June doesn’t seem to have realised that it’s Summertime yet! It’s already been, alternately, freezing (well not quite, but down to 3°C), shockingly windy and showery, between bouts of lovely sunshine. Tomorrow is predicted to be very wet, with early thunder storms. Hopefully Jubilee street parties will manage to go ahead, nevertheless!
Our garden is slightly more convinced that it’s summer. The vegetables are coming on nicely, the borders are beginning to bulge at their boundaries and the pond is dragonfly central. This week’s gardening jobs have covered all areas, but on Wednesday I was turning one compost bin into the other, when I hit a patch of dry grass, so I switched to a fork to toss the thatch across when I noticed buzzing and suddenly an unusual number of large bumblebees around. Next thing I know, there are loads of them surging out of gaps in the compost. The bumblebees were not interested in me though, they were frantically locating huge golden ‘eggs’ (cocoons) and trying to return them to the nest. I made a quick attempt to repair their exposure by raking a protective layer of debris on top and then retreated. So that is the end of compost shuffling for a while! I just hope that I didn’t kill too many bees before I realised I’d hit a huge nest.
Taking a deep breath, let’s move on to my Six garden stars on Saturday:
I have several of these lovely pincushions flowers beginning to open. Most are pale pink or white. While their pincushions centres are the main focus, the backs of the outer bracts are a wonder as well. They are remarkably similar to the markings on the underside of a green-veined white butterfly wings.
2) Lamb’s Ears
Like Marmite, Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina) seems to divide opinion rather starkly. I am in the fan club! The whole plant is adorable and irresistible.
3) Self-sown seeds
I am finding it hard to keep up with seedling removal in the pebble garden at the moment. I think that fallen birch leaves in the area have created a moist fertile layer between the suppressing membrane and pebbles that I am going to have to deal with. This photo is of two plants that are both self-sown in the pebbles: Geranium pratense and Euphorbia oblongata. I am reluctant to remove them just yet, as they look so great together.
4) Broad beans
I am growing ‘Crimson-flowered’ broad beans again, as I enjoyed their appearance so much last year. As you can see (if you look closely) there should be no problem with pollination, because the bees love them too.
5) Dianthus ‘Mrs Sinkins’
I fell in love with this dianthus in a friend’s garden and was delighted when she gave me some rooted cuttings a few weeks later. I now have my own established patch (or two) and am busy carrying on the sharing tradition. The white flowers smell delicious and look especially dainty and delicate with dew on their petals.
6) Poppies and pageantry
I nearly ripped this plant out of the gravel driveway a couple of weeks back, but the buds seemed to be fattening up so nicely that I decided to leave things alone. Now I feel like these huge red pompom poppies are my own party decorations for the jubilee celebrations. Who needs bunting when you’ve got these?
So, those are my six stars for this week. Take a look at Mr Propagator’s blog to browse loads more Sixes.
Have fun at any Jubilee celebrations you are attending. I’ve just made a fruit cake for a picnic tea on the rec. later. In any case, enjoy your gardens and plants!!
I love both the Dianthus and the poppies. As for the bumblebees, I had no idea until a couple of years ago that they’ll nest in the ground. When I learned that, I also learned that a bumblebee can sting multiple times. It was a memorable experience.
Oh no! I think I was very lucky to escape stinging, but as I mentioned they were completely pre-occupied with their rescue operation.
A fine excuse not to turn the compost 🙂 I agree the weather is very odd – here in North Wales – further west than I live – yesterday there were giant hailstones and so much rain the drains couldn’t cope. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-61684639 – Today, we are on a thunderstorm warning from 6pm until tomorrow morning .
😉 Good luck with that anticipated deluge! We’ve got the thunderstorm warnings from midnight.
I have never heard of or seen Lamb’s ears plant before, what an apt name! The geraniums and euphorbia oblongata look fantastic next to each other:)
Yes, the little flower buds even look like the whorls of wool on a lamb’s coat! Thank you.
I’m sure the bumblebees will forgive you. I spotted some going in and out of one of our bird boxes this afternoon, so I assume they have a nest inside. Some varieties like to nest in a used birds nest.
Will you empty it out in the winter or leave it alone for the birds to clear?
Do these purple flowering beans produce different coloured pods? Green as usual? Are they smaller/bigger?
Otherwise I also love Lamb’s Ears. I have many here. Gorgeous poppies !
Thanks Fred! The crimson-flowered broad beans are normal green-coloured pods. The beans I’d say are on the small side, but very tender.
Whoa, Mrs. Sinkins! ❤ We had Lamb's Ears n the garden at one time. This makes me think they should be reintroduced.
Mrs Sinkin’s is a stinkin’ beauty (very strongly scented)! Lamb’s Ears are so tactile, but they do tend to flop.
Big celebration this week – long live the Queen! And she’s certainly done that, impressively becoming the longest ruling monarch.
Don’t be too hard on yourself about the bees, how were you to know they’d chosen your compost bin to set up house? They probably sorted it all out in good time.
Those poppies are so vibrant, glad you stilled your hand!
Enjoy the week ahead. Wish I was there to see the festivities. 🙂
Thanks Eliza. Poppies epitomize sunny summer days, even more so than Wimbledon I think (which is ongoing this week, of course). 🧡
Interesting to read about your bees, hopefully they will be ok. I like seddlings that suddenly appear, though sometimes you have to be firm! Your poppies are a stunning colour, you can’t miss them.
I think the bees are OK. They were active in both bins for a few days after the disruption, but it’s now all quiet again. The poppies are indeed fab, thanks!
Those poppies are perfect for the jubilee weekend! Hope you enjoyed the festivities. I have had a running commentary on the events all weekend from my parents on facetime! LOL! I don’t like broad beans but I do like the plants. Never realised they are so pretty.
We had a good celebration, thanks. The village concentrated on a ‘green’ jubilee celebration which included lots of walks, talks, wildlife discovery and tree planting … as well as a sadly wet 😢 picnic.
Three degress? Gosh..! 😩 What an amazing poppy that is – did it just arrive from nowhere?
The weather has been erratic to say the least. That poppy is the only double red opium poppy that I’ve seen in the garden, but there are plenty of other shades.
Degrees, I mean!!