Wednesday, 30 July 2008


Our first crop of whitecurrants. Not quite a glassfull, but they went down well with some blueberries and ice cream. Our first crop of redcurrants were eaten by an unknown suspect before they turned red. Shame.

My instinct was to write whitecurrants as 2 words, but to write redcurrants as one. Opinions on which is right please!

I wonder if I would prefer whitecurrants over red and black if they were as common. I think I prefer their flavour, but then that's probably because they're the first I've eaten in over 10 years.

Monday, 28 July 2008


Having had a darter at the pond on both Saturday and Sunday we've now had a total of 4 species of dragonfly in the garden. Actually we had a darter last year too, but this was the first since the pond was in.

Broad-bodied chaser


Southern hawker

Common darter

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Calla lilies

We have 4 different colours of calla lily in our garden (no black though), obtained from a J Parkers catalogue. They were all planted at different times (as the borders went in one by one) and so only 2 are flowering so far.

I do like this one.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

The venturesome vole

Today has been a wonderful day - the entire afternoon having been spent productively in the garden. We have finally dug over a large portion of the top border in the back garden and I managed to get a number of plants out of pots and into the border.

The day has been dominated by the wildlife that we've seen and in particular the antics of a rather foolish little vole. I first saw it just after lunchtime, rooting around the pots of box. We watched it for quite a while and then Ian decided that it would be safest if we chased it back into hiding as William is rather partial to catching rodents. Surprisingly it refused to be chased away and settled for sitting between a pot and a brick, munching seeds. I managed to get closer and closer without it being bothered and eventually rested my camera on the brick, 2 inches away from his nose. It did not even stop eating when I proceeded to stroke it. One tame little vole.

Whilst we would be happy to have a tame vole in general, this does not fit in too well with William. So Ian caught it in his hands and we put it in a bucket, proceeded to place it in some vegetation and hoped it would be safe. Twice more it ventured out of the vegetation and straight into the open space of the new border I was digging over. No cover for yards around and there it was happily wandering about. When he decided to approach within 1 foot of William (who luckily didn't even notice) we decided that something more serious had to be done.

So our vole spent an hour in our recycling box whilst we had dinner and then took a trip in the car to Mincinglake Valley Park where we released him. Fingers crossed that he lives a happy little life.

Saturday, 19 July 2008


Summer has finally arrived in Devon and with it has come the wildlife. This week has been amazing. 1 baby and 2 adult slow worms, the emperor dragonfly, gatekeepers, whites, blues, speckled woods, a comma and numerous other smaller insects that I have not had time to identify. I expect that it won't be long before the grasshoppers start to appear - I look forward to hearing them chirrup. Already the front garden is filled with the sound of buzzing bees and wasps as our lavender is now in full bloom.

Why is it that I can learn to spell a couple of Japanese words a day and yet some English ones catch me every time. For some reason I really struggle with the endings of lavender and calendar (my instinct being to spell them as I say them - lavander and calander, though I admit the latter looks wrong). This year I have managed to get to grips with emperor, but only by remembering to switch the o and the e from the way round that I say them. If anyone can come up with a way to remember these endings I'd greatly appreciate it.

One day I may tire of uploading photos of slow worms, but not yet!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Pond success is...

An ovipositing emperor dragonfly. Hooray!!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Shield bug

A visitor on the study windowsill yesterday.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


Since we bought the house and have had a garden I've gone through several different plant discovery phases. It started with cannas - inspired after seeing so many beautiful ones in Vienna last year. Then came the verbascum phase (I now have 8 species) and now I'm into Echinaceas.

There is something about echinaceas - even the more 'boring' ones are lovely. The shape of the flowers - the huge centre and the dainty petals really appeals to me. The ones that stand out the most are the newer varieties that not only have the lovely shape, but also vibrant colours and sweet fragrances. It's hard to select my favourites, but these are among them.
Summer sky

Harvest moon

Tiki torch

Coconut lime




After midnight

White swan

Of course I don't have all of these as they are not cheap. I am trying 2 varieties from seed at the moment so if that goes well I shall get some more seeds next year.

Monday, 7 July 2008


It's been really windy here the last few days. Growing up in Formby I'm used to wind, but we've not had much in the garden here before. The recent weather has caused a number of my plants to collapse, including the lovely Galega I bought last year and 2 of my 3 teasels.

The amethyst passionflower (lavender lady) had lost much of its hold on the trellis. It doesn't seem to hold on to things as well as the peas and clematis.

Friday, 4 July 2008

So long junk!

The incredible day that the skip arrived

and two days later. Can't believe that there's still lots of gravel and 4 large pieces of corrugated iron that didn't fit in.

Pond wildlife

We're gradually getting more wildlife in and around the pond.

Yesterday we had our first damselfly for around a month - a blue-tailed.

These eggs are on the underneath of both the frogbit and the brandy bottle.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008