With nasty germs being top news at the moment, I thought I would share this lovely poem that my Mum received from fellow gardeners last year. (For serious gardeners only! LOL!)
This Monday is Midsummer’s Day, St John’s Day or in Germany ‘Johannistag’, still celebrated in smaller communities with bonfires or beacons and perhaps a party too.
I am celebrating it with flowers – in a vase of course, as it is Monday! And on Mondays gardeners from far and wide join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to put materials plucked from their gardens or foraged locally into a vase to share. 🙂
Our meadow and the perimeters of the garden are full of summer flowers and they seemed so appropriate for Midsummer’s Day.
I’m not sure I can put a name to them all, but will try! There are still lots of the large Moon Daisies (Ox-Eye Daisies), but the other daisy-type white flowers are two different types of Chamomile and Fleabane. The clustered white flowers are Achillea…
… but sometimes the midsummer magic turns the Achillea pink… 😉
The purply pink flower is Centaurea (Knapweed) and the yellow flower next to it in the next photo is Bird’s-foot Trefoil…
Naturally a midsummer vase needs St. John’s Wort (Hypericum), which never fails to flower just in time for this date…
This tall flower bud hasn’t opened yet, but I think it is Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace)…
A few snippets of perhaps not so useless information : according to tradition here, rhubarb and asparagus should not be picked after midsummer’s day. It is also traditionally the date when the mowing of meadows began, although often it is two or three weeks earlier these days. And also the date when I shall start watching out for glow worms. 🙂 (P.S. This evening we did indeed see the first ones on the edge of the garden near the woods. Midsummer magic. 🙂 )
I found a lovely Beth Chatto quote on the NGS website recently, which I find true on face value but today in particular on another level as well…
‘Grow contented plants and you will find peace among them.’
Worthy of thought.
Have a wonderful week, and if the heatwave in western Europe is headed your way too, stay cool! 😎
We had the hottest and driest April on record this spring, and the first half of May was just as warm, producing only a few passing showers. This sort of weather is absolutely wonderful… unless you are a gardener! Still, the garden has soldiered on and produced glorious flowers once again. Here are the Moon Daisies in our meadow…
And a view from the top of the rockery shows how my Man of Many Talents has mowed even fewer of them away this spring 🙂
From the bottom of the rockery I can still look across the top of the giant Miscanthus and see the early deep reddish pink peony. Today the first white ones opened too. And the ferns in the foreground have taken off since we got more rain.
Recently my thoughts have often returned to this ‘prayer’ I found some years ago in ‘The Gardener’s Year’ by Karel Čapek. His wit is sometimes charming, but occasionally beyond me! However this prayer says it all perfectly, so I shall share!
“If it were of any use, every day the gardener would fall on his knees and pray somehow like this:
‘O Lord, grant that in some way it may rain every day, say from about midnight until three o’clock in the morning, but, you see, it must be gentle and warm so that it can soak in; grant that at the same time it would not rain on campion, alyssum, helianthemum, lavender, and others which you in your infinite wisdom know are drought-loving plants – I will write their names on a bit of paper if you like – and grant that the sun may shine the whole day long, but not everywhere (not, for instance, on spiraea, or on gentian, plaintain lily, and rhododendron), and not too much; that there may be plenty of dew and little wind, enough worms, no plant-lice and snails, no mildew, and that once a week thin liquid manure and guano may fall from heaven. Amen.’ ”
I planted a few tulips in pots last autumn, and the first ones to open were Tulipa kaufmanniana ‘Heart’s Delight’.
I have grown these for several years now, and find they don’t last many years in the ground, producing just leaves. So I decided to try containers for a change. They stood outside all winter, close to the wall on the north side of the house, and were basically ignored until I noticed them showing shoots!
I watered them sparingly and moved them into a sunny position. They started flowering about a week earlier than those in the ground.
They have dark green stripy leaves, which add to their attraction both before and after flowering. Sadly I have more leaves than flowers these days – this picture below of the spring corner was taken several years ago.
At first the flowers are mostly white, with an egg-yolk centre, but gradually they turn pinker and pinker – a kind of sunset orangey-pink. In the picture above you can see them at both stages. Delightful, don’t you think?
