It’s all downhill from here… the sun rose around 4:50AM and set around 9:20PM and it didn’t rain, in fact is was actually sunny (well I wasn’t up quite so early but the chickens told me so). We haven’t had rain here (apart from a scatter of drops one evening) for over 3 weeks.
This year the Clegs seem worse than last, apparently it’s only the female fly that bites (sorry Nick), the males waft around eating pollen, little consolation as I dance and twirl around the garden trying to fend off a marauder, especially if I missed first slap advantage. It makes gardening trickier as once I’m concentrating on weeding, pruning etc. they sneak in and, ouch! It doesn’t help that we have damp woodland, long meadow grass and a stream, perfect conditions for them. Interestingly (or not) my Ma is Norwegian and they call them Klegg (Scottish/northern?).
We’re still getting hornets flying by, generally at second storey level. There’s a bumble bee nest just above the front door. The Beautiful Demoiselles and other Damsel Flies continue to play and mate and lay, now joined by Chaser Dragonflys. The main butterflies at the moment are Tortoiseshells and Meadow Browns who particularly favour a rather dull mounding mauve scabious which may be Pink Mist, it can’t be Butterfly Blue that would be misnamed.
I have a few orchids in the garden, Dactylorhiza praetermissa and D maculata have already been and gone. Dactylorhiza x grandis ‘Blackthorn Strain’ which came originally from Keith Wiley’s nursery has picked up the baton and is particularly large and in your face right now. Another Dactylorhiza I’ve had for years which might be Eskimo Nell or D fuchsii O’Kellyi, has white flowers and unmarked leaves, much smaller and more retiring, forming modest little clumps.
A Chatterbox orchid, Epimedium gigantea (a US native) from Avon Bulbs is just coming into flower. As a kid on summer holidays I remember the huge helleborines in the sand dunes at Shell Island near Barmouth in Wales.
An end of season bargain Cypripedium bought a couple of years ago, probably C reginae also now over, produced a sister this year. I don’t think some orchids like to be lonely, they often form little colonies of interlocking forked roots. There is something a little bloated about these particular orchids in full flower but I look forward to the build up to flowering, from a small sheathed bud, to enclosed pouch then bud burst.
Shown with the D Blackthorn is Corydalis flexuosa which is supposed to disappear underground in summer? It remained low growing and green all winter. The purple and the blue don’t quite go together, it’s a slightly nauseous combo which I have inadvertently also created in a temporary planting with Salvia patens Guanajuato from Constantine Nursery (who also stock a white D fuchsii) and two heliotropes (thankfully Lord Roberts’s first flowers are fading as they age).
Alice has gone mad, mad I say! I’ve had this double flowered delphinium a number of times over the years, (this one from Pan Global Plants last year). Mostly she has been a little wan and spindly, is this boom and bust I wonder, just one big burst and no more. As you might be able to deduce (already dead headed clump to the left), she’s kicking in as the main delphinium show in my garden is finishing, although in another local garden their fabulous delphinium show is just peaking. This delphinium was introduced in 1935 by Artindale’s nursery and named Alice after the owner’s wife. I see that many more doubles are now available including the Highlander series bred in Glasgow by Tony Coakley (the Elizabeth McGregor nursery stocks a range).
The sun has gone in briefly, hurrah! I must away to rake up lawn clippings and dance with Clegs.