An explanation of the title of this blog...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Bounty of the Orchard

is only bite-sized; A few years ago we cut down some pine trees that were infested with processional caterpillars and were too close to the boundary and damaging the walls. The Council's Tree Man came around to inspect, and gave us a licence to fell on the usual terms; that we plant two trees for every one we felled. We felled 7, so had to plant 14, but he was quite happy for us to plant fruit trees, palm trees, bay trees or ornamental trees. We planted 4 Golden Cyprus, 4 palm trees and 6 fruit trees. The Nispero has flowered and fruited each year. The Pomegranate has flowered but never fruited. The Apricot flowered and fruited the first year, then inexplicably died very suddenly over a matter of days the following year. The 3 plum trees all flowered the first spring, but the Prune plum gave up the ghost after next door's cat took to using its slender trunk as a scratching post, the red Plum died off above the graft during the second year, but below the graft it continues to flourish. (The leaves look like an almond, but as I have no idea what the local stock tree is, I shall have to wait and see.) Only the third, yellow plum has flourished. I say flourished in that it has flowered each year and this year has set one solitary fruit, pictured above in all its majesty...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Friday, June 05, 2009

The Bottom... looking rather dry these days, rather like a hay meadow in need of cutting, but with one very good reason not to cut; the large numbers of Centaury plants in bloom. The odd low growing plants of early spring were just forerunners of this abundance. If you click on the photo, you will also be able to see the Honeysuckle that is now in bloom.

From a distance, these two tall plants look similar, but close up it is obvious that one is a Helianthemum, and the other I have identified as a member of the Aster family; ANDRYALA integrifolia.

There are a couple of stumps in The Bottom, the remains of pine trees that were cut down a few years ago. They yielded a fine crop of beetles, both bronze Pine Beetles, and Rhinoceros Beetles over the years, but are now almost reduced to powder. The blackbirds treat them as a larder, and I watched them excavating quite a hole in the ground as they looked for ever more succulent morsels.

Finally, proof that it is not only the UK that is seeing a great increase in the number of Painted Ladies this year. There were twelve just on one side of this lavender bush. I only managed to get three into the frame, and they wouldn't sit still long enough for me to get a close up...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009