July in the garden
Before you know it, we have hit high season. Although quite a few of the perennials have peaked, there is plenty more drama to come this season. We are looking forward to some of our favourites coming into flower in the coming weeks. A bonus is the number of very welcome and colourful pollinators and nectar hunters that are attracted to a treasure trove of flowers.
Verbena bonariensis, is well established with us and self seeds, making up for the few we lose to winter frosts.. It is so airy and light, its great height never imposes. The delicate purple flowers are borne on neat bracts on the ends of the long stalks. The flowers are long lasting and best of all, are a magnet for butterflies.
Another show stopper in the border is the equally dramatic Crocosmia lucifer. We have enjoyed the sword like green shoots for the past four weeks or so, now it is time for the flowers be to show: a bright, alarming red. A great plant for the back of the border, tone it down with the gently weaving Giant Oat, Stipa gigantea.
Insects to look out for around the garden include Peacock and Red Admiral, as well as Small Tortoiseshells. A migrant moth from the warmer climate of mainland Europe is making its way to us in increasing numbers. They always attract attention, because they feed just like Hummingbirds, and folk think they have found same, only on the wrong side of the Atlantic.
They are of course, Hummingbird Hawkmoths. A day flying moth that has evolved an identical feeding technique to the 250 odd Hummingbirds that frequent America. They utilise their long tongue or proboscis to extract nectar from our flowering plants, while hovering in front of the flower heads. We have seen just one, but hopeful of more as there are more reports this year from around the country.
If the sun isn’t shining, or especially if it is raining, we get lots of young birds coming to the peanut feeder.. After a week or less of being fed by adults right beside the feeders, the parents have taken leave of their charges and the newly liberated juveniles are able to hold their own around the garden. It seems to have been a good breeding season, so far. So much to enjoy, savour it!
In July, look and listen out for:
Young Long-eared Owls, literally branching out and begging to be fed: they make a sound that is remarkably like a squeaky gate being opened, calling by day and night.
Hordes of Starlings, some with bright orange heads: caused by pollen, the result of feeding in the flower heads of New Zealand Flax.
Special Offer: Visit our online shop and avail of a 10% discount on our binocular range during July, or drop in to the Irish Garden Birds shop located within the Blooms and Rooms garden centre at Mount Usher Gardens, Ashford, County Wicklow.
Finally, we are very happy to respond to any queries you may have about any aspect of garden wildlife: please use the contact us form.