My garden in June

Well June was a funny old month, I think it must have clocked up the wettest and the hottest day. Not at the same time, though with the humidity in the latter parts of the month, maybe that’s not such an obvious distinction. We were away at the start of the month, and arrived back from Portugal and the wettest day. Of course, we were in sandals and holiday clothes and looked completely out of place in a grey and drab London, as we dashed from the DLR to the bus with our cases. I mean, it’s not everyone that carries their impromptu shopping home in a suitcase is it?

Checking the garden after a holiday is one of my rituals, but this time, no matter how much of a ritual, it had to wait a few days. But when there was a break in the weather one evening, I couldn’t put it off any longer and headed out there armed with my phone. Not only did I discover we’d had our best year for peonies, which were struggling in the rain, but I also remembered how fresh and inviting rain makes plants look.

peonies in the rain
rescued peonies indoors

The peonies were rescued on the basis that if we were to enjoy them this year, they’d need to be in the dry. So indoors, and into a vase they came, and they lasted a good week before being returned to the compost bin.

Rain made the cherries look all that more appetising too. I’m always surprised to find cherries on the tree, and this year was another good year, although if you read yesterday’s post, not quite so good for making the cherry compote for my gin and cherry trifle.


The foxgloves too did well this month, I heard Monty on Gardeners’ World say it was a good year for foxgloves, and while we have fewer than I think we had last year, I’ve pink and cream varieties, which are still going strong.

foxgloves in flower

Our Gertrude Jekyll rose started well and gave us some big blooms, but despite deadheading (and despite evidence to the contrary in this photo) it wasn’t as prolific as I’d like.

Getrude Jekyll in fine form in our garden

The jasmine took over the garden during June, but not as you can see until later. The clematis is still going and looks great with its dark flowers amongst the sweet smelling spots of white jasmine flowers.

clematis and jasmine

The Philadelphus, or Mock Orange, also treated us to weeks of flowers. And now since they’ve dropped fragrant ‘snow’ too. It’s time for this one to be chopped right back though, so that it continues to repay us with plenty of flowers. I need to sort that out, but I bet I’ll be saying the same again in next month’s post…

mock orange in full flower and full scent

Somehow I missed the six or so agapanthus buds during a busy week and was surprised to see this, the tallest, standing so proud.

the promise of agapanthus flowers

The sweet peas are starting to flower too, there doesn’t seem to be quite so many of these yet, but maybe they’re working up to a good showing. I’m hopeful.

the start of the sweet peas

And then after the rain came the sun. And high temperatures. And on that day there was nothing else for it but to down tools, in truth they hadn’t been lifted very much so it wasn’t so much trouble. And that weekend our sun loungers got plenty of use. After all, what’s the point of a garden if you don’t get to enjoy it? That’s the theme of this month’s The Garden Year, so do pop over and share how you enjoy your garden, as it’d be great to see you.

the hottest day - gardening tools were downed

The other big news this month is that I’ve finally made it back into my greenhouse and finally I’ve sowed some seeds. I’m not sure why, but i’d temporarily lost the gardening, or growing bug, but I’m hopeful that with some tasty, and fast growing, crops I’ll be back on track. I’m also hoping to be eating our homegrown lettuce, herbs and beans in the not too distant future too.

finally sowing some seeds
toadstool cane toppers

Back in May at Grand Designs Live we bought ourselves a new hose, one of those self-retracting ones that extend to, in our case, over 100 foot. The thing is I’ve been paranoid about using it, as the lady demo-ing it did such a good job of scaring me into how powerful its retraction abilities are and I’ve visions of clumsy me getting caught up in it and being catapulted the length of the garden, along with the hose. I know it’s completely irrational, but the visual image is strong, and it even amuses me, but on the other hand, it could happen… (It probably couldn’t!)

A new hose which extends and retracts
time to enjoy an aperol spritz

And at the end of a day’s gardening there has to be a reward. Back in May I tried to persuade MOH to get on board with Bank Holiday Cocktails, and making that a thing. It seems, I’ve had less trouble persuading him more recently, so Aperol Spritz and teeny, tiny fava bean snacks it was (and yes, I know they look like peanuts, they’re not).

How’s your garden been this past month?


Reflecting on my week #90

I missed this post last week as I was on a bit of a mission. Back at the start of the year I’d bought some photo credits to create yearbooks so we have our memories in print, and not just digitally. Of course we have them in our memories, but the thing with memories is they get all jumbled up and remembering which was in which year is getting even harder than it was before. It was such a good deal that I thought I’d catch up with myself - yes I’m behind where I’ve planned in all areas of my life, but I’m coming to terms with that, slowly - and pledged to do three at once. You get so long to make your creations, and you can extend the credits, but only for so long as I recently discovered.

Despite being a planner with good intentions, I’m also one of life’s last minute kind of girls, so I found myself with two photo books to create, or lose out on that very good deal. Which didn’t seem like such a good deal at all, put that way. So I finished the editing of my 2018 photos, and got the photo book organised and ordered, which left 2016 to sort out (I’d sorted out 2017 already, months ago - I can do it, if I try!). The only thing was that there were many, many 2016 photos that needed editing, and with it being so long ago (relatively), it’s harder to remember what went on, and what we enjoyed.

Looking at the photos though, the memories came flooding back - so proof in point that the photo books are a good thing, as I rarely look back over my digital photos - but of course, with the memories back we reminisced and that took more time than I had. With the deadline looming, it was clear I wasn’t going to do the year justice, so I needed another plan. That plan was to go back to some earlier holidays, and create a photo book of those trips instead. And just ahead of the deadline, I made it, and made use of the credit that had the clock ticking. I’ve still 2016 to do at some point, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next good deal, and no doubt I’ll be in exactly the same position up against the deadline next time too.

