Derek – Thursday 3rd May

I come into the garden at 2pm, it’s a little chilly, perhaps 14˚C, in a sky half blue, but by 5pm when I leave sky is almost completely blue and the temperature is around 18˚C, the warmth creeping up on us through the afternoon.

The Japanese cherry in the children’s area has almost lost its blossom, two weeks of brilliance and that’s it for the year. The buddleia nearby is four to five feet high and the little shed in the middle is almost ready for residence.

The most noticeable flowers are anemones, a brilliant blue with pale yellow centres. Blue seems to be the colour with bluebells, anchusa and forget-me- nots around, much of it in the quiet area. There’s a single Californian poppy, the brightest orange, in the small bed near the pond.

There are quite a few tadpoles in the pond but not as many as last week. But I lift a stone and quite a few stream out. It certainly safer under a stone or hidden in the water weed, as many a passing bird will relish a juicy tadpole. There are many tiny, back swimmers, just a few millimetres long. They could be the nymph of the water boatman, which will grow to full size in the coming weeks, or the adult of the lesser backswimmer which is this sort of size.
I see two snails who might be mating, at the side on the surface of the pond. I look this up later and find out there is courtship behaviour which can last a few hours prior to mating. Most snails are hermaphrodites and often fertilise each other with both laying eggs. Though sometimes one will fertilise the other.

We have some plants given to us by the Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch, which is having building work done and had to strip a border. We split large clumps of alchemilla (lady’s mantle) and some white violas and pot them up.

I catch sight of the blue tit as it flashes out of the nest box by the big sycamore. Up and into the tree, now full of leaves, and I have lost it.

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