How sweet it is …

White-tree-peonyThe sunshine of the last few weeks has been all well and good but with winds from the north and east we were missing a bit of plumptious moisture in the air. And now with the rain comes the tipping into blowsiness I normally associate with May. This poor tree peony was transplanted from my old garden in Bath last year and yesterday was taking battering south westerlies and today heavy bouts of rain.

Tulip Monte Carlo is still in fabulously generous flower, this golden yellow double tulip opens up like a peony and lasts for ages. With the rain some of the heads have snapped and they are now a beaming posy on the kitchen windowsill.

It is most definitely the year of the oak, fuzzing bronzy green in the countryside around us. The candles are lighting on the chestnut tree by the drive and wisteria waves from many front gardens along with lilac blossom. Maybe once we have the pergola up our various wisteria will be dripping from it this time next year.

The house was permeated with the scent of Brugmansia and Heliotrope when the conservatory door was open during the sunny spells yesterday.

The buzzing of bees has been a constant for the last couple of weeks, the Clematis montana has been in full flower on the south facing house wall,  and pear has given way to wild white cherry blossom down the garden. Look up into the sky and you can see the bees working the tuffets of cherry blossom into the evening. A rather less appealing buzzing a couple of weeks ago was of queen wasps woken from sleep and attracted to the conservatory, I do wonder if we’ll have a waspy year this year given the lack of really cold weather and the numbers that appeared over a 2 week period.

The Orange Tip butterflies have been particularly numerous as well this year, unfortunately the transplanted Lady’s Smock / Milk Maidens (Cardamine pratensis a caterpillar foodplant) haven’t showed in the meadow patch – v disappointing.

The swallows have been skimming the field and investigating the workshops. The cuckoo arrived back last weekend. The two mother ducks in the field opposite between them seem to still have 11 ducklings, I think one or two have gone since last week. Unfortunately we disturbed a wren’s nest a couple of weeks ago and she didn’t return. This morning as I type there’s a wren collecting nesting material flitting to somewhere round the greenhouse so hopefully out of harm’s way. In their understated way they are pretty little birds. The starlings are already flying feeding missions and bombing the field opposite with poo sacks.

Seed nurturing has been a bit tricky over the last few weeks. The only available windowsill is south facing so on a warm day it gets very warm indeed. I’ve found though that moving germinated seed into the unheated conservatory has led to damping off, I guess the temperature swing and possibly the moistness don’t help.

I’ve been spraying for spider mites, greenfly and whitefly in the conservatory which have increased as the temperature increases but a couple of days ago a shoot on a thunbergia was totally covered in what looked like pink sand, absolutely smothered with mites I’ve never seen anything like it.

I’ve planted sweet peas into what’s left of last year’s old squash bed plus sown some old beetroot and fennel seed. I hope that the muck is old and mixed in enough not to cause the stunting and death of everything except the squashes and courgettes that happened last year.