This is another collection of things I’ve seen in my garden or near my home during the past month. The weather until a few days ago has been wonderful! Warm, sometimes very hot, mainly dry and sunny; it has been a lovely late summer.
Flower on Richard’s Fish-hook Cactus (Ferocactus wislizeni)
This cactus nearly flowered for the first time two years ago but the warm, sunny weather didn’t last long enough and the buds shrivelled. Last year was too dull and cool so no buds formed at all. This year however, one of the three buds opened and stayed open for three days.
Sweet pepper ‘Sweet Banana’
Richard is growing sweet peppers this year and this is a photo of them when they were just starting to turn red. Unfortunately, the camera focused on the leaf not the pepper.
Richard bought a tray of Zinnia flowers from the garden centre. They took their time to get established but eventually they got going and have been so bright and cheerful for the past month.
Common Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenteria) has been everywhere I’ve looked this summer but this poor shot is the only photo of it I’ve taken.
For centuries, the leaves of Fleabane were hung in bunches from ceilings or dried and burnt as a fumigant to repel fleas. Richard Mabey in his ‘Flora Britannica’ says the plant is a relative of the species which supplies the insecticide ‘pyrethrum’.
Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) seed-heads
Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria)
This is a woodland butterfly and its markings make it difficult to spot in dappled shade.
A Comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album) on Water Mint (Mentha aquatica)
Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense) with a Hoverfly (Helophilus pendulus) on the lowest flowerhead
The crabapples on our species crabapple tree look like cherries. Woodpigeons are very fond of them.
We don’t have many apples this year. This one looks very good – a cooking apple.
We have what looks like a good crop of pears but sadly many of the fruits are rotting on the tree.
Common Hawthorn berries, known as Haws. (Crataegus monogyna)
The Hawthorns are full of fruit; some people say this means we are to have a hard winter. I think it means we had good pollination in the spring.
A female Brown Hawker dragonfly (Aeshna grandis)
I took this photo in a hurry as Brown Hawkers are such restless dragonflies and only perch for a few seconds. I love their amber wings!
Another poor photo, this time of a Hornet (Vespa crabro)
We have had a Hornets’ nest under the tiles of the garage roof this summer. They are busy insects and carry on flying until well after sunset, unlike wasps who retire early. We have also got a wasps’ nest under the house roof tiles near our bedroom window. I could hear them chewing and munching away through the night when they were first constructing the nest in the early summer.
This is a mole hill that appeared in the rather dry border next to the conservatory. The hill got bigger the following day and many spring bulbs were uprooted.
We haven’t had much rain during the past month and the moles are searching for worms. The worms congregate where there is moisture i.e. in flower-beds (if they are watered) or next to paths or buildings where water runs off into the soil.
Sunset with mist
And shortly afterwards on the same evening…..
We were pleased to welcome a new visitor to our garden; a Leveret, a young Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus)
We first noticed it when it was very close to our kitchen window so you see part of the window frame in my photos! It then moved a little further away and was easier to photograph.
The best time of day to see hares is early morning or at dusk, as during the day they rest in grass, scrubland or in a ploughed furrow. They crouch low against the ground with their ears laid flat and are well camouflaged. If they are disturbed they are capable of running very fast – 35 mph/56kph – and run with their black-topped tail held downwards. They have large staring eyes, large black-tipped ears and powerful hind legs; they are shy and alert creatures. They typically live in open country, preferring not to live in direct contact with grazing animals and they are unlikely to be found in hayfields. They eat a wide selection of grasses and plants of open country as well as crops of cereal, clover, alfalfa, beets and potatoes. In winter a hare will dig for green plants under the snow and will eat buds and bark from bushes and trees, including fruit trees. They have suffered in areas of intensive farming and where herbicides are regularly used. Pesticides contaminate their food and may kill leverets.
In March and April hares can be seen leaping and chasing about which gives rise to the saying ‘mad, March Hares’. They often stand up on their hind legs and box each other; this may be two males vying for social dominance or, as is now thought more likely, a female (Jill) rebuffing a male (Jack). Leverets are born in the open with a full coat of fur and with their eyes open. They are born in litters of about three and the mother moves them immediately to another safe place which makes it more difficult for predators to find them. Each leveret is placed in a ‘form’ – a depression made in long grass – on its own where it lies low waiting for visits from its mother. This behaviour is very like that of deer.
While watering my green beans the other day I noticed some tiny white eggshells lying on the ground and wondered where they could have come from. Richard looked into the branches of the Laburnum tree above us and saw a tiny nest that I hadn’t been able to see – (I am quite a lot shorter than he is). It was a windy day and the pieces of shell must have been dislodged by the breeze. A week later I found the nest on the ground and here is my photograph of it.
I do not know what bird built this nest.
As you can see from the photo it is only 11 cm long and about 6 cm wide. It is made of tiny twigs, grasses, leaves and moss all woven together and is lined with sheep’s wool and white feathers.
And finally, here is my music selection for this post.
Thanks for visiting!