It’s quiet here in the country … not

Stemmacantha buds
Stemmacantha buds

Outside at this moment blackbirds are sounding persistent warnings and trying to fend off squirrels (I think) in a nearby tree, we’ve got some cocky squirrely youngsters who’re also raiding the bird food. Which is also going down at an alarming rate as we are host to hordes of greenfinch, bullfinch, chaffinch and various tit fledgies.

Earlier four or five buzzards, probably youngsters (the underwing markings were not so definite), were exploring the thermals, loop the looping and making daring low level forays over the garden until a grumpy carrion crow decided to spoil their fun and see them off.

Last night two tawny owl youngsters in nearby oak trees were rustily “sfweeping” in competition presumably for parental food. I gave up watching for an incoming silhouette as the daylight turned down and the moon got brighter. One night last year we had a youngster right by the house that went on and on, and on, until finally a parent turned up with a frog offering.

The magpies continue to run egg forays and it’s their excited yakking and ratattating that now alerts me to the possibility that the chickens have laid, 3 – 0 to me today, 1 – 1 to the magpies yesterday.

The evening light makes the towering white foxgloves glow briefly and then fade out reminding me of a Tove Jansson Midsummer Madness moomin illustration. Soon the foxgloves will have had their time, the gloves are dropping one by one accompanied by the trumpet amplified buzzing of bees.

Sweet Pea Matucana
Sweet Pea Matucana

Scent is starting to build as I walk out from the back door, heliotrope, brugmansia, nemesia, honeysuckle and sweet pea Matucana, a heady mix.

But damn the bl***y mole, the courgette plants were all undermined today and wilting in the sun, newly planted iris set all askew and rings run around plants whose soil I stamped down yesterday.

Things I quite like at the moment

Iris Provencal with I Katie Koo in the background
Iris Provencal with I Katie Koo in the background

Apart from magpies, moles, squirrels, capsid bugs, chlorosis and various fungal blights and diseases.

The magpies are stealing the chicken eggs. One or other of a pair hop up to the little ramp into the chicken house, cock one eye towards the opening,  if there’s an egg it’s in and gashing at it to empty it enough to get it away to a place of safety to finish it off.

Luckily it’s raining at the moment and the chickens are in the hen house, but I can hear the magpies chakking and skreaking close by, just watching, (as are the jackdaws and less often the rather magnificent Carrion Crows). Is someone molesting the Goldcrest nest (magpie/squirrel)? I’ve found mossy nest remnants over the last two weeks under the tree they are active in.

The mole is running rings round plants and dehydrating them. On the River Dart in Devon last week a dead mole gently floated by,  its large white paddle paws raised to the sky.

I’ve enjoyed a number of the iris for the first time this year, I bought some a while back which languished in pots during the move. Madame Chereau has been good value, the white flowers have strong blue plicate edges and are smaller than “normal”, held on elegant candelabra. She’s been in flower for a good few weeks, just coming to an end now. Nassak has pale blue standards and white falls with blue plicate markings, it is beautifully scented like English Cottage, and like EC was toppled by heavy rain. Katie Koo is a smaller I germanica, earlier flowering with purple-blue flowers, a good sturdy do’er and strongly scented. The picture above shows Provencal which along with Patina will be relocated to the south facing garden, with their odd colouring they don’t fit in the cream/blue getting more pinky mauve (oh no!) border. Ya gotta be disciplined with this colour scheme thing,  it ain’t happening for me yet. Iris suppliers Woottens and Cayeux

Allium schubertii with Carex buchananii
Allium schubertii with Carex buchananii
Thalictrum Elin with Pimpinella major Rosea
Pimpinella major Rosea with foliage of Thalictrum Elin
Clematis Lasurstern with elder
Clematis Lasurstern and a dark leaved elder
Allium christophii viola Louisa
Allium christophii with viola Louisa

I like this mad explosion of the allium with the swirling Carex. The pinky russet tones complement each other.

Bees like alliums too.

 

 

 

 

This picture doesn’t capture the metallic glaucous gorgeousness of Thalictrum Elin’s foliage (the flowerheads are another few feet up in the air). The pointillist panicles of the pimpinella airily float around it. The pimpinella flowers are a light crushed blueberry and cream sort of pink.

 

 

 

This clematis had been left by the previous owner on a south facing wall and I relocated it. I’m guessing it’s Lasurstern which is described as having dinner plate sized flowers. I’ll keep the elder clipped fairly tight, this year it caught up with the clematis. Later on Morning Glory Heavenly Blue will become intertwined for a late summer/autumn contrast show (slugs permitting).

 

Who’d have thought these starry alliums would have a sweet scent? Weeding has its bonuses when you get down and personal with the soil. Viola Louisa from Elizabeth McGregor’s nursery is also a good do’er, long flowering and scented. Rosa Chapeau de Napoleon is struggling to get a look in in the mix at the moment, the crested buds are in the middle of the picture.