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!!