Tidying Up the Garden

Dear Readers, it’s the time of year when, pandemic or no pandemic, we have to tidy up the pond. The hornwort has done so well that we pull kilos of the stuff out of the water and pile it on the bank so that any invertebrates can wriggle back to safety. The frogs are always less than impressed, and stick their heads up to see what fresh hell is being enacted. Fortunately there is still lots of cover and so they soon relax.

The weather has gone from cold enough for me to take a hot water bottle to bed to an estimated 84 degrees tomorrow, which is most unseasonal. And as if to point out that summer isn’t quite over yet, a trio of common darter dragonflies were soon zipping above the pond, with one of them repeatedly bobbing down to the water as if laying eggs.

Common darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

These are very confiding dragonflies and are difficult to spook – a few years ago I was sitting beside a pond when a common darter actually landed on my arm, giving me a chance to have a good close look at those amazing dark red and green eyes. I felt very privileged to be used as a perch by such a splendid creature.

I spent a bit of time cutting back some of the hemp agrimony (though I will leave some for the birds and for hibernating insects). A hummingbird hawk moth popped in for about five seconds to feed on the remaining flowers, so I will leave the rest for a few weeks. At some point I’ll have to take out the waterlily leaves as well, but they can wait for a while. My next priority will be to get my bulbs planted – as usual I have bought way too many, but I never could resist a special offer. I am going to give honey garlic a go this year (on the recommendation of my Gardening For Wildlife book), plus some more fritillaries and a raft  of grape hyacinths who don’t seem to mind the shade at the back of the garden. Plus I have bought some more cyclamen coum and hederifolium for my woodland border, which currently looks as if a bomb has hit it. Who else is planting bulbs? Any recommendations for spring bulbs for shade? Bluebells would be an obvious choice, but after trying numerous times with English bluebell bulbs I am going to try to plant them in the green in spring.

Photo One by David J. Stang - source: David Stang. First published at ZipcodeZoo.com, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61178086

Honey garlic (Nectaroscordum siculum) (Photo One)

So, the year has turned, regardless of our little human concerns. I rather like September – it has always felt more like a beginning than January to me. I got married in September, we moved to this house in September (ten years ago now), and of course the school year starts in September. Although nature is getting ready, in the Northern Hemisphere at least, to tuck itself in for the winter, I always feel more energised and up for a challenge as the nights draw in. It will be interesting to see what unfolds.

Photo Credits

Photo One by David J. Stang – source: David Stang. First published at ZipcodeZoo.com, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61178086

6 thoughts on “Tidying Up the Garden

  1. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    Nice dragonfly pics. One just flew by me as I was hanging out the washing. Goodness knows where it was going as there’s no pond nor stream anywhere near our chalet. I also captured a hummingbird hawkmoth the other day – which had actually landed. (Another first!) It’ll be on the warm down post. 😊

    1. Bug Woman

      I am discovering that dragonflies are only really tied to the water during the breeding season – the rest of the year they can turn up anywhere where there are insects for them to eat. I sometimes see Emperors in the cemetery, hunting for butterflies…

  2. Liz Norbury

    I love September – “that mellow season of the year, when the hot sun singes the yellow leaves ‘til they be gold”, as Thomas Hood describes it. I was born in a September heatwave, and my birthday has nearly always been blessed with hours of warm (and sometimes hot) sunshine – perfect for childhood parties in the garden, seaside picnics in more recent years, and last year’s swim in the Ladies’ Pond on Hampstead Heath. For me, autumn doesn’t begin until the equinox, which falls two days after my birthday (and three days after my wedding anniversary). Only then will I start thinking about spring bulbs!

  3. Anne

    I too enjoy September as it is a ‘new beginning’ here as spring tries to wrestle out of the grip of winter whilst being bashed by the summer being over-eager to roast us all. We experience a see-saw of temperatures here on a daily basis during this month: sometimes very cold and very warm on other days. Nonetheless, the birds emerge in their breeding plumage and the trees put out new leaves …

  4. Andrea Stephenson

    We went on a walk on Monday where the air was full of dragonflies – all common darters as far as I could tell – it was extremely hot and there were lots of small tortoiseshells about too.


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