But anyway, it is done for now, and so my blogging time is also back, and I’ll do my best to get you up to date. I can’t promise it’ll be in chronological order though. On Saturday we were in town celebrating MOH’s birthday. He was keen to get into Padella at Borough Market, which operates a walk in policy. We’d tried before when we were hungry, and the two and a half hour wait was unpalatable, so this time we planned our strategy. After putting our name down we had a bit of a wander, found this painted heart wall and then found somewhere for a G&T and a Pimms until our table was ready.

hearts at Borough Market

It’s a pretty, and pretty Instagrammable, wall isn’t it?

The food at Padella was great. The portions were smaller than I expected though so we ended up with three pasta dishes between us. If you go I’d recommend taking your own wine and paying the corkage fee, the Primitivo was perfectly drinkable but at £18 for a 500ml, on the steep side. You can tell by the state of our plates, how good the food was.

clean plates at Padella in Borough Market

Back in the garden, and the previous week, we’d encountered the Very Hot Day. It was a day I’d earmarked some time for photo book creation, but with temperatures in the mid thirties, having a laptop anywhere near me was the last thing I needed. I like the heat, but in moderation. I find it hard to operate normally at extremes of temperatures, especially warmth. My head felt full of fluff and fuzz, and so the best thing to do was to decamp to the sunbeds in the garden. Unusually, even MOH managed to sit still for most of the afternoon, and it was really good for the pair of us to do that.

We spent the day looking for the shade in our garden, moving the sun beds to the right spot. The Sunday was cooler and so we braved the sun for a bit, finding ourselves in the middle of our Mock Orange snow. Fragrant, but quite messy.

mock orange snow

With the more moderate temperatures and enough sitting around for one weekend, we were both itching to get on a do something. For MOH this was bike-related, and for me it involved getting my hands into some seed compost for the first time in a while. I took advantage of the warm and humid weather and set about sowing some parsley, which I usually have mixed results with. My thinking was it likes the heat and that could be in my favour. As it turns out I was right and today I’ve noticed that it’s starting to germinate. The lettuce though, is way ahead of the parsley.

lettuce seedlings

In the last weekly post I shared a bowl of cherries and grand plans to make a gin and cherry trifle. That didn’t quite work out as planned, as once I started to make the cherry compote I noticed some white wiggly things escaping from the cherries, and so the whole lot was binned. Thankfully it was at the stage before the gin was added, but extra meat in your trifle isn’t right, is it?

We did get a delivery of gin though - how fab is that? It came with plenty of accessories: tonic water, ginger beer, dried grapefruit slices, snacks - savoury and sweet, and a gin magazine with ideas for how to make gin cocktails. It’s a monthly thing, and our first month. Although a bottle of gin a month is quite a lot, but I’m interested to see how this goes.

Craft Gin Club - July's gin Theodore Pictish Gin

Friday night became gin night, and this Theodore Pictish Gin was very well received, and was a good warm up to the weekend just gone. As well as eating at Padella on Saturday, we were off out for lunch on Sunday, like you do. Sunday roasts all round at the Curious Pig in the Parlour, I rather undiplomatically opted for roast pork, but think I got away with it. The decor was great though, and the tiles in the loos will feature in an interior inspiration and Loo Series post soon.

interiors at the curious pig in the parlor
agapanthus unfurled

Our agapanthus flowers are making great progress with the warmer weather, and by the end of the weekend they were mostly breaking free of their casing, so it won’t be long I hope before we’re enjoying their flowers.

A touch of copper

For my birthday, back in May (where did the time go?) we headed into a relatively new restaurant in Blackheath, Copper & Ink for a great meal, and a great evening. The restaurant describes itself as “a modern British restaurant with influences from classic French and Scandinavian cuisine” and is a collaboration between local and ethical suppliers and businesses.

We opted for the five course tasting menu, as it sounded great and was reasonably priced. The main course was delivered by the Chef Patron and former MasterChef finalist, Tony Rodd who is one of the driving forces behind the restaurant, along with Becky and Rob. At the time I shared a picture or two on my social channels of the food, and of the bookcase which had proper cookery books in it, which was slap bang on show in the restaurant. The only other time I’ve seen cookery books in a kitchen is at River Cottage, so they’re in good company.

mid century modern furniture at Copper & Ink in Blackheath South East London


As well as the bookcase, the decor was pretty fab too with a mid-century modern vibe. The crockery had a rustic, earthenware feel and so of course I was interested to see how the theme played out in the loos. You knew that was coming right?

A modern sink and a copper bin

It could have gone either way really, couldn’t it? But thankfully they’ve taken a stylish approach and there were hints of copper throughout. Phew.

Plain doesn't mean devoid of style

But simple doesn’t mean dull, though there’s hints of the rustic in the flooring choice, but I’m sure it’s also very practical and easy to clean, as well as looking good. There was more copper in the mirrors on the walls, which I’ve come to realise is a style I’m a fan of.

A copper mirror hung by rope

They remind me of the beautiful mirrors by Daniel Heath, which are a fancier version. And my gold top looks right at home there too doesn’t it - I’m not sure how I manage to coordinate myself so regularly with the loos, maybe it’s my super power, who knows?

We’ll be heading back again, the menu is seasonal, and we’re keen to try more of what’s on offer. If you’re local to Blackheath in South London, then Copper & Ink is definitely worth a visit.