I've been so busy that when I had a chance to walk round our site this week it was almost a surprise to find that summer seems to be here now. I have been working in the research bed, weeding and planting, but somehow I failed to stand back and look at it.
There is now quite a lot in flower in the research bed; foxgloves, wallflowers, salvia nemerosa, nepeta mussinii, knautea macedonica even the agastache - which made it through the winter this time- are all at their best right now and the echium vulgare and veronica spicata are just starting to flower. The echium can be seen in the centre above reaching 5 feet high even in our terrible clay soil.
I particularly love bee-spotting on the foxgloves as you think there are no bees then suddenly a bumblebee will emerge from where it has been completely hidden inside a flower and flit quickly into the next tube. That makes counting bees on them quite difficult but luckily each bee tends to work multiple flowers before moving on so its possible to track them over a few minutes to see how many there are.
In the wild parts of the site the bramble is just beginning to flower so I know were all the honey bees will be for the next two weeks; I will monitor these timings carefully, this year, as I think the bramble is so attractive that it has an impact on how many honey bees we see on other plants. Having said that our second scale sowing - below - of phacelia and borage is now in full bloom so will give the bramble some competition.