An unusual farm crop
An unusual alien plant + more bears

Animals and plants back at the lake

Clematisversailles Back in Pennsylvania after a hectic trip – the last port of call was my mother’s where I planted a container with one of Raymond Evison’s new patio clematis, ‘Versailles’. She tells me it’s already been admired by her neighbours.

And what a treat, Continental have dramatically upgraded their in-flight entertainment. The screens in the back of each seat are larger, as well as TV shows and music there’s 250 movies from which to choose, from All About Eve to Batman Begins – though quite why each of the various language versions of Batman Begins is subtitled in Hebrew is something of a mystery. I was delighted to watch American Graffiti and Gangs of New York – but less pleased when the crew gave my vegetarian meal to someone else and left me with nothing.

Then, as we drove along the quiet road towards our driveway, a big black bear crossed over and as we slowed to watch lumbered along through the woods, keeping pace with us 20-30 yards away. And he was big.

The wild kalmias in the woods are doing their delightful stuff, and in the garden everything has grown like mad. Some plants in bud when I left, like tree peony, are over – well, it has been hot - the dwarf, yellow-variegated pinellia, Pinellia tripartita 'Dragon Tails', from Dan Heims, is in flower and looks great with Phlox ‘Happy Traveller’ from Don Jacobs overhanging. The raspberry coral flowers look superb over the silver foliage of Heuchera ‘Rave On’ - that's a great plant, another from Dan Heims. The blue columbines falling into the blue-black flowers of Ellen Hornig’s Centaurea ‘Black Widow’. The white Dicentra spectabilis is still flowering and now the double pink Lychnis ‘Jenny’, from Blooms is filling out nicely alongside.

Raccoon500 And, at seven this morning,  a raccoon decided to follow the bears’ example and hit the bird feeders. He/she emptied the hummingbird feeder of its sugar water, then tried to get into the finches’ thistle feeder. Having failed, there was a scramble down through the rhododendron and away. I know the picture looks a little like a rather old-fashioned taxidermy display – you can see the bear climbing up at the same spot here. And then the cats caught a mouse outside our bedroom.