Monday, 20 June 2016

Backyard blooms

Our back garden is tiny and, with space at a premium, every plant must earn its place. Some achieve this in spades but others are on their final warning.

Their will be much vexation among the local bees if I remove our Cirsium rivulare. I grow the form 'Atropurpureum'; the bees aren't bothered about the precise shade but gorge themselves on the apparently endless supply of nectar.
Buff-tailed Bumble Bees share a thistle head.
Stefen Hill, Daventry. 20 June, 2016
Often two will share the same flower head (technically a capitulum) without any obvious argument and are a credit to their species - in this case Bombus terrestris.

A clump of onions nearby also attracts bees but in the case of Allium aflatunense (often sold as Allium hollandicum) the nectar and pollen are readily available to hoverflies.
The very common Eupeodes corollae on Allium afletunense.
Stefen Hill, Daventry. 20 June, 2016
This smart female Eupeodes corollae was just one of several investigating the blooms. The Alliums are adjacent to some foxgloves and generally the bees give the onions a miss.
A water-filled cup of a foxglove after heavy rain.
Stefen Hill, Daventry. 20 June, 2016
Usually the flowers of foxgloves hang down but a few refuse to do so. There was heavy rain earlier in the day and in the photograph it is just possible to make out that this cup-shaped bloom is full of water.

Backing the Alliums and foxgloves is a honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum. It will be seen that a leaf immediately above the bloom is bordered by a pale leaf mine. This is the work of a fly Aulagromyza hendeliana.
Honeysuckle showing the mine of Aulagromyza hendeliana. Stefen
Hill, Daventry. 20 June, 2016
Although very common and affecting several leaves the fly larvae and their mines appear to do no damage and, as far as I am concerned, they are welcome, helping to add further interest to the garden.

I made a mistake with my sink garden, popping in a plant of Campanula cochlearifolia.
Campanula cochlearifolia, aka Fairies Thimbles.
Stefen Hill, Daventry. 20 June, 2016
Delightful though this plant is, it has almost overwhelmed other occupants of the sink. Its common name of Fairies Thimbles, makes it sound a dainty, delicate plant. Dainty it is but delicate it ain't, and it is  behaving quite brutishly. I'll probably finish up emptying the sink and starting again, giving saxifrages, primulas and dwarf willows a chance.

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