I haven’t had time to participate in Cathy’s lovely IAVOM for weeks, so it’s nice to be back with a blast of colour. I couldn’t quite decide which of these was the better photo, so have added both. I suppose the first is slightly better, if only because it doesn’t include a view of the washing on the line like the second one does!
Here we have a collection of the bright jewel colours I was aiming for with this year’s dahlia re-stocking. They have been slow to get going from the tubers that arrived earlier this year but they are finally starting to perform as I had hoped. I’d have liked more orange to add into the mix, but these are very pleasing, and Waltzing Matilda in the centre is my favourite – such a complex blend of colours, she is a real dazzler. the asters are called ‘Helen Picton’ and I love their rich purple, which makes a nice change from the paler asters that are more commonly seen. I was really stuck for foliage so ended up adding some paeony leaves, which seem to have held their form and colour very late into the year this year, though perhaps I am misremembering their previous performances.
This peculiar vase is a vintage piece I picked up in our local tip shop. It has a funny wire frog inside to hold the flowers and it is the very devil to work with.
I am frazzled and so is the garden. There is much to be done, yet no energy or motivation to do it, and the plants are similarly exhausted after so much heat and so little rain – now is not the time to be upping and moving the gardener or the plants. So, we tinker around the edges, and deadhead when we can be bothered, and wring our hands at the outbreak of red spider mite that threatens the new dahlias. And we wait, for a better state of mind. And the rain comes at last, in the night, and we are grateful. This too shall pass.
Happy Saturday to gardeners and readers around the world and a special thank you to new followers – it’s so nice that people are interested in following what we’re up to in the garden, and I can only apologise for not posting much recently. The hot weather makes me lazy and one must bear the welfare of both gardener and plants in mind… a heatwave is no time to be digging, or moving plants around, or trying to raise seedlings. So mostly we have been sitting in the shade and enjoying the garden as inhabitants not as caretakers: it makes a pleasant change, to be honest. We’ve also been sharing it with others by making time for some outdoor dining and entertaining and that feels like what it’s meant for – sharing the results of our hard work (both in terms of environment and produce) really makes it all feel worthwhile and special. So – further thanks to everyone who visits and shows appreciation and encouragement. All too often – and I think most gardeners will share a knowing smile at this – when someone comes to view the garden, we say “oh it’s not quite at its best at the moment”, or “oh if you’d only been here last week, you’d have seen…”. We can always find fault, there’s always something we are not quite satisfied with. Today I did my little walkaround looking for things that are thriving despite the very challenging conditions and there were a surprisingly large number. Yes, some things are struggling, but the overall picture remains pleasing. There’s a lesson for life in the garden, as usual.
Back after a little break… the garden is running away with me a bit, as it tends to do at this time of year, but this weekend I’ve rediscovered my garden mojo and am getting back into the swing of things.
Head over to The Propagator’s page to see what everyone else is up to with their Sixes on Saturday: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2022/07/30/six-on-saturday-30-07-2022/. Wishing all the SoSers and indeed all readers and gardeners around the world a fabulous weekend (and, for anyone in the same position as me, fingers crossed it stays dry all weekend then rains heavily during the week!)
Every year, there comes a point at which the garden overwhelms me. It goes so crazy, and it seems so big, and so rampant, and so much a living thing with its own drive and appetites that I just can’t keep up… and I admit I almost lose heart a bit, or surrender to it, or leave it to its own devices, or something. I certainly lose interest in writing about it, or trying to articulate my thoughts about it… if I have a spare second its spent watering, or deadheading, or harvesting, or staking something I didn’t stake soon enough and that is now flopping over, or chopping something back so that it doesn’t completely engulf its neighbour… all this to say, I haven’t blogged for a while because I’ve been drowning in garden a little bit (plus catching up with life, which has been greatly missed, but does distract one somewhat…)
So here are a few pics, taken over the past few weeks with the intention of blogging each time but having never quite gotten around to it. No narrative, just dive into the overgrown blowsy craziness. I have a full weekend of gardening ahead this coming weekend (plus a glamorous assistant joining me!) and I hope to document the work that gets done and share a few pics at some point in the weekend. I have big long term plans… and a very exciting greenhouse melon to show you all. It almost makes up for the carrot fly, and the pea moth, and the cabbage whites, and the mole damage…
As I type, dusk is settling and the evening is heady with the perfume of brugmansia, night scented stock and trachleospermum. The air is very still. I can just hear the stream at the bottom of the garden above the ceaseless rumble of traffic driving too fast on the main road at the front of the house. And above all of that I can hear the garden saying “Oh you’re back! Nice of you to join us. Look what we’ve been up to while you’ve been distracted… isn’t it fabulous?” And I have to agree, yes, yes, it is. Like life, it is messy and it is imperfect and I can find a million things wrong with it but yes, it is still fabulous. And I love it.
