Posted on 04.07.2020 |
Added in Tales From My Wildlife Allotment

We've had a bit of rain now and the plants look so much happier. All the watering I do cannot replace a good amount of rain. Luckily the rain came just before the mini-heat wave we had last week with temperatures above 30C for several days, so all plants came through these hot days without any problems. Grasses are coming into their own now with Stipa gigantea one of the first to flower in May, together with and F. amethystina. These are followed by Calamagrostis acutiflorus, and many others. One of the most spectacular-looking grasses at the moment is Melica ciliata. The flowers turn into fluffy white seed heads which are very showy and last quite a long time. This grass does self-seed but not in an annoying way and is easily removed if growing in the wrong place.


Grasses are looking good now

Lychnis, Dianthus and Anthemis
are flowering at the moment

The recent rain has been very welcome

Two years ago I had ordered the mystery seed mix together with my named seeds from the HPS seed distribution scheme. I got many interesting and useful plants from this mix but one of the best must be this pretty Thalictrum aquilegifolium. I really love the fluffy yellow flowers which attract many different pollinators. The plants are very tall but don't need any staking as the stems are quite sturdy. Another plant which is good for pollinators is , the only Anthemis species with orange flowers. I was told that it is difficult to overwinter the plant outside as they rot easily but even with the wet winter we had the plant came through without any problems and has even self-seeded moderately. I still cannot make up my mind if I find the unusual flowers of pretty or not, I bought the plant mainly because it looked different to the other Salvias I have. But nevertheless this Salvia is very easy to care for and just needs the occasional watering in a dry spell.


The fluffy flowers of Thalictrum aquilegifolium

Anthemis sancti-johannis

Salvia bulleyana has interesting flowers

I grow many different foxgloves and have a bit of a soft spot for the perennial species, even if they are sometimes a bit short-lived. One of the prettiest foxgloves I grow is which has relatively large flowers. The plants live 2-3 years until they die and are very easy to grow from seed. They need a bit more water than the other perennial foxgloves such as but are otherwise very easy. They also fit into most planting schemes and provide some much-needed height. Another plant which is easy to grow from seed is , the flowers look beautiful especially if growing between other low-growing flowers and grasses. The HPS mystery seed mix provided another very special plant for my allotment which is . I have tried growing Delphiniums before but with mixed success, most were eaten by slugs before they could flower. Delphinium requienii is different as the leaves are quite thick and have an unpleasant smell which slugs don't seem to like so the plants can grow completely unmolested. The only downside is that this Delphinium dies after flowering so has to be grown from seed every year.


Digitalis lanata
is providing some height

Allium cernuum is looking good

The beautiful flower spikes of
Delphinium requienii

Most people are familiar with the Erigeron glaucus which is a common sight in sea-side gardens and other exposed places. A few years ago I came across this white-flowered version which I really liked so I acquired some seed which were easy to germinate and grow on. I now have several plants which seem to like my well-drained soil. They also don't need any watering which is great. Two years ago I got some seed of from the HPS seed distribution scheme. I had once grown this plant on my allotment but for some reason it suddenly died so I was very happy to grow it again. The seeds were easy to germinate and made strong plants which this year are flowering for the first time. So far the plants look happy and I hope I will have them for many years to come. In the South Africa garden Berkheya multijuga is in full flower now and the many large yellow daisy flowers are quite a sight. I had several people walking past my allotment asking me what the name of this unusual plant is. Most people have never heard of the genus Berkheya which is a shame as they make good garden plants (if one doesn't mind the prickly leaves). My other two Berkheyas, B. cirsiifolia and B. purpurea have also started flowering now, more of these in my next blog.


The white-flowered Erigeron glaucus

Morina longifolia

Berkhea multijuga
growing in the South Africa garden

There are quite a lot of different bumblebees on my allotment. One of the rarer bumblebees which comes for regular visits is the large garden bumblebee (Bombus ruderatus). Normally the bumblebees have three yellow bands and a white tail but this species also has a melanistic form which is completely black. The bees look very pretty and I've had them on my allotment for the last few years so was happy to see them again this year. The pond is now home to the many frogs again which had already been there in early spring. It probably is too warm and dry outside for the frogs to survive for a longer time but occasionally I do find frogs under plants and even once inside a lettuce I was just about to harvest for dinner. After my initial surprise I guided the frog to another lettuce which he readily accepted as his new home.


The Large garden bumblebee
is visiting my allotment

The pond is home to many frogs at the moment

One of the frogs sitting between the water plants

As my wildlife camera broke a few weeks ago I don't have any more updates on the larger wildlife such as the hedgehogs and foxes but hopefully I will be able to buy a new camera soon.

Let's hope July will be a good month with just the right amount of rain and sunshine. I will be back with more tales from my allotment in August.

Nadine Mitschunas