A Brief Summer Update

Hello dear friends! I know I have been silent for a while and do apologise! As several people have asked, I thought I would just briefly interrupt my blogging break to post a few photos – all is fine, but we have moved to our country house to care for our hedgerow shrubs and trees which were planted in April. Needless to say, the weather has been challenging; temperatures were in the mid to upper twenties all through May and June, rising into the thirties in July, and we have hardly a drop of rain for months. So watering is the main activity here – mostly at night to avoid the heat. No rain forecast for the near future and the heat goes on…

Back at my garden things look fine. Only a couple of hours of care over the last two months and it is still bearing up well in the heat and drought. This is the Perovskia mid July in all its glory.

Thank goodness my rockery doesn’t need watering!

Here is the Perovskia again a couple of days ago… fading a little, but that isn’t bothering the bees. The Scabiosa ochroleuca is wonderful again, but one of my favourite plants in this view is the Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’.

I hope you all have a wonderful August. I will try and catch up with all your posts I have missed very soon!

😀

Lavender Love and Pretty Pollinators

The lavender has been glorious this summer, flowering just after our heavy rain earlier in the month and with very little rain since.

The dry and hot weather suits these shrubs best. And I am not alone in admiring them either… here are a few of the visitors to my garden who love lavender too…

Vanessa cardui – Painted Lady

Inachis io – Peacock Butterfly

Ochlodes sylvanus – Large skipper

Pieris brassicae – Large cabbage white

Polygonia c-album – Comma

Melanargia galathea – Marbled white

Argynnis paphia – Silver-washed fritillary

Gonepteryx rhamni – Common brimstone

Macroglossum stellatarum – Hummingbird hawk-moth

Bee 🙂

Here is the long view of the south-facing rockery – some of these lavender shrubs are ten years old or more and have been cut down hard at some stage. I try and stagger the cutting back, so that I have plenty of shrubs flowering well every year. The white ones will be cut back this autumn and next spring. Others are cuttings or self-seeded plants.

Do you see any of these pollinators in your garden? And if you grow lavender, what visits it most frequently?

Here is a slideshow of these beautiful creatures. 😀

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Happy Summer!

In a Vase on Monday: Midsummer Glory

On Mondays I usually join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with a vase full of bits and bobs from my garden. Today is no exception and since the summer solstice is just hours away I decided to make a special midsummer arrangement.

The orange day lily is the focal point, surrounded by the slightly burnt, fluffy, caramel-coloured Aruncus flower. These grow side by side in the garden and make a gorgeous combination.

The other star this week is the white Astrantia which seems to have finally established itself, flowering for the second year now.

Another white (well, perhaps creamy white) flower which is attracting the bees this week is the lovely Cephalaria gigantea. This is like a giant Scabiosa, and it really is a giant, swaying at the top of my rockery just asking to be visited by the pollinators. 🙂

The foliage is from Epimediums, both large and small, and the frothy crown around the base of my turquoise vase is of course Alchemilla mollis – a florist’s dream I imagine!

I also added a couple of grasses and, for good luck, some St John’s Wort which is flowering bang on time for St John’s Day on the 24th.

More sunshine is forecast for this week – I hope for you too.

Now go and visit our lovely host to see what she has in her vase this week, and to click on all the links for other vases around the world this Monday!

😀

In a Vase on Monday: Classic

It’s a beautiful day, the birds are singing and it’s Monday! That means I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme, where we plonk things from our gardens into vases to share with the world! 🙂

This week I kept it simple and classic – what could be more elegant and modest than roses and lavender? Add some Alchemilla mollis (not too much) and a few strands of grass and voila! No more fuss and ado.

The light was not quite so harsh and I was able to take the photos on my patio with the top of the south-facing rockery behind.

The grass in the centre is Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ and I am in love with this plant. Its feathery flowers opened this week and transformed the rockery.

Here is a picture of it taken from the patio…

The sun was hiding behind a humid haze when I picked these flowers and I took the opportunity to harvest a few bunches of lavender before the flowers get burnt and lose their intensive perfume. When I looked back at these photos I realised the vase completely mirrors what is in the garden behind it!

Oh yes, and the other grass on the left is Melica ciliata, which I first saw growing wild in a nearby deserted stone quarry and knew it would look good in my rockery.

The pale pink rose is ‘The Fairy’, but the deeper pink one was inherited with the garden and is therefore nameless.

The scent of peonies has faded, allowing the lavender to take over, although you have to rub it to notice. The strongest scent out there right now is in fact the wild strawberries. Perhaps I will post about them another day!

What smells good in your garden today?

Have a good week, and don’t forget to visit Cathy and the Monday Vase crowd for some inspiration and smiles!

In a Vase on Monday: Feeling the Heat

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden invites us each Monday to join her in gathering materials from our gardens to put in a vase. As for all the other gardeners who participate, this has become quite a ritual and I do look forward to Mondays like never before!

For this week’s vase I collected some flowers from the garden on Sunday, as the forecast for Monday was even hotter. Well, as I write (at 1pm) it’s 29°C already. Phew!

The Philadelphus has been in flower for a few days now and both the single and the double variety were picked for their cooling effect. They do tend to look as if they are drooping in the heat, but this is purely their growth habit!

A single white Campanula has shown up after all (although not where I scattered the seed!) so I decided to cut that as well.

I added a little pink Spiraea and some Vetch too. (It is so pretty I let it grow here and there).

The frothy white Centranthus looked quite sad after I plucked it from the garden and I wondered how it manages to survive the dry rockery if it is that sensitive. (It perked up an hour or so later). A few hosta leaves were added around the base and the bouquet was tied up with a fern leaf before being placed in a round vase.

It all smells heavenly, although I know we may be moving it away from the dining area soon as we are a bit sensitive to perfumed flowers – except for peonies of course! 😉 Here is a shot of some of the last beauties picked last week. A couple of buds are still hanging on outdoors, so the season has been pretty good in retrospect, and we are just going into the fifth week of them. In even better years the different ones I grow have stretched across six weeks.

If you grow peonies, how long does your peony season last?

Do visit Cathy and all the other vases linked in that are showcasing what gardens around the world have to offer today!