Oak before the Ash

Orange Tip butterfly female
Orange Tip butterfly female

In for a splash. Around here that is definitely the case, the Ash trees are tardy,  leaves still emerging compared to the Oak trees. Is it a response to lack of water recently?

This female Orange Tip had already drunk heavily on the bluebells and decided to fold herself on the Cow Parsley for a while. Subtle but rather beautiful. Her wings are not tipped orange as the male is.

Heard the second Cuckoo of the year in Berkshire and in the Somerset levels last week. I have heard Swifts elsewhere but not in Bath yet.

A weekend for  insects. Found that not only had Red Mason Bees laid eggs in the gap between two pots in the greenhouse, they had also put a few cells (now empty) in a pair of gardening gloves. The outer wall of the cells grey clay and the inner plugs all polleny yellow,  given away outside by the dusting of yellow.

Ticks are all hungry and anxious for food as I  found out in the garden. Thankfully neither had tucked in.

Blustery, sunny and downpours – lovely but also destructive. Iris English Cottage is so big and blowsy got a real battering and some stems laid low. More sturdy the first flush of the Iris sibirica Papillon is gracing the beds as are lupins.

Purple alliums various,  including chives,  also providing a good show. The bargain big allium bulbs bought in January performing well even though they were planted late.

Black tulip,  Philippe de Comines is the last in flower apart from a lone scarlet T sprengeri. Spring has rolled on.

Rosa banksiae lutea is in yolky yellow abundance everywhere this year it seems. In my garden the wind battered climbing roses are opening up and the deep red-black china rose, Louis the XIV has been positively smiling with flowers,  obviously relishing the increased light levels,  no matter,  he will invariably sulk with blackspot and browned petals later on.

A real pleasure to plant in the veg patch,  the soil is moist, friable and warm. First French Pole bean plants went in.  Seedlings of Coriander and Dill popping up around and about too, might annoy some people but I like a bit of randomness.

Tonight a new posse of toads appeared by the back step,  the brownest of the trio protesting as it strode off to huff under a flowerpot.