We have reached the half way point through the year and I am beginning a second book in my Garden Journal 2017. A book of blank pages waiting to be filled with words, paintings and photographs.
On the first page of my new book I started my June reports by writing, “June is the month when our wildlife friends become very obvious, pollinators and predators work away helping us out, and all our wild friends entertain us, stimulating our senses. We had a dip in the wildlife pond with a net and found a healthy population of newts and dragonfly larvae. Whenever we sit in the summerhouse for a tea break we are entertained by birds coming for a drink or bathe in the pebbled shallow end, especially bright are the Goldfinches with their splashes of red and yellow. Next to the summerhouse door a pair of Blue Tits is nesting in one of our boxes. Both parents are making frequent visits into the garden to collect caterpillars to feed to their young. Each day these caterpillars get larger as the youngsters grow and their appetites grow even more quickly.
Wildlife in the garden is so entertaining!”
Over the page brightly coloured photographs glow from the pages, photographs of Geum cultivars.
“Plant of the month for June is the Geum, the cultivars with hot colours – yellows, oranges and reds, – Totally Tangerine, Koi, Mrs Bradshaw, Lady Stratheden ………………..”
Leaving the brightly coloured Geums behind I next looked at a few representatives of our garden’s wildlife friends.
“Double Brimstones, butterfly and moth, the Brimstone Moth and the Brimstone Butterfly.
The Brimstone Butterflies are one of the earliest arrivals in our garden but a few continue to fly in May and June. The Brimstone Moth flies in both daytime and night time.”
On the page opposite I talk about and paint the Little Owl, a regular visitor to our patch.
“We host three owls in our garden, the Tawny, the Barn and the Little. When we first moved to Plealey our Little Owl migrated in search of warmer places every Autumn to return in Spring.Today they stay with us year round. We love this change!”
Over the page I share with you some of our Foxgloves, the Digitalis family.
“Foxgloves, spires of colour buzzing with bees, flower every day this month. Bumble Bees and our neighbour’s Honey Bees disappear right inside the larger flower gloves. Bees explore each flower on each spike starting at the lowest bloom and moving upwards methodically.”
Next I looked at one of our poppies, Papaver somniferum the Opium Poppy.
“Papaver somniferum comes in a variety of pinks and lilacs”.
“The small orange double poppy is Papaver rupifragum “Orange Feathers”.
From an orange poppy to an orange rose I moved on to look at a small flowered orange patio climber.
“Rosa “Warm Welcome” is a small climber and a cheerful charmer. Roses continue to flower profusely throughout the June garden.”
June turned out to be a difficult month for the garden with extremes of heat accompanied by a long dry spell causing plants to suffer especially relatively recently planted trees and shrubs. We water trees every week for a year after planting but a week’s holiday prevented us from doing this. We returned to find trees and shrubs with brown shrivelled leaves. A sad sight. I wrote, “June ended up being a dry month with many plants showing signs of stress, especially trees planted this year and lawn areas. We need rain urgently!” I included photos of some of the plants looking worse for wear.
On the opposite page, which is the final page for June I mentioned the return of the rain, refreshing us and the garden. “In the last few days of the month, steady rain helped put life and vitality back into our garden putting extra sparkle in flowers and gloss on foliage. We can only hope that trees planted earlier this year survive. They look troubled! Lilies however quickly burst back into life.”