Just creeping into the final few hours on Monday so still just about qualifying… continuing with my insistence on only creating arrangements from things that had to be cut anyway, and persisting with my over-reliance on alchemilla (there’s so much of it! And it goes with everything and looks so good in a vase!) The evening primrose needed to be trimmed a bit to stop it from shading a dahlia; the penstemon (yes him again) keeps flopping over the path; the seedheads on the oriental poppy needed to be cleared, and the wild marjoram is… well… everywhere. I think they look rather good together. Shame my kitchen is still such a mess, but I always say that anyone with a tidy kitchen isn’t spending enough time in the garden!
Saturday again already and it’s a scorcher. The Under-Gardener and I have had to retreat to the shade, we’ll make use of the light evenings and garden later into the evening instead, so I’m sitting with a cold drink and compiling my SoS. Pop over to The Propagator’s page https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2022/07/09/six-on-saturday-09-07-2022/ to have a look at what he and all the other SoSers are doing this weekend. Have a great weekend everyone!
Spoilt for choice as to what to share this week, the hot weather is bringing the high summer plants along at last. New things are opening up daily and there are some nice flashes of colour. As usual, there are plenty of things I’d like to improve, but on the whole I’m pretty happy with how things are looking. It will always be a work in progress.
I know I shouldn’t complain about the rain when some places are desperately in need of it, but it’s very frustrating to have things to do and to have rain stop play. I am listless today and nothing satisfies. A run of largely dull wet days has held the high summer flowers back a little, everything is too wet to work and I am grumpy. Tomorrow is meant to be better, I think, so perhaps that will cheer me up, but the forecasts seem so unreliable these days that I might just as well consult the entrails. Enough whining from me: I hope everyone else is in a better mood and I wish everyone enough rain, mixed in with enough good weather for gardening, plus the time and energy to do it!
In haste from me once again – my contribution to IAVOM, just squeezing in at the tail end of the day. Once again the necessity of deadheading made my choice for me, and two weather-damaged blooms from a nameless cheap floribunda rose got paired with some heavenly-smelling trachleospermum for a chintzy mini arrangement in a wholly impractical milk jug. I have a weakness for vintage china, the chintzier and kitschier the better, and if it’s got a crinoline lady in an implausible English Country Garden on it, so much the better as far as I’m concerned. My Welsh dresser fairly groans with this particular motif of Dolly Varden in her yellow crinoline (husband groans too, every time another piece of china makes it into the house). The rose – well, barely scented, makes a mess of fallen petals, gets terrible black spot… but flowers its heart out all season, in big blowsy sprays of a rich pinky-red, so I can’t help but love it. It has an almost velvety quality. It was cheap as chips in B&Q and I don’t think I’d be without it now. The trachleospermum sprawls over an East-facing fence and threatens to engulf our patio and the neighbours’. I am inclined to let it.
Good morning fellow gardeners around the world! Thanks as always to Mr P for hosting. Here are my six, in haste, as I try to organise myself to go to a wedding whilst gritting my teeth through chronic pain. I would rather be in the garden but then that is my default setting! I’m sure I’ll have a fabulous time once I get there. And Sunday is earmarked for gardening, pain notwithstanding!