It is generally very well maintained, so it is always encouraging to find that he too has problems.
He has a fine Bay Tree (Laurus nobilis) but it showed the characteristic thickened and rolled leaf edges of an attack by the Bay Sucker, Trioza alacris. Trioza is a genus of psyllids or Jumping Plant Lice, and they have become a significant problem in recent years.
On the plus side, adjacent to the Bay Tree is a bed of ordinary garden mint. A glint caught my eye and I found a couple of lovely specimens of the beetle Chrysolina herbacea. It is found on various members of the Lamiaceae family, but mostly on mint and usually in wet habitats. This was a rather dry raised area but the mint was flourishing and the beetles were happy.
He also grows Corncockle, Agrostemma githago. At the time of Druce's 1930 Flora of Northamptonshire it was described as 'locally common'. It is now extinct in the county and extremely rare elsewhere. To see it is always pleasing and Oliver is very proud of it: "It came from Highgrove, you know." We gaze in hushed reverence.
|Southern Marsh-orchid? Garden in Byfield|
24 June, 2014
He is even more proud of his orchids. They arrived naturally and he now has several flourishing clumps. All seem to be the Common Spotted-orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsii but one plant may be a Southern Marsh-orchid, Dactylorhiza praetermissa. It would not be a surprise as the latter plant is known from Boddington Meadow and the old railway cutting at Woodford Halse. Oliver mows the area with great care, making sure not to damage them. I must take a closer look.
His garden will be open to the public during the coming weekend. I hope he gets lots of visitors and that they appreciate its many interesting features. He has certainly worked hard on it.