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.

cherries

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?

PoCoLo

My garden in May

Looking back at the photos of my garden in May it’s clear that as well as the rain, the flowers started to come and in plenty of colours too. I popped out into the garden yesterday evening, during a short break in the rain and was struck by the light and how it bounced off the leaves as they glistened, and the first of these photos do that too.

IMG_3152.jpg

It’s odd though to see the weigela flowering at the same time as the camellia. But with the latter being extremely late this year, and not really making too much of a go of it, this year we had pinks on opposite sides of the garden at the same time.

a camelia finally

At the back of the garden the Lords and Ladies next to the small Christmas tree (which you can just about see in the background) have really taken hold. The leaves are huge, and this one made me do a double take. I’m sure I’m not the only one that sees a pair of ears and a long face?

Lords and ladies, but bunny shaped

There were some fine days this month too, and in the border by the patio this delicate white bulb appeared. I’m not sure exactly what it is, if it’s something I’ve planted, or something that’s arrived of its own accord. It seems to be the only one of its kind, so who knows, it’s pretty though.

Pretty white flowers but no idea what they are.jpg

This year I’ve had quite some success with the alliums. Still not quite as many as I’d like, but the most I’ve had.  And considering I’ve not planted any new bulbs, or done anything to them, I’m calling this a win.  Every year I say I’ll have more alliums, and one year I’ll get around to planting some to increase my chances of success.

alliums shining through

The rest of the patio bed, and the fences and above those too have been covered with flowers from the Chilean potato plant. They’re pretty flowers, but once the plant takes hold, it’s prolific and needs a good trim to keep it under control.

flowers from the chilean potato plant

As I checked behind the gabion basket planters - which are a great place to stow pots over winter to protect them from frost - I spotted a geranium which had over-wintered there, and already in flower. I’m sure it’s much paler in colour than it was last year, but unusually for me, I’m quite taken with the pastel version.

a pale geranium

There is a bit of a theme with the pastels though, these daisies were planted as plug plants a year or so ago in the sleeper bed, and finally they’re doing what I want them to do: providing ground cover, tumbling down the sleepers and looking pretty.  A job well done, now all I need to do is stop MOH removing them as “weeds”…

daisies in the flowerbed

Under the lilac we’ve another addition that is not of our doing, some buttercups. They’re pretty, but I’m sure they won’t be staying long term.

buttercups

And already there are plenty of cherries on the tree.  I think the year’s I don’t hold out much hope for actually eating any of them, or beating the pigeons to them, I’m always surprised.  We were away last week and had the weather been good, and continued the same then it’s likely that they’d all, or mostly, be gone by the time we got back.  But the good news is, they’re still there so the race is on to see who gets to them first, or if this year we’ll share fairly - but more on that next month!

the start of our cherries

In the middle of the garden in recent years we’ve discovered, or rather uncovered, a pyracantha.  They are the prickliest of plants, and their pretty delicate flowers defy the viciousness beneath.  As we’ve cut more of the plants around it back, and given it some space, it’s thrived, and this year there’s been boughs of jewelled branches which have been easily to spot from the house.

miniature flowers on the pyracantha

It’s got to the point though that this too needs a trim, as does the large - and growing back at a rate of knots - euonymus.  Both are plants that will fill our compost bins quite quickly, and if we’re not careful the pyracantha will leave its mark, if not its thorns, in our gardening gloves and skin.  Cutting them back, is definitely on the list of jobs for June, along with many more - hopefully the rain will stop again so we can start to bring this part of our garden back under control.

I’ll share how we get on next month, and I’ll let you know how we fared with the cherries too!

PoCoLo

My garden in April

April was the month that our garden really started growing after winter, or noticeably growing that is. We’ve still to catch up with it, but it’s entirely do-able, if we can coincide our free time with some weather that’s compatible with gardening. That wasn’t always the case in April, but May is looking a little more promising. Mentioning May, we’re most of the way through the month and yet here I am only just sharing my garden in April.

sweet peas starting to grow

As you can see it was a lush time. The sweet peas are a metre high, and the ivy is growing almost in front of your eyes. Ivy especially is something that can always be cut back in our garden, and cut back more than once a year as it goes for us.

overrun by ivy

As you can see the agapanthus had yet to be uncovered, but the parsley had overwintered well. It’s since in the process of going to seed, but I’ve harvested plenty from what was a small plant. Now it seems I’ll be trying to germinate a new plant, which if you remember isn’t my forte.

overwintered parsley

The sun did make appearances in April, and my Gertrude Jekyll rose is starting to grow, the reddish leaves venturing up the fence.

promising growth on my gertrude jeckyll rose

The yellow pom pom plant - or kerria - which has grown and developed from the shoots that popped through the fence, are just about done, but they’ve given a good show and lit up quite a green section of our garden for quite a while.

A multitude of yellow pompoms

Elsewhere though there’s reminders that there’s still much to be done. Grass growing on the shed roof, is one of those, as is the moss on the greenhouse. I know that green roofs are a thing, sadly I’m not sure this is quite the look we should be going for.

some additional growth on the shed

We did tackle the forsythia, as you may remember from one of my weekly updates. For the first time taking precautions with the yucca below, we must have had an inkling of what was to come with MOH toppling off the ladder after overstretching just a little too far. There’s good news though, while we lost the most upright branch of the yucca, there’s signs of new life there so all is well - and the rest of the plant, although a little lopsided, is still going strong. The forsythia which we gave quite a severe chop, has after a worrying period, started to show shoots, so we both were quite relieved about that.

tackling the forsythia above the yucca
yucca down

It’s been interesting looking back at these photos, as this sage-like-but-not-sage plant which I can rarely remember the name for has developed in the past month, they’re not in flower yet, but it won’t be long before it’s full of yellow blooms. And yes, that is a chocolate wrapper in the top right of the photo, I hope courtesy of the local foxes, rather than our neighbours children (although some quite large stones appeared in our garden last year - the decorative sort - so I can’t be sure).

starting to flower

The cherry blossom was full on, we have white blossom rather than the more often photographed pink blossom of Greenwich Park. We did seem to have quite a lot of blossom, so I’m hopeful that the amount of blossom equates to the number of cherries we can harvest in a month or so.

cherry blossom

Over winter I ‘hide’ or store our terracotta pots in places that are less likely to be hit by frost, and one of these places is behind our gabion seating area. I’d kept meaning to check how the triangular planting camomile was coming along, and when I peeked into the space I was quite surprised - but pleased - to see a geranium already in flower.

A hardy and persistent geranium

I was less surprised to see that the forget-me-knot march had made it this far. They are pretty flowers, but we have them in droves, which can be a bit tiring and so they too, after a while, are pulled out without question.

the march of the forget-me-nots

The lilac - also white, I’m not sure what it is about our garden and white flowers - has also been flowering, and the blue skies, green leaves and white flowers are quite striking.

lilac and blue skies

So in a couple of words, April in our garden was green and lush. We’re hoping to spend some time in the garden this weekend to try and tame it a little more, we’re later starting than usual, so wish us luck!