With things on the go all over the place the front of the house can get a bit neglected – something we having been trying to rectify this week.
Here is a picture taken in April when we got a magnolia
As we wanted it outside the house, where there is clay below the gravel, we had to build a deep drainage sump so it would not become waterlogged
It seems to be happy there
Last month we got a load of stone to build a circular wall round the blue barrel
The dumpy bag has sat outside the front door since then so we decided to throw up a quick dry stone surround until we could do a proper job.
We could not resist this pair of bay trees from a local eBay seller
Then we found he was also selling olive trees
not to mention
So we are getting a bit tidier on the doorstep
Some other nearby flowerings:
In last year’s drought all was brown but this time round the sky keeps on topping up the green.
In spite of the drought, last year provided a bumper fruit harvest. A mast year is usually followed by a thin one but that is not true this time. The hazel is heavy in the hedgerows and the apples are swelling fast
The Cayugas rest under an apple tree
Considering the amount of puddling they do their ground is surprisingly green this year. But we want to give the fruit trees
better soil and allow the orchard grass to develop more flowers so these ducks will go elsewhere and we are encircling the area with green yew
We thought we had been doing well collecting the courgettes while small but there are always some big ones hiding
Purple emerging from green
Last year we grew some “baby” sweetcorn, on an impulse thinking that “baby” meant small. We discovered it was describing the cobs – as the plants shot up to hit the roof of the tunnel. They were so exciting we planted some more this year. They must be a different variety as the their green is trimmed with tassels of red
We have not been growing as many beans this year but the broad beans have thrived
The main construction of Rabbit World is complete
After the previous temporary structure was a bit over-stimulating for Jessie
this version has visual screening
Inside are accomodation units for different groups
with the opportunity for wider ranging
We are keeping the two pairs of does from different litters separate and each of the two bucks has his own accommodation – with times for safe visiting
They seem to be enjoying exploring
Fred, the remaining Guinea has also moved in
and is receiving social calls
One of Jaunty’s ladies – who were the first lot of eggs we incubated this year..
…has laid her first egg
When August arrives it seems like the beginning of the end.
Many plants are done with flowers and getting on with the serious business of seeds.
Acorns are forming on the oaks
and the hazel nuts seem to be heading for a bumper year
But there is still a lot of colour around the meadow. Harebells just seem to go on and on with the flowers always looking pristine
and Honeysuckle continues to thread through the hedges
The Meadow Vetchling
and Birdsfoot Trefoil
add yellow flashes to the meadow which is now predominantly russet in hue
Insects continue to be attracted including this Small White
and Oedemera nobilis – the Swollen-thighed Beetle
The white Buddleia, that attracted so many butterflies, also draws a Yellow Underwing
One of the memories of times gone by was the certainty that a Buddleia in full bloom would be covered in Red Admirals, Tortoiseshells and Peacocks.
Although we have had these butterflies at Gribin Isaf in ones and twos, not until yesterday was that vision brought back to life.
Conditions this year may have contributed as Painted Ladies have been passing through in numbers not seen before
but providing habitats must be making a difference – this concentration of butterflies was not to be seen in the surrounding farmland.
When we dug out the large pond we made a bank behind which takes the sun all day and planted insect attracting shrubs including this white buddleia.
The Painted Ladies have favoured a nearby thistle patch on a mound sheltering the apiary
Tortoiseshells were also present
as was a Skipper
…and they are not even breeding yet.
When we decided to start keeping rabbits again – after a break of about 25 years – we looked around for an attractive (as well as meaty) breed.
So we travelled two hours North to bring back Rory, the Silver Fox Buck
We then set about trying to find him some ladies and at that point discovered that there are not many people in the UK breeding Silver Foxes.
We eventually tracked down an experienced breeder three hours away and yesterday drove off to collect a pair of does.
We were exposed to a lot of rabbit lore and an offer we could not refuse:
Five for the price of Two
So Rory is joined by two does – Heidi and Anna:
and another pair of does together with a young buck – Easter, Lettuce and Stewart:
They are all installed in temporary accommodation
and Rory has been visiting
as has Jessie
Lunchtime at Gribin Isaf means a quick forage round the beds to see what is on offer
A quick potpourri of the more domesticated blooms currently around us..
It would be possible to fill this page with Lily pictures. They are growing just inside a polytunnel with some blooms towering overhead so they assault the senses on entering:
The Carniverous plants are at the other end of that polytunnel
– that last picture is a flower on a Venus Fly-trap.
The Hydrangeas are just coming into flower. They lurk amongst the trees and emit a blue glow, particularly at dusk
This little flower has been trapped between the house wall and the boot box but is determined to squeeze out
It is amazing what can be made from air, water and a bit of phosphorous.