June finishes

Potager

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.

Borlotti beans

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.

Fennel

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.

Poppies

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.

Philadelphus

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.

Geranium

On the other hand the geraniums are constantly visited by butterflies, solitary bees and honey bees.

Cotoneaster

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.

Lime tree

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.

Astrantia

The Astrantia is as popular as ever.

Hydrangea

And the flat flowers of the Hydrangea give an easy access for foraging bees.

hawkmoth

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.

Bee fly

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.

Unknown

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.

Yellow flower

They are about one metre tall and have pretty yellow flowers.  Has anyone any idea of what they might be?

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21 thoughts on “June finishes

  1. Good news that you have seen Hummingbird hawk moths – I have seen only two all year. The bee flies were out in numbers earlier in the spring here, but now we have lots of bees – mostly on the lavender. Lovely photos. I adore that Astrantia! That weed looks very familiar, much like a Lysimachia, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Maybe you can compare it with the photos on this page and identify it: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Lysimachia

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    • I think you are spot on with your identification! I have a habit of putting the odd seed or two in that stone trough as I can easily keep my eye on it if I want to experiment. I do usually mark though. I thought they were too pretty to be weeds. Perhaps they came in something I bought from Saville Gardens or Wisley as I would say they are pretty high class weeds. Amelia

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  2. I agree with Cathy. I think your ‘weed’ is Yellow Loosestrife Lysimachia vulgaris.

    Re the Hummingbird Hawk Moth’s eye — the dark patch is a pseudopupil and lots of insects have them eg butterflies, dragonflies, praying mantises (easy to spot and often more than one).

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    • The hives are right at the bottom of the back garden, just in front of the wooded area and river. They do not disturb us in the garden although this year when they swarmed they seemed a bit bad tempered especially Sunflower but I’ve been told this is normal. They are back to their usual gentle disposition now. Amelia

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  3. I was going to say that the plant with yellow flowers were some type of loosestrife because they have “that look,” but I wasn’t sure which one.
    Are the tall trees at the far edge of the lawn Lombardy poplars? They add a lot of interest and verticality to the scene.

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    • I’ve never seen that loosestrife outside the garden but I will know it now. We did not plant the poplars but I love them, I even love the noise the leaves make. We did have three very large ones but one came down in a storm but they self seed and we have replacements. I would call them Lombardy Poplars too. Amelia

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  4. Hi, I love your newsletters but notice that our garden in Creuse is weeks behind yours and I wondered where you are situated that this would happen? My French neighbour watches my gardening endeavours with great interest and tells me we don’t get enough sun in the field, which has huge chestnut and oak trees on the south west side and our barn shades it in the evening! I’ve tried for 4 years to make it a wild flower meadow and now need to do a rethink.

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    • We are in the Charente Maritime and we get a very high amount of sunshine and mild temperatures because of the effect of the Atlantic. I think we are now in the same region but you will have a much cooler continental climate being in the centre of France. I sympathise with your problem of shade. We had high Ash trees down the left hand side of our back garden. Quite a few have fallen down now and this has opened up a lot of opportunity to grow more flowers and shrubs. You can grow plants that will survive in dry soil or wet soil or in the shade but they all need a certain amount of light. Trying to grow plants under trees has the additional problem that large trees can leach the soil of nutrients and water. Challenging conditions! It is good to see what other people do with their gardens, I follow blogs in Germany, Italy, U.S.A and Egypt as well as France and they are a constant source of inspiration. 🙂 Amelia

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  5. Lovely pictures, especially of the insects. Our local organic grower (Riverford Organic) will have Borlotti beans sometime in the summer but they come from their other farm in the Vendee.

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    • I am not a fan of tropical plants in gardens but when they are where they belong that is different. You are going to enjoy seeing a whole host of plants and flowers that you are not accustomed to. Amelia

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  6. Your garden looks absolutely beautiful – and your photographs do it real credit! I know all too well the problem of forgetting to obtain seeds while visiting Britain: I ordered some during a stay there last month, had to leave before they were delivered and now must wait until I go back to London to collect them. Otherwise, I depend on what is available locally in Egypt – a very limited range especially poor for herbs. I recently ended up with Monsanto-produced courgettes (seeds brought by the gardener!) that I simply didn’t want in the garden as we are supposed to be doing things the organic, natural way.

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    • Seeds are a pleasure and a problem. Where possible I try to collect my own or friends seeds but with hybrid vegetables it is not possible. I might try the seeds of my “Sungold” tomatoes this year just to see what happens – there were only 9 seeds in the packet this year. Amelia

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