Wordless Wednesday – Newly emerged

This is natural light, no flash

This is natural light, no flash

I thought I’d link with Flutter and Hum and her Wednesday Vignette, visit to see some interesting combinations and there aren’t always plants!

A Butterfly Day

Monday was a lovely day in the garden, the sky had scudding clouds and it was windy, for some reason the butterflies thought it a perfect day and fluttered about every time I passed any of the plants they were feeding from.  The wind, of course, made it challenging to photograph them, but here are a few I managed to capture.

This moth was flying by day, not sure what it is on this Sedum

Either a long or Lang’s short-tailed blue (you’d think it would be easy to tell them apart!

Silver studded blue?

With the wings open you can see why they are ‘blues’ – closed you can’t see the blue at all

This one definately looks like it has long tails!  Feeding on the newly flowering rosemary

The caterpillar of the Swallowtail butterfly likes fennel to feed on and to make its chrysalis.

The first picture was in the morning, by early evening it had climbed up to the fronds of the fennel where they usually make their chrysalis.

There was a Swallowtail flying around in the morning but it wouldn’t settle to be photographed.  I think it was confused as I have Brassicas in the same bed as the fennel, in fact they are now rather swamping the fennel so the butterfly could sense there was fennel somewhere about but couldn’t quite locate it.  Just shows it’s worth planting different smelling things together to confuse predators.  The fennel would have been more obvious when the eggs were laid of this caterpillar.

Not just butterflies – I found a stick insect on the wall, if they are on sticks they are usually invisible.

I’ve never seen so many Carpenter bees in the garden all at once as there were on Monday. This was alone feeding on Salvia

But there were dozens on the Perovskia

They look like shadows in the image, I hope you can see them.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – Spring

A month ago the garden was emerging from the snow and I was happy to report temperatures rising to 10° C.  Now that we are officially in spring the temperatures are rising to just on 20° C – that’s a rise of 10° in one month!

I have been away from the garden for a few days and on my return was amazed to see so much difference! Clematis Armandii had two flowers open last Wednesday, today it is covered in flowers, spreading their honey, scent in the warm air.  Many more Muscari are attracting bees and other pollinators and reassuringly flowering even in their congested clumps.

Clematis Armandii

But I’m not here to write about flowers, this is GBFD after all!  Before I left Rosa mutabilis was looking a little bare; I’d pruned after the snow and in doing so had cut away a lot of the stems still carrying leaves revealing bare stems!  Today when I looked out of the window all the bushes were covered in new foliage making the bushes look very impressive.

Rosa mutabilis, new foliage, maybe there will be flowers before the end of the month

I may have pruned some of the emerging flower buds (last year there were flowers during March) but it will be worth it to maintain the full bushy shape.

The Lavender hedges have been pruned and look very sharp!  I love how they look at this point, they grow so fast here that I think they would benefit from being pruned 3 times a year, sometimes I only manage once; the clippings make excellent mulch as the leaves contain a chemical which inhibits the growth of seedlings hopefully including weed seeds!

Formal beds with newly clipped Lavender

Having only just cut down last year’s dead foliage it is wonderful to see all the new growth.  Euphorbia in its various varieties is the star of the show at the moment, either its foliage or vibrant bracts.

Large island bed, looking south

Euphorbia with silver leaved plants

Large island looking towards drive

Small island looking towards large island and drive

Through all the new ground cover foliage a large number of tulips are pushing up, this is gratifying as none were planted new in autumn 2011 so all are from previous years.

Between the Box balls masses of tulips are returning

I can’t resist sharing this Swallowtail butterfly drying its wings in the sun after emerging from its chrysalis.

What foliage is taking the starring role in your garden this spring?  It might be a foliage plant that has been giving good structure all through the winter or the newly emerging leaves of a plant you grow primarily for its flowers, I look forward to seeing and reading about your gardens now spring (or of course autumn in the southern hemisphere) is here.