Tuesday, 19 July 2011

July garden work, Blooms & Butterflies

Blooms, we have a few. Butterflies, sadly we’ve seen fewer. Rain, well that’s a plenty and not exactly helping progress in the garden and butterfly visits in a count for the big butterfly count going on here in the UK at the moment.

Clematis Picardy & Niobe are adding a wonderful depth of colour in some areas of the garden. It is especially appreciated in an area under construction at our back door where a paving ‘move around’ has been necessary after winter damage.



Replacing all paving would be wonderful but quite costly so we are opting for (twice the work) lifting paving that matches in age from under the pergola. We will replace that with new ‘more of the same’ paving which will brighten that area. At present both areas are quite muddy with covers coming on and off to try and make some progress.

We also made a decision to remove an arch that is no longer in the right place due to different use in this area. Ah… have memories of our daughters on their small bikes riding through it when they were little. That was pre wheelie bins and guinea pig hutch of course. Clematis Miss Bateman is waiting a new location as she had to be removed too.

We have taken this opportunity to expand (just slightly) this area which will ease access to shed etc during winter. That’s’ the plan anyway. Re possible new arch and home for Miss Bateman, we will decide on that when the paving is completed. Perhaps a tall metal obelisk would work better.

During some rainy spells I’ve taken the opportunity to clean pots and trays in my greenhouse. I’ve plans for seed sowing and taking cuttings there soon. With the arch away the eye is drawn to the greenhouse so it’s time to tidy up and have a bit of a re-org there too.



For Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, I did try to get out with both video camera and still camera to capture the blooms we do have but rain/wind in the times I could get out didn’t make it possible. When I finally could get out many were a tad worse for wear. The plants above caught my eye.

My July Bloom Day flowers included (front garden) Catmint, Borage, Heuchera, Knautia, Cranesbill Geranium, Stipa Gigantea, Hemerocallis, Rose, Red Campion, Cirsium (going over to seed) and seed heads of Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ & ‘Christophii’.

My July Bloom Day flowers from my shadier back garden included Marsh Orchid, Thyme, Heuchera, Wisteria (odd ones), Campanula, Borage, Red Campion, Cranesbill Geraniums, Cone flower, Perennial Wallflower ‘Bowles’ Mauve’, Honeysuckle, Yellow Meconopsis (further down stem) and a few others that I need to find names for.

Fav flowers at the moment are red campion and heuchera. I love to watch the bees feeding on the tiny heuchera flowers and was thrilled to finally get a photo (see first montage). I'm loving the heuchera foliage just now. Oh… and there’s a special new rhododendron with its first flowers… Rh. SANGUINEUM spp DIDYMUM. I love it!




I have also loved my yellow Meconopsis and I am absolutely thrilled at the prospect of collecting seed from it and sowing it. I plan to sow some fresh and keep the rest. So…yesterday I went shopping for paper bags.




I was looking for paper bags big enough to also store allium seed heads until they dry and let go their seeds. I also picked up tiny brown envelopes to store the seed in too. I found myself wandering around the garden later (like a child in a sweet shop) with a pair of scissors cutting the dry capsules from Red Campion and the allium seed heads that had fallen.

Finally on the flowers… it’s just July but September is charming us already! The Anemone ‘September Charm’ had its first flower of the year on July 17th. Today I can see another two about to open. I do love the Japanese Anemones. I’m wondering if this is a tad early for them to flower.




Finally to the butterflies, I am delighted to say I’ve seen a small tortoiseshell butterfly in my garden. It spent quite a while feeding on my perennial wallflower, resting in the sunshine on leaves of a shrub before returning. It was a little difficult to get photos and video but I’m delighted with my captures. I have also been thrilled to see so many bees visiting my garden this year :-)






Unfortunately wet and windy weather doesn’t help butterflies as few sightings then suggest. I’ll wait for a dry sunny day for my 15 minute count. I tried to help further by setting up a feeding station beside the flowers that were popular. I made up a nectar solution and placed sliced banana out too but, as yet, no sightings. I’ll keep trying :-)


This post was written by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in July 2011.

13 comments:

Orchids and Nature said...

Enjoyed your garden blog, the video of the butterfly at 720p is delightful

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Isn't it funny that in the garden one thing always leads to another needing done. I have an arch that I would like to move. It is set in concrete. What was I thinking??? We are having a heat advisory here. It is hot and dry. Still not a lot of butterflies around. Hmmmm My Anemones have buds but not blooms yet. It won't be long though.

