Mirror, mirror on the wall, what is the ugliest bud of all?

yellow lily buds

I usually find buds attractive but the buds of these day lilies start off with blackened tips.  At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking that they had finished flowering and they were the seed pods or that something nasty was happening to them.

orange day lillies

Eventually they open up to large orange blooms that lighten up a good patch of the front border.  However, in so doing they are also choking the peony behind them.

Perhaps it is just that orange is not my favourite colour and even more so after I have been without Internet contact for a week.  How can you become so dependant on something that you hardly used fifteen years ago?

As usual it is my own fault.  I cannot help by being seduced on dark autumn days in the shops in the UK, when I am missing the garden, and cannot resist buying inappropriate plants and bulbs to plant on my return.

Allium cernuum bud

I get it right sometimes.  The Allium cernuum buds open delicately, unfolding from their covering membrane.

Allium cernuum

A couple of pots bought half price from Saville Gardens plant sales have provided a lot of pleasure for me and the bees.

Allium opening

Decorative Alliums are a new venture for me this year in the garden and I love to watch them open.


They started budding in May and have put up a long show but are starting to set seed now, although they still are looking good.


I kept an eye open for my Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) budding this year.  Last year was its first year to flower and all I found was the dried remains of the flowers in the autumn.  I understand why now, as the flowers are very discreet but extremely elegant in bud or in full flower.

Open flower of Liriodendron

When we had originally purchased the tree I had a notion that they had large cream flowers so they are not quite what I expected but I am pleased with the exotic green and yellow flowers that are appreciated by the bees.

Persimmon flower

The garden has gained  from the wet, mild winter and spring and the Persimmon tree has been covered with flowers.

Olive tree buds and flowers

The little olive tree in the front garden is covered with buds and flowers but I think we are unlikely to have olives so far north in France.

Arum lillies

Our Arum lilies have loved all the water they have received this year, with the warm weather to encourage them to grow.

Arum in house


This is for Rolling Harbour who teased me when I said I kept a special vase for my Arums (see, I need one!)


The other plant I would like to highlight just now in the garden is the Cotoneaster.  Beautiful little buds and flowers which attract all the pollinators and go on to produce red berries for the birds in winter.  They are such unassuming plants and need such little care which makes them a great favourite with me.

Red poppy

The garden is full of poppies at the moment.


I am in my element watching the bees.

Pink poppy and bees

So I leave you with a flash of poppies.

A Megachile emerges

I have re-blogged this post. It is perhaps a bit too hard-core bee for A French Garden but some people may be interested in an update on the bee hotels I have in the garden.

Bees in a French Garden

1-Rose meg 4.9.13 19-57 (2)

On the fourth of September last year I noticed a hole in my bee hotel had been beautifully sealed by carefully arranged sections of rose petals. (See Some Megachile).

1-1 Rose petal hole_0527

On the 24 of May this year I noticed a hole had been chewed in the centre of it.

1-2 24.5.14 1920_0532

I could not resist removing the remains of the rose petals to get a better look.  A new little bee was making her way into the world.  However, it was 19.20 and domestic duties called and the light was fading for photographs.

1-3 Rose hole 25.5.14 11.04_0536

It was 11.04 the next morning before I was able to get back to my bee and she seemed just to be waking up.


Seven minutes later and she was not  making an enormous progress.


Then two minutes later there is movement from the hole above her.

1-8 other further out 11.26_0568

Now which one should I focus on?  The other one is larger…

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