Derek – Thursday 14th June

It’s 23°C, sunny and breezy in the community garden. We’ve had a week without rain and the plants in pots and raised beds are suffering. We water and we water, but there’s a limit to what you can deliver with a watering can. The large cubic metre tank at the back of the container is 2/3rds empty.

The buddleia is 10 feet high and completely surrounds the playhouse. You can only see it close up. The children enjoy its secrecy.

The wild flower bed is popular, now a profusion of plants. Since last week, ox eye daisies, borage, and cornflowers have blossomed. Like the red poppy, also in the bed, the cornflower was very common in wheat fields until the 60s and the advent of the hormone weedkillers. Scattered around the garden in the raised beds, there’s another wild flower, fooling many people into thinking it’s a garden variety: purple toadflax.

Water forget-me-nots are in flower at the edge of the pond. Less noticeable are those of the hornwort, which has small white flowers. Hornwort is an oxygenator. All plants give off oxygen as a by product of photosynthesis. But pond oxygenators give it off under water, as they are submerged plants. Without them tadpoles, water boatmen, and the nymphs of dragonflies and damsel flies could not survive in the pond.

There are still mating damsel flies around the pond, and I see a broad-bodied chaser dragonfly, with its sky blue abdomen. A yellow wagtail alights briefly on the pond iris, and is away.

I walk around to see what trees we have, both in the garden and poking over the fences. There’s a plane just outside, by the gate. Coming in, there’s sycamore, holly and ash growing in the developer’s ground, their canopies over the shared wall. There are two cherries in the children’s area. By the side gate, in flower, is an elder, and next to it a mature sycamore with burnt leaves where a car was torched in the road. By the shelter is a birch, and over the back fence are plum trees.

I see two cabbage white butterflies. Nothing fancier. A sparrow hops onto the fence as we are packing up.

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