sun.

Echinacea or Coneflowers are members of the large Asteraceae family. Native North Americans chewed dried Echinacea roots to treat toothaches, sore throats, coughs and infections. The root’s juices were also used to treat burns, and snake and insect bites. Early North American settlers adopted some of the plant’s medicinal uses and took them back to Europe in the 17th century.

With the advent of antibiotics in the 1930s, the medicinal use of the Echinacea plant fell into a period of decline only to be rediscovered in the last fifty years. Today the global sales of Echinacea account for just under 10% of all herbal remedies. The entire plant; roots, stems, leaves and flower heads are now used in extracts, tablets and tinctures to boost the immune system and help with coughs, colds flu, fevers and infections.


Great team effort at Hemel Food Garden, planting radish on the allotment







And more potato harvesting







We are also growing plug plants of a wildflower meadow mix, for the Great Big Green Week later in September. The mix has been selected to help improve biodiversity and attract butterflies, bees and other insects to the garden by planting these meadow mix plant plugs where you live.






Cooking stir fry lunch for everyone – must invite myself over to the Activity Centre soon as it always looks so good.






Bountiful harvesting climbing French beans and runner beans.







All the team were working on an allotment clearance.








Helping out a Northchurch neighbour, watering on Phil’s nursery.






Richard has been back for a few weeks now and has become the resident painter. Adding wood protector to the front fence – good job!








Weeding the path and entrance to the polytunnels by the squashes with David & Taylor.







The goats were moved a couple of weeks ago to a new area – exploring a new space is always fun.








Until next week….