This is the ‘butterfly’ corner of the garden: lavender, buddleia, cupid’s darts, oregano and hibiscus.
Blue and purple are actually more ‘bee’ colours and there are lots of bees as well, all extremely busy.
I didn’t mean to concentrate the colours like that – it happened by accident.
Anyway the butterflies love it. When you brush past, up they fly in a cloud around you like something out of a dream.
The lavender is now out and full of bees.
This one was taking advantage of the last direct sunlight.
Sunshine makes for great photographic opportunities, but so does rain.
I love the cabochon diamonds that nestle in leaves and the way droplets swell and swell till they fall.
Looking out of the window, I noticed beads of water strung along last year’s lavender flower-heads to form what looked like a haphazard miniature abacus.
That’s one advantage of not having trimmed the stalks yet!
At the back of the house, where other things like roses got watered during our absence, the lavender bushes have survived.
The one closest to the house, a battered and straggly bush, even has one flowering stalk.
In the front of the house, however, where the lavender was planted just behind the stone wall that retains the raised ground around the oak tree, it’s a different story.
All three big, cascading bushes are dead.
Almost. I spotted one tuft of healthy leaves the other day and I’ll watch out for any more when I do the clean-up.
I assume it was lack of water. The rosemary, the wallflowers and the cotoneaster growing right alongside are fine and will close up the gaps in a year or so.
I have to see the garden as evolving continually – it’s the only way I cope.
Our house has, quite literally, 360-degree views.
Sometimes I’m hard put to decide which prospect is best.
Clive’s favourite, a row of distant blue mountain peaks beyond the gulf of the olive grove, is actually my least favourite.
As I swim the length of the pool, I’m not sure which end holds more interest.
My point is this: we already had a lily, so why did I try to gild it?
We could have just had a lawn (doubtless not a very nice lawn in the hot summer) but somewhere to put deckchairs and for the dogs to play.
Why did I plant roses, lavender etc and why do I spend hours extracting thistles and bindweed?
Looking at the garden now, shining as it is after recent rain, I know why.
Standing among buddleia and lavender, I feel like a butterfly charmer.
They’re everywhere, alighting or taking wing, twirling, bouncing, dancing round my head.
The heavy honey scent of the buddleia must draw them although the lavender is just as popular.
One butterfly I couldn’t identify with certainty; it drove me crazy.
While most butterflies delight in fobbing you off with their drabber underside, this one was very reluctant to show it and of course it’s the only way to tell the exact species.
In the end I concluded it was a Silver-Washed Fritillary, the only fritillary to have streaks rather than blotches of a paler colour on its underside.
It’s a strong flier and often glides swiftly and high up, which must be why it led me such a dance.