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My Garden Journal 2018 – July

Here is my garden journal entries for the month of July, a month when the garden continued to suffer the effects of the drought.

My opening words were, “July begins as June ended, in a heatwave with temperatures in the upper twenties. And sadly for the garden, still no rain. Rainless time has now lasted for a month and very little for the previous month.”

I featured a set of photos of our Passion flower which grows in our greenhouse.

“We grow our passion-flowers in the greenhouse as we are too cold here for them to survive outside. We train them along the side of the greenhouse  where they can shade our tomato plants. Natural shading!”

On the opposite page I moved on to look at the digitalis we grow here in our Avocet garden.

“We grow so many different foxgloves in our patch, with several grown from seed by Jude. Our native Digitalis purpurea in both its forms of purple and white, enjoying spreading themselves around our borders, deciding for themselves where to settle down. Dan Pearson writes of Digitalis in “National Selection”,

“I like the way vertical lines of foxgloves draw the eye like an exclamation mark. They are delicate, using only as much ground as they need, but providing plenty of bang for your buck with the upward motion.”

Turning over to the next double page spread, I featured photos of a selection of the moths we trapped in our live trap.

“Butterflies and moths have been in short supply so far this year, but both appeared as July arrived. Our first session of live-trapping moths showed how many we had in our garden and how varied they are. We always delight at getting close up to the surreal Elephant Hawk Moths.”

Elephant Hawk Moths

  

Master of Disguise

These tiny moths are equally fascinating.

  

A myriad of moths.

           

The next double page spread features Tulbaghias, Leucanthemum, Helenium and several different Hemerocallis.

“Tulbaghias seem to enjoy the weather, whatever it does. These look great in dappled shade beneath the outer limbs of a Quince tree.”

“Leucanthemum and Helenium catch the light so well. Their shaded petals add extra depth.”

 

I next featured a whole page of photos of Day Lilies, Hemerocallis.

“In the middle of the month we visited our friend Mark (Zennick) with his wonderfully colourful collection of Hemerocallis. As always we came away with a good selection from his nursery.”

Next we take a look at how the garden is being adversely effected by the dry hot weather, and then I share my paintings of Camassia seed heads.

I wrote, “Another quote from Dan Pearson, upon his return from a trip to the Hawaiian Islands ………”I returned to a wet English summer, where the smells were crisp and clean.” Anyone returning to England this July would be met by golden dried-up lawns, trees with wilting leaves and dead leaves on herbaceous perennials.”

Opposite I used water-based pencil crayons to record the different stages as the flowering stems of Camassias were drying out.

“As well as their beautiful spires of blue, cream or white  flowers, Camassias have lovely green pods which dry slowly to digestive biscuit colours.”

My final page for July in my Garden Journal 2018 show a few plants that seem to thrive in the dry conditions.

“July moved on still without rain and the garden continued to suffer. Flowers bloomed but lasted a very short time. The lawn simply remained brown and stopped growing. A few plants though performed really well.”

 

Agastache                              Scrophularia

 

Erigeron and Hebe                                    Clouds of Achilleas

Two deep purple Clematis

As I finished my journal entries for July there was still no sign of any appreciable rainfall, just occasional short-lived showers which hit the ground and evaporated immediately. August will hopefully be kinder to our Avocet garden and its resident plants.

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birds garden design garden photography garden wildlife gardening gardens hardy perennials ornamental trees and shrubs poppies roses Shrewsbury Shropshire shrubs trees Yellow Book Gardens

My Garden Journal 2017 – June

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.”