Like hundreds and thousands of places across the UK and beyond, our little village celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a street party in the sunshine yesterday.
In the morning we baked raspberry muffins, parmesan scones and chocolate flapjacks, packed tupperware with salad (to balance out the baked goods) and filled a jug with Pimms and lemonade, with fresh mint and borage flowers from the garden, then carried our feast down into the village to join the celebrations, which later moved to the village inn with a barbecue and outdoor screening of the Jubilee concert. A rousing speech from one of the organisers and toast to the Queen mid-afternoon completed the day. We didn’t get much gardening done though…
Back in the garden, in suitably regal purple for the occasion, our rhododendron, rescued from the original garden before commencing building work, has finally bloomed this year. It stood in an old plastic container for the past couple of years until I could return it to the ground last autumn, where it has obviously begun to settle happily.
Over the course of a week the buds gradually expanded and deepened in colour.
Day by day, the individual flowers drew apart.
As the week, and the month of May, drew to a close, the flowers began to open, smothering the modest shrub in a blaze of purple.
I am not entirely convinced by rhododendrons, and would not have sought to add one to our garden, but it seemed right to try and preserve what we could from the remains of the original planting, and I cannot help but admire this plant for its perseverance. It is quite a sight, almost entirely covered in huge heads of purple blooms, the top petal of each speckled with rusty orange.