Derek – Thursday 27th June 2019

The doors are in! Bring out the bunting. A couple of months ago we put the call out for doors, and over 20 came from supporters. Thank you, all. Three weeks ago we took down the crumbling wooden fence at the back. New posts went in last week from donated wood. This week, the doors have been screwed onto them. Apart from the screws and the effort, everything else was given by friends of the garden.

Our new fence is a symbol of re-using, which is the way to do things. Re-using is often confused with recycling. But recycling, say, a plastic bottle involves melting it and reforming it. This needs a lot of energy, which we are trying to avoid expending. So re-using is always number one.

The doors are upright. One has coat hooks, others have door glass, a few handles. I am reminded of a classic short story: *The Lady or the Tiger*, in which a young man must make a choice which door to open. Behind one is a princess, behind the other is a tiger. A reality TV programme perhaps?

It’s a sunny day, 22ºC, breezy but pleasant. The pond is green which means it is full of microscopic algae. There are lots of water boatmen sculling just below the surface; I count more than 50, now full size. They are predators, and I am sure they have munched up a fair bit of the other fauna in the pond, including pond fleas, which are always first on the menu. Should there be reincarnation in the afterlife, and you get given a say in the matter, say no to returning as a pond flea or tadpole. I have not seen any of the latter for over a month.

Near the pond are some of the first hollyhocks in flower. The blooms are pink with yellow in their trumpet. The dominant flower in the wildflower bed is wild carrot. It looks like cow parsley but is not quite as tall. The tiny florets are in umbels, which is a collection of small flowers coming off a central stalk. The effect is umbrella-like heads. Umbel and umbrella have the same root, which is from umbra meaning shade.

The buddleia is coming into flower, blue florets making up a spear head. Nearby is lavender in a blast of blue in the herb bed. A strong purple, like a lipstick shade, is lychnis, which we have all over the garden. It is like a canary for water shortage, being one of the first to wilt. We do a lot of watering today, and will need to keep it up as temperatures are predicted to be in the 30s over the weekend.

Small cacti have been moved to a new shelf under the pergola. They won’t need watering for ages, being desert plants, with a thick epidermis to retain moisture. The epidermis has fewer stomata, holes for gases to flow in and out, and less water evaporation. Less gas intake is why cacti are slow growing.

Nearby, there’s a single yellow loosestrife coming out the back of a disdainful ceramic cat.

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