A perfect day...

It's been a perfect day (thanks for everything, Lou Reed) to end a near-perfect month, in an almost perfect year. It's all to do with the absence of wind and the presence of birds and buzzing bees - so simple, really. Gardeners are easily pleased. This makes them the nicest people? Hmm...

Thursday 31st October

I've been watering the garden and doing things with potting mix - putting lettuce and spinach seedlings into patio pots, potting up daisy and purple sage cuttings, pricking out five hundred annual Echium seedlings. I try to choose flowers for the bees, and they should love these.

And, thinking about the bees, my small bumble bees really like the rhododendron blooms. I've never really noticed this before. I think more about of specific 'bee flowers' like Foxgloves and Buddleia for their food. Well, every rhododendron which is flowering (and there are quite a few) is buzzy with striped bees. So beautiful.

 A subtle red, late flowering.
Rhododendron Burnaby Centennial


Eek! I've just remembered that rhododendrons are poisonous. Does this include the pollen? I hope my bumble bees know what they're doing. I might inadvertently be killing them off. Eek...

The deep purples and magentas are ready to bloom - they all seem to be late season rhododendrons. Then there's a shockingly bright pink in the driveway which I always feel so sorry for. It's the very last, and swelters in almost direct sun. Two of my new recycled rhododendrons are purples - lucky I located them in the Jelly Bean Border, in dappled shade. If my timing is right the Cerinthe (Honeywort) planted underneath should flower simultaneously. Ha! A colour echo!

Friday 1st November

It's yet another perfect day (thanks again, Lou Reed) to start what can be the most perfect month of the gardening year - the rose month. Already, many roses are flowering. My rugosas are sneaky - they're big shrubs, and many are planted behind the glasshouse, where I've blocked off a path. So I don't get to wander past them, and unless I stand on a chair and look up - well, I guess you understand. They are covered in flowers.

 A shrubby hybrid musk rose.
Autumn Delight Rose

I've been watering the rhododendrons and roses in the Stumpy (AKA Willow Tree) Garden, and I've started pulling out forget-me-nots and trimming the edges. There's space now for a few more shrubs, and it's sunnier. Oooo - more roses, maybe? Actually, this would be a great garden for rugosas. But first the soil needs some TLC - that's 'Tender Loving Compost', when you're a garden. The pile of pine logs has been shifted, and I've been able to trim the squashed Phormiums without wrecking the flowering stalks. I watched one of my shiny olive green bellbirds drinking the nectar from the flowers.

Slower and Smaller...

Through the afternoon I got slower and slower, and ended up seeing really small-scale things to do. So silly and inefficient - picking up a solitary pine cone, bending down to pull out a single weed... Time to go apres gardening, methinks!

 A pretty shrub.
Viburnum Snowflake

But I'm now worrying (thanks to a Google search) about the bumble bees on the rhododendrons. In fact, rhododendrons are a jolly poisonous shrub. But surely, when there are so many other flowers around, the bumbles wouldn't be so silly as to over-indulge on the dodgy stuff? I can offer them shrubby Hebe and Choisya blooms, Viburnums, lots of aquilegias, late blossom from the Charlotte Crab-apple tree, early roses, daisies, weedy Alkanet...

I know they like the blue Alkanet flowers, so I'll even stop pulling them out. Please be safe, bumbles!