Its summer, despite the recent cooler wet spell, and the borders are full of echinacea and drumstick alliums. Despite all this loveliness, I am also on budwatch again. I missed the emergence of the first of the Japanese Anemone flowers, I just turned round yesterday and there it was, the first bloom where before there had only been apparently tightly furled buds.
I’d intended to go for ‘Honorine Jobert’, I liked the idea of the pure white flowers singing out from the back border in late summer, but it is famously vigorous. I went for ‘Robustissima’, which despite the (rather unappealing) name, is supposed to be less likely to take over the entire garden in a year. She is pleasantly understated in her pale pink, making up for it with the vivid yellow centre. I’m quite surprised to see her out so early, but I’m not complaining!
The towering foliage of Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ has been throwing up flower spikes for a few weeks now, and finally the buds are beginning to show the vivid colouration that suggests the flowers won’t be long in opening. I look forward to the fireworks.
I’m new to asters, in fact it was the blogging community filling their posts with stunning photographs of them that persuaded me to dip my toe in the water. Last autumn I picked up a little Aster ‘Samoa’, which brightened up the patio, but I had promised myself Aster divaricatus, and this Spring I bought one, together with Aster x frikartii. They are in pots so that I can take them with me easily, and I wasn’t expecting either to flower until mid August, but here we are, still in July, and the frikartii is about to show me her first bloom.
Dahlia ‘Roxy’ is one of the new dahlias bought to replace the ones I lost in the cold of the last winter. She has wonderful deep purple leaves and these gorgeous velvety flowers – and I am clearly not the only one who is glad to see her:
Which brings me to my problem. I love that I have lots of insects in the garden now. People like Gail@Clay and Limestone, Donna@ Garden Walk, Garden Talk, Cat@The Whimsical Gardener and Liz@Gwirrel’s Garden have all inspired me with their photographs and writing to want to attract more of them to the garden. If my computer hadn’t crashed part way through uploading some photos I could even show you actual butterflies, which I haven’t ever seen in my garden before (apart from the Cabbage White of course). But mostly I haven’t a clue what I am looking at.
Some things I can identify with relative ease. I was surprised to see crickets in the garden at all (although I’ve noticed that they are prolific this year in the fields around the village), and am fascinated to see that they apparently love the Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’.
All well and good, but I struggle to put names to the many and various pollinating insects. Some are so tiny I find it impossible to get a good enough photograph of them to stand a chance.
I’m pretty sure this is a hoverfly. Or a honey bee. I thought I knew the difference until I started trying to double check online.
I initially assumed that the critter on the dahlia was a bumblebee, but then I saw a picture on the Garden Safari site that made me think that perhaps it was a hoverfly too, just a different sort. Of course, most of the photos I am managing to get don’t really allow for accurate identification. Its all very well them being all friendly and feeding from the same flower, but it doesn’t make my attempts to label them correctly any easier!
I think this is a hoverfly too, though I haven’t been able to decide which kind:
But is this a bee? Or yet another hoverfly? I’d have said bumblebee, but there are hoverflies that mimic them too, and having spent over an hour online I am now more confused than ever.
Can any of you lovely people out there recommend a good online identification site I can use to attempt to rectify my ignorance? I’d love to be more educated about the critters I am getting in the garden. In the mean time I will practice patience in the photographing of them, so that hopefully I wind up with images that make working out what they rather easier…