June began with unseasonal rain and showers which meant it was a perfect time to root out weeds from the soft ground and watch the plants grow. The rain has stopped abruptly and it is amazing how quickly the ground dries up. The vegetable garden now needs a daily watering.
We do not grow a lot of vegetables. We do like to grow some Borlotti beans but we forgot to buy more beans on our last visit to the U.K. Kourosh had already placed his Hazel poles before we found the seeds here. We could only find dwarf Bolotti beans and as they have started to flower already I think the height of the poles will be more than generous, but we will see.
I have left the Fennel that grew spontaneously from our compost in the flower borders. It actually looks quite attractive adding height and colour and of course attracting the hover flies to help keep the flowers free from aphid attacks.
It was time to say goodbye to the poppies as they had started to fall over and dry up. I usually gather the seed from the prettiest poppies but after many years I noticed this year there was less variety and colours so I think I will have to invest in new seeds for next year. Any suggestions of seed varieties would be welcome.
The Philadelphus have just about finished but with the extra rain they had a particularly long and abundant season. Their perfume makes them a must in a garden but it is only the odd bee that I catch in their flowers.
On the other hand the geraniums are constantly visited by butterflies, solitary bees and honey bees.
The cotoneaster is almost finished. I have different types of cotoneaster throughout the garden and the easiest way to find them is to listen for the bees. If I could choose only one shrub for the garden it would be cotoneaster as it provides for the bees in summer and feeds the birds its red berries in the winter.
If I could choose only one tree it would be the lime tree (Tillia platyphyllos) for the heavenly perfume of its flowers. Bees make delicious honey from the lime tree flowers and I have taken my share of the flowers to dry to make infusions in the winter.
The Astrantia is as popular as ever.
And the flat flowers of the Hydrangea give an easy access for foraging bees.
The hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) is a common visitor once the warm weather arrives. His eye with the dark spot like a pupil is unusual for an insect’s eye and gives him a knowing expression.
The bee fly (Bombylius sp.) has also appeared with the warm weather and its high-pitched buzz is ever present around the Nepeta and Lavander. It is a parasite of solitary bees laying its eggs near their nest entrances so I cannot warm to it but it is also an efficient pollinator.
I often find that I cosset plants only to find I have been mistaken and what I have been rearing with care turns out to be a weed. These appeared in my stone trough so I decided to let them flower as I would be then able to identify them from their flowers. Only, I have still no idea.
They are about one metre tall and have pretty yellow flowers. Has anyone any idea of what they might be?