Garden notes number thirteen, the spider and the ant, (more narrow observation,) and some new flowers.

Look what happened in ‘the weed from paradise’, (see number 12), the Welsh poppy.

How much am I seeing that I ordinarily wouldn’t?

I noticed the white spider inside a poppy, waiting. By the time I came back with my camera it had caught an ant.

It seemed to suck out the insides of the ant, then the rest of it disappeared very quickly.

Now you can see the tiny damsons – not as big a crop as last year, but still pretty good.

At work yesterday – I go one day a week, in a friend’s car to avoid public transport, and work in isolation (as usual), though there are others around – more newcomers: here is Camassia leichtlinii:

An easy bulb, making itself at home, increasing gradually. I seem to remember seeing them once in Sheffield, in a roadside municipal planting. Another plant which deserves to be better known. And while the daffodils I showed in earlier posts have faded, here’s a late one, called Lieke:

Different in style from the others, with a very short corolla, and slightly fragrant. The ones I planted in a shady spot three years ago failed to flower at all this year, whilst these ones, with more sun, have done well. If you choose the right varieties you can have daffodils in flower from February till May. In the background are the old favourites, honesty and forget me not. Next is an omphalodes, I’m not sure which species:

It likes, or puts up with, shade and dry soil, and increases slowly. The flowers are a more intense blue than forget me nots are, and the flowering period is longer.

And this is Anthemis cupaniana:

It likes a poor, light soil with lots of sun, and spreads itself out. After flowering, cut it back hard.

And something completely different: there is a fascinating essay from 1999 by Terry Castle in the London Review of Books called  ‘”Joe” Carstairs, the “fastest woman on water”‘. She was a very rich, daring, scandalous lesbian who bought an island in the Caribbean. We are told that ‘with the help of cheap labour from nearby islands – unemployment was endemic in the pre-tourist West Indies of the thirties – she cleared the land of its dense vegetation..‘  And later we read that ‘the island, Joe believed, was her own creation: “I didn’t make improvements,” she pointed out impatiently. “There was nothing there. I made it just what I wanted.”‘

My italics.

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