Derek – Thursday 12th July

It’s cooler today, about 25ºC, and cloudy. There’s still no sign of rain. We are watering most evenings to keep as much life going as we can. Many plants have finished flowering, accelerated by heat. Flowering depends on chemical reactions, and these are speeded up as the temperature rises.

There are lots of seed heads scattered around garden including scabious, poppies, and teasels, the latter beloved by dried flower arrangers. The teasels are over two metres high in a bed we hardly ever water. Wild flowers are often better survivors than pampered garden varieties.

The hollyhocks are doing well, the yellow ones near the container are two metres high and still in flower. We are taking care to water them as they give a good show. Coreopsis by the book hut, which has a large yellow, daisy-like flower is also giving us its money’s worth. Echinops (globe thistle), with its spherical spiky head, a striking blue, is flowering in a central raised bed.

In the wild flower area, there are a few cornflowers and California poppies in bloom. The thistles are puffed with thistledown. Each clump is like a small shaving brush. Hedge mustard is surviving the heat. It has tiny yellow flowers. There’s a profusion of camomile seed heads which are like yellow tarts for a dolls house.

There are quite a few white butterflies, and lots of bluebottles in the wild flower bed.

The pond is down a foot on its May level. A few tiny frogs have been seen, but our shallower pond, which has no shade, becomes very warm in the heat of the day and this kills pond fauna. I see no water boatmen, while a few weeks ago they were everywhere in the pond. Nor any daphnia (water fleas), an important part of the food chain for larvae and water beetles.

The hut in the buddleia jungle is well hidden. Some visitors don’t realise it is there at all.

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