The summer solstice passed with temperatures lower than the winter solstice in some places round here. We had a heavy dew on our lawn, which looked like frost. It felt cold. We measured 5 deg C in the open greenhouse. Brrrr! Not BBQ weather at all.
Otherwise, things are much more normal this week, hurray, except that I am driving a courtesy car (Corsa) around. It has tinted back windows and so I find myself peering at the rear-view mirror all the time, wondering why it is so dark.
However, now it’s time to join Jonathon and cohorts for Six on Saturday … and since I have a challenge/question for you, I thought I would start there.
1 What on earth is this plant ???
It’s got a very square stem, so it’s probably Lamiaceae. It is growing super tall, already over a metre, and climbing. It has small red flowers at each of the opposite leaf axils.
Any ideas, please?
I am thinking of tearing it out as it is a nuisance being so tall behind the water feature. It has already eclipsed the lion king irises and a few other appropriately-sized, front-of-border plants! I am fairly certain that I didn’t plant it, but where did it come from … and what if it is something rare and exotic and I am lucky to have it????
Let me know if you have the answer, thanks.
2 Glorious Golden Oats
Stipa gigantea or Golden Oats is a good whispering grass. It’s seed heads whisper as they dance in the breeze, but right now it is in flower, with golden stamen, loaded with pollen, swaying in the breeze. It’s definitely worth a close look to check out the feathery stigma too.
3 Poppies and Bees
Yes, poppies for second week running, I know, but these are a different kind and are so pretty. Watching the bees enjoy them is addictive too. How many bees can one poppy hold? Four is probably my maximum.
4 Viper’s bugloss
The farmer who plants the field behind our house seems to have sown a strip of wild flowers around its edge. The standout plant currently is Viper’s bugloss or echium vulgare. Their spikes were busy with bees, as you’d expect, but I don’t seem to have managed to catch any in this photo. I’m glad the farmer made the effort though, as it is both beautiful and thrumming with life.
5 Allium christophii
Allium christophii is the allium that looks like it has been cast in metal, steel or titanium. The flower heads make dramatic large spheres of exploding stars. You can see why this flower is the model for garden ornaments. As a bonus, the seed heads are easy to dry and can be saved to decorate the house.
6 Ant nests in the grass and some solutions
My husband is keen on his lawn and this year he has been getting frustrated by the ant hills that seem to be multiplying across its expanse during the dry weather. I’d just rake the mounds before mowing, but he is determined to eliminate the nests all together. So far this has been achieved by digging them out and reseeding the patches. The result is that half the time the lawn looks as though it’s been planted with land mines that have been going off randomly and, once the seed has germinated (more cossetted than any of my flowers to be sure), it looks like the dog has been visiting the area! Here’s an example:
Recently, we’ve been lucky enough to have had a biological control applied to the ants. Our lawn has become the favourite restaurant for this green woodpecker (admittedly eating the ants from the path in this instance). I hope he comes to dinner often, so that all the digging/reseeding can stop.
BTW if anyone has alternative (non-poisonous) approaches to this ant problem, I’d be glad to know.
Have a good weekend!