Monday, 24 June 2013

A June miscellany 2

Most of these are of fruit and vegetable progress in the garden, but there are some flowers too.

These aren't sweet peas, but culinary ones. The purple-podded varieties, which are generally not differentiated, but differ a bit, tend to have pretty purple and pink flowers. They grow to full size - they're approaching 6' now - and provide interest with these flowers, and the pods. The peas inside are no different, but in a small garden, everything has to look good, even the vegetables (and many do).

These are sweet peas - still small, but healthy. A mix of colours, and hopefully nicely fragrant.

Perhaps not every vegetable is strictly good looking. These shallots are starting to look a little straggly, but the bulbs are swelling, and they'll be ready to harvest next month. A second batch, planted later, will take a little longer.

The pond has settled in. In the top photo, you can see the plants, which have grown well, although the marsh marigold's leaves have been eaten by something - I assume not slugs or snails, which can't cross the water, so what could it be? In the lower picture you can see two of the newest residents, a water beetle and the larva of a nonbiting midge. It's been fascinating to watch an ecosystem develop so quickly.

Fruit season is nearly here. Actually, I've seen some ripening strawberries on plants that have scattered themselves around the garden, but they tend to fall prey to blackbirds, slugs, and woodlice before they ripen properly. The raspberries are late this year - I picked them in mid-June two years ago - but they seem healthy and abundant. The cherries have not provided much cheer, though. Yet again, most of the fruit never swelled (see the tiny ones next to the full-sized fruit in the middle picture above). Still, both trees have some fruit. Finally, the quince has held on to its embryonic fruits longer than last year, so perhaps I stand a chance - but the weather turned nasty after the solstice, so it's not certain.

Leaves do well in most conditions. Grapevines on the terrace are stronger than ever - I will harvest some of the leaves to make dolmas - and apple mint has provided a massive crop.

I haven't forgotten the tomatoes. This is one of the first flowers, on a plant already in a raised bed outdoors. I don't expect ripe fruit until August, though.

Finally, more flowers! First, a wild rose that originated as the rootstock of one of the cultivated roses in the garden when we moved here more than a quarter of a century ago. I spent many years trying to kill it off, but a couple of years ago it flowered, and I changed my attitude. It has grown as a column about 7 feet tall, which I have kept pruned, providing height and somewhere for birds to perch occasionally. It is covered in buds, which have started opening into these blush pink, fragrant single flowers. The white rose (middle) was the first to open, and will flower on and off for months. The bottom photo is Californian poppies (Escscholzia californica), just broadcast sown under the quince, among the alliums. The orange ones zing, but don't really fit with the rest of the garden, while these cream ones are lovely.

Here's a rare wider view. This is across the lower part of the back garden, across the central flower bed, with roses thriving, and alliums fading. The pond is in the background on the right. Behind is the crumbling wall (which I need to replace) holding back the slope, above which is the terrace.

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