wild things

A short walk on the Common yesterday. Very few orchids in the usual places, but large groups have appeared a couple of hundred yards away where they were previously unknown, which is encouraging. I only took my shirtpocket camera, and regretted it: it’s great for static objects like flowers, but no good for erratic subjects like damselsflies and red kites!

I’m poor at damselfly identification – it looks to me like a female Beautiful Demoiselle, but they’re supposed to like rapid streams and the only nearby water is still seasonal ponds …

damselfly at rest

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didtantred kite

orchids at Green Mount

Four or five years ago, orchids started appearing on a couple of the lawns at my Mum’s house on the edge of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. Areas were marked off with string, and last year the patch to the north of the house was left for wildflowers. Not so many Early Purple on the front lawn this year, but the north bit is covered in them, and there’s (so far) just one spike that will be a Bee Orchid.

marked-out bit on front lawn, with orchid
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wildflower bit to north of house

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Early Purple orchid

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flower spike - will be a Bee Orchid

nasturtium

First nasturtium flower of the season. The variety is “Empress of India”, which seems to encompass everything from orange to maroon: I’d been hoping for a rather darker red though the orange is undoubtedly eye-catching!

"Empress of India" flower

thuggish garden things

In the garden of my small terraced house, it’s easy for things to get out of hand. The ox-eye daisies in the “wildflower bank” by the pond have multiplied alarmingly, and in the pond itself the mimulus will need attention very soon. Elsewhere, drifts of love-in-the-mist are obscuring the smaller things, and the beloved-but-thuggish ceanothus will need a heavy pruning once flowering is over.

ox-eye daisies

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yellow mimulus in pond

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love-in-the-mist drift

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ceanothus in full flower

Garden catch-up

The last ten days or so have not been good, either physically or mentally, and I’ve been disengaged from social media, blog and suchlike. However, I’m gradually emerging …

The garden is starting to come into its full glory. Thyme spills from the herb-bed over the steps up to the patio, love-in-the-mist is opening everywhere, and there’s the first flower on one of the cosmos. Orange hawkweed – somewhere between a flower and a weed – grows in the crevices between the bricks round the pond, and foxgloves are attracting bumble bees.

The oriental poppies are about at their peak, while the ceanothus has a couple of days before it reaches absolute perfection though is still impressive.

thyme spilling over steps

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love-in-the-mist flower

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cosmos flower

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purple foxglove

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group of oriental poppy flowers

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ceanothus

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garden bits

The vivid scarlet splash of the first Oriental poppy is visible from the far end of the garden. Yellow Welsh poppies are in their prime, and the very first strawberry of the year is almost ripe.

garden view with distant poppy

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oriental poppy in closeup

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clump of Weslh poppies

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strawberry lurking among leaves

monkeyflower

Only a week later than last year, so the garden is gradually catching up with itself, the first mimulus flower has opened on the pond margins. OK, the botanists have moved the goalposts again, so it’s no longer called a mimulus, but something un-memorable and probably unpronounceable … I’m sticking to what I know!

mimulus flower by pond

damselflies laying

The first time I’ve actually seen this – damselflies laying eggs in my “eco-puddle” pond! I’ve seen them drying their wings after emerging as adults, I’ve seen the larvae in the pond debris, and the adults are a welcome summer sight.

Crappy pic, as I only had my phone with me – pix are the original full one, and a cropped image.

original large scale pic

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damselflies laying

over at Mum’s

Over at my Mum’s yesterday – very tedious journeys with rail replacement buses taking two and a half hours instead of 57 minutes.

Usual walk on the Common – some rather tatty bluebells lingering on, germander speedwell in glorious blue drifts, yellow potentilla, and clumps of greater stitchwort were notable. Still to early for orchids there, and I didn’t see very many leaf rosettes of them either… and I think there are fewer orchids visible in Mum’s lawns this year. But they’ll be back … orchids are always variable, and perhaps the more treasured for being so.

bluebells

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germander speedwell

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potentilla

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greater stitchwort