Way up high

Needed to go up on the roof this afternoon to block up a very, very small gap under the overhang that red squirrels have used to get in the loft and raise their young this summer. ( … and, yes, we made sure they were all outside before anyone asks.) While up there I took the opportunity to get some shots of the back garden from a different perspective … note the rapidly advancing patches of purple ajuga overtaking the lawn – give it another five years and it will have taken over the world.


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Summer flowers

It is now well past mid-summer and into what constitutes “high” summer with a whole different collection of flowers in the garden. Including, sad to say, golden rod, which is always a harbinger of approaching autumn.

Brightest and most reliable of the flowers for this time of year is the black-eyed-Susan which really glows … to the extent that the patch in the photograph below can be seen clearly in the Google-maps satellite view of our garden. The light is also different, warmer and more ‘golden’, than earlier in the summer.

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Unexpected orchid

Round the side of the house is a very dry area under trees that is simply provides a link between front and back gardens and is also useful as the place where pots of lilies are placed to grow to flowering and then to recover afterwards (when in flower they are artistically placed in the main beds for all to enjoy).

This week, shooting up from a very dry and particularly bare patch of soil covered with pine needles and bits of bark from the firewood pile J spotted an unusual plant, but being of a botanical frame of mind, rather than whip it out as a weed she wondered what it was.

It’s an orchid – a wild orchid. Gosh, were we excited! A bit of sleuthing and we found that it is Epipactis helleborine (a.k.a. Broad-leaved Helleborine) … but sadly, we also learned that is an alien species in North America, albeit one of long pedigree having been brought here around 1878-1880 depending on which source you accept. Not only that but it is very adaptable and is found widely dispersed, especially in the north east … almost a weed in fact.

Searching our archives we noted that we had seen it before with one appearing in the front drainage ditch back in 2000. The roots are sporadic flowerers and can lie dormant for several years until conditions are just right.

Either way, nice to be giving a home to a wild orchid of any sort.

Epipactis helleborine

Epipactis helleborine

Epipactis helleborine

Epipactis helleborine

Kenauk from above

Keen followers of this journal, of whom there are there are “several”, may have noticed that every September we return for a few days in the Kenauk reserve and you will have seen more than enough scenic photographs of the place by that we have taken over the years. Brace yourselves, there will be more in a couple of months … however, the property has recently been on the market and fortunately fallen into the hands of Nature Conservancy Canada. As part of the sale and purchase deal a sales brochure was produced that included the following two photographs of the area around the cabin we rent (Hidden Chalet) taken from an aircraft – a point of view we never see.

Can’t wait to go back.

Hidden Chalet and dock

Hidden Chalet and dock

"Our" lake with the passage to Lac Hidden leading off at the bottom of the photograph

“Our” lake with the passage to Lac Hidden leading off at the bottom of the photograph

Canna perching birds

The first of the many canna lilies has now been flowering for a couple of days. It’s the one in the largest Whychford pot alongside orange dahlias and placed near the bird feeders … the Grackles, of which there are many noisy teenagers around the garden these days, seem to think it makes a great place to perch on while waiting their turn at the food station. Fortunately the stem seems able to support them but it does whip about a lot.

A hummingbird was feeding at the flowers last night (see our other blog for photographs)

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Summer begins

We seem to have crossed another important seasonal time point in the garden with the first decent displays of lilies appearing in the borders and Balthazar-the-Dahlia (an old faithful variety, perhaps the first dahlia we had and thus the start of the interest in them) putting out an excellent initial bloom.

It’s also raining today – proves it’s summer-time.

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Mid-June flowers and shrubs

Very hot and steamy today – opportunity to photograph some of the flowers we have at the moment. The roses are starting to bloom and the peonies are showing wonderfully. The small vegetable patch is filling very well and there are going to be pounds of blackcurrant.

Click a thumbnail for a full size slide-show.

Flowers and insects

First week in June and things are going strong. Yesterday was a day of extreme rain and thunder around here so the mosquitoes are about this morning and roaming gangs. All that rain and a bit of heat today though has really spurred plants into growth. The vegetables are sootting up – first lettuces will be eaten shortly, peppers and jalapenos are setting, the sour cherry tree is laden with small fruits (won’t the birds be pleased) and it also looks like a bumper crop of black-currants to come.

A bumblebee you to be identified (Bombus sp. anyway) attends to a dandelion.

Not a bumblebee, as first thought, but (thank Chris) a Syrphis fly mimicking a bee.

The gallery – click thumbnails to enlarge