This time of the year is when you might want to make “bee dumplings”. Also known as garden bombs or earth dumplings, this a fun project for young and old.
Thank you to the Yorkshire Post’s Hannah Stephenson for this.
Bees will love you and your garden will blossom into a delightfully wild and colourful habitat.
The Yorkshire recipe can use a mix of 11 wildflowers, including cowslips, musk mallow, cornflowers, poppies, chamomile and cranesbill geraniums, which will help provide a treasure trove of nectar rich sources for pollinating insects. You may wish to use local plant seeds. Last year there was a Dr. Henry Wildflower assortment that worked well in front of our abode on Vancouver Island. Of interest to gardeners in our area is that these are not liked by deer.
Definitely not in the old English Garden style.
The wildflowers featured will all grow at different times, providing a dazzling display of colour throughout the summer.
Get ingredients together
You will need five handfuls of peat-free compost, four handfuls of air-dry red clay, one handful of native wildflower seeds and a splash of water.
Also gather a mixing bowl, a baking tray and greaseproof paper.
Place the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together
Place the compost, clay and seeds in a large bowl, ready to mix. Use your hands to combine all of the ingredients together, adding a splash of water if needed. You’re aiming for a thick but mouldable consistency. The earth dumplings need to hold their shape, so try to avoid adding too much water at once.
Roll them into balls
“Once you’ve combined all your ingredients, roll the mixture into little balls. The size is up to you – these ones are slightly larger, but you can make them smaller, similar to the size of a golf ball, if you’d prefer to scatter them over a larger area.”
Leave them to dry
Place your earth dumplings on greaseproof paper, ready to dry. Use a baking tray if you plan to move them elsewhere. Leave for four to five days, or until they’ve completely hardened (check for soggy bottoms). Placing them out in the sun, or near a source of warmth, will speed up the drying process.
Sow, sow, sow
Now it’s time to sow your earth dumplings. Wildflowers will bloom well in containers, window boxes and borders – anywhere with a splash of sunshine. Place them just below the surface of the soil for best results. Then let nature do its thing.
Like daffodils, wildflower seeds are best sown in autumn, while the soil is still soft and warm. This gives them time to develop strong roots before the frost kicks in, resulting in bigger, healthier plants. By spring, and throughout the summer, you’ll be treated to a sumptuous display of wildflowers, including cornflowers, chamomile and common poppies to name a few.
:Yorkshire Post, by Hannah Stephenson, Wednesday, 6th October 2021