With ample blossom, snowdrops and the beginnings of the narcissi blooming about it would appear that Spring is emerging. Time perhaps to start thinking about getting seeds in for cultivating your summer window boxes and baskets. As bedding can get quite expensive why not save seeds from last years pots and plant them to grow your own blooms this summer. If you have already discarded all of these remember there is always another chance at the end of the summer blooming season.
I especially love French marigolds for their bright colourful display and their easiness to grow and maintain. I usually have them in abundance
Keep summer going for longer with these zesty coloured marigolds that stay blooming well into September and October if the weather is mild
extract the tiny seeds from dead flower heads. Happy cultivating there is nothing more satisfying.
Throughout July and August the blooms came and went in the garden giving ongoing and ever changing colourful displays to feast the eye. It truly was a treat.
Perrenial bulbs such as the lilly will give you endless pleasure year upon year and you can always add to them as the years go by. I have planted all of my favourites. Plant bulbs out in early spring for summer blooming. If you notice anything nibbling the leaves and flower buds it is more than likely the lily beetle, get some spray that will eradicate them otherwise the buds will never get to bloom.
The african lilly (agapanthus) with it’s elegant long stalks and and large blooming heads, made up of many little flowers to give a spherical shape, enjoys semi shade and will bloom for six to eight weeks throughout the summer. You can buy plants with purple flowers or with white flowers. When the flowers die back they leave behind an interesting structural shape, giving stature and architectural form to the garden, for you to enjoy into autumn. Plant corms in early spring or if you have existing plants you can dig them up and separate them out after they have finished flowering to produce more plants for the following year
The tiger lilly usually blooms early on in June each year giving me a bright colourful display
The oriential lilly blooms a little later giving a flouncy display with it’s blousey blooms and will fill the whole garden with the most amazing smelling perfume. The usually flower to two to three weeks. Keep them well watered if in pots.
Along with the longiflorum lilly which I love to grow for it’s long elegant shape and form with trumpet shaped blooms and subtle scent. Mine are really late this year but the blooms are just about to break forth – waiting patiently!
Roses are another great summer plant – they will die off in winter back to twiggy stalks and regenerate themselves in spring – I like to grow small patio roses in pots if you feed them they will give you a long summer blooming reward. You can prune them back in late autumn or winter.
Hydrengas will bloom prolifically throughout the summer and in to september adding colour and life to a shady corner. They will die back in winter and sprout back out again the following spring. A great low maintenance plant providing you with lots of summer blooms
Violas are similar to pansies but produce smaller (and I think cuter) flowers in abundance, plant bedding each year or grow from seed yearly to give colourful displays of pots. They smell so sweet when the sun is shining on them and they will tolerate a semi shady area. Deadhead and feed on a regular basis for a long flowering period throughout the summer. Seeds will form on dead flower heads that are not removed, you can collect these and grow bedding plants for the following year.
The bright summery colour of the marigold will herald summer whatever the weather – guaranteed to cheer you up on the gloomiest of summer days. They have a long blooming period and flower on for months on end throughout the summer and early autumn season. Feed them and deadhead them regularly to get the most from the plants. Plant bedding each year or collect seeds from the dead flower heads to grow plants for the following year. They love a sunny spot.
Geraniums will bloom for months on end throughout the summer. Feed them now and again to keep the blooms going and take them inside in winter to protect from the frosts and they will gladly bloom for you again the following summer. They will happily bloom in a semi shady spot.
Million bells seen to the rear planted beneath the lemon tree produce blooms all summer long and are great all summer long bedding for pots or hanging baskets.
The Buddleia in bloom to the left of the picture blooming throughout late June and August attracting butterlies into the garden – they love this tree. It gets chopped right back each year and sprouts out again in early spring producing deep purple flowers. Staring into the distance I am already thinking about next spring! Now is a good time to get spring bulbs in.
If I say there are about one thousand apples on the tree this year it is probably an accurate calculation. Have started to harvest some and distributed amongst friends and neighbours. They are delicious to eat really juicy and quite sharp and leave an after sweetness lingering in your mouth. Great for cooking as well because you don’t have to add any sugar. Loads more left to pick – mustn’t grumble apple crumble. Apples anybody?
Home grown carrots – where else in the world would you get carrots that looked or tasted like this?
Well not literally hay but as close as you might get to making things from nature in an urban environment. The sun shone and it was hot and sunny for the first time in a long time this summer. No better time, I thought, than to make a refreshing elderflower drink from the trees that have been blooming away at the end of my garden and has upon it some elderflowers at their optimum – heady, perfumy in the peak of their blooming life- giving joy from above before the tiny flowers begin to fall to the ground below creating a summer “snow effect”
I have been waiting since the beginning of summer when they first started to bloom and when the time feels just right and the air is filled with their perfume on a sunny day I know it is time to swing into action and begin the process to make a very tasty and most refreshing summer drink. Drunk in your garden on a hot summers day it is only what I can imagine it is like being in paradise.
I got this recipe from a friend who is a natural master chef extrodinaire and her daughter, Alexandra, drew me up this pretty diagram to help me on my merry way to making the delicious summer drink, I find it a very useful reference picture in the potion making process.
All you you will need is
250 grams of sugar
6 heads of elderflower at their optimum blooming point
two to three non waxed lemons
2.5 litres of water
Here’s what to do
Put the sugar in a jar and add some warm water to melt the sugar
cut the lemons into chunks and squeeze the juice into the sugar and water
throw the remaining bits of lemon into the syrup mix
add the elderflowers and mix
add the yeast
fill the jar with 2.5 litres of water
cover the jar with a lid if it has one or just use a piece of kitchen roll and an elastic if not
mix (making sure you touch the bottom) three times a day and keep in a sunny spot
taste after four days it is has been sunny it will be ready if not leave for five days but no longer as the taste will turn bitter after this.
Strain through a sieve into a bowl, bottle it up and keep in fridge
simple and delicious!
(Making Elderflower cordial – this post was due to be published at the beginning of July but was not finished or published due to me being out of action so bear the time of year in mind if you decide to make this delicious summer drink)
Having spent the last six weeks with a serious back injury (and a holiday on the side) I have been totally off gardening duties (and blogging duties) for quite some time. Luckily the garden didn’t need too much tending thanks to nature and it’s generous rainfall this year and I still managed to capture the garden, as the blooms came and went, in photos during this period so I can look back on them now. The garden seems unaware of our complete lack of a summer in the UK this year and plants are blooming bigger, better and longer than ever before. The plants are loving the combination of the rain and the coolness and it seems the blooms are starting earlier and staying fresher for longer. The intermittent bursts of sunshine have been enough to keep the plants flowering – so they are not complaining – neither am I now come to think of it – well at least I’ve had ten days in the sunshine and my back is on the mend – things can only get better.
June was the month of……………..
The self seeding foxgloves. They love a shady spot and will set themselves down and naturalise over time giving your garden that lovely “wild and natural” look. They flower every two years so plant blooms for alternate years if you want a blooming session every year. Put in a couple of plants in early spring and nature will do the rest.
I love the serenity of the white ones but they also come in a deep velvety pink, these are the ones you normally see growing in the wild, and they give a lovely countryside feel to the garden.
Foxgloves and ferns compliment one another beautifully as they are both like shade and look happy and natural growing together as a combination in the garden
The ferns finally unfurled in full to join the party with the foxgloves
The orange lillies under the apple tree burst open with annual regularity. Annual bulbs like lillies are always a joy they usually flower for about two to three weeks depending on the conditions and never fail to bring joy with each year they bloom. Plant the bulbs in late Autumn or early spring.
What depicts a summers day more than this? Pink lupins, I grew these from some seeds collected from seed heads of fading plants, that I happened upon on one of my many walks. You can easily grow from seed or purchase some ready grown plants in Spring, they will come back year after year and you can collect the seeds each year from the heads to grow on into more plants. But be careful the slugs and snails love these! So protect the plants especially the young ones otherwise they will never reach maturity. I grew mine in big deep pots which makes pest control a bit easier.
Crown and Glory
Interspersed with the ongoing poppies and forget- me- nots that insisted on “not being forgotten”, June has been a very prolific and colourful blooming season this year. The scene has now moved on and the garden looks completely different. That’s what is so great about spring and summer a very colourful and a very different garden comes with each month. More to come……………………………..
I love the satisfying circle of prolific self seeders, partnered with a combination of other perennial plants and bulbs, my idea of a perfect garden is complete, wild, natural and self perpetuating. For plants that need a helping hand I like nothing better than to collect their seed heads in autumn, plant them in some good compost in pots and reap the joy of their rewards the following year. Potting up and prettily presenting your excess plants grown from seeds will help spread the joy amongst others that you know. If you are a beginner, try sweet pea, nothing could be more easily grown and beautifully rewarding when in bloom The plants will provide you with cut flowers for the home throughout summer, the more you cut the more they bloom. Plant the seeds in autumn in some good compost and when they begin to sprout in spring support them with some bamboo or wicker which they will readily spiral up, cut the flowers for indoor display , this will keep the sweet pea blooming throughout the summer months.
The art of creating a beautiful space……….
The solace of a space, love, nurture and cultivate