Thursday, August 04, 2011

Flowers And Friends

The BBC reported on a nationwide survey of insects within Citys .The study is being run in 12 citys across the UK,12 farmland areas,and 12 nature reserves.The scientists count the number of pollinating insects across an area called a transect.They record what flowers are in the area, and what insects are feeding from which flowers.
Our garden is overflowing with flying beasties and there are hundreds of flowers blooming across the garden.The garden is a vast resource for hungry insects to top up their sugar levels.The first photo shows the Globe Thistle.The Bee's are mad for this plant.There is always at least one, and at most five Bee's.The Blue Iridescent flowers must stand out for a bees compound eyes.They are drawn to this like moths to a light.
The Butterfly Flowers are blooming lovely.These are also called Poor Mans Orchids.Each flower has a unique character.The Rorsasch type splashes are unique on each flower.I kept the dried flower heads in a pot over the winter, then sowed the seeds in late March.The blooms are Purple,White,and Lilac with a variety of petal splashes.
Growing by the shed is the most impressive Thistle.It has these lovely purple flower heads.I have left this wild flower growing so the insects can dine on its nectar.It has just randomly appeared where the grass had been disturbed to put the greenhouses concrete base.A weed can be described as a plant growing in the wrong place.I love the serendipity of plants germinating in unexpected places.A walk around the garden can reveal these volunteer plants or wildflowers.
Another flower that has been grown from seeds was this Everlasting flower.It is also called a Strawflower.I have about twenty of these flower heads drying in the greenhouse.In the winter these will be trimmed and made into an arrangement for the house.The flowers look and feel like plastic.Cats girlfriends thought they were plastic!The soft nature means these flowers can be dried and retain their colour for years.I got the original flower heads from Cheltenham.Mum grew them and I took three flower heads and planted the seeds.These are third generation of Everlasting flowers.I would look to buy more seeds to get more colours.These are in primary colours of red.yellow,orange,and mauve.This flower is one of the darkest ones.
The Butterfly Flowers were grown originally from a Matchbook seed box.I was given a packet of about ten match books with seeds stuck to the matches.These have grown with me now for four years in a row.Their flowers are like individual art works.You can spend time just admiring each one.
The Sweet Peas continue to flower on the balustrade outside the backdoor.I have been cutting these and displaying the flowers in a small metal vase.I want to grow many more next year.We have been growing Spencer Sweetpeas in a variety of pastel colours.They smell divine!We bought bamboo wigwams for the sweet Peas, but they are too wide for my biggest pots.I need to either grow them in the ground or find a wide pot that can hold the wigwam and the plants.
Another plant beloved by Bee's and other insects are the Verbena Bonarensis.Clumps of this plant can make the air shimmer as the tall flower stems dissapear.The small Lilac coloured stars seem to hover.These are lovely perenniel plants.They should return year after year,and provide a rich nectar source for our insect visitors. The Margaret Merrill Rose has had a second wind.She has the most wanderful scent.It intoxicates me as well as the Hoverflys.Our garden is packed full of Roses.These are always the highlight of the gardening year when they bloom. The Barrell planters have now got the first Gladiolus in flower between the Lilys.I tied them together with string yesterday to stop them falling over.The Asiatic Lilys have been amazing with their strong vibrant colours.They are not scented so Cat can tolerate them.These have been a success I think this year.The City garden has a longer flowering season, as it starts in Febuary, and continues right untill the first Frosts.The English Summer will be the height of the flowering season with the most blooms in peoples gardens.I love to photograph the small things in the garden that most people will not see.The flowers attract the insects.The Insects attract eight legged predators.This garden Spider has been hung on the water butt all summer.She hangs there untill I go near.She then runs up to a peeling label and hides.About a dozen times the rain has come and wrecked her carefully spun web.She just waits for it to dry and starts to make it again.She is hung between aChocolate mint plant and the first water butt.Her abdomen is very jeweled.The queen of the garden? There have been a few Butterfly visitors.I try to have a wide selection of plants that will entice these winged spirits to come into the garden.This one alighted on the Strawberry bed cane.They are very skittish and fly away at the slightest movement.They are quite difficult to photograph.
The last photo shows a White Butterfly alighting on my Teasel Leaf.This plant has grown magnificently this year and towers eight feet high.The birds have taken to landing on it, and I have seen Sparrows pecking at the drying flowerheads for the seeds.This Butterfly looks like its wearing white Ermine fur.
Our Garden is definitely one that attracts wildlife, and pollinators.The air is always alive with frenetic activity.I like it that way.

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