Saturday, 1 June 2013

The first day of summer

For me, June is summer. Any definition of the season that says more than half of this month is in spring makes no sense to me.

And it has certainly felt like summer today. There was a cool breeze, but it was sunny most of the day, and in sheltered spots it was very warm. The garden was full of insects, and the summer flowers are taking over from the spring ones. Here's a selection of shots from the front garden - which has, mostly of its own accord, developed a colour scheme of pinks and purples, as it does at the end of spring every year now.

A rare wide view of the garden. Here you can see self-sown red valerian in the foreground, which grows as a weed here, but fills gaps in concrete and walls very usefully, and provides colour and nectar, attracting butterflies, for months on end. Lower left are chive flowers; mid left is the structure I built for my peas. In the background, you can see harmonious purples of alliums, tulips, and columbines.

The above three pictures are the alliums I planted round the base of the quince tree. This is 'Purple Sensation'. Note the pale blue self-sown, but transplanted, forget-me-nots in the background.

The tulips 'Black Parrot' have held on for nearly three weeks. I will definitely be planting more of these for next year.

I planted a quince tree just over a year and a half ago. It's doing well and is covered in blossom, which looks great - pale pink cups - but doesn't smell very nice. I'm hoping for fruit this year.

The ornamental lilacs form the middle of a loose hedge, giving some privacy from the road in summer. This year blossom has been less abundant, but I'm not sure why. It is still pristine, and gloriously scented.

More alliums - this time I think is A. christophii. I planted them around 8-10 years ago, when I completely replanted the front garden, and they have returned in greater numbers every year since - this time, there are around 10 flowerheads, though they are never as large as newly-planted bulbs.

The purple-podded peas have grown fast, and are now about three feet tall. They betray their variety with splashes of crimson, like here, where these leaf-like projections meet the stem.

I didn't harvest all the garlic I planted the winter before last, and it started to regrow. So this spring I transplanted them, and they have continued to grow. This one has begun to flower - forming a 'scape'. I harvested this (which prevents the bulb becoming exhausted) and chopped it into pasta. The peas have been using it as support.

The garden's next star - a peony - is nearly ready to open.

Aquilegia (columbines) are native to the garden - they sow themselves around every year. They are probably descended from cultivated varieties I've grown in the past, but they tend to revert to this classic, deep purple, or sometimes pink. Their time is short.

One last allium - chives! They are just as pretty, and the flowers can be used as a garnish on dishes, such as poached eggs.

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