This is the second half of a post which is too long.
I have't finished the first half yet so I'll post that another day . . .
. . . For a lot of the time, my garden has to look after itself. Plants die, fruit doesn't form properly, and lots of places for not very desirable wild-life develop naturally amongst the debris and disasters. It doesn't support many butterflies. Some flutter in - then go. This year, nice little blue ones have been dropping by. Bumble bees buzz arrive with megaphones but, as far as I know, don't stay either. There are fewer ladybirds than I'd expect or would hope for - but lots of hoverflies in season. I've more or less eradicated Daddy Long Legs (go away leatherjackets, you may be wild-life but I don't want you) and . . . slugs, snails, and spiders live all over the place. My garden is, to the gardening world, what Miss Haversham's room is to the world of literature; jam packed with interest.
Lia Leendertz recently wrote a post about being turned down for the National Gardens Yellow Book scheme. My garden isn't the kind to be put in this Book or any other. I'd be able to welcome only one visitor at a time and, even then, we'd have to be swapping places whenever we wanted to look at the next plant. I also think the selectors might question how long such visitors would want to visit my garden for. Gardens in the Yellow Book are supposed to provide at least forty-five minutes worth of interest and a visiting expert might think mine is too small to contain much to look at. But I'm certain that any sensible person (who isn't a selector) will easily be able to examine and discuss my garden for at least three-quarters of an hour. It depends on how carefully they look.
Here's a mini-tour of a mini-part of my mini-garden. Yesterday (August 3rd) I went into it to take seasonal photographs.
The trouble with this picture is that the new Lily of the Valley is hidden in darkness so I went closer.
The cramming method of gardening means you can also see a Busy Lizzie, Blackcurrant Leaves, Box (hard to take a picture in my garden without including Box) and a tiny Sedum cutting. This is recent too but I expect it'll 'take' - nearly all the bits broken off by cats walking over the original purchase and which I've collected and stuck between stones are thriving. By next year I expect I'll be thinking sedums are weeds! There's an orange blodge from a marigold and some more orange crocosmia dots, a bit of the strange 'roundabout' plant Ming brought and, right at the back, the Black Brandenburg vine. Below the vine there's a Honeysuckle but you can't see that.
And Gladioli. Hmm. Gladioli leaves with lines up them where snails have scraped the surface.
My bio-diversity isn't just creatures and flowering plants. I've decided it includes things which go wrong and are, therefore, to be treasured. They are interesting in their own right but also because other people's gardens don't have them.
And here's an apple which looks like this. Wonderful texture. Admire it. You are free to do so because it is in my garden, not yours. You can delight in it; examine it with interest. There's no need for you to be disappointed that it isn't turning out 'right'.
And an apple leaf that's being turned into a tunnel. You might like to click on it better to see the silhouette of the spider that's building a home there - and wonder at the structural expertise it's using to pull the leaf tight with its threads.
And here's another curled leaf. I suspect it's part of an abandoned building project. I don't usually ask visitors to click on pictures but clicking on this post is definitely recommended! See the threads? Once I start looking, I realise my whole garden is linked and bound by gossamer.
There are other surprises. This was supposed to be a picture of an apple with a hole in it next to a scrunched-up leaf. Only after I'd pressed the button did I notice what is really the central character in the scene. It's on the brown leaf. Click to see . . . I think it's a Harvester (I call them 'Harvesters' though the proper name seems to be 'Harvestmen', never mind) rather than a Spider. Notice the length of its legs!
I thought, perhaps, I'd take a picture to show that some of the apples will be good and strong and edible. But . . . one's attention is immediately drawn by a lumpy blackcurrant leaf. (Over at ten o'clock if you use the group of apples as a pivot). What's going on there?
Snails . . . can't help it . . . sometimes they are simply beautiful. This one is welcome to the blackcurrant leaves. We have eaten all the blackcurrants. If only we could come to an arrangement with this very little one that it sticks to leaves we are not needing.
Blackcurrant leaves seem to be popular in the snail world. (They eat apple leaves too but not so often.) Doesn't this 'next size up' one look characterful?
Below the vine, on a honeysuckle. To see the charm of the one on the left - click. (The one on the right is pretty standard boring and brown.)
These four apples seem to be ok. (Though they aren't as big as they appear to be in the picture.) It's an odd sighting because I usually pick off adjacent ones when they are small so no one fruit touches another. There are creatures in my garden who like to live at the joins and I prefer not to be too welcoming.
Very edible. The creatures have some. We have some.
We have grapes too and in this garden, humans seem to be the only ones who want to eat them . . .
. . . so . . . as long as the flowers are pollinated (which many on the Black Hamburg are this year, though the Madeline d'Angevine is fruitless despite having had lots of flowers) . . .
. . . and as long as the sun and rain organise themselves into the right sequence (which is not what's happening so we might land up with only small grapes in tough skins)
. . . we will have lovely bunches of unshared-grapes in the autumn.
(At the moment, the largest grapes are about a centimetre long.)
Thus, we bumble along, we humans and pests and things that go wrong. My garden, is often (not always - but often) a lovely place to sit, to think and to watch what's happening. If you look at it in detail, you can spend ages examining it.
What do you reckon? I hardly moved while taking photos for this post. The challenge is never to find forty-five minutes-worth of interest but to discover any place outdoors which doesn't warrant at least forty-five minutes attention.
It all depends on how you look.
It all depends on how you look.