Perfume and colour


Such a lot has changed in the garden this week.  Looking from the outside of the front garden, the Wisteria is still in flower and the Iris and Arum lilies are pushing up to meet it.  Unfortunately, so is the wild grass.  The weed seeds get blown against the wall and find a comfortable place between the iris corms to put down roots.  I’ll pull them out one day after it rains when the ground is nice and soft.Map butterfly Araschnia levana

The lilac trees have started to flower adding their powerful perfume to the garden.  The lilacs attract various butterflies and bees.  This week it was a Map butterfly (Araschnia levana), they have two broods and this is the spring brood with more colourful wings.


This little glistening Halictid bee is not so highly coloured but has a metallic sheen and frequents the lilac too.


Another perfumed surprise was my “Coronille” which originated as some cuttings from a friend.  I was not aware of how perfumed they were.  This year they have become very respectable little bushes making an excellent hedging plant as they are evergreen.


The only problem is that no-one seems to know their proper name.  It looks like the plant the RHS call Coronilla valentina subspecies Glauca “Citrina”.  It is certainly my type of plant – easy to grow, perfumed, not too fussy and bees love it!

quince tree

At the bottom of the garden both quince trees are still in flower.  This one is the prettiest shape.

quince tree

The other quince was called a German quince and is a longer shape tree.  Strangely, the little round tree has round quinces and the German quince has longer shaped fruit.  However, both fruits taste the same.


I planted red stemmed willows  to try and make a screen where the large pine tree was removed.  These have been cut back earlier and are all starting to shoot.  It will be interesting to see what sort of screen I will have this summer.  In the meantime..


I have lovely tulips to look at.


I am also very pleased with this thyme (another plant from a friend) which is full of flowers and is covering the ground but not impeding the Salvia to push through.


The chamomile is also working well as ground cover but slower than the thyme even though I re-rooted parts of it in the autumn.  I think I will use the thyme as ground cover elsewhere in the garden.


I’ve seen more bees in the garden last week, so hopefully populations are building up again and I have heard of a swarm in the area.  This is the normal time for the first swarms in this region.


Of course, the bees were not the first pollinators.  This chafer may pollinise my quince tree as it flies from tree to tree munching on the pollen or it may just be very hungry and finish off the entire flower.  I have checked – it has left plenty of flowers that should give me some fruit.


I bought this Centauria plant in a nursery in France to attract bees.  So far it has been covered in ants!  I wondered if they intended to farm aphids but there is no sign of aphids – yet.

poppy and Anthophora

There is one plant that the bees make a bee-line for – the poppies.

red poppy and Anthophora

My light coloured Anthophora plumipes female is gathering pollen throughout the garden.  My first poppies provide bright splashes of colour in the garden but these poppies appear in random places, self sown from last years seed.  The seeds I have sown this year are up but are not flowering yet.IMG_9243

Another of my spring favourites is the Cerinthe.  The pale green foliage is so fresh.  It is beside some sedum in the picture above.  I really must cut the flower stems on this sedum as they are starting to bud but the dried flower stems still look attractive even at this time of year.

cerinthe and bombus praetorum

The little spring bumble bees (Bombus praetorum) have arrived and buzz pollinate the Cerinthe.  The sound of the bumble bees in the Cerinthe is part of the springtime in the garden.

Light Anthophora plumipes female

I don’t suppose many people let their brussel sprouts flower for the bees.

bee in brussel sprout flower

I also wonder if these little bees (compare its size with the flower stamens) get mistaken for flies.  I hope nobody tries to spray them with insecticide.


29 thoughts on “Perfume and colour

  1. Lovely photos. Your blooms are all early Summer flowers here of course, so they are a lovely reminder of what we have to come shortly. My Coronilla has been flowering non- stop all Winter. Yours is lovely and full of blooms. It doesn’ t look like ‘ Citrina’ which is the one I have and a pale lemon colour. I wonder if yours could be Coronilla emerus?


    1. Thanks for that, I don’t think it can be the Citrina as the flowers are not pale but I checked on the emerus and two sites said that it lost its leaves in winter. This one keeps its leaves but does look identical to the emerus. Amelia


  2. Your wisteria look very good, they are just starting here. Coronilla grow well around Torbay, some call them scorpion vetch, I havent seen many bees on them surprisingly. The best place I have found for seeing Anthophora plumipes is a local garden centre where several females (black here) can often be seen on the flowers.


    1. I’m surprised about your Coronilla as a lot of bees including the bumble bees like it over here. The Anthophora plumipes seems to be happy with a lot of different spring flowers. In my garden it is the primroses/primulas and cerinthe that are their favourites. Amelia


  3. It’s quite trilling to see what other gardens look like at various times of the year. I am amazed see your white wisteria fully out, mine is still a good two to three weeks off. My purple / blue will be out this week I think. I think you have got the right name for your coronilla, I have had it for years. The plants I have growing at the moment are seedlings of the original, now long gone, but these plants do not seem to want to flower. They are about 4 years old now and making good plants. We gardeners are patient folk….. 🙂


    1. So true, you have to be patient but it gives you so much pride to nurse your little seedlings into proper plants. I feel much more proud of the plants I have raised over the years rather than the ones I have bought. Amelia


  4. Your wisteria looks so lovely. I haven’t seen any in flower yet here but it has been so warm I think all we need is some rain and everything will explode into life! The coronilla is also a pretty plant, hope you manage to identify it.


  5. Hello Amelia,
    Lovely late spring scene in your garden. The Coronilla is new to me …is it a broom relative? And I wonder if there are other colour variants? We tried leaving Red Russian Kale plants to flower, and as with your sprouts, the bees seemed to love the flowers. I must learn to repeat this every year, so thanks for the prompt. Wish we could grow Cerinthe reliably here, but I seem to fail miserably. Such a pretty and bee friendly plant. Thanks for a lovely post,


    1. the Coronilla is in the Fabaceae family. I think most of the family will fix nitrogen so that is an extra plus. I am surprised about the Cerinthe as we saw it for the first time in Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire – but it was in the walled garden. I thought it would be an annual but apart from self-seeding the plants last through the winters here (some people have it easy :)) Amelia


    1. I thought people around here would think it very strange to see brussel sprouts left to flower but I saw a French friend who keeps bees had left some brassicas to flower in his garden, so now I don’t feel alone. Amelia


  6. Your wisteria is fabulous, just ignore the weeds and enjoy the flowers! We have more or less the same things flowering at present although my Quince (pear shaped fruit) and the crab apple blossom have already finished. Lovely images, I’ll have to come to you for lessons with my new camera.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We have left our sedum stems on too. We like the contrast of the dried up stems to the fresh green growth.
    Haha, If I were to grow brussel sprouts, I’d be tempted to let them go to seed too…ALL of them. “Don’t harvest them, honey, save them for the bees.” 🙂 One of the few foods I don’t care for.


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