Derek – Thursday 31st May

Warm in the garden today, around 24˚C. The garden is very green with all the rain we have had in the past week. And full of flowers. They are hard to keep up with, it is all happening so quickly.

On the pond, there are quite a few azure damselflies, some in mating pairs. I spot a fat bodied dragonfly, but it doesn’t stick around for a photo. There seem to be fewer tadpoles each week. Are they hidden in the water plants, under stones or are there actually less of them?

What I thought were lesser water boatmen have grown considerably in size. So, I stand corrected, *they are*water boatmen. My apologies for referring to you as lesser. The name comes from their rowing boat shape and the fact that the largest antennae look like oars. They swim upside down attached to the underskin of the water. There are no pond skaters at all this year which are insects of the *top*surface. Both water boatmen and pond skaters utilise the surface tension of water.

There’s a profusion of flowers, being on the cusp of June. Some with long, forgettable names. There’s filipendula, which has a flowerhead made of many small florets, rather like cow parsley but with distinctive almost ladder like leaves. Or sisyrhinchium which took me several days to learn and several more to say. They have spear like leaves like the iris, but the flowers are small and yellow on a spike. There’s quite a lot of it, here and there, in the garden.

The stinging nettle is in flower. It has dangling green flowers, like long earrings, the colour a clue to the fact that it is wind fertilised, and so doesn’t need colourful flowers.

In the large, circular wild flower bed, there’s a profusion of phacelia. It took a bit of tracking down exactly what it was. It is thought to be a garden escapee, dating back to Victorian times. The flower head is a cluster, the technical term is inflorescence, with lavender blue florets with hairs growing out of each one. The full botanical name is *Phanecila tanacetifolia* *Phacelia* is derived from Greek and means ‘bundle’, while *tanacetifolia* means leaves resembling those of tansy.It is often planted with various crops as it is good at attracting bees and also hover flies, which is a biological control for aphids.Our wild flowerbed is certainly proof of it attractiveness to bees.

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