The first flowers have just started opening on the teazle in the wildflower patch. Teazles are unusual – the first flowers open as a belt round the middle of the flowerhead, and then progress both upward and downward as the first flowers die, giving a striped effect.

teazle - flowers just starting to open


Opening today, the first of the Asiatic Lilies. These are in a pot on the patio, and have shot up to over five feet high. Sadly, the rest of the same batch, planted in a border, have struggled to reach one foot tall, and have a solitary flower-bud between three of them! It just goes to show the importance of the right conditions, I suppose.

Just after taking this photo, I removed the stamens – lily pollen is extremely toxic for cats, and this particular bloom is right next to the woodshed roof that several local moggies use as a highway, and for sunbathing on.

Asiatic lily flower


The untidy but very productive sprawl of early tomato “Urbikany”. Even the catalogues admit that it’s not really amenable to being controlled in any way! Still, first salad tomatoes are obviously not far away.

Actually, it isn’t supposed to be the first of my tomatoes – “Latah” is usually even earlier, but has not done well this year for some reason.

"Urbikany" green tomatoes

finally …

After several chilly and very windy days, this afternoon was very pleasant with blue skies and warmish breezes. I managed a decent walk, rather than a hurried pavement scamper! Down to the bridge at Merrimans Hill, where I ran into Matt Jenkins for a pleasant chat. Then up the towpath to bridge 14, and up the hill to home.

All told, just under two miles – the furthest I’ve been for a week.

bridge 14 on the canal


Opening today: Betony, in the “wildflower bank” behind the pond. It’s a rather sorry specimen – betony prefers shorter grass, which of course is where cats prefer to lounge, so I’m a little surprised that it managed to flower at all! Still, it’s a perennial, and I wish it better luck next year …

betony in flower

Monthly update

Monthly update, after four months.

Well, I’m not losing weight as rapidly as in previous months – in fact, pretty much plateau’d for much of the time. I gather that’s to be expected. But overall I ended the month lower than the start of the month, so no cause for despair.

I’m kinda thinking it’s time for another blood test, to see if I’ve managed to move out of the “pre-diabetic” category, but (understandably) they aren’t really doing such things at the moment.

graph of weight loss

garden bits

After a short pause to gather strength following its first glorious flush of flowers, the rose arch is settling in to a steady flow of new blooms.

Also in red – the Large Red damselflies are out again this morning: this one is on a cosmos.

And continuing the red theme, the first flower is starting to open on the sweet peas (these are the ones from saved seed – the others are on the opposite side of the garden). And, as a contrast, the agapanthus is stirring into life.

Etoile d'Hollande on rose arch


Large Red damselfly on cosmos


sweet pea flower opening


agapanthus starting to open


garden bits

This morning’s opening (well, actually, it opened in the dusk last night) a white Iris in the pond. Sadly, there only seems to be one flower-spike this year: I think I need to do a sort-out of the assorted plants this autumn, as it’s all rather crowded. I’ll hack back the very vigorous mimulus before then, of course!

Also just opening this morning, the very lovely Wandflower (dierama “Blackbird”). It’s a delight to watch dancing in the breeze – a bit less of a delight trying to get it to stay still enough for a photo!

Scorchingly hot all day – well over 30C. I managed a short walk of a mile after supper, starting around 2100h, just down to the canal bridge and back again. A glorious sunset, but difficult to see through tree and building – this is over the roof of St Barnabas primary school.

(all images are “clickable” – click back on your browser to return here)


garden bits

It’s exciting when an unexpected plant suddenly appears! A 60cm high “something” has sprung up amongst the drumstick aliums, and I’m really not sure what it could be. I haven’t planted anything there, nor sown any seeds.

I have the vaguest suspicion that it might be some kind of sunflower, possibly from seeds from my or my neighbours’ birdfeeder. But it’s nothing much like the two “Russian Giant” sunflowers against the fence (currently about 1.5 metres high, and growing rapidly).

After posting this on Facebook, there was a suggestion to use Google Photos and look it it up. So:

I got offered “Evening Primrose” (which it defitiely isn’t – they are ten feet up the same bed!) and “Great Mullein” (which it definitely isn’t – I grew one two years ago). Third choice was “Sunflower”, so I think we can go with that.

unknown plant


"Russian Giant" sunflowers