The Tuesday View: 26th September 2017

Autumn is my favourite time of year, and this September we are getting plenty of mild sunny days where the garden can be appreciated to the full. I have been focusing on this one view in my garden this year, and I am still noticing things I hadn’t seen before. It has been a wonderful exercise and will be a useful record for future reference.

The Acer is beginning to look really good, framing my Tuesday View on two sides: looking down, slightly to the left…

And looking across from the pathway that goes down behind the Acer…

Looking down to the right the Acer can be seen in the full, with the wonderful Helianthus still flowering like mad…

Aster ‘Lutetia’ is dead centre. Here it is a bit closer up with Hypericum behind it…

Looking back up from the lawn below you can see the Golden Rod on the left, now almost over…

These sedums have been smothered in butterflies when the sun has shone…

And the tall pink Aster ‘Alma Poetschke’ at the bottom of the rockery is just starting to open – nice and early this year…

I managed to catch some of the evening light in the Acer yesterday evening…

I can’t believe it will be October when I post my next view! What is looking good in your garden this September?

Have a good week, and Happy Gardening!

A Tiger or a Bear?

I am very pleased that this Buddleia has recovered after freezing back completely last winter, but was then doubly happy to see these two butterflies resting on it the other day, as they are quite unusual…

The English name is Jersey Tiger, but in German they are called ‘Russian Bear’… interesting! Another name used in both languages is ‘Spanish Flag’. I wonder what the Spanish call it!

When resting you cannot see the bright orange part of the wings, so here is a Wikipedia photo to give you an idea of the flashes of bright orange when they flutter away – too quickly for me and my camera!

Wilipedia image

In southern Germany they can often be seen, but only near the woods or on shrubby grassland. They apparently like raspberry or nettle leaves, both of which are abundant in the nearby woods and hedges.

Have you seen this butterfly? And which name would you say is more apt – Tiger or Bear?! 😉

In a Vase on Monday: Spot the Difference!

I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden once again by gathering materials from my garden for a vase, in order to share them with you all.

I’m afraid the pink rose in the background was trying to grab all the attention while I took the photos!

Can you see what the difference is in the next picture?

The dwarf Buddleia is doing a fine job of attracting the butterflies, mostly Peacocks, but also this Silver-washed fritillary…

It is hot, humid and windy here, and heavy showers have flattened some of my grasses, so I picked a big bunch of these (Sporobolus?), stuck in a stray Buddleia stem, and a Melica ciliata that was swaying over the pathway, and framed it all with some rather healthy looking Hellebore foliage. (Wish it looked that good in winter!)

At the front I added a reddish pink Daucus carota ‘Dara’ flower.

Everything was placed in a flower frog in a new vase, which I picked up on a whim on a brief trip to the florist this morning. I love the colour and the glaze, as well as the shape. 🙂

 

Daucus carota ‘Dara’, grown from seed this spring – it’s a slow germinator, but worth the wait!

Having just looked at Cathy’s own lovely vase today I think we must have been on a similar wavelength as the shape of our vases is very similar. Do go and visit her and see what beautiful arrangements are being created around the world for her meme this Monday!

A Garden Review of 2014: Summer

The second part of my Garden Review 2014 looks at the summer months, and will hopefully make you all sigh and smile as you think back to your gardens last summer!  Do join in if you can. And thanks to those who already have. It’s wonderful therapy looking through bright and “flowerful” photos!

🙂

June: “Although it’s barely 20°C with the odd shower passing through, I still feel like summer has arrived…” were the opening words of my first post in June. It got very hot soon after, but the earlier showers had given the garden the reserves it needed to get through a short heatwave mid-June, and three very dry weeks. The Lychnis coronaria loved it!

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The Lychnis filled all the driest spots where other plants just shrivel up. (Above with Campanulas and below with Linaria). In German Lychnis are Lichtnelken – Licht is light, and Nelken are carnations/pinks… very apt.

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 Another resilient flower that was fabulous again this summer is the Centranthus ruber. I only cut it back a couple of weeks ago – yes at the end of November – but it was still flowering after six months! Almost all my butterfly photos are on or near the Centranthus.  In the slideshow below you can see the Hummingbird Hawk-Moth on it. The other butterfly is a Marbled White on some pink vetch.

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The day lilies were as gorgeous as ever, but I always forget just how much I love them. I remember a (non-gardening) visitor asking me once what they were, and then she said “I don’t like them”. I was speechless!

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Another June favourite is the strong yellow of St John’s Wort, which brings the garden to life, and the insects love it of course.

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July got off to a hot start, but with many showers the whole month was extremely humid. The Centranthus continued to attract beautiful creatures – here the Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-Moth…

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And the bees loved the Echinacea. (And so did I!)

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Early August was perfect, but the heat was not to last as mid-month the tail end of hurricane Bertha swept across northern Europe. But the Centranthus and red rose, along with some Hollyhocks, continued to provide more lovely colour…

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 Signs of autumn were already there by mid-August… more of that in my final Review post next week. In the meantime I hope this brought a smile to your face, and I would love to see your garden reviews of 2014 too!

