June – flag iris

This photo was taken at 5.30am on a still, sunny morning. Shortly after this a single kingfisher flew down the pond – a brilliant, fleeting flash of turquoise and orange.


Yellow flag iris are spreading to several sites around the pond.

Yellow flag iris are spreading to several sites around the pond.



Bluebells in the copse

Bluebells in the copse

Gunnera by the pond

Gunnera by the pond

Lots of blue in the garden this spring. Masses of forget-me-knots have seeded all around, especially in the bed beneath the ash trees by the pond and the bluebells are spreading nicely in the copse, following on after the snowdrops. They do well under the Motley holm oak and go well with the foxgloves and various primula I planted nearby. The meadow is full of cowslips and cow parsley now as the fritillaries fade and set seed.

The gunnera have come through the winter in fine form. They are  thriving by the pond. The small pieces we transplanted two years ago have quickly caught up with the three plants bought from a nursery in 2010. All are now pushing up large flowering spikes. Last year I took a picture of ER standing underneath the leaves, looks like this year they may be even taller.


April fritillaries

First fritillaries flowering just after Easter.

First fritillaries just after Easter.

As the first delicately marked mauve flowers opened just after Easter, I decided to do a census of the fritillaries in the meadow this year. Using the prunings from the cornus sibirica on the far side of the pond, I marked each plant or group of plants with a twig. There were about 70 in the end marking some 85 plants – definitely an increase on what was here when we arrived. They have quite a wide spread over the dampest parts of the meadow. I have been scattering seed from the existing plants each year but four plants are newly established at the far end of the pond where no seed was scattered, so how did they get there? There are four plants in the paths I regularly mow through the meadow, several more alongside the path from the gate to the house and quite a number in land which was disturbed, trampled and driven over by our builders in 2009. Ginny, our next door neighbour who has lived here for many years, has found that fritillaries have established themselves for the first time and very rapidly over the past two years in her shady orchard – she now has over 100 plants. We both wonder how this has come about.

… and now a pair of Kingfishers

There’s now a pair of Kingfishers in the thorn bush the other side of the pond. That alone makes the work of restoring it worthwhile. The blue budgerigars our neighbours keep in an open air cage look dull in comparison.  They’re all on the same side of their cage staring at the magnificent kingfishers. Jealous, maybe! 

Next step, get a good enough lens to photograph our visitors.



(left) Crocuses in the glade under the greengages. Chris planted these with Seb autumn half term, October 2014.

(right) Tete a tete daffodils in the bed beside the pond, Many of the plants moved for the extension found homes in this bed – hellebore, anenome japonica, geranium, forget-me-not, thyme, alchemilla, sage, sisyrinchium. They were moved in November/December 2013. They seem quite at home. We have added miscanthus and maclea.