Monarda 'Cambridge Scarlet'

Above: Monarda 'Cambridge Scarlet'

Garden diary: July

6 August 2009

The fresh green of early summer has in some areas of the garden given way to rust on the rose leaves and holes in the hostas, but thankfully there's no mildew on the monarda. This is a splendid plant, which seems to have grown particularly huge, and is a mass of red flowers, particularly bright against the golden leaves of the philadelphus.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' are also flowering fiery red, with pink flamboyant 'Stargazer' lilies nearby, and blue veronica.

All is abuzz with insects. This year there seem to be more bees and hoverflies than ever. The bees love the Veronica longifolia in particular, while the hoverflies dart around the lilies. I've noticed too a few butterflies, mainly cabbage whites.

In the stone sink by the kitchen door a frog sits quietly some days in the shallow water.

Bird populations seem to be healthy too, with plenty of goldfinches and young blackbirds in particular. The birds have been feasting on the cherries from the tree. I was most amused by one young blackbird, which looked rather comical with the round red fruit in its beak, looking like it was wearing one of those clown-like noses.

Yesterday, in the middle of a rather cloudy morning, the garden was suddenly alive with a flock of birds flitting from tree to tree and calling. Mainly long-tailed tits, which pass through sometimes, and also many blue tits, and a tiny bird which I think, if I'm not mistaken, was a young goldcrest. I stood as motionless as possible under the apple tree branches and watched them all above me, all twittering and exciteable, hanging upside down off branches.

It's always a day-brightening thing when one of these roving gangs of long-tailed tits is passing through. Particularly this time as I could see some smaller fluffier-looking ones that seemed to be young birds, and then among the blue tits, more young ones. The goldcrest I was particularly pleased to see - the only time I've seen one of these before it was dead, so it was good to see this very-much-alive bird busily checking for bugs in the branches.

Back to the horticultural realm - my rose 'Paul's Scarlet' is still flowering, having not stopped since its initial - and particularly impressive - flush of flower in June. As I mentioned earlier, other roses have fungal diseases like rust and blackspot - but you can't win them all, as they say.

Back to August highlights and diaries



Above: Heliotropium

Garden diary: September