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.
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.
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 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