Wildflower patch

The wildflower patch is starting to look rather nice.  I had been getting a bit nervy, partly because this is the first year that I haven’t sown any wildflower seed or planted foxgloves in this patch.  However, there appear to be quite a few things there.  Plus when I took these photos, I saw a male orange tip.

Forget me not
Red helleborine?

Although the plant above looks like red helleborine (from the picture in my book), it is described as “rare, protected by law” so it might not be.  The book does say that it grows in woods and shady places which sort of covers my wildflower patch so it is possible I suppose.

The meadow once cleared

So here is a picture of my meadow, now that all the plants have been cleared and taken to the dump (I ended up filling two big builders’ sacks).

Meadow
Meadow

It will look like this all Autumn and Winter (basically, terrible) and then will perk up once we get to Spring.  I still have a few foxgloves, which I hope will flower next year.

I’ve also weeded the lower garden (the one with the Acers) and the herb garden and have put the shredded bush clippings on top to try to suppress the weeds somewhat.

Lower garden
Lower garden
Herb garden
Herb garden

I have made one awesome discovery – the violets I’d put in the lower garden have (on the whole) survived!   They were just hiding behind a bunch of weeds.  This is good news, I’d assumed the slugs had got them.

My husband is pleased with the oregano growing in the herb garden (it probably needs a prune soon).  The thyme is also doing well.  For some reason lemon thyme doesn’t do very well in my garden, despite being in a dry, sunny spot.  Do any of you know why this is?

Our lovely friends left this morning and another set of lovely friends are turning up at noon.  I’d better go and check the washing.

Cutting back the wildflower meadow

We have come to the time of year when it is time to cut back the wildflower meadow and clip back lavender.

Doing the wildflowers this year was a much harder job, mainly because there are a whole bunch of stinging nettles and brambles in there.  I ended up having this particular fly buzzing around my head for ages and a couple kept going to the sweaty bit behind my knee (I also had a scratch there – so delicious blood for them too).

Giant pile of wildflower cuttings
Giant pile of wildflower cuttings

The trick is to cut it all down, then leave it for a couple of days so that any seeds can fall into the patch.  Then you bag it up and take it to the dump so that the soil can’t be fertilised by the rotting cuttings – you want the soil to be really poor quality so grass doesn’t get in there and take hold.

One good result is that my jasmine is doing far better than I had thought – I arranged it back on the trellis and I hope it will take hold now that it isn’t mixed in with a load of nettles and bindweed.

Jasmine
Jasmine

We have some elderberries, which are edible.  I tasted a few; they were sweet and delicious.

Mystery berries
Elderberries
Blackberries
Blackberries

Wildflowers and clematis

Here are some more of the “proper” pictures I took of the wildflower patch.

Foxgloves and mysterious blue plant
Foxgloves and mysterious blue plant
Cow parsley
Cow parsley
Clematis and honeysuckle
Clematis and honeysuckle

Both the clematis and the honeysuckle are far more rampant than they were last year – they’ve wrapped themselves together and got into the trees above them.

Gardening for wildlife

A while ago, my husband’s mum got me a marvellous book, RSPB Gardening for Wildlife.  It is super handy and has lovely pictures.  I still refer to it quite often.  Anyway, if you are looking for this sort of thing, I recommend that you get a copy.

For my birthday this year, she got me this:

Insect Hotel!
Insect Hotel!

This is very exciting.  All the different sections are meant to house different insects (mason bees, ladybirds, butterflies, green lacewings, digger wasps and wild bees).  My children helped to decide where it should go (facing south, above knee height and out of the wind and rain); luckily, we had just the spot by the rose garden.  Also, as my children are Not Allowed to go in the rose garden, it might mean that anything that chooses to live there will escape poking.  They can see it though so I hope that we get some visitors over the winter.

I’ve been having a poke around in the wildflower meadow.  I took some nice photos with my husband’s camera but haven’t downloaded them yet – in the meantime, here are some taken with my iPhone.

Foxgloves and tall blue plant
Foxgloves and tall blue plant

Could the tall, blue plant be tufted vetch?  I didn’t think that got to be particularly tall but these are quite a bit taller than my foxgloves.

On one of the plants, I noticed this.

Weird metallic blob
Weird metallic blob

I have no idea what it is – I had thought a beetle but it’s actually a blob covered in other blobs.  Is something cool going to hatch out of it?

In another patch of the garden, I noticed a load of what looks like white rosebay willowherb.  I know that this attracts Elephant Hawkmoths but I must admit that I’ve been pulling a few out as they’d rather surrounded my hydrangeas and I really want my hydrangeas to survive (thrive? flower?).  I understand that the willowherbs tend to be quite invasive so I’m sure there are enough left for the moths.

White rosebay willowherb
White rosebay willowherb

Heroes of the garden

A year ago, I planted this Guelder Rose and it’s flowered so prettily, I rather regret putting it at the back of the flowerbed.  Every now and then I catch a glimpse of it but really it’s done as well as any hydrangea.

Guelder rose
Guelder rose

I didn’t plant these (they seem to spring up all over the IoW) but these wildflowers are looking terrific at the end of my drive.

Pink and white flowers
Pink and white flowers

Foxgloves and laburnum

So my foxgloves are looking pretty good.  Although, they were rather too leggy, they have still flowered and are quite nice.

Foxgloves
Foxgloves
Wildflower meadow
Wildflower meadow

The thing about wildflower meadows is that they look AWESOME from a distance and a bit of a mess up close.  Rather like a Monet.

The laburnum has flowered above the wild flowers and is looking very pretty too.  There’s something I really like about bright yellow flowers.

Laburnum
Laburnum