August has been hot and dry. Rain showers have passed to the north of us and to the south of us but we remain parched. The trees must be able to reach lower damper soil with their roots but even they are tiring. The leaves are starting to change to autumn colour because of the drought stress and the apples are falling.
I have to water the young plants and the judicious watering is creating a well-weeded took as even the weeds are succumbing.
My “Savill Garden” hydrangea has survived and flowered for the first time but only the cared for plants can make it through the hot sun and dryness. Even the lavender requires some water.
Only the Canna has survived and flourished without watering. I don’t actually like it and years ago I presumed I could kill it if I never watered it. Not so. Now I keep it as it provides a trouble free hedging and it is easily controlled by pulling out the new plants once a year either in autumn or spring.
A gold star goes to a tough, yellow flower that I was given, I think it must be a perennial sunflower. This on the other hand is a favourite as the bees adore it.
I could do with a help on the I.D. here. Even the bees are getting bleached in the sun! I would like to know if this is a Shrill Carder bumble bee or just a very bleached other carder.
Here is a side shot if it helps.
One creature that was enjoying a hot sunny spot in the garden was this Western Whip snake or couleuvre.
They are not venomous and very shy, not hanging around when disturbed. I was surprised, therefore, to see it later in a different part of the garden. Coincidently, it was near a hose each time.
In view of the colour of our garden hose, I wonder if it was just looking for a friend?
Outside of the garden the wild mint is in flower and attracts loads of bees and butterflies.
I have let our mint flower in the garden too and notice our bees on the flowers. Does this meant that our honey will have mint overtones?
The Gaura is the favourite flower of the honey bees in the garden at the moment. The pollen is all carried away by mid-morning but I notice the bees fill-up on the nectar while collecting the pollen.
I am fascinated by my Artemisia absinthium bush. This is the plant used in the production of absinthe and known commonly as Wormwood as it was used in the treatment of intestinal worms.
What fascinates me is that I never see an insect on it: not a fly, or bee or butterfly. Yet it has pleasant little yellow pom-pom flowers that remind me of Mimosa. It was at one time used for strewing on floors to keep insects away or for folding into materials to protect them from damage by mites.
I have tried rubbing it in my hands and it has a not unpleasant odour and I wonder how it would fare as an anti-mosquito treatment. I think I will cut the branches and try it in the cupboards this winter as an anti-moth remedy.
This caterpillar did not come from my garden. My neighbour Annie brought it down to me as she knew I would be interested. It was 12 cm. long and 2 cm. tall (?), a real chunky chappy. I recognised it as a Sphinx caterpillar but as it happened our beekeeper friend, Michel, was here too and correctly explained that these caterpillars grow into Death’s head hawkmoths; moths that love honey and can invade bee hives. I must admit I was a bit sceptical of moths attacking bee hives but check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death%27s-head_hawkmoth.
Poor bees they have a lot to put up with!