Wordless Wednesday – The Gentle Giants

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Sunflower ‘Kong’

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Sunflower ‘Earthwalker’

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Sunflower ‘Vanilla Ice’

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Sunflower ‘Earthwalker’

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Sunflower ‘Italian White’

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Sunflower ‘Velvet Queen’

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Sunflower ‘Magic Roundabout’

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Sunflower ‘Red Sun’

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Love Bug on sunflower ‘Vanilla Ice’

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Wordless Wednesday – All in a day’s work: Wasp papier-mâché creations

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Opening the sun umbrella revealed this gorgeous paper wasp construction. It was one of several.

Posted in Nature, Wildlife, Wordless | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

In a Vase on Monday – Survivors

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We’ve just returned from France where melting temperatures, 38 deg C plus, have tested my capacity to move during the day. So it was with considerable relief that we are now chez-nous and back to sweltering in a mere 30 degrees. My kind neighbours had been drafted to water whatever they felt able to, before leaving to go on holiday themselves. Happily, the majority of things have survived, though many of the vegetables have stopped producing or gone to seed. A lot of the plants in the nursery area are now crispy round the edges. Most will resurrect, but are done flowering for this year.

It was therefore a bit of a challenge to pull together a vase-worth of flowers for Cathy’s (@Rambling in the Garden) weekly meme, but it is good to be forced into creativity. Here then, are some holiday survivors:

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Of necessity, there is no colour scheme, but the flowers that made it through the water deprivation have tended to the hot end of the spectrum. Tagetes patula ‘Cinnabar’ has positively romped away in the sunshine, so that was my starting material. I’ve been deadheading the geraniums, so I took one head of those too. There are also a couple of cosmos ‘Dazzler’ flowers to up the zing factor.

Although annual ‘bunny tail’ grass, Lagurus ovata, was still bulking up when we left, it has been checked by drought and has lost its fresh look. Happily, it works just as well dried though.

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Lagurus ovata

Splashes of purple are provided by Salvia greggi ‘Emperor’, Teucrium hircanicum and Sweet Pea ‘Cupani’.

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Salvia greggi ‘Emperor’ adds some lovely rich purple tones

Pale contrast comes from leaves of Senecio greyii and marsh mallow, Althaea officinalis.

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Mossy green heads of Dianthus ‘Green Trick’ adds some texture. I am pleased to say that this is their third year of flowering, so they have been well worth the initial outlay. Sadly, it is also probably their last display, since the flowering spikes are now very sparse.

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On the other side of the vase I’ve added one of the dolly mixture zinnias grown from seed saved from my Mum’s front door tub display from last year. I hated them when I first saw them, but they’ve grown on me since!

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Don’t forget to hop across to Cathy’s blog now to check the beautiful arrangements linked through the comment section.

 

Posted in Flowers, The home garden | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Wordless Wednesday – Summer holidays and feeling the burn

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Rudbeckia: Sunshine all around … temperatures soaring

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Wordless Wednesday – No need to paint the lily

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Our first beautiful, luminescent lily in the new pond

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Just opened and pristine

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and showing a little wear some two days later

Posted in Flowers, Wordless | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

What’s been making amazingly round holes in my rose leaves?

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Round holes are steadily appearing in leaves around the garden. This rose bush has been particularly savaged.

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Busy, busy, busy: It turns out that Leaf-cutter bees are the makers of the circular holes. Here is one caught in the act of cutting a piece of Hypericum.

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A Leaf-cutter bee filling holes in a bit of drilled tree trunk, stacked against our garage wall. This trunk sat untouched last year, but is nearly full now.

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My super-easy-to-make bee hotel made for the #30DaysWild challenge in June this year. I used a spare breeze block and filled it with hollow stems saved from last year’s teasel, cephalaria, macleaya and lovage.

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The bees cut the leaves to construct cells inside the hollow stem to house their eggs. They spend ages patching the leaves together, gluing them with saliva.

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Just look at those fearsome mandibles!

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This rose seems to be a favourite source of leaves and those mandibles are very efficient at cutting through them. The leaves are rolled between their legs as they are cut, for ease carrying .

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I accidentally disturbed this bee’s entry to the hollow stem it was filling, so it waited on a nearby tree until I got out of the way (providing a perfect photo opportunity for me though)!

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Each cell is also stocked with nectar and pollen, ready for when the larvae hatches.

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Then once sealed off, the cycle begins again for the next cell. Truly busy bees!

Posted in Bees, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Wordless Wednesday – A Prickly Fellow

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The Cotton or Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium): Orderly spikes wrapped up in cotton wool

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High Pass Edge Filtered

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It is all too easy to end up shedding blood when handling this plant!

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But it is worth it for this glory held high in the sky …

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Beware, it is a giant (~3m with a bit of a tendency to catch the wind and tilt inconveniently)

Posted in Flowers, Wordless | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments