image of poppies

Poppies – Saturday 1st June, 2024

It’s a cold and windy day to greet the first day of June, but with temperatures of over 50°C in Dehli, I know where I’d rather be. Such impossible temperatures cause the better off to have their air conditioning on full time. That is if they can as, with all the demand, there are massive power cuts. But the poor must endure without a/c and many will die. We are not made for such temperatures. Our self inflicted climate change presses on, with worse to come. So, in this election cycle we must demand of our would-be leaders, what are you doing about climate change? Is that private jet really necessary?

I look at the pond. There are still many tadpoles, especially at the edges, foraging the algae, but I see none with back legs. In former years, by this time numbers have thinned out, but not this year for some reason. Under the water, the aerators (elodea and hornwort) are filling out the pond in their spring growth. They provide oxygen, a by-product of photosynthesis, as well as providing cover and food for pond fauna. The leaves of the bulrush are already taller than those of the irises, but I don’t see any sign of the stem with its characteristic brown sausage (a mass of female flowers). There is a slug on a pond iris stem, about 20 cms above the water. The slug is brown, confusingly known as a black slug which it sometimes is. I wonder how the slug got to where it is, on an iris leaf above the water. There is a leaf bridge, arcing to the pond edge, but a gap of several centimetres too. The slug is likely to have a short life, being likely fodder for a bird.

The wild flower bed is full of colour, yellow (butter cups, California poppies and corn marigolds), red poppies, white (scentless mayweed and bladder campion). The red poppies have only just flowered; their brightness is compelling. No wonder the colour is the danger signal.

Nearby, there are giant scabious, popular with bumble bees, and at its feet purple cranesbill. Around the garden are small clusters of purple toadflax, one of my favourite wildflowers, though there’s none in the wildflower bed itself.

The banana plant is outside, it was in the greenhouse over the winter. About 1.8 ms high, the plant doesn’t look too happy, I see no new growth. It wants warmer days, but if we get them it will grow too tall for our greenhouse. Then what?

The scrapheap challenge group is working on the piano. At first glance they seem to be re-assembling it. Though, it is piano shaped, but it lacks the iron frame and keyboard. I surmise it is going to be some sort of box, and is now being lined with plastic. I ask about its new incarnation and am told it is going to be a planter. I am still in the garden when the work is completed. But not quite, there’s not enough compost to fill it. Next weekend, there is Forest Gate Garden Trail. On Saturday, 8 June, gardens to the west of Woodgrange are open (Earlham, Clova, Field, Stracey, Brooking and Eric Close) and on the Sunday those to the east (Hampton, Claremont, Latimer, Ridley, and Capel). Both days opening hours are 11-4pm. Tickets are £5 and maps are available from us or participating gardens. 

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