This is always a melancholy day I find, with the feeling that the daylight diminishes from here on. But one has to remember that the summer, as such, is still to come and the weatherman pointed out this evening that the sunset remains at the same time (about 21:20 round here) for the coming days. It’s the sunrise that gets later than 04:47 and I don’t think that’s going to bother me for a while.
On my garden tour yesterday I found these, nestling among the hardy geraniums.
The wild bunch
They are tiny, and a little sharp but hugely full of flavour and perfume once you’ve added a little sugar.
I intended to act like a proper gardener and work through today’s long evening, getting on with pricking out the Wallflowers.
However I’ve wimped out as it’s actually not very warm out there, fine if you’re moving around but not very conducive to standing still. I have 80 little pots ready, but having filled 40 of them the tray of seedlings looks hardly touched. I am aiming for a massed effect, so maybe it will have to be 120 – at least. But then where do I find ‘a corner of the garden’ to grow them on in the autumn before planting them in their final positions?
I have been fairly busy with churchwardenly duties this week, but we spent a very pleasant day yesterday in the Fulham garden of some good friends. It was a shady courtyard with flagstones and sweetly aromatic roses and luminous white foxgloves. I was envious of their handsome Hostas – ‘Halcyon’ I should think – for the most part untroubled by the molluscs. It’s tempting to try again.
But for much of the week I have only had time for a quick inspection of our own patch, pulling up a few weeds as I go. Today I re-visited the Pyracanthus and trimmed back this year’s growth, hopefully to avoid another titanic struggle next year, and also hoping that the flowers will come on the old stems, not just the previous year’s growth. It has put on a great show this year.
The little Gazanias are coming along, and they look nice with the refreshed Pulmonaria under the kitchen window.
In the tricky dry shade where this year’s gardening began the Alchemilla Mollis is great. People say it’s rather liable to spread everywhere, but I don’t mind if it lights up that corner like this (with its hardy geranium friend).
There will soon be pricking out to do, now that the Wallflowers have germinated.
And there will be an impressive gathering of Roses, just at nose height, outside the front door before long.
A bit of a cheat today – last week we had an overnight stay in West Sussex which included a visit to Arundel Castle gardens. Possibly the perfect time to go in order to see an English garden reaching its peak as the summer gets underway. Even the weather was right – warm but not too hot and lots of sun and blue sky overhead. It was gratifying to recognise a few plants from our own plot in such elevated company.
The honeysuckle on the far pergola is another plant with which I have a somewhat ambivalent relationship. Who doesn’t love the scent drifting across the lawn on a summer’s evening? But it’s rampant and there have been remarks about the need to bend double to reach the back of the garden where shreddings are dumped etc.
So today it was time to give it a haircut, notwithstanding it will soon be in flower; there’s most of it still remaining and enough is as good as a feast, as they say. I decided to start from the back as there was a real tangle of dead wood under this year’s fresh growth. I even came over all Health and Safety and put on some protective goggles because it didn’t seem worth losing an eye for and the dry twigs were shooting in all directions.
I quite like the way it sweeps over the top into the next border so I left that, but it’s overall much lighter. And then it was possible to tidy up the shape of the privet balls which are supposed to flank the entrance to what lies beyond.
The only lilies I have are in a big pot, and they have made a good start this season – I’m not sure where the lily beetles are which normally wreak such havoc on the leaves. Probably they’re just biding their time.
It’s funny how, at least in the case of my garden, you wait for weeks for things to get going and the next thing you know you are busy restraining and cutting back. I’ve had to pull up more Geraniums to give the Hemerocalis I split and transplanted some room to breathe and establish themselves. And cut back the Cotinus which was beginning to bully the adjacent Rose.
I’ve also had to do some invisible weeding – grubbing up those young weeds which had stealthily grown under the Pittisporum where I’d dragged out all that ivy in the early Spring. Just because you can’t see them, there’s no point leaving them there to make all kinds of trouble later on.
The Salix is looking just lovely –
and I finally worked out why. Up until this year there has been a Stipa-type grass planted in front of it. Being past its best the grass was taken out when we had the gravel garden re-done. Now you can see the Salix in all its glory.
Behind it the Rosa Glauca which was dug up and moved a couple of years ago has settled in and decided to present itself somewhat in the form of a ballerina. Maybe it’s just me.
Ballerina – or Flamingo?
The Psilostemon and Heuchera combo is still looking grand too. With some fresh Crocosmia leaves in the background, Almost like it was meant to be.
Yesterday evening there was a fundraising garden quiz at church, and I came away with a packet of Chrysanthemum ‘Tricolour Single Mixed’. A bit late for planting, but it’s only just June, and if I can get them going to give some colour later on until the frosts come, I shall call that a result. A jolly evening, additions to the sum of knowledge, free seeds and £400-odd raised for the building development fund – what’s not to like?
At last an actual sunny and nearly warm day today, with a hint of balmy summer evenings to come. But after a long-ish day in London yesterday I wasn’t in the mood to throw myself into major garden tasks, so I have just been pottering about among the lushness. Very pleasant it was too.
I’m puzzled as to why the begonia tubers left behind in the bag in the kitchen have sprouted more enthusiastically than those I planted. It’s warmth I suppose, because it can’t be soil or water.
Anyway, they are all out there now, so I shall hope for the best and for more seasonal weather.
Otherwise, I have tied in the vine and the hop on the pergola which were drooping and patting me on the head as I walked by. Also as advised on Gardeners’ World last week I planted biennial seeds – Foxgloves and Wallflowers. The garden centre had sold out of Honesty so there must have been a run on them. I’ll have to try elsewhere.
I’d like to have a mass of Wallflowers if possible. There were 400 seeds in the packet, allegedly, so that should be enough to make an impact.