Eye of the Beholder

Sky this evening

The weather report for this week is a sweltering heatwave, so attempted to saturate the soil in the borders in anticipation; this has regularly been suceeded by (not enough) rain in my garden but hey ho, perhaps they have it right this time. The sky this evening reminds me of Georgia O’Keefe paintings but it isn’t quite right for a mackeral sky, which is supposed to indicate rain. Don’t know what the temperature has been but it felt uncomfortable. Usually, there will be a few days like this and then it breaks with a thunderstorm. Brits eh, obsessed with the weather. (It is an innocuous, safe topic for social conventions between ‘strangers at bus stops’; the weather can be offensive but it causes no offence between strangers).

As announced this morning, I went looking for my ugliest spots in the garden. What I discovered was that even though it isn’t Kew Gardens, the parts that are neglected or ignored have something to recommended them, usually in connection with the wildlife they support.

Adventure Trail to the Garden Waste

This adventure trail to the garden waste stack – more sprawl than stack in reality – is roughly hacked back when wheelbarrow access is needed. The area is not overlooked by anyone and situated away from disturbance. One side has rampant ramblers separating it from a proper hay meadow. In truth, these are the bees favourite picnic spot and later in the year the birds will polish off the fruits. Taking the picture disturbed a couple of birds who sought refuge amongst the thorns. There are two other brambles in the garden and one has a wren regularly nest there. So not conventionally pretty or glamourous but mysteriously inviting.

‘Woodland’ Border

The pretentiously named ‘Woodland Border’ edges the other side of this end of the garden. I cleared the top growth, forked it through and sowed some green manures. It also doubles as a nursery bed for excess Lupinus regale, they appear to have settled well. There are a lot of seedlings coming through; I leave those until they are big enough to identify and if they are something unrecognised as an unwanted weed then I let them grow on. I have found several wonderful wild plants already here by this strategy. The rose is a climber with a magnificent fragrance; don’t know if it will be happy there but it seems ok so far. You can make out the Lacewing Inn hanging off a hawthorne branch above the rose, again I don’t know whether this is a good place but it should be fairly sheltered from temperature extremes and wind. It looks kinda quirky hanging ‘rubbish’ in the hawthorne. The dead wood, more hawthorne, is left standing because some bugs should like exactly that habitat and I am lucky to have it. There is a tangle of branches at the far end where I abandoned the thinnings from the overhanging canopy. Wild plants are growing through it now; they will be stopped from invading the border and left until next spring, which is supposed to be best time for anything taking refuge amongst them.

Cow Parsley or Giant Hogweed?

No mouse aroma or purple blotches on stems so confident this is not hemlock. Either a very healthy Cow Parsley or Giant Hogweed – must look up how they gained those names. Whatever it is, I have seen birds taking the seeds from these in other years. It is certainly a very stately specimin, reaching well in excess of 6 feet.

Cinnabar moth catepillar update

Cinnabar moth caterpillar on ragwort

Most of the catepillars have vanished. Research online expects them to go underground for the next stage of their life cycle but not yet. They have appeared to be gradually moving down the plant and it is easy to see where they have been from the denuded stems. Oddly, what is left behind works wonderfully well to support the cornflowers and Anthemis tinctoria and allows them to make a better display. I really like that photo.

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