Well, it’s another bank holiday here in the UK, or should I say dank holiday! It’s certainly dark and dank this morning but I actually love the rain as it freshens up the garden after several dry and very windy days which saw many of my perennials almost flattened. I opened up the patio doors which lead onto the back garden and the scent of the fresh rain on the plants was just heavenly. Looking down onto a small planter to see how the newly planted nasturtiums were coming along I noticed this little fella in the photo. He was upside down and clinging effortlessly to the underside of one of the nasturtium leaves, wings folded, with a few grains of pollen and water droplets visible on his furry body. I tried to look up what he was, I assume he is some kind of bee……but could not identify him clearly, however he seems to be well prepared for an English bank holiday…..using the leaf as his umbrella!!
This is Johnson’s Blue, the most heavenly geranium I know. The colour reminds me of a Mediterranean sky, even though it is very much An English cottage garden favourite. This one is 2 years old and has been kept in a tub rather than the border but that’s so that I can move it around to work with the other perennials. A little piece of heaven, the view from my doors…..
Yesterday was the end of a particularly stressful week at work and so by the time I had fought my way through the traffic and got through the front door, fed Slipper and finished my chores there was no time or energy left to write my post. So, I decided to write it this morning. The sun is out and the garden is laying heavy with the overnight rain, although the rain is doing wonders for the flowers which are all looking lovely, it’s also bringing out the snails and slugs….the battle I fear is about to begin as I moved my rocket plants and tender lupins out yesterday ……..However, the flower for today just has to be my Clematis. This is Nelly Moser, a beautiful and relatively easy to grow clematis that favours my east facing patio as it gets both sun and shade throughout the day (sun when it decides to show itself I may add!). The flowers are huge at 6-8ins in diameter and it looks sub tropical when in full flower. My Nan loved this clematis and I remember that the one in her garden was simply huge, clambering over the other shrubs and trees. I bought it because it minded me of her, smiling as she enjoyed her gardening, something we can still share even though she is gone. When something holds a memory it is good to hold on to that something……
Well Friday has rolled round again and what a week it has been. It started off on a positive note but unfortunately went down hill, however this seems to be the norm at the moment and so when Friday comes around it’s a relief. The tension in my neck and shoulders seems worse than ever and I think I need to see about some serious massage therapy, but until then I have my flowers to cheer me up and put the smile back on my face. Gardening has always been an outlet for me, more so now I have the greenhouse! This evening has been a treat as although it is cool, grey and damp the droplets remaining after the rain storms look beautiful on the emerging flowers and leaves, the plants seem as relieved as I do that it’s Friday, their stress has been lack of real water for weeks and so now they look refreshed and revitalised. Here is the sole surviving Allium, sadly last years terrible slug fest seems to have destroyed the other bulbs, but this one is a treat, I hope you like it! Have a lovely relaxing weekend and thanks again for all your views, likes and comments!
I like to keep Fridays simple, and dedicate them to the flowers that brighten our days, regardless of weather, regardless of the stresses and strains of life today. Have a lovely weekend and thanks for taking the time to look at my posts…..
Here’s one of my favourites, the Geum – interestingly this one is grown in a container and has multiple coloured blooms….interesting as it should be red, but has yellow blooms too!
