The week started with a few horrendously hot and humid days … of course, that all depends on what your metabolism is attuned to. We have old friends living on a “South Seas Island” who find 30C and living in a sauna perfectly normal and comfortable, but we wilt … low twenties and a gentle breeze are what we yearn for, as do many of our plants.
One of this week’s tasks involved removing the forget-me nots which have provided a blue hazy background to the garden in recent weeks but are now fading and setting seeds … enough seeds will have fallen to provide next year’s show so out come the remnants and we move on to other things. A flower that is very much worth the effort but which needs keeping under control as those seeds would take over the garden if given half a chance.
Peonies are bursting into bloom, we have lupins and some early roses as well as clematis and it looks as if we shall shortly have flowers on the milkweed. Nine water lily flowers are floating on the pond.
The vast collection of lilies will shortly be in flower … I lost count of the number of pots in the work area that are ready to set out when the flowers do appear, but it is somewhere between 20 and 30. The buds are forming anyway and the most likely first bloomers are lined up in pots against the stone wall of “Tony’s bed”. A couple of beautiful white Iris sibirica have put up their heads in a shady corner that sets them off very well.
The Rosa glauca (used to be rubrifolia – still the name my brain defaults to) are all flowering madly right now. Very simply, pink single flowers that have a brief flush of less than two weeks, are flowering. Later in the year they will form enormous hips filled with nutritious seeds that the birds and beasts will dine on. Quite often these are carried into the winter for when there isn’t much else around. We have five Rosa glauca now, two being “volunteers”. The original three are rather swamped by over-eager dogwoods but the other two are getting into their stride and may one day form giant bushes, almost trees, that we remember from our distant gardening days in England.
Milkweed seeds that we sowed a few months ago are growing slowly … we started with two varieties saved from last year’s seed crop – Asclepias syriaca (the ‘common’ milkweed) and Asclepias tuberosa which is smaller and hugely attractive to all sorts of butterflies. Unfortunately the trays got muddled and only one of the two germinated. We think its A. syriaca but are not going to be upset if it’s the other. Either way, they are slow growers in their first year but those planted last year are huge and about to flower so next summer should be amazing. Lots of potting on being done right now – they won’t go out into the wild for several weeks yet.
Nothing terribly exciting this week on the bird front, but the Purple Finches are still with us so we are starting to think there will be young PUFIs shortly. A few Red-eyed Vireos are singing in the trees and shrubs while Chipping and Song Sparrows are everywhere. The population of Robins is growing – probably because the sour cherries are swelling … they want to be close to hand once ripening begins to strip the tree as they usually do. I wonder what our cherries taste like – maybe one day we’ll find out.
A gorgeous forest tent moth caterpillar was admired and photographed and a splendidly furry bumblebee took advantage of the hot days earlier in the week to work her way over the pink thyme flowers at the front of the house. Quite a few hoverflies around also.