Garden Macro Photography: May 2018

It's not all about the flowers!

I'm so very happy that May has finally brought spring into full swing! Our flowers and shrubs are growing properly again, there's wildlife everywhere, and the sun even comes out occasionally! This is my favourite season - it's not too hot nor too cold, and I eagerly await the return of all of my favourite 'wild friends'! This is a rather long post, but mostly photos with a little text. As always, you can click or tap the photos to enlarge them.

Back Garden

As you know, we have a new pond. You may also remember we had a rather lethargic frog visit, and then die, in the pond. After that sad day, I really wasn't expecting much to happen until next year. After all, we are past the breeding season now. Well, a little over a month after finishing the pond, we spotted a visitor! That's her (I think it's a female) in the main photo! I spent ten minutes trying to get that photo! She just wouldn't stop moving around, and when she did stay still she moved away as soon as I got close! When we first saw her, we thought she was perhaps just having a mooch around, to see whether this was a place she could call home. Well, a week on and she's still here! But wait! There's more!

(Not a macro photo)

She's been joined by a male! How fantastic is that?! The male is hiding between the plant pots and the pond liner! We've not seen (or heard) any froggy lovin' yet, and I doubt we will until January, but it will be so exciting! (Argh! As I was typing that there was a flurry of furious activity in the pond - but I was too far away to see what was happening! Through my binoculars, it looked as though one frog was on top of the other! I rushed to the pond to see, but they dispersed as I got close!) I'm amazed at how quickly they've moved in, especially given that there aren't any other wildlife-friendly ponds nearby.

The female frog from a different angle

We also have some creatures (larvae or nymphs of some description I think) swimming in the pond. In the centre of the photo below, you can see their shadows.

If you look very carefully at the two following photos (you'll need to enlarge them, and probably zoom in, for this!) you can see tiny, light grey 'mushroom' shaped things. These are them! Capturing them was purely accidental, as I'd tried and couldn't focus on them as they're so tiny. It's a very happy accident!

The water lilly has started to grow, and is now not far from the surface of the water. I think it will be another couple of weeks before it gets there.

The flowers around the pond are coming on nicely too.

Geum coccineum 'Cooky'

Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve'

Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve'


Rudbeckia fulgida deamii 'Deam's coneflower'

Erigeron 'Pink Jewel'

Polemonium caeruleum 'Jacob's ladder'

The mint, which is in a container near the pond, has sprung up rapidly (as they do!)

A little further from the pond, the rhododendron has started to bloom.

Under the rhododendron, we have a lilac bluebell growing.

Next to the rhododendron, we have a juniper bush. The birds love this, as its spiky leaves grow close to the ground. This gives the birds a safe place to eat, as the neighbourhood cats can't get to them.

The primroses are doing well. So well, in fact, that I've had to dig them up and divide them. I got four plants out of most of the single plants! It's not the best time of year to do this, but if I hadn't then we'd have no flowers from them!

A polyanthus, part of the primula family
 We have also got a small sycamore tree growing right at the back of our garden. It's actually been there for a while, but was completely overshadowed by an overgrown neighbouring privet. When that was removed (which I was not happy about!) the sycamore grew a little, but I had to cut it right back as it was a bit sickly. That has helped, as it's growing as vigorously as these trees do. In several years, it will be big enough for the bids to use and will provide a little shade of this area of the garden. (If you enlarge the photo, and zoom in, you can see tiny white specs on the main veins. I liken them to cars on a road. I've no idea what they are though!)

A sycamore leaf

One last thing I saw in our back garden was this large white butterfly having a snooze out of the sun. It's resting on an old toaster we've put outside, which we haven't had chance to take to the local recycling centre yet! Sadly, it's not the butterfly which is attached to the wall, as that one has not emerged from its chrysalis yet.

Front Garden

There's a lot going on in the front garden too! We have lots of bluebells! They're the Spanish variety (aside from one unexpected hybrid) sadly, but I'm still happy we have them!

The azalea has finally worked out how to grow upright before it spreads, so we should have a good ground covering plant in a few years.

We have some alliums growing now too. I forget which species they are. I planted the bulbs a couple of years ago, and only a handful grew. This year though they're popping up everywhere!

Our giant irises are back:

The dwarf rhododendron has almost finished flowering. It's an odd plant, as it flowers really well, but incredibly briefly. The flowers last around three or so weeks, from bud to dying. Still, they cover the plant so it's a nice display.

The lupin is doing really well this year! Last year, it got attacked by the sparrows and suffered heavily as a result. This year they seem to be leaving it alone, and it's quite large now. I'm looking forward to seeing it flower properly for the first time.

The alyssum is flowering now, which is a few weeks early. It's only a weak showing though, and I think I might transplant it out of the container and into the garden, to cover a large bare patch. That will give it room to grow and hopefully better conditions.

Alyssum 'Carpet of snow'

We've got a lot of insects in the garden too. Most of them are too small and fast for me to get a photo of, but some I just about managed. We've had a small colony of green bottles in one part of the garden, and I spent ten minutes chasing them around trying to capture a photo as they landed!

We've had a few solitary bees. This isn't a great photo, but it wouldn't stop moving and wasn't exactly happy to pose for me. We get these bees on the cotoneaster all the time and they're usually so placid, but this grumpy little bugger was quite aggressive, so I backed away and left it to it!

Finally we have this little beauty! I've found this tricky to identify, as I couldn't get a look at its face. It has a stripey wasp abdomen, and a similar overall size, but has brown legs and antenna. If there are any experts reading this, I'd love to know what exactly it is!

 That's all for this month. I hope you've enjoyed seeing how alive our garden is now that it's spring!

You can see more of my macro photography here!

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