Old favourites and new arrivals

Poppy and 2 beesMme Isaac Péreire in front


Mme Isaac Péreire started her first flush of perfumed roses about a week ago.  She will continue to flower for months but this first flowering is the most dense and the most welcome and the perfume drifts over the patio to be enjoyed with cups of coffee in the sun.

Mme Isaac Péreire covers down pipe

She is being trained round the corner and with the help of the white jasmine does her best to conceal the down pipe.

Mme Isaac Péreire and bee

She is also appreciated by the bumble bees who disappear inside.  The buzz of the bumble bees reverberates through the flower until they once more reappear and fly off.  This is an early bumble bee (Bombus pratorum).  I have seen a lot of them this year but it must be about the end of their season now.

Bee Orchid Ophrys apifera

This week I noticed another old favourite, the bee orchid (Ophrys apifera) while I was removing the faded forget-me-nots.  In fact I was lucky I spotted it.  I managed to rescue another one which had been weighed down by the forget-me-nots but that had got quite bent.

Close bee orchid

They are not dependant on bees for pollination but I would love to get a photograph with a bee, nevertheless.  This one is not in the same place as the one that had appeared last year, so they are perhaps seeding themselves.

Purple Ancolie Aquilegia

I had given up growing Aquilegia from seed this year.

Pale Ancolie

I had taken seed from friends’ gardens, I had been given a presents of packet seeds and I only managed a few pathetic specimens.

Magpie Ancolie

Those pathetic specimens must have taken things into their own hands and re-seeded in places of their own choice and I have some decent plants for the first time.

New Peony

A new Peony bought on a whim and without a name has flowered and produced three flowers that open and close at night time.

New Pivoine

They will not re-flower like roses but I have no objection to just having their flowers for a short time every year.

First flower Vibernum

Another first this week is the first flower on a Viburnum I bought while on holiday is Gascony a few years ago.  It was supposedly an unusual Viburnum but I could not find the name on the web and I have now lost it completely.  It will have to remain my no-name Viburnum.

Neflier flower and bee

One of the last fruit trees to flower is the Medlar which has an attractive white blossom.

Olive flowers

The Medlar flowers faithfully every year and gives us fruit but our Olive tree has surprised us by producing flowers for the first time.  I presume the mild winter has coaxed it into trying but I am not sure whether we could ever have proper fruit here.

first flower Acacia

Another first flowering this year is an Acacia tree grown from seed by my husband from a beautifully perfumed tree growing in a multi-storey car park in Guildford!  The flowers were highly perfumed which attracted him but we are also surrounded by Acacias in the woods around here.  Still this is a very special hand-grown one!


I bought this Fremontodendron as a tiny plant on a love at first sight basis.  It has grown and produces flowers every year but it does not seem to fit in.  It is a plant in the wrong place but I don’t know what the correct place might be.

Halictid in Fremontodendron

At least it provides succour for the wild bees as this little Halictid bears witness.  I must promise not to buy any more plants without first thinking about where they are to go.Poppy and 2 bees

The double orange poppies are the first to appear in the garden and are highly appreciated by bees and bumble bees alike.  They are not aggressive creatures and ignore any other foragers on the flowers.

Hoopoe in vine

You need to peer to find the Hoopoe but he appeared in the garden three days ago and is a herald of summer to me.  He walked out of the garden closely followed by me and my camera but he never let me get close enough for a good photograph.

Hoopoe on roof 26.3.14

My husband had spotted him at the end of March on the roof but I was trying for a closer shot.

The cuckoo heralds the spring but by May his call is starting to get monotonous and I begin to harbour uncharitable thoughts about his contribution to the sounds of nature.

Roll on summer!