The garden in July

White Wisteria

The garden in July is different this year.  The Wisteria is flowering for the second time.

Blue Wisteria

The blue was the first one out in May but the white one pipped it to the post this time.  Usually they have a second bloom much later so I wonder if they will bloom three times this year.  Perhaps it was all that rain in the winter and spring.

Bee in pumpkin

The garden can play tricks with you.  I went out to check the pumpkin flowers this morning, as last year they had a beautiful perfume.  I got quite excited as I thought I could see a yellow bee – but no, just a very well pollinated pumpkin and a pollen covered bee.  Unfortunately, the pumpkins have no perfume this year but they are a different variety.  Pity as the perfume was really heady last year.


The garden in July is very perfumed.  It is not just the obvious flowers like the lilies.


We have a good number of Buddleia and some even hang over from the next door garden.


The lavender is just opening now, not only to our delight but to the insects in search of nectar.  All of the perfumes intermingle, even the wild mint in the grass.


The garden in July is full of distractions.  I am seeing so many new bees I can’t keep up with them.  I was pleased when I noticed these ones today as they were moving so quickly in the lavender, just like the Anthophora plumipes moved in the Cerinthe at the end of April.  I could see males with similar but white faces instead of yellow.


A quick close-up on the dining room table and he is definitely a male Anthophora but I have not had time to find out what species – if indeed I will be able to.


The garden in July has drama.  Do you see the blurry white form behind the bumble?

Crab spider

The Echinacea are a magnet for all sorts of insects but this morning a crab spider was sitting waiting for them with open arms.  the bumble seemed unaware and although I feel I shouldn’t interfere with nature I knocked the spider of his perch.

Spider with butterfly

Only hours later I noticed the spider was back and had caught a Peacock butterfly.  My husband was there and he could not watch the butterfly in the spider’s grasp and had little hesitation in tampering with nature.  Sorry spider lovers but the fate of the spider was not a happy one.

Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum

The garden in July is never lonely.  Something is always flying past you or smiling at you.

Baby toad
Natterjack toad Bufo calamita.

This baby toad quickly hopped under the shade of the strawberries.  I am seeing more baby frogs and toads in the garden this year.


These brimstone butterflies (Gonepteryx rhamni I think) were all over the Echinacea and nearby lavender.  (Perhaps it was just as well the spider was disposed off.)

Red poppy

The garden in July is lots of bees.  They are in the poppies.

Blue geranium

They are in the geraniums.

Tree bumble bee

And they love my flowering leeks!  Today was the first time I had seen a tree bumble bee (Bombus hypnorum) in the garden even though they are a European species.  I saw my first tree bumble bee in Surrey a few weeks ago.  They only arrived in the UK in 2001 but are now very common in parts of Surrey.

July in the garden for me is certainly the bees.  Even this morning, sitting having coffee, some pollen laden bees disappeared into the soil in front of the bench I was sitting on.  Some more solitary bees to investigate!

Borlotti beans

The garden in July is also full of hope.  I hope the borlotti beans keep on growing.

Sweet pea teepee

I hope I might be able to grow sweet peas this year.  I’ve never succeeded yet.  They are on a teepee in the potager receiving intesive care.  I’ve said I’ll never try again and this really is my last attempt but I do love their perfume and I have specially chosen the seeds of highly perfumed sweet peas.

32 thoughts on “The garden in July

    1. We are really enjoying the garden just now but as the temperatures are staying in the 30’s centigrade with no rain or cooling down forecast I’m wondering how long its going to keep feeling good.


  1. Your dragonfly is a mature female Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum. The toad is a Natterjack Bufo calamita. Your Brimstone ID is correct. I’d never seen B. hypnorum in the Touraine until just a few weeks ago and I could never work out why. It should be one of the ubiquitous species. I’ve seen it in Charente some years ago.


  2. Your photos are really lovely, especially the clear close ups of the bees. Bees in my garden are loving the lavender too, but also the Centranthus and the wild rose, which smells wonderful.


    1. Thank you. The bees all seem to like roses if they are not the ones that have tightly curled centres. With the perfume for you and the pollen for the bees the wild rose is sharing its favours. Amelia


    1. Everything in the States seems to be bigger than in Europe so it wouldn’t surprise me if your bees were bigger too. I suppose you have eliminated your white faced hornets that you get. It is very annoying when you can’t get an ID on something you’ve seen. Amelia


  3. I’ve given up on sweet peas, Amelia but only because they are so time consuming. I love them but daily picking really eats into my available time. (I for one feel sorry for the spider)! D


  4. When I see a crab spider in wait for bees I feel really conflicted. The spider needs to eat, but poor bees! I have not killed any yet but would rescue any bees I saw struggling. The baby toad is very sweet.


    1. I do struggle, as I feel you shouldn’t interfere with nature but I must confess I’ve squashed a few of those little flies around my bee houses once I realised they were parasitic on Mason bees. Amelia


    1. I was amazed last year and disappointed this year that it is not all pumpkins! Michel took the bee hive and the bees back to his house where he has quite a few hives. I have not decided whether I can commit to keeping bees. I love the bees but we do not eat so much honey.


      1. It would be a commitment for sure. I have grown sweet peas almost every year but I may not do so this year. The Bees seem totally disinterested in them but, perhaps, that is because there is so much phacelia and borage around to distract them.


        1. That’s interesting about sweet peas, I would have thought the bees would love them but perhaps the borage is too much competition. I grew phacelia for the first time this year but they have not shown much interest in it. I expect it depends on what are the common types of bees in your area.


            1. I’ve sown a few different bee friendly plants this year but I haven’t found a new one that I think is really special. I think it may vary from year to year depending on the weather and when they flower and of course the competition.


  5. Love your bee photos, as always, and the pollen covered one especially. I have never had any trouble growing sweet peas here on Vancouver Island. I guess it is the upside of our cool, rainy climate.


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