Midsummer blooms, damsels and tigers

My favourite flowers for midsummer are out: climbing roses, whose blooms come in tight clusters; the airy, winged flowers of Gillenia Trifoliata; the pure white of Geranium phaeum 'alba'; and the perfumed mock orange whose scent hangs on the warm air during the day and wafts in to the house in the evening. Then there…

Take one jar . . . and create a nature display

Walks at this time of year are punctuated by frequent interruptions: stooping to collect hazelnuts in their fresh green casings, pausing to admire the berries in the hedgerows. A few treasures always make it home with us.   We rediscovered the idea of the nature table by displaying our finds in a glass jar; replacing…

Take one jar: an underwater world

Glass jars filled with pond water make a temporary home for our pond-dipped finds and provide a chance to view the pool's rarely glimpsed inhabitants up close. As well as the expected snails and water boatmen, the net turns up a diving beetle, a ferocious-looking dragonfly nymph, and a little red ball of a creature…

A host of hibernating harlequins

At this time of year the sun-warmed brick walls of the house become a magnet for harlequin ladybirds in search of a place to hibernate. The wooden window frames prove irresistible, and clusters of shiny red and black bodies begin to accumulate in large numbers. But left inside, the ladybirds are likely to suffer from…