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!
Flaming June isn’t doing a huge amount of flaming so far: we’ve had a fair run of reasonable weather but a cold wind seems to be taking the warmth out of the inconsistent sun and also is drying everything out. As usual, some things are performing better than ever and some are disappointingly reluctant, with no rhyme or reason to it. No matter: I love the garden anyway and I love the process. I am managing a good few hours of gardening in the evenings after work at the moment, with the long light evenings: I savour every moment and feel the benefit in mind and body.
Delphinium casualties brought about by high winds meant immediate action was needed with the secateurs, which spurred me on to tame the worst excesses of the alchemilla mollis. I don’t especially care for the centaurea montana because I find its prolific, thuggish self-seeding irritating and I find the whole plant quite coarse, but I let it carry on because the bees love it. The stems without opened buds proved to be useful foliage filler for this vase, which has opened up new options for me in keeping it under control in the borders and has left me more kindly predisposed to it! It does wilt rather quickly once cut, but searing it in boiling for a little longer next time will probably help with that, as it does for most things. This year most of the nigella opening is white and I seem to recall an accident with a dropped packet of N. “African Bride’ so that might be why! No matter, it is lovely in drifts everywhere about the garden and encourages me to use more white in my planting, as it seems to ‘lift’ everything, adding a brightening aspect as it does here in this vase… well, jug. I love blue and white enamel ware because I am clumsy and our quarry-tiled floor and granite work surfaces are very unforgiving when I drop things. The enamel ware dents and chips but does not shatter!
Just over a fortnight off work flew past in a heartbeat, with half of it spent lazing in foreign sunshine and the later half spent gardening and socialising with friends old and new in the less reliable British weather. It was glorious to spend a whole week gardening relentlessly and I became so focused on getting everything done that I failed to take many photos. Those I did take were snapped during the grey, overcast hours and don’t quite show the colours to their best advantage, but such is life. It was one of those weeks when I was more interested in doing the work and sitting back to admire it and soak it all in than I was in looking at it through a phone screen and recording it, and I’m ok with that. I binned all social media some time ago and I am keen to keep screen time to a minimum in the interests of seeing more of real life. So, here are a few pics from the past fortnight… not very good ones, but they give a flavour of how things have been looking. Everything changes so quickly in the garden at this time of year, highlighting to me how important it is to experience it all directly, with all senses, and if that is at the cost of failing to capture it for posterity, well, that is a cost worth paying. No captions for this post either: let’s just enjoy the view. Questions and comments are very welcome, though!
We went away for a week and came back to an explosion of colour in the garden. We’ve had a further week off at home, more or less all of which has been spent working in the garden, and I think it’s paid off – I’m happier with it than I’ve ever been and I almost feel on top of all the jobs! Here are six pics taken at various points through the past week – I intend to do a fuller round up on Sunday, if weather and time permit.