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I like the garden at this time of year.
It comes alive again, replenished by increased rainfall.
The dry months of Summer do it no favours.
I need no convincing.
This plant I really, and I mean really, love.
Salvia 'Black and Blue'.
Salvia 'Mystic Spires'.
Over the last month or so, I have seen what appears to be a young fox on a number of occasions just chilling in our garden border, lapping up late afternoon sunshine.
I do know that foxes have used our garden in the past. Evidence of tunnelling on the banks, holes dug in the soil, and calling cards left.
I once found a buried parsnip!
This fox looks a little undernourished, but it must have a food source close by.
Inbetween scavaging, this fox enjoys Basking.
Then sensing me from behind the curtains. It scats!
Now this is another fox, which appears older. Possibly a parent of the above?
The other evening we caught it peering in from outside the front door - the next day I disturbed it lying in a flower border close to the property, and today I opened up the back door and it was looking over from the garden bench.
This one doesn't seem nervous at all. For a wild animal it seems very tame, and casually trots away up the steps to the top of the garden. Where the grass snake lives!
What is your view on urban foxes?
I would not leave food for them, or water, but to be honest I can tolerate them around our garden, for now anyway.
Foxes belong in the countryside, but it looks like they are in and around our living space to stay.
Once I get a whiff of any major damage around the place, Ill turf the Renardine out the shed.
So any urban foxes who happen to be out there.
COMMON BLUE BUTTERFLY
The female of the species, is much browner than the male.
These Common Blue butterflies have been enjoying a small space in my garden.
I'm glad I managed these photos. They sure were 'flitty'.
HOLLY BLUE BUTTERFLY
My garden has a good population of Holly Blue butterflies.
Fact is, this species will feed on holly and ivy, and on plants such as euonymus, snowberry and bramble, of which I have a plentiful supply of.
These asters will quite happily set seed around the garden too.
A good food source for bees.
photo from the BBC Wildlife Finder website
LIFTING THE LID
... on a Grass Snake.
There's one in my compost bin!
On our first meeting, the shock of seeing it curled up there, basking on the top made me jump out of my skin, but ...
I am glad it's there, and for choosing our garden as its perfect habitat.
At this time of year a female will lay eggs in this warm and protected environment, and those eggs will incubate and hatch in September/October.
A Grass Snakes staple food is frogs. Guess that's maybe why I haven't seen many this year!
Grass Snakes are a protected species, so the compost will have to be left well alone
... for a while at least.
Easy identification - a Grass Snake and Smooth Snake (non-venomous) has round eyes, an Adder (venomous) has slit ones.
THE YALDING GARDENS
Set in five acres of land in Kent, the Yalding Gardens is an inspirational garden for creative gardeners.
A dilapidated shed.
Rustic looking compost bins.
A garden roller.
A large clump of Rhubarb and terracotta forcer.
Willow poles covered with Runner Beans.
A raised bed full of Courgette plants.
An old wooden butt.
Borders full of colour.
BLOOMS FOR JUNE
I have three varieties of Oriental Poppy in my garden.
The red/orange one above sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb amongst other muted tones that is this side of the garden.
It's not that I don't like it, I just don't like where I've put it!
I was originally given a division by a good friend from a plant which originated from her parent's garden, so it has sentimentality. I've tried to move it, but it just keeps coming back.
I've found Oriental Poppies are like that, once they've settled in they are very difficult to move. Rather like an unwanted lodger or squatter!
I bought Patty's Plum for the garden when we first moved in. It was all the rage back in the late eighties, being regularly mentioned in gardening programmes and magazines alike. It's popular still now, even Carol Klein has recently mentioned having it in her Glebe Cottage garden in Devon.
Again where it is just isn't right, it's in a position in full sun all day, and for anyone who knows this variety will know that the flower petals that open in a beautiful pink/purple colour, soon turn a rather muddy brown when scorched.
Princess Victoria Louise is especially loved by the bees in my garden (see previous post).
It's petals open in a salmon pink colour, which I confess to not liking very much, but soon fade to a pale pink which I much prefer.
However much I love Oriental Poppies, I'd rather look at them in someone elses garden. The leaves can look scruffy (I'm an obsessively tidy gardener), the stems can droop, and when finished there's a gaping hole in the border.
To get over this I keep the foliage tidy, and after flowering has finished I leave on the seedheads for a while, before cutting the whole plant back for a new flush of growth.
Nothing goes to waste in my garden. The foliage is composted and the seedheads dried for decoration.
ORIENTAL POPPIES AND BEES
I've had the day off work today, and early this morning I took a leisurely walk around the garden, dilly-dallying with the camera. Lou if you're reading, I was in my nightie!
I noticed bees around the Oriental Poppies buzzing in the most crazy way outside and inside the flower head.
They were loving the rich velvety centre ...
and the silky-smooth crepiness of the petals.