The stargazer asiatic lily has finally come into bloom in the back patch. All through April and May I monitored for the dreaded red lily beetle – which did manage (again!!!) to completely strip a few of the garden lilies of all growth – leaves, everything but a sad green stalk is left behind. But this one is my pride and joy and the beetle monitoring has paid off. (Must do better with the other lilies – and may in fact dig them up in the fall and move them to a spot that has better air circulation so as to better keep an eye on things in future, as presently they grow quite close to the peony, artemisia and self-seeded red and white columbine).
The magnificent pink lily has been growing in the back patch for about four years and is left pretty much to its own in the perennial flower beds along the railway path – the only recent attention being the beetle watch (as of last summer when the beetles let themselves be known by the evidence of their destruction).
It grows just over four feet tall and is strong enough not to require staking. This picture shows their relative size, as well as the island ‘meadow’ area we created with an outline of reclaimed bricks, which is now a lush green oasis in the lawn.
The new meadow oasis has wildflowers coming up, including hollyhock, calendula, feverfew and more! All were started the super-easy way: by simply placing deadheaded flower spears and seedheads directly onto the grass last summer and also throughout this year. In no time it will be an explosion of growth and colour. A neighbour from the allotments gifted us an unusual red-blossomed shrub, which has elegant long branches and slender leaves similar in appearance to a delicate willow branch; we’ve planted that into the meadow and look forward to monitoring its growth and development – though we probably won’t see any flowers for a year or more.
At night, we are equally treated with sights of delight. The bats are back and provide an hour’s entertainment as they swoop and swoon across the expanse of the back gardens, feasting on all the bugs that thrive in the microcosm of the back patch.
Bats are much more elegant flyers than birds, and have manoeuvres that are truly awesome, being able to dart and duck and turn on a dime to change direction, all so smoothly and intelligently. It’s amazing to behold.
There’s a small mini-colony of three bats that patrol our night skies. Sometimes we only see one, but one evening about a month ago we saw a real ‘cauldron’ of bats flying several hundred feet in the sky as a coordinated cluster. Perhaps we could call that formation a ‘conference of bats’, as it did seem to our simple eyes as a kind of bat-world town hall meeting. Or maybe not bat parliament but more a case of a summer fête – a huge gathering of dancing, flirting, finding mates and lovers? Sadly the sight of the ‘colony’ of bats was too high in the sky for us to really see them.
Our normal nocturnal show consists of a pair and sometimes three identifiable bats.
They’re small little guys; we think it most likely that they are pipistrelles – the most common (and smallest) type of bat in the UK.
It’s likely that as a result of this corona pandemic, people will be even more prejudiced than they may already have been against bats, but we think this misguided.
We love these furry little flying mammals, and the sight of them is a joy to behold. So glad to see the bats are back!