Derek – Thursday 24th May

The temperature today is about 23˚C, pleasant in the sun, a little cooler towards the time we close as the sky clouds over. We have a visit from a dozen nursery children from Kaye Rowe, along with a teacher, assistants and parents. Most stay about 40 minutes, although a few stay on and don’t go back to the nursery.

The orange Californian poppies near the pond have been joined by the more regular red poppies. In a nearby bed, there are orange oriental poppies, almost like roses but more papery. The Californian poppies survive for weeks but the others last only a few days.

There’s purple toadflax all around the garden. It is a common wild flower and obviously likes this environment. It has tall, almost grassy, stems with an inflorescence of tiny, purple flowers. Another wildflower in several places is common valerian with its ladder like leaves and umbelliferous flowerhead made up of small, white flowers. I would imagine these small flowers are insect pollinated as I cannot see how a bee could get into them, unlike the foxgloves, in a pot by the walkway, their tubular pink flowers are ample size for bees.


The buddleia is two and half metres high around the play hut. Nothing will stop it now, on and on it will grow until the autumn, to tower over the hut, which will almost be lost, which is why it is where it is.

Poisoning by plants is rare in the UK, although there are a number of common poisonous plants including: laburnum, rhubarb (the leaves), monkshood, daphne, oleander, yew and one we found today in the garden, hemlock. This plant was growing by the library shed. We thought it was cow parsley as it is very similar in appearance. But the purple staining on the stems revealed as hemlock. It has now gone from the garden, as we took out the first ones revealed and scoured the garden for any others.

There are quite a few damsel flies on the irises in the pond. Some of the damsel flies are mating, with one tacked to the end of the other. Others I suspect are seeking mates as this is their breeding season. There are many lesser water boatmen in the pond, but there are no pond skaters which I find surprising as we had many last year skating on the water’s skin. I look at the tadpoles closely, waiting to see the first with back legs, but not this week.

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