Derek – Thursday 26th April
The temperature has tumbled this week to 14˚C, chilly when the sun goes in, quite pleasant when the sun is out. Last week it was 27˚C, and over the week we have used a lot of water. The only reservoir left is in the large cube behind the container. Inevitably lack of water will be a problem over the summer, especially if we have a heat wave.
The pond is pretty full, though the level has fallen three inches since the beginning of the month. The water irises (flags) are about a foot high and will flower in a month. There are plenty of active tadpoles, aged from one to four weeks, and no remaining frog spawn. The oldest ones have fat, almost cylindrical, black bodies. There are a lot of water boatman nymphs, just a couple of millimetres long. There are no pond skaters as yet but many snails. On the water surface, I see groups of tiny green flies, which are, I think, winged female aphids. Aphids have a curious life cycle with many asexual reproductive phases, which makes them so prolific on our garden plants, as well as a sexual reproductive phase which usually occurs in the autumn.
Honey bees from the neighbouring garden regularly visit the pond, and many drown as they come to drink. They breathe through holes in their exoskeleton called spiracles. These easily fill with water. I often rescue them if I see them struggling in the water.
The spiraea has finished flowering, lasting just a couple of weeks. The flowering cherry has lost half its pink blossom, scattered on the ground around. There are a few marigolds in a raised bed by the container entrance. This is bluebell time, and we have a few spotted around the quiet area.The forget-me- nots and anchusa, both with similar tiny blue flowers, continue to please. Here and there are primulas. I have seen them flowering every month of the year, even in midwinter.
The birch by the shelter (currently roofless) is in full leaf. There are a number of sycamores in the garden with their green inconspicuous flowers. Such flowers are wind pollinated, so don’t need bright colours to attract insects.
I have been told that there are blue tits in the nest box on the large sycamore near the side gate. I keep a lookout but don’t see them today.
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