We’re on the spring roll

Tulip David Tenniers spring-morningMid April and most of the tulips are already open. The golden globes of Tulipa sylvestris were pipped to the post by a lone T kaufmanniana in March, but only just. The daffodils are mostly gone over now. Plum blossom drifts gently to the ground when there is a whisper of a breeze, the next wave of cherry and pear blossom have taken centre stage with the clotted Blackthorn in the hedgerows.

I have two double tulips this year, David Tenniers and the yellow Monte Carlo both from Broadleigh Bulbs. I’d put David Tenniers on the mauvey rather than reddy colour range Anthraciet was more reddy blackcurrant. Maybe one day I’ll have beautifully co-ordinated pots of tulips rather than a random mix, with in this case, the last of the highly scented Narcissus Sweetness interrupting the overall look.

A swathe of Narcissus poeticus planted by previous owners seems more abundant than last year,  a lovely wash of white running through the wilder woody bit at the far end of the garden. This is the woodbed at 6:30 this morning the chickens having complained loudly enough to be let out to get me out of bed.

Saw swallows in Melksham last week and a lone swallow yesterday over the garden. Nature’s Calendar is showing them starting to emphatically spread up the country over the last few days. The weather is cool but sunny which is I guess ideal.

Two ducks are running a creche in the still waterlogged field opposite. The drakes are starting to bother them and one little fluff ball got left behind temporarily yesterday while mum shrugged off the drake’s attentions, you can see just how vulnerable they are to predators.

On Friday I came home to a dead Carrion Crow by the chicken fence, it had a bloodied head and a small scattering of feathers, did it hit the electric fence, did something attack it? I don’t think our elderly cat would have taken on such a bludgeoning beak.

Tipping out old pots left behind by the previous owner yesterday I find I’ve been harbouring vine weevils but also found a large gold toad behind the pots.

More seeds to be sown including squashes and watermelon.

A 10 vine weevil night

I have been lax on the weeviling front this year. I have a big pot of Impatiens omeiana which is a mecca for weevils, but they have not so far actually killed the plant, unlike other plant species such as heucheras and sempervivum where a winter of weevil nibblings spells the end of them. I have soaked the pot a number of times in Provado over the last couple of autumns but it certainly doesn’t get them all.  I was alerted earlier to the first real signs of leaf chomping , c shaped incursions at the sides of the leaves. At 9:30pm tonight not a weevil in sight,  but by 10:30pm and torchlight the fat little buggers were out waving their feelers about and starting to munch.

A snail I  dislodged in the gentle shake of the impatiens employed in my weeviling made its way back off the path and into the plant again (persistent). 2 toads were rustling about,  and a large earthworm was stretched from its burrow about 5 inches across the bottom of the concrete step before a total retreat,  lucky the toads didn’t take note,  mmm juicy.  Small things happening on a late june night.

Who took the boletus? This is a vexing question from the last few days. On the small industrial estate I work on, there is a patch of grass below a birch tree and some large Boletus mushrooms, about 5 in all, had sprung up. I admired them as I walked past in the morning, by 5:30 pm they had gone. Not kicked about as is the fate of some fungi,  but clean gone. Were they foraged, or did the sight of them offend someone in charge of the offices and they were simply picked and binned? I did look up Birch boletus and there are a few types, some tastier than others …

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.