The name of this pretty little tulip reminded me of a wonderful song you may have heard of. And not only beacause of the title but also the singer! The English title is ‘You are my Heart’s Delight‘, but the original was German – ‘Dein ist mein ganzes Herz’. It is an aria taken from a Franz Lehar operetta and Jonas Kaufmann sang it at the Last Night of the Proms in the Albert Hall in London a few years ago. I have been smitten with it ever since! Here is a German version with Placido Domingo…
Or if you prefer to hear it in English here is Richard Tauber singing it; he was the man who made it internationally famous after its success in Austria and Germany. The lyrics are lovely in both languages!
Have you ever grown this pretty flower, or maybe a similar early tulip?
As Juliet so famously declared in Shakespeare’s well-known play:
“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet…”
Yes, we all (well, most of us) call our Amaryllis by the wrong name. Strictly speaking the bulbs we in cooler climates grow indoors in winter are Hippeastrums; the South American lily. And not Amaryllis, which is the African belladonna lily.
But I don’t think we should care too much about this error. As Celia Fisher writes in ‘The Golden Age of Flowers’,
‘When European hybrids were developed the original confusion about provenance intensified, while ordinary plant lovers blithely regard them all as amaryllis.’
I consider myself an ‘ordinary plant lover’. How about you?
Thank you to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this lovely meme. Why not visit her to see what others are finding for their Monday vases/flower arrangements this week.
A visit to the seaside last week was a real delight – here in Bavaria we are pretty much landlocked, so the smell of the sea air and the sight of such a huge sky, the glittering sea and the long horizon were quite magical. Memories of childhood holidays on the North Norfolk coast have been flooding back since, so now that I am back home I thought my Monday vase should adopt the seaside theme…
“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky”
(from Sea Fever by John Masefield)
“I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied…”
from Sea Fever by John Masefield (Read the whole poem here)
The two little vases and the beach hut were found in a gift shop next to Blakeney Quay, and the windmills possibly came from the same shop many years earlier! The shells were collected on Norfolk beaches over the past years as well. 😀
I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden once again for her Monday meme. Do visit her to see her rich choice of flowers this week, as well as all the other vases linked in from around the world!
Have a good week!
To mark this short day I found a lovely, if somewhat sober sonnet by Edmond Holmes, from ‘The Triumph of Love’ collection, which I would like to share with you.
Like as the thrush in winter, when the skies
Are drear and dark, and all the woods are bare,
Sings undismayed, till from his melodies
Odours of Spring float the frozen air, –
So in my heart when sorrow’s icy breath
Is bleak and bitter and its frost is strong,
Leaps up, defiant of despair and death,
A sunlit fountain of triumphant song.
Sing on, sweet singer, till the violets come
And south winds blow; sing on, prophetic bird!
Oh if my lips, which are for ever dumb,
Could sing to men what my sad heart has heard,
Life’s darkest hour with songs of joy would ring;
Life’s blackest frost would blossom into Spring.
The winter solstice occurred here in Germany at 5.48am this morning. I was not up to experience the moment, although I doubt very much if anything would have marked the moment anyway. Since it is, quite simply, just a moment – albeit a moment many of us have been waiting for – and it is over in a tick and leaves that little itch of a thought behind… Yes, the days will not become noticeably longer for a couple of weeks yet, but they ARE getting longer. And do you sense that tinge of excitement at the thought of snowdrops, daffodils and tulips popping up in the garden to greet the spring?
We haven’t had winter yet though, so I mustn’t count my chickens…
I had in fact been looking forward to a snowy winter, but now I think I may be happier to forego snow and ice and skip straight ahead to the March winds and April showers! I have been reading how the winter appears to be just as mild in most of the US and UK too. And John at A Walk in the Garden in North Carolina has already spotted some daffodils in flower! Have you seen any daffodils yet?
Whatever the weather, I wish you all a very happy and harmonious Christmas, full of all the things you wished for. And I look forward to seeing you in the New Year to share another year of my garden and kitchen with you and to be delighted by all your wonderful posts too.