Sedum flowers are the bees must-have food at the moment! The flowers are not even fully out and the bees are crawling all over them. Sedums are a wonderful plant to have in the garden, as they have so much to offer for three quarters of the year. The young lush shoots in the spring, the beautiful flowers, followed by the seed heads which look superb covered in frost.

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This butterfly gets its name from the white mark, shaped like a comma on the underside of its wings. The scalloped edges and under wing colouring are to conceal adult butterflies hibernating amongst the dead leaves.

Comma Butterfly

Echinops ritro is the ultimate fast food for bees, and you hardly ever see a flower in bloom without a bee feasting on it. Easy to grow, this hardy perennial prefers a sunny situation. After flowering I leave the seed heads for the birds, before cutting down to ground level.

Bumble bee on Echinops ritro

Found this interesting creature on a flower I was pruning in the garden. You can see where it gets its name, from the way it holds its front legs and the way it scuttles about. Apparently it doesn’t build a web, but relies on camouflage to catch its prey.

Crab Spider

This is Echium vulgare or Viper’s Bugloss, a wildflower I grow in my garden because the bees and other insects just love the gorgeous blue flowers! It flowers for ages and self seeds prolifically – the seedlings are easily recognisable when small, so I thin out any in the wrong place to keep to a manageable level. A great addition to a cottage garden.

Wildflower: Echium vulgare ©Lavender Hedge

Our garden has extremely heavy, clay soil – the sort you could make pottery from if you were so inclined. Generally it is either too wet or rock solid and I have to wait for a gardening window when digging over the soil or planting anything. I have added loads of home-made compost and grit over the years, which has improved some areas. However, the most important lesson I have learned is to grow plants that are tough and don’t require too much fussing over once established.

Tonight it was so dry that I just had to water the vegetables and annuals. Our neighbour has a pond, but I swear the frogs spend more time in our garden than in the pond. This little chap was sitting under some foliage trying to look cool!

Frog