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Garden Dairy: July
Getting comments on my Garden Diary posts has been an inspiration and a challenge. In my June post ladysnaps said: "I would love to see a full image of your entire garden... if that's possible. it's like an attraction you should charge people to enter."

So, I’ve tried to capture the atmosphere of the garden as a whole, as a place that you would like to enter. And you will if you like wild gardens.

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My partner and I have often compared ourselves to ent and entwife.

The Entwives desired order, and plenty, and peace (by which they meant that things should remain where they had set them)”.
But “the Ents gave their love to things that they met in the world”.

Looking at our garden, it’s clear that an Ent rather than an Entwife has been in charge. Plants are mostly allowed to grow just where they want. It makes for a wild place, with a mixture of shapes and colors against a green background.

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Even when it rains the garden is lovely. It seems to radiate light under a grey sky.

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Many of our neighbors have their garden largely paved over, so we feel we provide an oasis for all kinds of wildlife. Besides various nesting birds, we have hedgehogs, toads and frogs, butterflies and dragonflies, a 40 cm high anthill, and a whole range of flying insects.

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A bumblebe, a hoverfly embracing a flower and a honeybee.

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A moth drinking nectar from a flower and a Peacock butterfly.

In the course of this month the juneberries (Amelanchier) turned from red to dark purple. At that stage, blackbirds, thrushes and doves usually start eating them but not this year. Finally, last week, a flock of starlings discovered the tree, went into a feeding frenzy and cleared it out in single afternoon.

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Two of my favorite garden plants started flowering this month:

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Firstly, the evening-primrose (Oenothera bienni). New flowers open every evening; they are gone by the following noon. The flowers open very fast; you can see the petals moving if you watch closely. From a distance, it looks as if luminescent patches of yellow suddenly pop up all over the darkening garden.

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Secondly, monk’s-hood (Aconitum) with its weird shape and lovely lilac color. Plants should be handled with care because they are poisonous. A (very funny) Wikipedia page tells us that Aconitum features widely in literature and pop culture, ranging from Greek mythology to a recent episode of American Horror Story (LINK).

Many small shrubs and perennial plants also started to flower. Here they are:

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Butterfly-bush (Buddleia), yet another Deutzia species, and a hardy variety of Fuchsia.

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A privet bush (Ligustrum; it only flowers because it’s kept untrimmed to give better screening from the neighbors), a small hybrid tea rose, and the nettle-leaved bellflower (Campanula trachelium).

 photo 11. Astilbe Lavender Marjoram_zpsewdvabph.jpg
False-buck’s-beard (Astilbe), garden lavender (Lavendula) and wild marjoram (Origanum majorana).

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Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), vervain (Verbena bonariensis) and creeping-jenny (Lysimachia nummularia).

 photo 13. Spirea Veronica Monarda_zpsfesknssr.jpg
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), garden speedwell (Veronica longifolia) and bergamot (Monarda).

And of course, we had a couple of alien invaders that were allowed to stay:

 photo 14. haagwinde kamperfoelie heksenkruid basterdwederik_zpsifypca5o.jpg
Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium), Honeysuckle (Lonicera), enchanter’s-nightshade (Circaea lutetiana) and willowherb (Epilobium montanum).

June and July were peak months in the garden. I expect things to slow down from now on. Pity, really. I got quite addicted to rushing around with my camera, trying to capture that last gleam of sunlight, or that lingering raindrop, or those bumblebees and butterflies that would never sit still.

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I would *live* back there! Wow, what a beautiful place.

I would also like to *live* in it more but we seem to skip real summer this year. We have just had a week of rain and strong winds. It is a beautiful place and I've come to appreciate it so much more after starting this photography project.

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I am fortunate, indeed!
Yes, our garden is a bit of an enchanted place, even when it rains. When we bought the house the garden was rather neglected. At first I wanted to get it organized but I've gradually come to realize that it's best to let it be.

Your garden is so beautiful. It looks so lovely and peaceful.

I had to laugh at the sneezeweed, though. :))))

Thanks, Addie. It is a lovely place.
I got the "sneezeweed" from Wikipedia. It says: "A number of these species (particularly Helenium autumnale) have the common name sneezeweed, based on the former use of their dried leaves in making snuff. It was inhaled to cause sneezing that would supposedly rid the body of evil spirits."
Actually, I always sneeze a lot, so no evil spirits remain (I hope). ;-)

What a beautiful and relaxing property you have. I would lose myself back there.

Thank you, Romeny. I'm very fond of our garden, especially after I started on my photo-project.

Lovely pics as always. So glad you have such a beautiful place to enjoy.

I was wondering if sneezeweed was particularly likely to spur allergies in people, but I read your explanation a few comments up, so I know it was related to making snuff. ;-)

Thanks, Celebrian. I didn't know about snuff being made from sneezeweed until I read it in Wikipedia. Finding the English common names of the plants is tricky. Wikipedia often gives several alternatives. I usually check with a flora for the British Isles, so the American common names may be different.

may I come live beneath the privet bush? I promise I'll be no bother!

it does my heart so much good to see these. You've become a wonderful chronicler of the natural world. Thank you!

It's my pleasure, Jan! You're very welcome to join the hedgehog that lives beneath the privet bush. :-)

i think that would be just my style, dear Ambree!

Beautiful photos and a beautiful garden. You must spend A LOT of time maintaining it. I have about 85% of the same flowers and LOTS of hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. I try to plant plants that appeal to them. Monarda and Fuschia are probably the most popular with the hummingbirds, but I also have nine hummingbird feeders. They drink four quarts of sugar solution every day.

Thank you, Yeux.
Our garden has hugely improved since we both retired. Most of the work is in weeding out the grass and setting up support for the larger plants.
So, you have hummingbirds!! We don't have them here and I always thought they were restricted to the (sub)tropics in America. How wonderful that they drink from your feeders. I'm sure that helps to maintain a vigorous population in your area.

Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing

Thank you, Jane. Sharing the pictures is half the fun. :-)

So cool photos! Than Garden diary - fantastic idea :)

Thank you! I'm glad you liked the photos.

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