The Garden Diary 2012
May (part 1)
2 May - Just a brief entry on an overcast though dry day largely taken up getting the new Swift boxes installed.
At the end of the afternoon I spotted what appear to be the first flowers open on the Hawthorn.
Today our southern side neighbour had a new garden fence installed which looks very good and involved minimal disruption on 'my side of the fence'.
Yesterday I spotted another new flowering, although I think the first flower may have opened on the 6th. This time it's a Three-cornered Leek.
While I tend to focus on the flowering plants, at the moment another group of plants, the ferns, is preparing for the summer by unfurling new fronds.
I must to take time and photograph these in more detail - a project for 2013 perhaps as it may be too late this time.
11 May - It has been the closest yet to a summer's day so far this month, with lots of sunshine, although a steady westerly breeze that swung round to a north-westerly in the afternoon kept the temperature down, with Farnborough recording a high of 15C. In the sun trap that is our garden it must have been at least a couple of degrees warmer.
The conditions brought out the insects, and it was entertaining to watch the Starlings jinking as they chased their prey in mid-air - several pairs have youngsters in the boxes I put up for neighbours and these chicks must have had some real treats today.
I finally sorted out the wooden edging for the vegetable plot up at the West Wing. I'm going to need quite a bit of top soil etc. to level it off, hopefully I can get that sorted next week if the weather remains kind. I also want to move the stepping stones of the path so that they butt against the timber - not enough energy to get that sorted this afternoon but it may get done tomorrow.
12 May - Another beautiful day, and warm in the sunshine, although step into the shade and you noticed that the underlying temperature wasn't quite up to summer standards. Farnborough airfield recorded a northerly breeze and a high of just 14C.
Nevertheless, the sunshine ensured there were lots of insects flying about, including this Comma, my first one of the year.
In this second picture you can just make out the white comma that gives the butterfly its name, on the underside of its hind wing.
The only other butterfly seen today was an Orange Tip - as usual it didn't land!
Another first today was this Ragged Robin, the first of many that will open up next to the big pond over the summer.
I actually got to do a bit of house maintenance today, painting the exterior woodwork around the bay windows at the front of our house. The couple of dry days ensured that there were no damp corners, and with no rain forecast until Monday it gives me the chance to give the sills themselves a second coat tomorrow.
16 May - After a couple more damp days, today was bright and breezy with a high of 14C in the shade. I took advantage of a day with no rain forecast to give another coat of paint to a downstairs window sill and spend some time clearing plants from the soil of the new vegetable plot. I'm going to have to buy some top soil to build up the soil level before we start to think about any planting.
It was a disadvantage to have a trowel in my hand and not a camera when a small, white butterfly landed on a Garlic Mustard flower. While I first thought that it was a Small White the undersides of its hind wings were quite mottled, making me suspect that it was more likely to be a female Orange Tip Butterfly.
Two days ago a couple of Hedge Parsley plants started flowering - very pretty, if tiny flowers with petals of varying size.
As darkness fell this evening I spent a short time out in the garden watching out for any late Swifts - no such luck, but I was entertained by a single bat that spent the best part of ten minutes flying round in circles over a neighbouring garden (which had been mown today).
I attempted a few photographs but had no luck getting a shot in focus. These images were the best I obtained.
The bat was not very big, and certainly doesn't appear to have very long ears, so I'm going to guess that it was probably a Pipistrelle, the most common bat in the UK.
Click on images to see larger versions