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Beasts and blooms

June has come and gone, and my garden is finally showing signs of some colour.

Wildlife is generally welcome in my garden. I have lots of pollen-rich plants and I deliberately leave some areas wild. We get squirrels, foxes, occasional badgers and loads of birds and bugs. Occasionally they cause problems, for example pigeons have eaten every cherry off my cherry bush (well, both of them; there were only 2! It's a young plant and I'm hoping for more in future years). My young almond tree has managed to retain precisely one almond, and I suspect the squirrels will get to that before it's ready to harvest. And I fight a continuous battle with aphids, particularly greenfly on my roses and blackfly which love my vegetables even though I plant "sacrificial" plants nearby which they're supposed to prefer.

Top to bottom and left to right: 1 & 2: I love our neighbourhood foxes but they do leave scorch marks on the lawn when they urinate; 3 & 4: we have a bluetit family in this nest box, I found one of the fledglings sitting on the step by my shed (I backed away and his mum soon found him); 5: pigeon nest in our elder tree; 6: our massive cherry crop, until the pigeons ate both of them; 7 & 8: the squirrels did this to our bird feeder, I don't think our almond stands much chance!

Apart from the odd pest, our fruit and vegetables all seem to be doing well. We've had our first crops of broad beans, potatoes, salad leaves, blueberries and blackcurrants. Some of my fruit plants are grown in containers so that I can easily move them into my pop-up cage when the fruits start to ripen, the birds wouldn't leave any for me otherwise.

Top to bottom and left to right: 1: potatoes in bags; 2: mixed salad leaves (I have several tubs of these to ensure a continuous supply); 3: my daughter bought these plants from a roadside stall. They were labelled "kale" but they're actually sea kale, an entirely different plant, although new shoots and flower pods are edible; 4: lemon flowers; 5: "jostaberry", a cross between a gooseberry and a blackcurrant; 6: gooseberries; 7: courgette plants; 8: blackberries growing in one of my wild areas; 9: broad beans; 10: blueberries just starting to ripen; 11: blackcurrants; 12: baby orange

As to the ornamental garden, here's what was looking good during June:

Top to bottom and left to right: 1: astrantia 'April Love'; 2: dianthus; 3 & 4: roses; 5: jasmine; 6: hypericum; 7: eryngium; 8: fuschia 'Lady Boothby'


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