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.
..flowers for cutting is one of my greatest pleasures. Having a garden just big enough to be able to pick from it without leaving a great gap is a joy. Currently I have daffodil Thalia, tulip Purissima, forget me nots and blue camassias and I've had several small arrangements without spoiling the effect in the garden.
I happened to move a small lamp and find the way it lights the flowers is quite dramatic...
..in the greenhouse.
The New Zealand seeds are an orange cosmos.
When as often happens, I have so many things to do I don't know where to start I sometimes list them all and do just 10 minutes on each. This was my list for today in the garden.
transplant forget me nots
plant out foxgloves
set up the propagator
sow seeds of ox eye daisies
clean up greenhouse
That took an hour by which time I felt I'd made a surprising amount of progress on all fronts and knew what I wanted to concentrate on most. It was really springlike and a chaffinch sang his little heart out all the time I was working.
I'm looking forward to the gardening season again.
.. flowers for cutting..
Even tiny pickings are lovely. I had to creep into corners to find these little gems.
The dainty blossom from prunus 'Kojo-no-mai 'doesn't provide much for picking but if the weather is poor and I feel I am not seeing much of it's short lived blossoms I sometimes pick a tiny bit to put in a jar on the bedside table.
The bold and handsome foliage of viburnum 'Davidii' is uselful all year - the pink buds are followed by white flowers then blue berries and a spray looks very fine in a jar on its own.
I have daffodils for quite a long time. Topolino and Tete A Tete, then February Gold, then Jenny, then Thalia (still to come) with some others I don't know the names of which were here when I came.
A simple pleasure.
I thought you might like to see the stunning garden Jennie created for a wedding on the first of September. These two photographs were taken in July and she managed to keep them looking this good for a further six weeks.
These were for either side of the entrance to the garden.
There were several troughs like this one.
The double border consisted of agapanthus, hakonechloa, white cosmos, and white and lime green nicotiana (very scented in the evening when there were also lots of fairy lights).
There were hay bales with rugs, and a marquee this side of the arch, and the weather on the day though not sunny was dry and warm.
My photos don't really do it justice!
A close up of the pretty mix (matching the bridesmaids' dresses). Smallish petunias, lobelia, helichrysum and the confetti-like euphorbia which although tricky and slow to start is still looking effective in my own garden..
I am amazed at how green the grass has stayed in the heatwave.
I watered it every few days when the weather first turned hot (before Open Days) but not since. I can only suppose that all the early season lawn care - scarifying, feeding and weeding - got it into really good condition and that has seen it through, and in the last couple of weeks we have had the odd rainy day. Just enough to keep it fresh.
Short blog break coming up (to keep me fresh too).
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)