It loves me raking up leaves..
..with my new garden feature....
After a number of delays and several phonecalls it arrived really early this morning before I was even dressed. I flung trousers and a jacket over my PJ's and spent the next few hours positioning it and filling and levelling it and deciding whether or not to put the acer beside it, all the while drinking lots of coffee and having some outdoor breakfast.
I had a fun time and quite forgot I hadn't got dressed properly....
..by the score, if not the hundreds.
My friend in the next village phoned to tell me the huge buddleia was covered in fluttering painted lady butterflies so I jumped on the bus - had to run for it - and went along to look and wonder.
I also wonder what happened to them all in the torrential thundery rain which fell later in the day. Do they hide under the flowers? Do great heavy raindrops damage them?
I've been slowly answering the comments on this post.
At last the black pots are filling out even if the sweet peas are a bit slow (but deliciously scented)
Petunia Apple Blossom, lime nicotiana, white ammi majus, lobelia and bacopa and sadly I cannot remember the name of the sweet pea which is a pity as I would like to grow it again!
Tender mina lobata is making a striking contrast with geranium Rozanne in the big nut brown pot.
warm and humid here with rain forecast for the whole day which makes me feel a bit lethargic. Good for the garden if not for me!
The name of the dahlias grown from seed. I am looking for a magenta one really, and will give the rest away - lovely though they are. It's fun going out to the greenhouse every morning to see what has opened.
Being in nature takes me out of myself like nothing else. After a disturbed night (with nightmares) I walked around the early morning garden and looked in on the greenhouse and in no time at all left the horrors behind. Though there are horrors to be found in nature too of course as evidenced by the comments yesterday - best plants eaten, black spot on the favourite rose, a dead bird found under the table and slugs and maggots are hard to love!
Off to water all the pots...
The garden is getting wilder (by which I mean more dishevelled!) but that very state, I like to think, is encouraging more wildlife.
Today I found in one of the meadow areas for the first time caterpillars of the very beautiful Cinnabar moth.
The Cinnabar moth is not a rarity, and ragwort, it's favoured food is plentiful around here, but I have only seen one once. Perhaps my decision to pay more attention to the bitds and insects in my garden this year is paying off.
Have you spotted anything new to you around where you live?
I've borrowed the lovely title from Alys Fowler's article here.
I have left another small corner of the garden unmown and am loving it.
One of my plans for my summer (this post) is to pay more attention to the wildlife in my garden. A sound like an engine running, quietly, drew me to this rowan tree, sorbus sargentiana, in the front garden.
It is flowering like never before and every single cluster of flowers seems to have at least one bee on it! That must be hundreds and hundreds of bees.
Hello those of you who are still with me!
One new hardrive and a considerable amount of stress later I am so happy to be back here after a gap of wh a full week which made me aware of how much this daily blog means to me.
It is like a touchstone in my day, making me take stock of where I am at, and having like-minded and generously responsive people to share that with.
June days have been full of contrasts. There have been times when I could hardly see the loch..
and days that look just as you wish June to look.
How has your June gone so far? Are you designing and planning your summer?
I have got off to a healthy start with a breathing exercise which makes me feel great in the mornings.
..for kids at the local supermarket.
I'm posting another photograph of the flowers to show you the wee small scale... We don't have billowing clouds of cow parsley here but there is this diminutive form called pignut - very dainty and sweet - when we lived in Yorkshire and in Oxfordshire I loved big vases of cow parsley, but it's not abundant enough to pick here in Argyll.
My friend in the next village has a steep bank at the back of her house which is looking spectacular right now with rhododendrons, acers, rowans and a huge copper beech nearly 100 feet up.
There are 99 steep steps to the top and the head of a waterfall.
From the front garden she can watch, and hear. porpoise and dolphin.
I once visited the village of Naerum, a short train journey from Copenhagen to see the allotment gardens designed by C Th Sorensen. The way the oval shapes sat in the undulating site was delightful and I am waiting until my patch has been cleared and graded (it will slope towards the corner where the shed is) before I decide whether to make the meadow circular or oval. I know I'll know when I see it!
I am going to plant 150 or so wild dafodills (narcissus pseudonarcissus) and will collect seed from local wildflowers to grow in plugs and plant into the grass - first will be pignut (conopodium majus) which is looking pretty right now in the mini meadow in the front garden and buttercups from the road verges.
I am looking for low maintenance but I still want the wow factor....
I'm enjoying browsing these books by Christopher Lloyd and Pam Lewis though I am mindful that they both gardened in the south of England.
We also used the back garden as a drying greeen...
We planted a few birch trees. They were meant to be the white-barked 'Jaquemontii' but turned out to be the faster growing and taller native birch - however this did mean that they soon became strong enough to support what turned out to be my favourite thing in the garden - the hammock!
Above all I wanted a cutting patch. I was totally seduced by Sarah Raven's lovely book.
We removed the conifers which blocked the view, the slabs, a wreck of a shed and other junk, planted hedge to fill the large gaps and give us privacy from the houses on either side, mowed the rough grass, put up a shed and woodstore and a 6X8 greenhouse and started a cutting patch growing everything from seed...
Have you ever started a garden from scratch?
Can I ask if anyone has found the layout of the blog page changed and the size of the font reduced? Oddly it appears misaligned on my laptop but not on my tablet or phone, or when I am in 'edit' on the laptop. Weird, and annoying!
..of the back garden.
I'm thrilled that this photograph of the garden won photographer Andrea Jones 2nd place in the Garden Views section of the International Garden Photographer of the Year Award and appeared in this gorgeous book
The view was always fabulous but the garden when we bought the house did not inspire
I thought I would consider how it evolved as I start to redesign it...
I love doing something different each year with the large black pots.
This year it is going to be palest pastels, pretty and frothy... petunias, violas, nicotiana for some hieght, trailing lobelia and bacopa andpale sweet peas on canes painted white.
In this prolonged spell of lovely weather gardening has been such a pleasure. A few more days of it are forecast.
I hope it's nice where you are.
I watched a robin take a long bath in this shallow dish of water this morning. As well as bathing in it, birds drink from it, the swallows need it to make mud for their nests, it brings the sky down into the garden and reflects things in it. You can also tell at a glance if it's raining. It's an important addition to any garden however small. (I am scarifying the grass - it always looks worse before it looks better!)
When I am trying to make a decision I still find What would be simplest? my favourite helpful question but here is a good one from Gretchen Rubin -
What is the value of what I'm going to get if I...........?
After yesterday's chocolate fun I worked off some calories today as conditions were perfect for gardening and there is a lot to be done here.
I sowed, pricked out, transplanted, weeded, tied in, edged, mulched, watered, pruned, deadheaded and planned some big changes and between times I sat on the porch in the beautiful sunshine and listened to Private Passions.
By the time I had dinner, also on the porch, the light had changed, slanting across the garden catching the about-to-flower cornus.
I hope you had a sunny Sunday
The swallows have arrived!
Sunny and dry for the first grass cut of the year - front, back and the path to the shore, deciding which bits to let grow into mini-meadows (you can change the shape a little each year which I like to do), edging and general tidying, getting tid of some rubbish, some minor repairs - a very satisfying gardening day.
Tonight a heavy shower to refresh it all.
You can see the trees which screen my view of the felling in the forest, and clematis Freda is doing it's decorative thing around the study window...
I hope you've had a satisfying day, whatever you have been doing.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)