Foliage spiders

12°C, brisk W. Sunny.
Took a tour of the garden this evening. There is plenty going on, digitalis, laburnum and lupins in flower. One of the lupins is broken, so I staked the others. Recent wind will have caught them.
Animal life: my neighbour tells me he found newts which can only have come from my garden. There are no other ponds nearby. For this, I am thrilled!
Fennel is growing faster this year, and one is especially interesting.
Foliage spiders have formed a nursery


They panic and rush apart if you prod them. It takes ten minutes for calm to return and they regroup. Delightful.

Leaf litter.

6°C, grey cloud, dry so far.
Gardening is easy. Two winters ago, I collected bags of leaves from work. The caretaker collects them in the autumn and fills a skip. I then, bag up warm handfuls of slowly decaying leaf litter. I can drive about five bags each time.
Now I have rich, nutty smelling compost to scatter into my top soil. The plants will be grateful.


This is a clump of Spanish bluebells. I don’t even remember planting them, so perhaps they have taken care of themselves.
May is the best month.

Best days.

7°C, icy start and sun for the few daylight hours.
I am at my best on days like this. The sun and crisp air lift away the winter gloom. For hours, I chopped wood, clipped plants, fitted draught excluders, fixed bike, laundry, shopping and more. Now, there is reassurance seeing a basket with enough wood to take me through January.


Sunrise from a few days ago.!

Leaf mold.

10°C, dry, SW.
Got my energy back, so rode home quickly and raked 8 bags of cherry tree leaves. Making leaf mold is such a good way to use up all those clothes bags that come through the door each week. I get 2 or 3 each week, and there is no way of knowing which ones come from fake charity collectors. So rather than add to the re-cycling bin, they make a good way to store the piles of leaves. The bags even have ready-made breather holes.

Life in pot

15°C, rain

Three months of rain would suggest that summer is as good as cancelled this year. All that water has driven the garden wild, it’s a jungle out there. I have some work to do this weekend with the nearest thing I have to a machete.

It’s no normal summer when a little 5″ pot can stay wet without once drying out. Such conditions seem to suit the curious little guys who live in there.

After work each day, I visit their pot to see how they are doing. This picture shows today, they are taking form. Last week they were barely more than the little bits left over when you have rubbed out a pencil mistake. If you waggle your finger in the water they scurry back down to the silty layer that has collected at the bottom.

Starting from the day we break up for summer, the sun has promised it will put in a sustained appearance. I must make sure their little world remains habitable for the charming little dudes. Presumably, they must be larvae for some flying insect. Let’s see this through.

Oxalis has been waiting

22°C, Sun. CA:20

Oxalis has been waiting for a few weeks. today it opened itself to the sun, recent days have not been good enough. Now it’s warm enough to put the hammock up.

Oxalis Palmifrons

The Nation is getting excited by the Olympics. Roads have signs warning of closures when the torch relay will pass through. I’m still puzzling over that one. what will actually happen when they run with it up a road. Do all the locals come out and wave flags? If so, what do they actually get out of doing that? What is their motive?

There is a Royal Jubilee next week. Work changed the half-term to straddle the bank holiday, so no extra days holiday (unlike last year). I raise this because the jubilee seems to invoke a similar reaction in the British people. On the face of it, both Jubilee and Olympics have the same problem- the obscure motive of spectators. Okay, it’s one thing to enjoy watching the course of a sporting contest unfold, but another to watch some selected elite run along the road with a torch. It’s taken me a while to figure it all out. My conclusion- don’t be misled by the crapulence of these events, it’s not the events at stake. The core of this is the  national unifying effect of patriotism.

Here I am, feeling like I’ve arrived just because I am sitting in my warm garden, by my (self dug) pond bathed in an almost ultraviolet light from this Ceanothus shrub. It’s having a good year, last season it was still sulking after I moved it to make way for the pond. Now it’s in full blue-indigo bloom.

I have a pond

20C, cloudy, but more torrents are a coming.

Filled it up this afternoon. The rim is not exactly level, so I will have to hide the edges with plants. It needs to stand for a few weeks now before introducing water-plants. That gives enough time to tinker with the edges of the waterproof liner. It’s probably too late for the spawning season.