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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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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colours garden design garden photography garden wildlife gardening gardens hardy perennials ornamental trees and shrubs village gardens wildlife

My Garden Journal in June

Half way through the year and we are also at the half way point of my garden journal. Here is my journal for June – I hope you enjoy it!

It is June and the sky is blue and the sun warms us as we garden. These summer days mean relaxed hours in the garden and it is tiredness or aching backs that stop work rather than the dark.”

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I added four photos of general garden views below the first paragraph.

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On the opposite page I featured a tiny simple grass, a favourite but also a bit of a nuisance. It is the Common Quaking Grass. It moves in the slightest breeze.

“We have a grass growing on the Chatto Garden, our gravel patch. It is beautiful and looks so delicate but unfortunately it is a thug!”

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Turn over the page and we find two pages mostly of photographers.

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“Individual plants in our garden give points of interest, encourage interest and admiration but it is putting plants together in a sympathetic manner gives our garden its character and special atmosphere and creates different moods.”

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“Flower colours can contrast with or compliment other colours on other plants both flower and foliage. Good combinations can come from different plants’  foliage working together. These combinations can be restful or even startle us!”

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Over the next page I talk about two yellow flowering plants, the Welsh Wanderer, the Welsh Poppy and an aquilegia.

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“Welsh Wanderer – Meconopsis cambrica, decides each year where it will set up home. It is a champion self-seeder!”

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“Aquilegia chrysantha is a beautiful tall aquilegia with flowers of various yellow tints.”

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I finish off my June entries in my Garden Journal with a look at some of the tiny creatures who live in our garden with us.

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“Tiny critters who share our plot with us are mostly made warmly welcome and we enjoy seeing and hearing them as they explore our borders. Slugs and snails of course are the big exception to our welcoming attitude!”

I painted the caterpillar of the Grey Dagger Moth in watercolours and artist colour pens. It was a big challenge to show how hairy and brightly coloured it was.

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For the final page in June I painted some of our common snails, the Banded Snails that come in a mixture of colours and the Garden Snail. Again I used a mixture of watercolours and artists pens.

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For my next visit to my Garden Journal we will move into the second half of the year and into mid-summer.

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birds colours garden photography garden wildlife gardening gardens hardy perennials roses Shropshire Yellow Book Gardens

My Garden Journal – June

Half way through the year and here we are again to have a look at my garden journal for the month of June. My special Moleskine embossed with the word “greenbenchramblings” is now on its way to being half full.

In my first page for June I wrote “Garden writers talk of the “June gap”, a time when fewer flowers bloom than in other summer months. Luckily for us we have spotted no gaps in our garden. 

For us June is a month of Roses, of Day Lilies, of Geraniums, of Snap Dragons and so much more. It is the month of scents too. Whenever humidity rises scents become richer and invade every part of our garden, so much so that we find it hard to identify individual scents and from where they arise”

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I filled the second page with a gallery of rose photos. Enjoy navigating through my set of Rose pics.

On page 3 we find this month’s quote from Jenny Joseph. “My quote from Jenny Joseph’s little delight of a book looks at how scent changes with the weather”

“Though the over-riding smell of sunlit June is a mixture of Philadelphus and Strawberries, if it gets too hot there is an arid, dusty smell, the smell of rank stinging nettles. If we get rain after dry heat at this time, an almost delirious richness comes from all the wet foliage.”

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We have a highly scented Philadelphus shrub arching over the path to our Shade Border, but it is in reality growing in our neighbours’ garden. We train the long flowering stems over the path so that we pass through a tunnel of rich sweet scent.

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On the opposite page I wrote about the creatures seen by the wildlife pond in mid-June, Dragonflies, Damselflies and Pond Skaters.

Dragonfly and Damselfly larvae creep slowly up stems of pond plants and metamorphose from the ugly to the beautiful. Pond Skaters skim in twitching movements across the surface of the water without breaking through.”

I enjoyed painting our most beautiful Damselfly which we see often on summer days flitting around our garden and often coming into the house to see us!

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Page 5 features one of our favourite families of herbaceous perennials, the Geraniums. We have many different varieties and cultivars flowering in many of our borders.

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Geraniums are  any lover of perennial plants  favourites. So many shades of pink and blue on flowers of varying size and detail of petal”.

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On my next page I looked at the bird life in our June garden,

Our garden in June is subject to regular invasions of fledgling birds, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Long-tailed Tits along with Finches Green and Gold. They beg for food noisily and even ask us for food as we get on with our gardening chores.” 

I then picked myself up on the use of the term “gardening chores”,

It strikes me as odd that we speak of gardening chores or jobs and tasks. Gardening is a delight.

To accompany these words I painted a water colour of a fledgling Blue Tit, looking a little like a faded version of its parents.

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Pages 7 and 8 of my June journal featured a bit of pond dipping and a look at a special Rose.

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“A warm evening in late June was a perfect time to get out my pond-dipping net and sample tray. A few scoops and the tray was full of life.”

I painted a Water Measurer and the larva of a Common Newt. Both these creatures appeared in numbers in every scoop I made with the net. Even if just a few of these young Newts reach adulthood it will help manage the slug population and perhaps reduce the number of holes in our Hosta leaves.

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My final entry in my garden journal for the month of June was a look at a special Rose which we discovered just last year. We were initially attracted to its beautiful buds and rich chocolate brownish red blooms. We discovered it was called Dark Chocolate and it has the added benefit of a rich scent.

We have an unusually coloured rose growing in our “Secret Garden” called Rosa “Hot Chocolate”. The colour is a deep brick-red with hints of the darkest brown. Its scent is rich, fruity but with a hint of dark chocolate. The buds of Hot Chocolate are one of the most beautiful of all roses.”

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And that is my journal for June.

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garden design garden photography gardening hardy perennials Shropshire village gardens

A Perfect Iris Day

We deserved a morning out of the garden so set off just a few miles up the road to visit a garden which we had previously visited late last summer. It is open under the auspices of Plant Heritage and it holds two national collections, Roscoea and Cautleya. But of course neither of these are at an interesting stage at the moment.

After our compulsory start for any garden visit – coffee and cake – we wandered off to discover that the dominant plants of the day were irises. The irises were mostly of the bearded type but a few sibiricas were showing early promise.

First though a look at a few plants of interest other than the iris.

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And now for the iris! The glamour plants of the June garden.

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When we returned home we had a look around our own patch to see how our own iris compared. The bearded iris were looking impressive but the sibiricas  were still in bud.

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I delayed writing this post for a couple of days as my favourite bearded irises always come out last. They were definitely worth waiting for as I am glad I can include the final two to burst into bloom, these dark gingery brown flowers with buds that appear almost black.

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