D’s brother arrived this morning with a tray of Giant sunflowers for us to plant in the front garden. Although native to the Americas (once revered by the Incas), I find these cheerful, if garish, heliotropes absolutely charming. Call me self-indulgent but I’m overcome with pleasure whenever I encounter a field filled with gently swaying sunflowers gazing towards the sky. And of course, they’re extremely attractive to wild birds, bees and other insects.
I spent a couple hours walking in the garden after lunch to see what the sun had brought out. I immediately spotted Wood speedwell (Veronica montana) and Herb robert (Geranium robertianum) flowering in the meadow. The woodland floor was carpeted with Ramsons (Allium ursinum), which filled the air with the whiff of garlic. Then, on the banks beneath the trees were Germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) and Red campion (Silene dioica).
I discovered Betty stretched out among the daisies in Grace’s (our pony) field. She is a true sun worshiper and requires regular massages with sun cream during the warm weather or she turns quite pink. When her brother was still alive, they would lie back to back, like rashers of bacon in a pan, soaking up every last ray, until it was time for bed.
By the time I reached the wild patch at the back of the house it was alive with Orange-tip butterflies (Anthocharis cardamines), fighting territorially over a large patch of Garlic mustard (Allaria petiolata) – also known as Jack by the Hedge. Then, as I peered at a Common dog violet (Viola riviniana) hidden amongst the vegetation, an exceedingly small Common frog (Rana temporaria) crossed my path, no doubt searching for succulent insects and slugs.