Futile search for glow worms

Eschscholzia Butter Bush
Eschscholzia Butter Bush

Well there’s no reason why there wouldn’t be any glow worms in the garden, or any reason why there would be.  They prefer chalk, we are near chalk,  and last year there were sightings along the canal a mile or so away at Seend and also on 6th July this year (UK Glow Worm sightings website). Last night I paced the weedy bits by the stream and poked into the nettley thickets as it grew dark, faithful cat plodding 10 paces behind – nothing. I did see a toad who was nearly stepped on,  once identified she rustled on her way in the dark. I heard the owls and odd plops in the stream.

Yesterday on my way to work just out of the village before Norney Bridge a little shape was dancing in the middle of the road, I slowed down, it zig-zagged back and forth in front of me then was off with a whisk of its black tipped tail, back into the hedgerow. A feisty Stoat. Which prompted me to look up some of the stories about the gangs of Stoats that can have the unaware traveller. So if you ever hear a mass chittering and a scrattling of tiny paws,  it’s the Stoats – run for your life. Fortean Times report

I had forgotten what summer could be like, hot, clammy and sunny – odd that. The flowers are blowing at an alarming rate, set seed, set seed is the clarion call. I’m inside until it cools down a bit. The windows are wide open and the heady scent of Honeysuckle (Lonicera Japonica Halliana) is wafting in on the warm air.

Courgette Lungo Bianco (pale green not quite white)
Courgette Lungo Bianco (pale green not quite white)

The tomatoes in one of the grow bag brands continue to sulk horribly. Outside in the old horse dung / turf bed the first courgettes are coming to fruition, Lungo Bianco from Seeds of Italy.

Today flower wise I am liking the Eschscholzia californica Butter Bush. Lower growing with more glaucous foliage than the Mission Bells I also grew from seed (which are flopping) and they’re a rich Jersey Cream colour (the picture at the top doesn’t really capture the colour).

I’m also liking the penstemons today,  Andenken an Frieidrich Hahn,  fine foliage and thin ruby bells, it’s not too overblown. The dahlias have also started into flower, the first was dwarf reddy purple Purpinca, a little cutie. The second was Tsuki Yorine Shisha (I think), I bought it last year from The National Dahlia Collection. The tubers were left over winter in an unheated greenhouse. It is a white cactus dahlia, the petal ends are split so it looks extra frilly and rather pleased with itself.

mullein-moth-caterpillarWho’s been eating my buddleja? A fine Mullein Moth caterpillar, so far it hasn’t caused much damage so I’ll leave it and any brethren alone for now. The butterflies at the moment are mainly brown one’s, I guess Meadow Browns, also a smattering of Tortoiseshells, Whites and a Skipper which moved way too fast to identify.

Have returned to this after an interruption, the chickens were ripping apart the woodbed AGAIN! They’re now confined to the back garden until I go out again – very bad chicky girls! (they actually produce a fine tilth with their rakings however the damage to plants somewhat outweighs this benefit).

Autumn enters stage left

Cyclamen hederifolium
Cyclamen hederifolium

Why? Because the first fitful blooms of Cyclamen hederifolium have appeared at the base of a birch tree. The weather has been autumnal too, rain, mist and dewy mornings. Some fabulous ‘low gold light after rain in the evenings’ moments,  and a great moon swung up into the sky to the east of Bath on Sunday last.

The August garden is given colour by Dahlias, Scabious not quite Chile Black, as cross pollination has given me a selection from seed; Gladioli of the smaller types, Diascia personata and Anthericum ramosum. The last of the Kniphofia are the bright yellow Dorset Sentry and white tipped green Ice Queen, I have had a succession of Tawny King and others going for weeks.  A large Ratibidia with yellow daisy flowers and a couple of unassuming pale yellow Cephalaria are waving above the wreck of the middle bed. The asters are still in the wings.

Fig Brunswick

Had my first of 4 figs this week which is a little luxury.  Yep a bad pruning regime,  it’s enough to keep Brunswick under control over the growing season it is so vigorous. This plant originally came from a nursery that used to be at Greenways, Agatha Christie’s house, now an NT property.

Allium angulosum is a good doer it has been in flower for weeks attracting the bees, think a sturdier version of a chive flower and strappy flattened ground hugging leaves (Mead Nursery and Avon Bulbs).

In the veg garden my fennel has bolted (boo!) The first tomatoes finally ripening, Tonadose de Conores a small cherry type and Vintage Wine,  stripey and beefier (Plant World). The courgettes continue to sulk with the mizzly weather altho’ the odd pale yellow warty Rugosa of Friuli seems a little less fractious than Striato d’Italia (which I think has a good flavour), both from Seeds of Italy. Also first aubergine and maybe last given the weather.


And finally – I have been enjoying the  scents from Heliotrope, Brugmansia Grand Marnier (evening) and Lilium speciosum, a heady brew indeed.