Celebrating Summertime Splendour

08 Jul 2024

What a difference a month and a drenching of sunshine makes! It’s only been four weeks since my latest missive, but after seeing in the solstice, the garden suddenly feels like a new and altogether more abundant place. Finally emerging from a very long and very damp winter, we have been delivered straight into high summer, my pots and borders now a riot of unfurling blooms and blossoms. It is, I think, what I love most about tending a garden: the way in which its sudden seasonal transformations magically deliver wholly new and enchanting lands, ripe for the discovery and rediscovery year after year.

It is, I am told, the year of the foxglove. When one particular plant thrives beyond all precedent, it often feels like one of nature’s unknowable mysteries. At a guess, though, I wonder if it is all the endless rain that has proven so favourable for them, not least because they are traditionally a woodland floral. Whatever the reason, the theory has certainly been borne out in my four quadrant beds, where the delightful bell-like blooms are thriving, delighting all of us, but none more so than a procession of happy and well-satiated bees.
On the flipside, my edibles have been somewhat slower this year, in all likelihood for the same reason that the foxgloves have flourished. The lack of sunshine has undoubtedly taken its toll, but recently there has been a heartening rash of bounty as my strawberries are beginning to turn red, my courgettes are putting on a growth spurt and the warmth of the greenhouse is yielding regular crops of cucumbers. My trusty trug is now ever by my side: summer harvesting is in swing!
Roses are another flower that have, reputedly, had a tough year thanks to the long stretch of unseasonable weather. I am glad to report, though, that some of our old favourites have valiantly bucked the trend, most notably the Desdemona, which always bookends rose season for us, reliably the first and last to flower in the garden. I feel very grateful for its apparent determination to bloom despite the damp days, not least because it gives off the most beautiful and nostalgic of old rose scents.
Although the window of sunshine has, thus far, been short and sweet, it has nonetheless had a profound effect. The area around the patio is already looking a little sun-scorched, with hosts of dried allium heads thronging its edges. Along with our pleasingly sun-bleached garden furniture taking centre stage, it makes the most heavenly spot for an afternoon spritzer. The life of a gardener can’t be all toil, after all.
Emerson Garden Armchair, Fine Red Awning Stripe, featured left.

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