🙂

Tuesday View (14th October)

It poured with rain last night, and when I looked out this morning I immediately noticed a change in the colours of the leaves, as well as a great number lying on the ground. And yet I think there is little change in the rockery itself compared with last week…

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The acer is possibly at its peak now, and I think the greener leaves will probably drop before changing colour this year… funny how it varies from year to year. The dwarf Miscanthus below the acer always flowers beautifully, but the giant one behind it (see an old post here for more photos) only produces a few flowers every few years… no signs of any yet…

AutumnView

There are still a few late summer flowers too – this Lychnis was a lovely surprise this morning…

Lychnis

And although the asters are starting to fade, the butterflies (here a Comma) are still visiting them…

OctoberComma

THE rose is still flowering… to defy me?!

THErose

And finally the Persicaria that I have mentioned many times is still offering sustenance to the bees…

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Are you still seeing bees or butterflies?

A Butterfly Diary (September)

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Keeping a Butterfly Diary this year has essentially been an enjoyable pastime; the waiting and watching, running for my camera, clambering through the rockery in unsuitable footwear, or thumbing through my butterfly guide while lying in the grass on a warm summer’s day…

BroadBackedBeeHawkMoth

But it has also been very educational. I knew very little beforehand, and was unable to name many of the visitors to my garden. And reading up on certain butterflies meant I learned about their foodplants, migratory habits, number of broods in a year, overwintering etc etc. Overall it has been a lovely activity, and I hope to repeat it next year. This will probably be the last butterfly post this season, with numbers already dwindling as the nights get colder and days shorter. We often get very foggy or misty days in autumn too, which prevent the sun from warming up the garden enough for most butterflies.

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So let’s celebrate these last visitors and in planning our future plant or bulb purchases, spare a thought for the butterflies’ favourite flowers!

Early September was warm but damp, humid in fact. The only butterflies I saw were the cabbage whites, red admirals that have been around most of the summer, and still the Hummingbird Hawk-moths (Macroglossum stellatarum, Taubenschwänzchen). These creatures are fascinating to watch! Here is one I observed in the middle of September. They are pretty fast – longer stops would mean their wing muscles would cool down too much…

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They return to the same plants at the same times every day – especially on warm and sunny days.

For more pictures take a look here, and for tips on attracting them to your garden look here.

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A single Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus, Hauhechel-Bläuling) turned up in the middle of the rockery mid-month, also on the Centranthus ruber. Can you spot it?

Blue

I can’t stress enough just how valuable this plant is in my garden. Not only does it flower all summer, it attracts so many butterflies and insects too! You may have noticed that many of the  butterflies I have shown over the past few months have been on the Centranthus.

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So, for a change, a different plant is the background here for the European Peacocks (Aglais io/Inachis io, Tagpfauenauge), which always turn up reliably to relish on the Sedums and Michaelmas Daisies (see the photo I posted yesterday).

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Those colours are exquisite – I wonder if they have any idea just how beautiful they are! These markings are actually supposed to make predators afraid of them… see this lovely video here for an example.

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They are our most long-lived butterflies too, surviving for up to a year if a mild overwintering place is found.

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Then we had a Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera, Mauerfuchs) visit the Sedum too. The Wall Browns like to bask in the sun with their wings open, especially on rocks or (surprise!) walls. They are typical for stony or rocky hillsides like those around us, with various grasses as their foodplant.

WallBrown

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I also saw the first Comma since spring (Polygonia c-album/Nymphalis c-album, C-Falter). I don’t know why I didn’t see any in the summer…

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It has a very intricate outline and such rich colouring on the upper wings, but the underside of the wings resembles dead leaves – perfect camouflage.

Can you see the comma mark on the closed lower wing in the photo below?

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The Comma hibernates, and can usually be seen flying from April to November.

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Sometimes the German names are prettier than the English, sometimes the reverse: in this case the English name wins hands down: the Queen of Spain Fritillary  (Issoria lathonia, Kleine Perlmutterfalter)!

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This was one of the rare occasions I have actually seen butterflies on my Verbena bonariensis, despite what a butterfly magnet everyone says it is. The silvery edges to this fritillary’s wings may have contributed to it being given such a regal name.

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One of its larval foodplants is the wild field pansy. They fly in three or even four generations in Central Europe, overwintering here in the caterpillar form, but they may also be one of the btterflies (like the Red Admiral or the Hummingbird Hawk-moths) that migrate from warmer climates over the Alps in the spring. Amazing to think of such tiny creatures soaring to heights over 2500 metres in order to cross the mountains…

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That was it for September. If I see any different ones in October I will be sure to post about them.

In the meantime I have been looking back at my photos for the year and trying to decided which butterfly I love best: probably the Peacock – simply because it is familiar, colourful, and a reliable visitor in autumn – my favourite time of year.

I’d love you to tell me what your favourite butterfly is, and whether you have seen it this summer?

Some nice links: