Riches

We woke to gentle rainfall this morning, the long hot weeks of sunshine finally faltering to give way to a greyer day, the morning laced with light rain: a temporary reprieve by all accounts and therefore all the more welcome.

Sweetcorn flowers in July

The garden already seems to have perked up with this welcome drink; just last week I had found myself having to water by hand parts of the borders which sagged with thirst: the usually sprightly leaves of water avens (Geum rivulare) suddenly sprawled flat on the ground. Otherwise the garden has prospered in this long hot summer. The sweetcorn are ready for picking; nearby sunflowers have opened in a flourish of gold – though somewhat frustratingly they have fixed their faces away from the house towards the easterly skies, so that we must walk to the very end of the garden to enjoy them in their full glory.

Sunflower

The greenhouse is producing tomatoes and cucumbers in profusion: more than we can eat fresh, so that the freezers are fast filling up with portions of tomatoes, some slow roasted whole, others chopped and briefly cooked before bagging.

Tomato harvests mid-July

We are growing a mix of Shirley, Sakura and Sungold this year; the sweet orange cherry tomatoes of Sungold are particular favourites in our lunchtime salads.

Teucrium hircanicum Purple Tails

This month I have been particularly enjoying the purple spires of Teucrium hircanicum ‘Purple Tails’, which sing out against the lime-green froth of Alchemilla mollis here at the front of the field border. Having grown these from seed and planted out the strongest plants in the autumn, I then inadvertently weeded out several in the spring, mistaking their foliage for the deadnettles which proliferate here. Fortunately a trio survived, and I hope to sow more seed next year to increase them further.

Buddleia spires against summer sky

Peacock butterfly resting on bench

The shape of their lofty tails is repeated above, as July also brought the buddleia into flower, and with it a host of Peacock butterflies arrived to join the Small Tortoiseshells and Whites that have filled the air all summer. The peacocks favour the buddleia, while the tortoiseshells are more often gracing the tall clusters of Verbena bonariensis flowers that bob through the borders.

Pennisetum villosum

Returning for another year, the seed-raised Pennisetum villosum are once again covered with striking flowers which glow in the sun above a nest of fine foliage, arching towards the lawn alongside similarly shaped crocosmia spears.

Echinops ritro ssp ruthenicus

While the leaves on the Echinops ritro tend to fray a little at the edges, this does little to detract from the glory of their blue-starred globes; pictured here with the first starry flowers just beginning to emerge, though now we are enjoying dozens of these globes opened into full splendour.

Scabious flowers amid daisies and small teasel

Scabious, possibly 'Fire King'

I am thrilled with the mounds of white-tipped crimson scabious that abound in the field border, threading through leucanthemum daisies, the plumes of Stipa arundinacea and a small self-sown teasel. I think that these are the annual Scabious ‘Fire King’ whose seed I scattered loosely through this border in the hope that they would bloom again this year, but I didn’t make a note of this. Oops. Whatever their origins, they make a striking show.

Lonicera periclymenum Serotina

Lonicera periclymenum Serotina

The late Dutch honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum ‘Serotina’ is in full stride now too; this is my favourite honeysuckle, with its crimson and cream flowers.

Cardoon flowering high overhead

The ‘giant of the year’ award this summer must go to the last standing Cardoon; though it has as usual been plagued with snails, and I have had to remove many of its scruffy lower leaves, it has pushed up flowering stalks of at least 8 feet, clustered with buds which are now opening up in puffs of purple. The height doesn’t appear to put the bees off though, this skyscraper nectar bar is unfailingly abuzz.

July has been such a rich month in the garden, with glorious weather and a feast of flowers and produce, and August looks poised to take over seamlessly tomorrow. I hope that the summer is treating you well so far too…

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17 thoughts on “Riches

  1. Rain would indeed be a real gift! You have some lovely things in your garden at the moment (I have made a note of the teucrium and Pennisetum) – and if you yourself think that it’s looking good that’s even better as so many of us have gardens in a bit of a lull at the moment. Well done for your tomatoes too! Hope you are keeping well 😉

    • It was very welcome, though I still had to water all the pots this evening as they were still bone dry. I do think the garden is looking good in places, though there are certainly plenty of places that make me ponder still, could use more colour or foliage etc – but a garden is never complete! I’m just trying to make notes of the major changes that come to me, and hope I can do something about them in the spring! I really miss our usual flood of purple poppies this year, not sure why they didn’t self sow this time… I am growing well myself thank you! 🙂

    • Autumn?! I hope not! This has been a blazing summer so far, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near over yet! Nice to have a drop in temperatures for a day or two though.

  2. We had some of the wet stuff here on Sunday Sara and it was most welcome. I’ve made a note of the teucrium which looks most striking. A friend gave me a plant of the ‘Sakura’ tomato but it has had to take its chance outside. The fruits have still to blush. I’m looking forward to sampling it when it does.

    • Hope your tomatoes turn soon, we’ve grown Sakura in the greenhouse for a few years now and they’re always pretty good – though Sungold is the favourite this year.

  3. Sungold are my favorites too, this year I have a large beefsteak of a similar colour and flavour it was from a mixed pack so I need to work out its variety.

  4. Very, very beautiful (though I cannot possibly believe you have all those tomatoes, I’m sure you popped out and bought some for the shot, grrrrr). I seem to be surrounded by cardoons at the moment – unfortunately not in my garden, because I have clearly missed out. Yours is a smasher….

    • ‘Fraid they were a genuine crop from the greenhouse – and still they keep coming! The cardoon is monstrous this year, I must make sure I deadhead it before it spreads seeds around the neighbourhood though, or I won’t be so popular 🙂

  5. Your garden is looking lovely, productive and bright with flowers. A favourite of mine at Hampton Court where the grasses, my sister bought a number of feathertop plants, I am jealous of yours with their little tufts on top. I’m hoping our corn is also ready, it is earlier than normal but we go away soon so I hope to get to eat it before the earwigs move in! Bxx

    • Thanks. I really love the bunny tails of the Pennisetum, they make me smile (and stroke them) every time I pass! Hope you enjoy your sweetcorn, we’re really enjoying ours. x

  6. I’m with Kate, you must have bought the tomatoes surely?! I really must grow sungold next year, my tomatoes are only just starting to crop, and my sweetcorn is a few weeks behind yours, it is obviously your year for being productive 😉 I too have made a note of that teucrium, its a beauty, I can always rely on you to introduce me to great new plants. Your garden is burgeoning with beautiful things.

    • Sorry, all our own harvest! They are cropping well this year. I love the sungold, it’s been a few years since we’ve grown it, and now I can’t remember why as the fruits taste so good! Ha, yes, a productive year so far, even if we haven’t managed quite as many veg/salad crops as usual :D.

  7. It’s been a fabulous summer. I’m pleased we’ve had some rain at last as the watering in July was becoming exhausting. Hopefully warm sun will return. Sungold is one of my favourites but I haven’t grown it before so must remedy that.

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