Down by the Lake…

A few glimpses of life by the Lake today

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It is always busy with dragonflies and damselflies

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There are now many tall plants rising from the water which provide cover and perching points. (Do insects perch?)

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This plant would like to be known as Centaurea macrocephala

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and downplay the fact it can be called bighead knapweed or lemon fluff or even yellow bachelor’s button.

Gulls and Roses

As the song says:

In a clouded sky the sun is high,
shining on…

Gulls

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who are still interested in the ploughed field next door.

But also on….

a Rose in June

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Red ones

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Blue ones

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Yellow ones (and as you know, yellow does attract small insects)

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Pinks ones

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(This flower would like to say “I know I am not a rose but why should I be left out?)

In addition to the fruits of our cultivation, we are surrounded by roses which thrive quite happily in the wild

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Cool Tips

Maybe not as hot here as in some parts of the country

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but 27 degrees is quite warm enough for us.

Real Lupin weather

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So here are some tips for keeping cool

Number 1 – Build yourself a large pond

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The air is cooler near the water

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and you can enjoy watching mating damselflies

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Number 2 – Grow yourself a small wood

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bright outside, cool and shady inside

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Sure to stay tranquil

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Number 3 – Eat lots of lettuce

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PS – don’t forget to catch the sun and save it for a rainy day

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A record breaking 31 kWh for us today

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Digitalis Ubiquitous

A bit like Burnham Wood, all of a sudden we are surrounded

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Supposedly a plant that prefers woodland shade or under hedges at field margins

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they leap up everywhere

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From lurking at ground level they suddenly block your way

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and hit you at eye level

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They have plenty of spacious settings but in addition squeeze themselves into every available nook and cranny

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No wonder they are so successful. Their intricate insides are equipped with visual and mechanical devices

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to entice pollinators

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who see them as perfectly designed charging ports

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fitting like a glove

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As one floret falls

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another opens

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to provide a ladder of opportunities
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while, as a by-product, providing us with visual splendour and a heady scent.

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The Moon in June

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This post might be very similar to the last one. The problem is, June is a bit of a cliché

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It can’t be helped that each moment is one of ecstasy

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A clichéd Cosmos

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Aquilegia are magical

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Foxgloves have erupted from every nook and cranny

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Even daisies become exotic

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A few more seductive blooms

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In this season the Lake is mainly designed by Monet

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This is one of eruptions from its depths

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Lusciousness

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and new life

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and old life

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and very old life

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(We are taking part in a sunflower growing group in support of Ukraine and are not at all competitive)

160 days in

June 9th and we can feel the Solstice creeping up.

The Strawberry Moon is slowly waxing

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and so are the strawberries

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Some times of year we want to fast forward, now we went to play at half speed

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It is our first year growing Sweet Peas

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we are looking forward to these peas

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Aquilegia in front of Lupins

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Today the first Poppy emerged

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and took off its hat

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Irises round the lake

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and we relocated the Gunnera to a place where it can expand

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The Puzzled Mr Buzz

Despite having kept bees for several years we have never had one of our colonies swarm (as far as we know)

And then yesterday we spotted this

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Now a decent swarm would hang itself from a branch from where it could be tidily knocked into a box but this lot had decided to congregate on a stump.

Our two colonies still seemed busy

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but this breakaway group were definitely plotting

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We quickly improvised a hive and gave them a pathway to security

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They made tentative advances

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But by nightfall had retreated into a plotting huddle. They were still there this morning so we tried another tactic with a tempting box to adopt

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Meanwhile we tried to sort out our miscellaneous hive collection

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and managed to piece together a structure to erect over the swarm

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as rain was on the way

They may or may not cooperate. Mr Buzz the Beekeeper is certainly puzzled

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The Old Lady watches while they tear it up and start again

On our three and a half acres we have many, many trees. Scores were planted in an empty field by our predecessors over their twenty year tenure. We have tended self-sown seedlings, planted a couple of hundred Woodland Trust whips and a dozen or so specialist standards. Only a few hedgerow survivors predate this activity and the elder is an Ash

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She has seen so much that she doesn’t stir easily. June starting and she is only just thinking of leaves. But she watches quietly, over the Mistle Thrushes recently nesting in her boughs, and (maybe) knocking down the young Magpies who harass them.

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She sits on a hedge line. In the field beyond her stands a solitary oak, the sole survivor of an older hedge. The rest of the field is a bit sparse, having been resown with rye grass four years ago. And now the nettles have moved in

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So it all has to be killed off

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Ploughed up

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and started again

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We do preserve an area so the Ash can avoid having her roots ripped through

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and continue her watch