it’s June. the cow-parsley is over, and hogweed is rampant in the hedgerows.

cow-parsley is delicate and lines the lanes with clouds of lacy white flowers. hogweed I love for its sculptural, dramatic stems, its exuberant, sharply cut and patterned  leaves, the plate-size flowers of varying colour, shape and size –

but I have a love-hate relationship with it. in my garden, even in the wild-flower section, I won’t tolerate it.

although I cut some from the hedgerow and put the stems in water in my house this week (it doesn’t smell very nice, by the way), in the spring I can be seen crouching with a jar of glucophosphate industrial strength weed killer, and a paintbrush, dabbing the nasty concoction onto the leaves of those hogweed plants which infest my wild-flower plot.

I am cheered in my pursuit of hogweedless-ness by the fact that it is a biennial plant, and the seeds only stay active in the ground for five years. so eventually I may be able to get rid of them, as long as I am vigilant, and pluck any flower stems from those plants which escape the glucophosphate.

bees love them, no doubt attracted by the strong smell. I foolishly allowed them in, not recognising that the hundreds of seeds which scattered from the wonderful umbellifer seedheads would sprout the next year into a jungle of huge hairy leaves which crowded out all the more delicate flowers and grasses I was trying to grow.

a wild flower garden is the best thing to have in a drought. although the ground is hard as iron, the plants are flowering and the grasses have graceful seed heads.

there are ox-eye daisies, yellow rattle, ladies bedstraw, plantains, sorrels and several different grasses.

this small heath butterfly is sunning itself on a daisy head, pausing before flying onto the purple knapweed flowers. there aren’t as many butterflies as I thought there would be by now, no influx of painted ladies – the spanish bad weather probably prevented them – and very few of the aristocrat butterflies – peacock, red admirals and so on ..

today I have a biscuit firing, and good news about the firing of my spanish cono. Antonio sent me an email – the kiln god must like you, he wrote, your tinaja has come out perfectly – and sent this photo of the kiln. my pot is the one in the second row with the gap in front.


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