A Year‘s Growth

While sifting through old photos on the computer last night I realised I had just photographed my flower beds at the same angles as precisely one year ago. What a shock! The Sunshine Bed was newly planted in Spring 2019. This photo was June 13th 2019…

And this is a year and a few days later!

 

The same goes for the Butterfly Bed, here in June 2019…

And today, with giant Geraniums, awesome Artemisia, big Buddleia, amazing Alchemilla and ‘we-want-to-rule-the-world’ Euphorbia….

And then there is the Herb Bed, here in June 2019…

And in June 2020, despite suffering from mice and vole attacks!

(The Stipa tenuissima were the perfect choice for this windy spot and have grown really well.)

So beware when planting a new bed that you don‘t overcrowd it. I am already seeing my latest flower bed fill out and am avoiding the temptation to fill any gaps, as I know what could happen in a year!

Oval Bed June 2020

(The wood chippings as mulch are fantastic and have allowed the plants to get a good start despite the hot weather we had shortly after planting.)

Have you seen a lot of new growth this growing season? What has really taken off in your garden this summer?

 

Scentsations

It starts in March, February if you are lucky. You are walking along the edge of woods in a bare and frosty landscape and suddenly… WHAM. A sweet floral perfume awakens your olfactory senses for the first time this year and the only flower in sight is a clump of Hepaticas. Hepaticas don’t smell of anything though, do they? You stick your nose in one and inhale. Nothing. But moments later another waft. It is magical and transitory.

Next the violets. I love them and hate them because I may smell the first one for a brief moment and then cannot detect a hint of the sweet violet perfume again. Apparently a trick our noses play on some of us. I envy people who swoon at the perfume they emit on a warm spring day.

Later, a bluebell wood in England. Then the lilacs in a friend‘s garden. The plum blossom on a neighbourhood tree.

And then the highlight of my spring, telling me summer has arrived and reminding me of the cordial, sorbet and pancakes I will be making – the elderflowers. The first hint of them in May crescendoes into a heady and intoxicating scent. I have never had elderflower champagne, but can imagine the taste. There are a lot of elder trees near us and their fragrance dominates for several weeks as plants in shadier spots open their flowers more slowly and later, lasting long into June. It sweetens on a warm day and in a very hot spell in early June it becomes almost overpowering. Mix that with the peonies and you are in heaven!

Oh yes, the peonies are nice too…

Another June delight: walking in the countryside on a warm day there is an occasional waft of a sweet scent similar to wild strawberries. It makes me look up and around and look again, really hard, at the wild flowers at the side of the footpath… Bedstraw? (Galium alba). Such an insignificant plant until it flowers. Like the Hepatica, if you go up to it and sniff, you probably won‘t smell a thing. Maybe you have to sneak up to it from behind to catch it!

I can enjoy the scent of roses, and like sweet peas too. But my favourite scent in spring or early summer has to be the elderflower.

What is your favourite scent on a spring or early summer day? Could you choose just one? 😉

In a Vase on Monday: Predominantly Purple

Gentle showers over the past few days have brought on lots of fresh growth and flowers, so it was lovely to walk around the garden this afternoon and choose a few to cut for a vase. The first candidate that caught my eye was my culinary sage. Although smothered in busy bees, I have plenty of flowers for us all to share and cut just one stem. Then my theme became clear as I spotted another purple sage, Salvia pratensis.

Then I started seeing purple everywhere!

Alchemilla mollis was the obvious choice as a filler, as it is in full bloom and was covered in raindrops. 😃 I also picked some Salvia nemorosa and Nepeta ‘Walker‘s Low’, and some deep blue/purple Nigella from a seed mix called Persian Jewels.

The pale pink flower is Knautia, and substitutes well for a pink Scabiosa. The Knautia I have is called Melton Pastels and also has some deeper pinky purple flowers on the same plant.

Another purply blue flower I found is the Geranium seen behind this Nigella (the label is hidden under all its flowers!), and my Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ suddenly appeared to have a slight purply pink tinge to it too.

I hadn’t realised I have so many shades of blueish, pinkish purples in my garden! I am grateful to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme, which has had an impact on many of my planting choices over the past few years!

Have a great gardening week!

😃

In a Vase on Monday: Herbal Tea?

Monday has come round again and I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with a vase. I must confess this was actually put together on Saturday, as I discovered the cornflowers on the edge of a corn field while walking our dog. I couldn‘t pass up the opportunity of having enough cornflowers for use in my cornflower teapot!

There is nothing quite like these beautiful blue flowers. And they really are blue. (Centaurea cyanus)

 

I realise I recently posted a similar vase of wildflowers, but I love them so much and this time there are a few new additions. Pink Campions (Silene dioca) for example…

Then the Scabiosa are flowering. They are usually pink in the wild – I‘d love a pink one in the garden but only seem able to find blue ones. Another one to put on my ‘Grow from seed’ list!

I also found some delicate pink Dianthus (Dianthus deltoides) but only picked one on our own land as they are rare. Then there are Harebells (Campanula patula), a Moon Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi), some white Achillea, the fragrant Bedstraw (Galium mollugo, I think) and a slightly pink flower which I mistook for cow parsley (on the left in the next picture, slightly blurred!) There are so many similar flowers it is hard to identify it, but I will take a better look at it next time I see some.

I wonder what is growing wild near your gardens this June.

Have a good week everyone!