Notes from the garden: The early days of summer

Lately I’ve been noting a few of the sights, sounds and visitors that herald the transition from spring to summer.


Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

I placed a bird feeder right outside the window where I sit to paint, so that I can see visitors like this woodpecker up close.

In early spring the evocative sound of loud hammering on tree trunks by this native bird can be heard resounding in all types of woodland. They hammer to make nest holes, and a ritualised speeded-up version is a form of communication described as drumming. For this they choose hollow resonant tree trunks and can produce 23-24 pecks per second.”


The Male Fern  (Dryopteris filix-mas)

The Male Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas)

I love to watch these ancient plants unfurl at this time of year, knowing that soon the undergrowth will be full of them.

Ferns and horsetails are among the most primitive forms of plant life that flourished 2-3 million years ago...
Ferns have leaves known as fronds which unfurl from tight coils in late May. The spores are produced on the underside of the leaf and they contain male and female structure. When ripe the spore falls to the ground, and with the help of water becomes fertilised, enabling a new plant to develop.”



Lair of the Lawn Bee

Lair of the Lawn Bee

Early in spring, after mating, the female burrows up to 2ft/60cm deep to make several cells which she fills with pollen on which she lays her eggs. After sealing them she returns to the surface to die. They are solitary bees but will form colonies”

I was basking in the glorious sunshine last week, when I noticed at my feet these tiny little holes in the ground. They are the burrows of the lawn bee. A few months ago I saw a lone female lawn bee being swamped by the attentions of a huge number of males, and considered that perhaps her life wasn't so sad after all...

Daisy

Daisy



From 'Days Eye' as the flower opens and closes according to the degree of light. It can flower at any time of the year, but from late spring onwards lovely carpets of daisies are a common sight.”

I was told as child that if you could put your foot over a patch of 12 daisies then summer was here. My feet don't quite cover them, perhaps I'll go and ask my husband's size 12 feet to try.