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!
Today’s IAVOM presented multiple challenges. I cling to the preconception that vases may only be filled from things that had to be pruned or cut back anyway, which significantly reduces scope. Since we are in that odd dip between the Spring display going over and the Summer one getting into full swing, there was a surprisingly small range of things in need of cutting to choose from. I had nothing in the bright orange colour that I would have liked to team with the alchemilla and the corncockle (and I feel more than a little lazy for falling back on the alchemilla again, but it needed to be cut as Chief Engineer was complaining of wet legs after every trip down the path!) The corncockle was confounding, as what looks fulsome and colourful in the border proves to be a sorrowful thing with few blooms on the individual stems when cut. Still, here we are. Some foliage was needed and nothing big and striking was to be had… until I noticed that the artichoke leaves were blocking light from everything else in the border. Finding a receptacle was the next difficulty – a table lantern I’d made out of a vase stolen from an old workplace proved the ideal shape. The final problem was finding a background that worked… everywhere is so cluttered and higgledly piggeldy in our house that an expanse of plain empty space is nowhere to be found. I tried three different spots and I still think the shot taken in the chaotic pigsty of a kitchen looks best!
I was only able to garden for one day out of the three that comprised my weekend, making it imperative that I cram as much as possible into the Sunday. I think I gave a reasonable account of myself. Saturday was taken up with torrential and much needed rain. Sunday was overcast but warm and dry, so perfect for a good long stint of gardening. I did a lot of tying in, a huge amount of cutting back and a gratifying amount of harvesting, ably supported by Chief Engineer (also on cutting back duties) and the Under-Gardener (on sniffing and snoozing duties, with the occasional bout of enthusiastic tail-wagging). Sufficient pauses were taken to smell the roses.
It was scorching yesterday, so obviously I chose to collect and bag up a tonne of horse manure with a hangover. Today, blasts of very welcome heavy rain have kept me out of the garden so far, but I’m not complaining. I’m dallying over an extra coffee and browsing the gardens of all the other SOSers, who are really raising the bar with some fabulous photos. Check them out on Mr Propagator’s page, link below, and take a look at the participant guide, second link, if you fancy joining in yourself. Wishing everyone a decent sprinkling of rain with enough dry spells for a spot of gardening in between showers!
Today this little blog hit 1000 views since I started it, which isn’t bad really considering I only ever really intended to use it as a virtual garden diary. Having abandoned all social media apps, blogging on here has been a revelation, and I get far more out of engaging with other bloggers and peeking into their gardens than I ever did from scrolling through the anger of random strangers on Twitter. A heartfelt thanks to everyone who visits and to all the other bloggers who take the time to share their gardens and their thoughts. Cheers, everyone!