It was another beautiful sunny day yesterday. We are fortunate to live in the driest part of the British Isles (apparently drier than Jerusalem!) and while the rest of the country have had showers and rain during the past few days we have only had a short sprinkle of rain at about 10pm on Monday night. I decided to spend the morning at home getting on with chores – mainly washing, which dried quickly on the line. I had spent some time the evening before watering all the plants in tubs, new plants in the flower-beds and all the plants in the green-house, so everything looked bright and green and healthy.
As well as household chores I spent some time walking round the garden slowly looking for anything new which had appeared in the last few days. I have been so busy recently I hadn’t had time to do this for days. I was pleasantly surprised at what I found.
I walked down to the big pond to start with and watched lots of dragonflies and damselflies flitting about over the surface of the water. I tried to photograph them but without success – they flew too fast for me to catch them in flight and none of them seemed to settle for a second. I was excited to see a Banded Demoiselle Damselfly. I had seen one last year for a few seconds near the pond, but today I watched this one flying about for some time. I was anxious in case the dragonflies caught it, and though they attempted it a few times they didn’t manage to do it while I was there. In spite of the Demoiselle flying slowly and weakly (it flutters and flaps its wings like a large butterfly) I couldn’t catch it with the camera until it settled firstly on a lily-pad…
Banded Demoiselle Damselfly
and then on a bramble.
Banded Demoiselle Damselfly
The photos aren’t as clear as I would like but you can see the shiny blue body of the insect and the dark band across its wings, which is also a dark blue.
I then became aware that I had disturbed a wren who was making alarm calls.
I soon left the wren alone and concentrated on looking for wild flowers.
Creeping Tormentil with tiny black bee
I found a nice collection of flowers growing together.
Speedwell, hearts-ease, scarlet pimpernel and red dead-nettle.
Scarlet Pimpernels are quite beautiful when looked at closely. They are very common little flowers but only open their petals between 8a.m. and 3p.m. and never open on dull or wet days. They can sometimes have blue, lilac, pink or white flowers and sometimes have a mixture of colours on an individual plant. The plant has many names in Britain – ‘change-of-the-weather’, ‘poor man’s weatherglass’ and ‘shepherd’s sundial’ being a few.
The next plant is one I am forever pulling out of my flower-beds. It is extremely persistent!
The name of this plant has nothing to do with medicine but means the ‘plant of the Medes’. It is still cultivated as animal fodder in some European countries and is one of the plants sold on St Patrick’s Day as shamrock. Other plants which have claims to be shamrock are hop trefoil, white clover and wood sorrel.
Scentless Mayweed usually flowers in July but this year everything is flowering early. The name mayweed has nothing to do with the month of May but comes from the Old English word for a maiden and refers to the use once made of the plant for the treatment of female complaints.
A member of the dock family – one of the knot-grasses
Cock’s Foot grass
The Trooping of the Colour to celebrate the Queen’s Official Birthday takes place this coming Saturday. There is always a fly-past and during the week before the celebration there is a rehearsal of this which goes directly over our house. Not all the planes and formations take part in the rehearsal and unfortunately this year there were fewer than usual.
The final photographs in this post are of a special flower I found yesterday – a Bee Orchid.