And the weather has been wonderful too. For the first time since late September 2011, there's been real heat in the air, and day after day of languorous sunshine. Heavy soil virtually covered by plants holds its moisture well, but even so I've needed to water a bit in the last couple of days - and the greenhouse has needed attention daily, although that's no hardship when it gets to over 30ºC in there (I love heat).
Last night I popped out after Gardeners' World - 9pm! - and still did some planting. It doesn't get fully dark until around ten thirty, so you feel there is always enough time to do everything. I'll do a post on vegetables shortly, but here I'll share some photographs I took at dusk. The garden has a particular character after the sun has set - fragrant, poised, almost sighing in relief from the day's heat. Hopefully these capture some of that feeling.
Red valerian (Centranthus ruber) growing round the base of the house is now coming into full bloom. There are two forms here, a paler magenta, and a richer red.
These blue geraniums were a gift many years ago. They form massive clumps, and I tried to remove them, but they have returned. They look perfect for a short time, which I intend to enjoy.
Self-sown foxgloves return nearly every year. These ones are stunted, but still welcome.
Purple-podded peas are now in full bloom, looking as good as the sweet peas that will come later - and still growing strong.
Allium 'Purple Sensation' is still holding on. Beneath them, other varieties, planted at the same time, are starting to show buds.
And underneath the alliums, the self-sown forget-me-nots I transplanted from a raised vegetable bed are showing no signs of going over.
The dwarf lilacs have super-sized blooms this year. They will soon turn brown, and need to be removed. The sky here is still bright - even at 9.45pm.
A hint of the future - the garden's first roses are opening. This is a low-growing white floribunda type, with a gentle fragrance.
The other, years-established alliums - I forget the variety - are looking better than I expected.
This part of the garden has run over into a meadow - couch grass seemingly losing to Geum urbanum and creeping buttercup. They complement each other, but I will clear them once their insect-friendly blooms have finished - they are simply too invasive to keep.