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July 18, 2013

Posted by dawnshifter in Uncategorized.
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Garden notes 18 July2013

This is my best time in the garden: the architectural, spiky plants I favour are filling the gaps, stifling the weeds, and the fledglings are enjoying the aphids.  Great Tits are the early birds now, bouncing delicately on the sulphur-yellow Giant Scabious stems.  The youngsters show none of the fear of the parents yet, but later in the year, they will have learnt to fly in, grab a mouthful, and shoot off to safety.

Giant Scabious

Giant Scabious

The starling families are greedy and aggressive, but the Spotted Woodpecker seems to be holding his own on the fat block, keeping them at bay with wing-flurries and lunges.

These heat-wave days are suiting the pollinating insects too, so while the sun is out, there’s a constant mumbling murmur amplifying and fading as they seek new nectar sources.

Soon, the Echinops will be attracting some of the 267 British bees, but for now the flower heads are spiky green baubles.

For us, the sweet peas provide the daytime scent highlights, and the Honeysuckle the evening – a bonus for the waterer.  Topping up the pond gets added to the list  – hidden by the Meadowsweet, Iris, and Gunnera, it’s easily overlooked.  I like think of the Gunnera as my water-needed indicator – the huge spiky leaves seem to point upwards and close up when the plant is too dry.  Then, each leathery leaf funnels water down the stem to the base when it comes.

The Gunnera hides its tiny flowers on chunky spikes below the leaves, so it is dwarfed this year by the ornamental rhubarb, Rheum Palmatum.  This variety has a lovely ruby colour to the young leaves and sheathed flowers pikes, but the red colour does fade with the summer maturity.  It’s still an impressive plant.

ornamental rhubarb

ornamental rhubarb

In the front garden, Stipa Gigantea, Acanthus and Artichokes provide a backdrop for Fennel, scarlet Crocosmia, and this year,

ornamental thistle

ornamental thistle

acanthus spikes

acanthus spikes

Tinker with Solanum plants

Tinker with Solanum plants

a rather striking thistle.

The fig trees died in the third bad winter in a row and I have replaced them with couple of Solanum – an atropurpureum and a sisymbriifolium.  With purple and orange spines respectively on both leaves and stems, I am hoping no-one wants to walk off with these.

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