In a Vase on Monday: Orange Passion

Orange Passion: that’s the name of this gorgeous Echinacea…


And after counting 13 flowers/buds, I decided to take the plunge and cut one!

Dodging the raindrops, I could also collect a few other bits and bobs too…

(Yes, we had some rain at last!)


I mixed in some Goat’s Beard, Heuchera foliage, a few sprigs of Lavender and some Willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium)…


Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting the In a Vase on Monday meme, where we are challenged to fill a vase with flowers from our gardens. It’s so enjoyable. Why not join in?!


By the way, I wanted to update fellow vase-on-Monday bloggers/flower arrangers on the Centranthus (Red Valerian) I used here two weeks ago. It looked lovely for three days, then lost a few petals but still looked good on day five, so definitely one to use again.

Have a nice Monday!

A Butterfly Diary: June


Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi, Baum-Weißling)

There have been so many butterflies this month – I was quite surprised! The same ones that were around all spring can still be seen – Common Brimstone, Cabbage White, etc. The one above, however, is one I have never seen before, and despite its wings looking slightly damaged I thought it was simply beautiful. Just recently my dear blogging friend Uta at Uta’s Flow posted a fascinating video of this butterfly emerging from its chrysalis – take a look here, and there are more photos here.


There have been so many Tortoiseshells this summer – all on the Centranthus and on some Lobelia I have in pots – which I was rather pleased about as I didn’t realize it attracted them. This is the Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae, Kleiner Fuchs)


They lay their eggs on nettles (hence the name “… urticae), and the adult butterflies feed on nectar from hundreds of garden plants, so leave a few nettles standing somewhere if you can. Those that overwinter fly from March to April here, and there are then probably another two generations in a year.

Occasionally they pause on the lavender, which highlights the blue fringe on the wings.



Another very frequent visitor this year is the Skipper – both small and large, although I’m not much good at telling the difference! I think this one is the Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus, Rostfarbiger Dickkopffalter), and I have often seen it on the Lavender and Vetch, as well as the Centranthus. (This photo is on a singed fern leaf though!)…


And this one on a white Sweet William might be the Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris, Braunkolbiger Braun-Dickkopffalter). Just look at that proboscis!


Both Skippers are quite small, only a 2-3 cm wingspan, and the larvae feed on many types of grasses. There are several other similar ones, so if any expert out there spots a mistake, please let me know!


 One of the loveliest and one of the largest butterflies we often see is the Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia, Kaisermantel)


I read that the caterpillars like violet leaves, of which we have plenty so that is good to know! This one was about 6cm across, and posed beautifully for me on the Acer, and then on the Lavender too. There’s some nice information about the caterpillars on the Wikipedia page here


(He was watching me carefully!)


The next one is a rarer visitor to my garden, although not an uncommon butterfly in Germany: the Marbled White (Melanargia galathea, Schachbrettfalter). The German name “Schachbrett” means chess board, describing the pattern quite aptly.


This one was attracted to the crown vetch (Securigera varia). It is more common here in the south of Germany than in the north or west, and prefers areas with chalky ground. Only one generation flies in a year, so the caterpillars overwinter and the butterflies are seen from June to August.


The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta, Admiral) is one of the butterflies I remember seeing in abundance as a child on my Mum’s Buddleia. This smallish one (about 4-5 cm) looks as if he came through a storm.



Finally, for today, a Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus, Hauhechel Bläuling) which I also showed in last month’s Butterfly Diary.



I have also seen Hawk-moths galore over the last two weeks, and will include them in a post soon!


Update: 16th August 2014

I found this photo that I had forgotten to include of a Five-spot Burnet (Zygaena trifolii, Sumpfhornklee-Widderchen) and it will also be posted on my August 2014 Butterfly Diary.


It looks stunning on the lavender!


As I read up on all the butterflies for my butterfly diary each month I am becoming much more aware of which flowers and grasses in and around my garden are important for the wildlife.


Take a look in your garden.

Do you see any of these butterflies I have shown today? What has been visiting your plants this month?


Fun facts about butterflies #1

Fun facts about butterflies #2

Fun facts about butterflies #3

Tuesday View (24th June)

Today’s view…


This side of the rockery is still looking healthy, despite the severe lack of rain, but the south-west side below the birch trees is looking decidedly singed. Let’s hope it rains soon!

I couldn’t possibly let today – St John’s Day- pass without mentioning St John’s Wort. This is a plant that I think I need to spread around the garden a little more, despite untidy growth, as the yellow flowers make a lovely contrast to the lavenders and the shades of pink and red from the roses and Centranthus. This spring I cut about a third of the new growth on one plant as an experiment, to prevent it from growing too straggly, and it seems to have helped – a little!

Hypericum perforatum

St Johns Wort

In old Germanic folklore this plant was honoured as a symbol of the sun and for bringing light. It traditionally opens on or around June 24th, but this year was about 2 weeks early. Summer solstice celebrations used to make use of the yellow flowers for garlands and decorations. Nowadays it is still used in natural remedies for depression or sleep disorders, due to its calming properties.

St Johns Wort2

Here is another Hypericum I have in the garden – this one is more like a shrub, but I don’t remember the name. It produces lovely orange/red seedheads, like berries, in the summer.


Do you grow any type of Hypericum/St John’s Wort?

In a Vase on Monday: Fireworks!

And now for something completely different!


This week, for Cathy’s meme, “In a Vase on Monday”, where we are challenged to find flowers from our gardens to cut for a vase, I found this aging Allium schubertii “Fireworks” seedhead toppling over in my flowerbed. Time to rescue it and put it to good use! It was extremely tricky to take a photo of it though…

I started off with it in a tall blue vase, with some Peony foliage around it…


… but decided I liked it alone in the other vase best.

It’s great fun arranging fiddling around with flowers every Monday. Why not join in!

Take a look at what other people are putting in vases today at Cathy’s site “Rambling in the Garden“.


Midsummer Haiku

June is a month for daydreaming.


As I was cutting up strawberries for jam the other day, I took a trip down memory lane and thought about everything June is to me. Here are a few things that came to mind…

June is


Tickling my nose,

getting behind photoframes,

simply everywhere!


Wimbledon! Walking home from the school bus on hot afternoons, the street would be quiet. Curtains were drawn against the sun, waving in the breeze – no sound except  the “pop”, “pop” of tennis ball against racket, heard from all the neighbours’ living room TVs. I would hurry as my thoughts turned to the glass of cold Ribena I would enjoy when I got in, and the match I would watch until tea time…

What’s for tea tonight?

Maybe there’ll be strawberries?

With a dash of cream.

Wild Strawberries

Strawberries! Early mornings, cycling to the strawberry fields before the sun gets too hot, daydreaming about lunch: a big bowl of strawberries with cream or yoghurt, or perhaps some creme fraiche? Picking them in the quiet is like meditating, and – totally lost in thought – the smell, sweet and sticky on my fingers, lingers.

Red, shiny plumpness

Waiting for me. The warm juice

trickles down my chin.


Exam time! Being a teacher means I never left this behind after leaving school… June is always too hot for exams – sweaty hands, rolled up sleeves, long train rides for external exams with the air-conditioning barely cooling the carriages. And then the relief after it’s all over. Like the relief a thunderstorm brings after a heatwave…

The nervous laughter

rings out in the corridor.

Fears, tears, butterflies.



Glowworms! If they make an appearance, which doesn’t happen every year, the woodland path in our garden looks simply magical as they dance and hover silently in the darkness for just a few nights, and then vanish again until next year?

Little white beacon,

send your signal to be found.

A fleeting wonder.


What is June for you?