Last Sunday I was treated to lunch at my parents house which thankfully is only a few miles up the road from where I live. They have a beautiful garden with many mature trees and shrubs, but the most magical shrub is the Buddleia or to use its more common name Butterfly Bush. On first glance it looks to be the most unruly of plants, growing upwards in excess of 15ft and spreading sideways regardless of fences or sheds, with a somewhat bedraggled appearance as the weight of the flower heads lowers the branches towards the lawn. But you only have to look for a few seconds to realise it’s real beauty, it is a magnet for butterflies, bees and flies of all shapes and sizes, offering a one stop shop for nectar and pollen and a source of endless entertainment to the onlooker. Against the sunlight the butterflies appear like silhouettes, rising and falling onto the many flower heads, busy and energetic, some remaining still for a short respite, others fighting over territory and even the odd brief love affair in midair. After only a few moments my eyes were drawn to an unusual colour resting on flower head of pale purple, a much brighter visitor, almost yellow from a distance, not the dark brownish red of the Admiral or spotted giveaway that is the Peacock butterfly, no this was much brighter……approaching calmly towards the plant, phone camera at the ready, I realised that this was a Comma, the telltale shape of the wings, almost bat-like in design. After a few moments it took flight over my head and landed directly behind me on the twisted Hazel tree, without wanting to scare it away i managed to take several quick shots before it took to the air once again to return to the Buddleia where it was joined by another Comma. having never seen these at close range before I was overjoyed, Mum and Dad also really suprised to see them in their garden. A few seconds later we were treated to a second visitor, a beautiful Brown Speckled Wood butterfly which landed again right in front of me offering another opportunity for a photo shoot at close range! Both of these butterflies are making a slight recovery after years of being in serious decline, so it really was a treat to be able to get close to them. As they took to their wings once again lets hope that they continue to thrive, if you can plant a Buddleia bush, you will be helping these beauties to survive and will be entertained for hours.
A beautiful Comma Butterfly resting on the leaves of a Twisted Hazel tree
A Brown Speckled Wood Butterfly sun’s itself on the leaves of a Choisya (mexican orange blossom) shrub
The humble bumble bee, threatened from every angle, lack of habitat and mites that destroy hives this little miracle of the insect world is struggling to survive. But have you ever watched a bumble bee going about it’s business? it really is a feat of nature’s engineering as when you look at the design of a bumble bee it really shouldnt be able to fly at all! With its large rounded body and tiny wings in comparison to its body size its a wonder they even get off the ground. But look a little closer and you will see that their wings don’t actually flap up and down for lift, they move backwards and forwards, creating a small vortex of pressure that enables them to keep airborne. I watch the bees working on the lavender bushes at my parents house, they work tirelessly collecting the pollen to take back to the hive, but to also feed their energy levels, no wonder when they have to put so much energy into simply remaining mobile. When you see a bee on the ground it probably one of two things, it is either exhausted and in need of nectar, or in the case of the bumble bee’s working on the lavender they are drunk! Many times I have seen them falling over trying to extract as much nectar as they can, dropping to the grass and rolling around for a few seconds before getting back on their feet and catching their breath, only to fly in a less than perfect line back to the flowers, and resume their feast! Simply fabulous!
Red on grey? I hear you say…..well the reason is simple, its a really grey and drizzly day here and so looking at some photos taken earlier I just loved this cheery bright red flower shot taken at a garden centre. I think the flower is from the Crocosmia family, a stunning perennial flower from the iris family and perfect for growing in even the worst soils, completely perfect for my garden then! The garden centre is a wonderland for flowers and is was difficult photographing this one as it was covered in bees and each time I got close to the flower head the bee would crawl out and fly directly at the lens! So if the weather is anything less than cheery where you are I hope that this almost infrared flower will brighten your day!
Some time ago I purchased a box of wildflower seeds so having a rather empty border to one side of the garden I decided to simply scatter them and wait to see what if anything appeared. Within a few weeks I had what looked like a border full of weeds….but having left them to their own devices they have transformed into the most delicately beautiful display. The most wonderful thing about this patch of wildflowers is that you never really know what is going to flower next and the array of butterflies and moths as well as bees that have been encouraged into the garden by this tiny patch is amazing. Every day new flowers are appearing and every day more and more insects are coming in to feed and rest, including a very large dragonfly that seems to like the new bird bath and has dipped down onto it a few times. It just goes to show what you can achieve with the smallest of effort in an otherwise suburban garden, birds are coming in to drink and bathe, butterflies are stopping to feed and rest and bees are plentiful on the meadow mix of flowers and lavender, something I wouldn’t have expected just a few months ago. I have my own small patch of wildflower meadow, and a little piece of nature heaven.
To everyone who follows my blog I wanted to say thank you for all your support and kind words of encouragement, and although I cant send you all flowers individually (my bank balance wouldn’t allow!) Id like to share these roses with you all, Happy Weekend!