Sunday, 29 June 2008

Some Garden Flowers

After a day of mixed weather I got out into the garden for half an hour in the evening sun.

This is the Blue Passion Flower (Passiflora caerulea). It is supposed to be hard to grow but I planted it at Brackenside when we lived there and then promptly uprooted it to move here. It has flourished and although the flowers are short-lived they appear one after another throughout the summer.

My Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia uvaria) always look rather lukewarm to me.

A couple of Foxgloves.

A couple of the roses – a Super Star and what I think is a Queen Elizabeth.


It’s a pity that ‘weeds’ are so prolific we cannot really afford to let them be. Many, like this Creeping Buttercup and Herb Robert are so beautiful. Creeping Buttercup just sends its runner all over the place, rooting here, there and everywhere, while the Herb Robert fires its seeds throughout the garden and seems to have a propensity for growing in all the pots.

Orange Ladybird - Not

My original posting said -
The Orange Ladybird (Halyzia 16-guttata) is a woodland species that particularly likes Sycamore but in my garden there are a number of their larvae and pupae on the Birch. But Oops - having found some more ladybird larvae photos I now think these are possibly two-spot or seven spot. They certainly are not Orange Ladybird.

Friday, 27 June 2008


A few days ago I said that Eupeodes corollae brought my total of hoverfly species recorded and photographed to 44 but I have since realised that I had not added some from last year so the total is now at least 49 species. In preparation for my 50th – which cannot be that far away – I have downloaded my hoverfly page onto my website.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Lycogala terrestre

Many of the lower orders of fungi are so minute as to be scarcely visible with the naked eye. But there are members of one of the lower orders that are often seen - the Myxomycetes, commonly referred to as Slime Moulds. This is the slime mould Lycogale terrestre on a rotting log in the wild part of the garden. It is about 1cm across.


Question - How can you tell Helen is not here?
Answer - Because there's a frog visible in the garden.

Every time Helen comes all the frogs hide away. I'm not sure if she really believes I have frogs! Virtually any other time I can walk around the garden or fish in the ponds and find a frog but as soon as Helen appears they all disappear. Yesterday, this one was around for a while before eventually plopping into the water and out of sight. He was fully grown but the surrounding vegetation makes him seem quite small.


UGO - short for Unidentified Growing Object. I don’t know the name of this plant. It grows happily in the pond and is obviously a bog plant of some sort. Any ideas??

Monday, 23 June 2008


I have various patches of Ox-eye Daisies around the back garden. They are untidy things but I love them for all the insects they attract. As soon as the sun comes out all sorts of insects visit them. Today they had some Carpet Beetles (Anthrenus verbasci) on them. The larvae of Carpet Beetles eat various fibres including wool and therefore can be a pest of carpets. The adults feed on pollen which is why they are attracted to the pollen-rich Ox-eyes.

This is a capsid bug, Calocoris major.

And another bug.

To my amazement I had a new (to me) hoverfly appear – Eupeodes cortollae. It is a common species but I have never photographed it before. That brings my total of hoverfly species to 44, I think.

I think this is Colletes succinctus – a bee. I’m not very good at identifying bees. It doesn’t help that the key identification features are often the wing pattern – which is hard to see – and the length and breadth of the tongue – even harder!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Another Visitor

As soon as I had got the bindweed off the bird feeder the Goldfinches arrived. Last year we had a pair that brought up two young. Hopefully we'll soon have a flock of our very own! Goldfinches (Carduelis casrduelis) are attracted to back gardens in Europe and North America with specially designed birdfeeders containing niger (commercially described as nyjer seed). This seed of an annual from South Asia is small and black, and it seems, irresistible to goldfinches. It is high in oils.

Jacob’s Ladder

Another of the delightful plants that is well in flower at the moment is Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum). It is an easy to grow plant providing flowers throughout the summer. It forms neat spreading clumps of light green pinnate leaves, with stems around 2-3' high bearing clusters of open or bell-shaped flowers in various shades of blue or white with contrasting bright yellow stamens. I bought it for the caravan garden and transferred it to home a couple of years ago. It has done even better here than it did there – perhaps because it was too dry at the caravan.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Garden visitor


This visitor to the garden in one of yesterday’s sunny spells was a bumblebee who was small with a reddy orange end to his abdomen. As a result he is, not unreasonably, known as the Small Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus ruderarius). Lovely little chap isn’t he.



As I mentioned last year one of my favourite plants in the whole garden is the Solanum “Glasnevin”. A climber, last year it was so abundant that it became top-heavy and brought down the trellis one windy day. This year it is not quite so full of flowers but they are no less beautiful.

Lesser Spearwort


There is a pond under here somewhere. At every trip around the garden I’m still being amazed at how much growth there has been in the six weeks. If ever anything proved the proverb “A stitch in time saves nine” it is gardening. Because I didn’t check early growth at the beginning of May I now have some plants that have multiplied like bunny rabbits on hormones.

The Mint

Readers of yesterday's blog posting may well have assumed I was exaggerating when I talked about mint 5 feet tall swamping the Ceanothus. I wasn't. When I began to uproot it today I discovered the longest piece was actually 5' 6"... Wow! I need a lot of sheep for this much mint sauce!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Mary, Mary

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With Bindweed and Great Willowherb
And Teasels all in a row.

After six weeks away the gardens are a bit overgrown. It has obviously been super growing weather and the absence of early pruning and weeding has allowed it to go a bit berserk. Paths are hidden and ponds are overgrown but nothing that a few days out there won't cure. At least the grass has been kept cut by Jo so the overall effect is one of lush abundance rather than untidiness.

There will be plenty of plants (and hopefully wildlife) to do blog postings about in the next few weeks but as a starter here is a Ceanothus which is looking great despite being swamped by a mint that is five feet tall.