Early summer

The planting on the far side of the pond is becoming established. Excellent flowers on the two clumps of iris sibirica, acanthus making growth by the fence and the red-stemmed cornus (unpruned since planting last autumn) are now about 3ft high and flowering. The five gunnera have all survived the winter and have medium-sized leaves and even a small flowering stem. Primula florinda moved to the pond edge have started to put up flowers and the rodgersia also moved forward is thriving. The rheum which we put on a small mound by the pond put out some new growth but now the leaves look a bit unhealthy. The muscari flowered well and I hope they will spread. The astrantia survived among the cow parsley. We visited Fullers Mill at West Stow and were shown round by Bernard Tickner who made the lovely garden. Especially admired the use of red tulip sprengeri among the flower beds and primula bullyana in shades of yellow, orange and deep red by the pond. He has used white poplar to edge the mill race and has many of the Rowallen variety of viburnum plicatum – which were all in full flower. Admired a lovely malus transitoria – small, branching tree with nice leaf (colours yellow in autumn), white blossom and small yellow fruits. It could look good at the edge of the meadow along from the greengages. There were a few plants for sale and we came away with a rodgersia already with a flowering stem. Planted it alongside the other one by the pond.

The long, cold, wet winter killed off the lovely pittosporum, badly affected the olive in its pot and damaged the myrtle, though that seems to be recovering. The muntjac had a go at the spindle, euonymus fortunei, but we bound each branch in black plastic and it has come through and is flowering.

When Peter laid the terrace by the back door in October 2012, we put up the trellis by the beech hedge. Here we planted two roses – Mme Alfred Carriere from Peter Beales at Attleborough, and Will’s white rose which had sat in a pot for several years. Both are in flower on the trellis this June and the Alister Stella Grey on the front wall is up to the bedroom window now and covered in creamy yellow flowers 18 months since planting. Strong growth and healthy foliage. The everlasting sweet pea which has taken off again after being completely trampled and dug during the building work is a nice contrast in purple/magenta. The blue bush salvia has survived the winter well. One of the two gaura survived and the deep red penstemon. Japonica from Walsham garden now making good growth against the front of the cottage, beside the pretty hemerocallis from Anglesey Abbey. Good flower on the viburnum plicatum and the little clematis is growing back through it with plenty of buds.

There are four flower buds on the waterlily! One almost open.

Bird sightings

So far this year:

Wagtails (a pair in residence). Hybrid wild ducks (after a white domestic duck beat off the mallard males and took over the females a couple of years ago). Moorhens (here April, not May). Wood pigeons. Greater spotted woodpecker (at the bird feeder and on the clay wall enlarging the holes 26 May). Long tail tits. Blue tits. Great tits. Greenfinch (27 May). Goldfinch (May). Tree creeper (May). Blackbird. Black cap. Crows. Chaffinches. Sparrows. Collared doves. Rooks. Song thrush. Fieldfare. Pheasants. Wren. Robin.
July 1 update – three bullfinches in the elder trees.

Barn owl has not been seen so far this year.