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Showing posts from August, 2019

Oh dear!

It's that dreaded time of year again.  Time to say goodbye to the superstars of the sky - the swallows, and martens.  They are beginning to gather, getting ready for their heroic journey to overwinter in South Africa.  I watch them darting around in tandem, flying at breathtaking speed over the tops of the unharvested crops and I never cease to marvel at the built-in programme these lovely birds are hard-wired to follow.  They know they have to head south for winter, and then they know exactly where to come back to next Spring.  They travel through western France, across the Pyrenees, down eastern Spain into Morocco and across the Sahara.  Some of their number follow the west coast of Africa avoiding the Sahara, which makes complete sense to me!  They are little miracles.  We haven't had the usual quota of swallows this year, which has saddened me.  I hope this isn't a continuing trend.
One of my aunts always used to say that once Wimbledon was over, it was downhill all th…

Garden Notes, end of August 2019

My plan to plant tall, airy plants on the outside of the garden wall, tall enough to grow above the wall and wave about in the breeze, seems to be a great success this year.  The plants I chose are all favourites with the pollinators and this summer they have been very well attended by bees, hoverflies, butterflies and, with two nests nearby, wasps.  Amongst other things there is fennel, which is the size of a small house, verbena bonariensis, a grass, and a self-seeded teasel, which I can take absolutely no credit for!  At lower level, I planted several lavenders, my favourites, and they have been wonderful too.
In the garden the colour palette has changed now, as well as the light.  The sunshine is slightly tempered with a soft gold, and the flowers reflect the gentle change in the season as we sit on the cusp of early autumn.  In particular, I am enjoying the red rose hips from the Rosa glauca, rich yellow rudbeckia, and the orange helenium.
I received some excellent plant supports…

A wild flower vase on Monday

My vase this week is full of wild flowers.  Having seen Kris Peterson's native California aster (Symphyotrichum chilensis) in her vase last week, it reminded me that I had seen our wild aster, very similar to flowers in Kris's vase, blooming a couple of weeks ago.  Yesterday I found a lovely patch growing along the coastal path I walked with the dogs, along with all the other flowers I have in my vase today.  I think the aster I picked is Narrow-leaved Michaelmas-daisy, Aster lanceolatus.  My wild flower book says that a number of North American Michaelmas-daisies have been cultivated in British gardens, and because there are numerous cultivars and hybrids which will have escaped into the wild, it does make identification difficult.  Whatever it is, I love it!  A soft pretty colour and during my identification process I discovered that they are the same family as three other flowers in my vase.  Yarrow, Archillea millefolium, golden yellow tansy, Tanacetum vulgar, and common k…

Flower farm open day

Last weekend was open day at Debbie Scott's East Lothian Flower Farm.  After a guided tour of the flower farm we sat in an open-sided tent and Debbie and her husband, John, efficiently helped by their two young sons, served us all with good strong coffee and cake, before Debbie gave a demonstration on putting together a hand-tied posy, with flowers she had cut from her flower beds.  And then it was our turn.  We had all brought a jam jar and we set about filling it.  It was a delightful way to spend Saturday morning, in the sunshine.
The muted light in the poly tunnel stole colour from the chocolate cosmos, but they still remain an intensely sumptuous flower, much loved by florists.