Cher' Shots said...

I love how the gardens continually change throughout the seasons. I'm absolutely LOVING your clematis. It's gorgeous.
'hugs from afar'

Janet said...

Not many butterflies in our garden either. I've only seen one tortoiseshell and some cabbage white. Hoping for better things when the buddleia is in full bloom any day or week now.
Okay, million dollar question! Where did you get the paper bags for the seeds?
A lovely read as always, Shirley.

Gerry Snape said...

Really love your post. The yellow mecanopsis is a real success!

NellJean said...

Your lovely photos well represent the weater you're having. Butterflies have a way of increasing just when you despair. The tortoiseshell is beautiful. Work in the garden is never done but oh, so satisfying.

shirl said...

Hello everyone and thanks for all your kind comments :-)

David, Thanks, delighted you enjoyed it. Perhaps I should have played with the colour contrast a little. This was straight off camera taken with an auto setting. You know how it is with videos. There’s always a tweak you wish you’d made :-)

Lisa, you are so right there… and some!! Ah… yes concrete complicates things. Ours was in with a metal spike that took a bit of pulling to get out. Oh… don’t think I could ever cope with your heat… keep cool there! Hopefully we will both see some butterfly groups visiting in the next month or so. Funnily enough it is just my pink ones that are coming out. If I remember correctly, like me too, you have pots of white ones. Their time will come soon :-)

Cher, I agree completely… your daisy prairie testifies to that :-) Ah… I do love the deep coloured simply clematis blooms. Great to hear you love it too :-)

Janet, Sounds the same butterfly status as here. Fingers crossed we both see more. Lol… maybe I just might answer your million dollar question with a short post… at that cost, it probably deserves one ;-)

Gerry, hello again and thank-you! Oh yes… I have waited a few years to see that yellow Meconopsis flower so I am quite thrilled. This mixed bunch of three young meconopsis have yielded one blue and one yellow and I’m so hoping the third is a red! My resident blues of some years don’t yield seeds so this is a new and exciting bonus :-D

Nell, Hello again and thanks. Yes, I agree they really do reflect it. Fortunately I love foliage plants and they save the garden in times like this. The tortoiseshell is pretty although not quite as magnificent as other species, I do really like it. So satisfying it will be to see our earth works over… then… it’s back to my wildlife pond build. I’ll get it finished one day :-D

Shady Gardener said...

A lot of excitement going on at your place, Shirl! I am all for recycling - and it will be wonderful!

Great photos. Wish I were familiar with everything. Are you having HOT weather these days? We're dry, too. Hope it changes before too long.

Have a great day!

Patsi said...

Wow, didn't realize you have so MANY different flowers.
Changes in the garden/yard were always fun to me...maybe a pain but rewarding. The butterfly count sounds really cool ! Why don't we have that here? Hmm

Christina said...

Niobe is lovely, I would love to be able to grow clematis, but never mind I can grow other things and enjoy yours! Laast year the butterflies peaked in my garden during late July / early August. I've already seen quite a lot of Swallow tails both Scarce and long spurred but not so many 'blues' yet. Last year I spent hours trying to get good photographs, I don't think I have time this year so more luck will be involved if I do capture any. Christina

Sue@G.L. Allotments said...

Our buddleia are usually covered with butterflies but on visits to the plot I haven't seen one browsing the flowers! It hasn't been wet here quite the contrary

shirl said...

Hello again, gosh we're nearly at the end of the week already? Where's it gone?

Shady, lol… don’t know if exciting is the word I’d use but looking forward to seeing it finished. Yep… recycling I like too – much easier than getting rid too! Thanks, nope couldn’t say it’s hot here. But I wouldn’t want it as hot as you have. We both need middle ground :-)

Patsi, maybe sounds a lot of flowers but many are scattered around and foliage is the main event just now. Soon it will all change :-) Yes, the butterfly count is new here but it is a great idea I agree. Maybe they will start with you soon too :-)

Christina, ah yes… big fan of Niobe and I’ve successfully taken cuttings too which is a result! Sounds like you’re getting some sightings which is good. Ah… good luck with the photos. They are definitely tricky to capture. Capturing video is harder too so I’m thrilled to get anything. Good luck :-)

Sue, ah… I’ve read comments of you mentioning both lack of butterflies and having dry weather. I’m sure I read you’ve had some rain now but hopefully you’ll get enough to make a difference soon :-)

Chookie said...

I'd be really interested to see before-and-after shots of the work you are doing, Shirl!