A Butterfly Summer

I have never seen so many butterflies at once, and so many different ones on a single day as this year. Here is a selection of some I managed to snap with my phone last week.

Map (Summer brood)

Meadow Browns

Painted Lady (rather weather-beaten, poor thing!)

Essex Skipper

Queen of Spain Fritillary

And the same with a Cabbage White

Lesser Marbled Fritillary

Marbled White

And there were a couple more I couldn’t get a snapshot of, including the elusive Old World Swallowtail. 😃

What is flying in your garden today?


In a Vase on Monday: Sommersonne

I thought I’d go for a minimalist vase today. But something went wrong on the way around the garden with my bucket…. 😂


And after a little rearranging replonking it looked like this…


The vase is named for the lovely Heliopsis scabra ‘Sommersonne’.

Another highlight is the Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’.

In the next photo a close-up of the amazing Sanguisorba obtusa, Scabiosa perfecta, and the blue Campanula lactiflora ‘Prichard’s Variety’, which has produced even more flowers than I could have wished for since early June. I am very impressed with it.

Photographed from above, you can get a pretty good idea of what is flowering in my garden at the moment! 😉

And indoors on the sideboard you can see the tall Briza better.

I used my large Portmeirion vase with the tree of life that my sister gave me some years ago. 😃

So, many thanks as usual to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this Monday meme. 🤗

Have a great week, and Happy Gardening!




In a Vase on Monday: From the Edge of the Meadow

There are areas in the garden that don’t get mown, including up against the fence….

Or this lovely slope next to the garage…

But the idea of flattening this ‘meadow’ if I walk through has put me off picking any flowers…. until now, as there are some Queen Ann’s Lace flowers and some moon daisies open near the edges! So on a perfect summer’s day (Sunday) I selected a mix of what I could reach, and a few other things from the edges of the garden. 😃

Some of the flowers are: Moon daisies, Fleabane, Harebells, Red and Yellow Clovers, St John’s Wort, Knapweed, Yarrow, Bedstraw and Bugle.


I love finding a bit of pink yarrow, which occasionally turns up amongst the white…

The St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is actually from my Herb Bed, but we do have some flowering around the garden too. I hope to find enough to pick and dry for tea in winter. 😃

Is anything growing wild in your gardens this week? 😉

I am participating in ‘In a Vase on Monday’, hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. Why not visit her blog to see other vases from far and wide… 😃

Happy gardening!

Summer Grasses

When planning my flower beds in this garden I wanted grasses. Lots of them. Ones that would sway in the wind, that would remain standing until late winter, that would provide cover for birds etc, and for the long flower bed I call The ‘Edge I wanted grasses that would grow tall enough to create the effect of a semi-hedge.  Miscanthus were of course on the list, but they take so long to reach any noticeable height and do not start flowering until August.

One that I chose for early flowering is Blue Oats Grass (Helictotrichon sempervivens ‘Saphirsprudel’). By mid-May it was about 60 cm tall and in flower. And here it is May 23rd…

… And at its full height (about 1.3m) June 1st…

Another early flowering grass is Stipa gigantea. Such a beautiful grass! It grew at roughly the same pace as the Oats Grass (but is somewhat taller at about 2 metres) and catches the light so well. Early evening light especially. 😃

In the Moon Bed I have Stipa capillata, which hasn’t made much impact yet but starts flowering in early June…

And this grass, Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Schottland’, which I think will have to be moved, as it has formed a very large clump already. It also started flowering at the end of May…

In various flower beds I have Stipa tenuissima, best planted in a windy position. (Which means almost every space in my garden! ) It is such a graceful grass.

It looks a bit drab until May, when it starts to produce fresh green, and the lovely seeds.

Another relatively early flowering grass is Calamagrostis. In my Butterfly Bed it is already taller than me. In more exposed beds it is only just starting to flower. This remains upright until mid winter, and provides some warm golden highlights in autumn.

And this year I have some small Briza.

Not sure if they are perennial, but hope they will seed around anyway. Probably the prettiest seedhead, but so hard to photograph!

Do you grow an ornamental grass that fills out early on in the year? Do share!

Thanks for reading, and happy gardening!

Strawberry Season and a Vegan Sponge Flan

My strawberry plants are finally slowing down at last after a bumper season – that was a pleasant surprise, as I had never grown strawberries before and the slugs kindly left them alone (mostly). 😃

Six little plants bought from my local supermarket last year have produced several kilos of delicious fruit.

In addition, the wild strawberries in my Herb Bed have also produced more fruit  than ever before. (The smell is heavenly!) We have been eating both the cultivated and wild fruit fresh every day, and have had strawberry ice cream and strawberry flan too. And (since strawberry season as usual coincided with some very hot weather!) several vacuum-sealed bags are in the freezer awaiting cooler weather for making jam.


I am sharing my sponge flan recipe with you because it is not only extremely quick and simple to make, it is also perfectly ‘spongy’ and vegan too!

I think the original was on a supermarket website, but here is my version:

Vegan Sponge Flan

  • 225g (1 4/5 cups) plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 250 ml (1 cup) plant- based milk such as soya or almond
  • 6 tbsps neutral tasting vegetable oil such as rapeseed or corn oil
  • 125 to 150g (about 2/3 cups) sugar (depending how sweet the fruit topping will be)
  • an optional dash of vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients with a food mixer. Pour into a greased and floured sponge flan tin. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for about 20-25 minutes.  Turn out when cool and decorate with fresh strawberries or fruit of your choice. I also added a clear glaze – a ready made mix based on cornflour (e.g. Dr Oetker’s). 😃

Hope you are enjoying strawberry season too. What’s your favourite way to eat strawberries?


In a Vase on Monday: Summer Whimsy

With a hot summer weekend behind us I am enjoying a cool breeze this evening – all the windows have been thrown open to let some cool air circulate. Ahh, lovely! My vase today is also airy, with the aptly named Gaura ‘Cool Breeze’ floating above the arrangement, along with the Calamagrostis.


I actually started off with a sprig of Physocarpus. This is a shrub I only discovered last year and I am very impressed. I think this one is ‘Lady in Red’, and she really is a star. Not for the flowers (which are also pretty) but for the deep red foliage which lights up the ‘Edge border for most of the year. Then I added spikes of Heuchera flowers, Linaria, Calamagrostis and Verbena bonariensis.

At the base, some perennial sweet peas in pink and purple, and some matching Scabiosa. Oh, and a bit of pink Lychnis. I had forgotten how much I love that vivid deep pink. Hope it produces some seedlings this year!

The sweet peas don’t smell, but they do flower for a long time in our hot summers and cover the obelisks intended for clematis – I do have some clematis, but it struggles a bit here.

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme. Do visit her and see the other vases this Monday from gardens across the globe!

Happy Summer!