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Hoverflies on Hogweed

Friday, 18th July 2003, West Yorkshire

hogweedI've had my eye on this elegant hogweed by the path near the pond for a few days - not to pull it up as a weed but to draw it: it's slender and more graceful in its branching than the hulking great hogweeds that have become established at the wilder end of the pond. Its branching is more like that of the window of a gothic chapel than the roof supports of a major Victorian railway station.

It's smaller because I cut back this corner a few weeks ago.

hoverflySome of its umbels are just beginning to set seed but most are still in flower (the umbels on the larger hogweeds at the other end of the pond have all gone to seed).

hoverflyHoverflies of two species visit the flowers.

Broad Beans

broad beanThe broad beans were still seedlings under a garden fleece eight weeks ago; this week they're four feet tall and covered with pods. I pinched out all the tops when blackfly (black aphids) began to appear about three weeks ago.

We've had two boilings off them this week. In previous years I've tended to leave picking them until the pods are large with knobbly beans showing through but this means that the beans are tough-skinned. There are lots of pods to keep us going, and there are still some new flowers appearing, so this year we're going to go for smaller but more tender beans. We pick them when the pod is just beginning to swell.

The wine cork on the cane is there to prevent you getting poked in the eye when you're bending over picking the beans. As I've mentioned before, this summer we've got through enough wine to put corks on the end of almost every cane in the garden!

Drawing Withdrawal Symptoms

It's been a great week for getting all sorts of things done but, come Friday evening, I feel SO frustrated because I have done practically nothing in the way of drawing. That's what I trained for, that's what I want to do . . . and that's what I seem to spend less and less time doing.

With the week out of the way there's just time to do these two sketches in the garden. Now that feels better, doesn't it? next page

Richard Bell