Monday, 29 June 2020

In a Vase on Monday - Threes

Feeling like something simple.....

 Aeonium Schwarzkopf 

Almost without colour except the dark summer near black of  Aeonium Schwarzkopf.

I heard that a friends lost her mother this last week, a sad event.

I have been pondering and contemplating the meaning of life.

I'm suffering from a 'surfeit' of being jollied along, of enticements to be stimulated, of changing variety.

My life is fine as it is, even the humdrum is good.  Analogy: my wooden bowl is beautiful, no need for gilding and glitter.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Six on Saturday 27 June 2020

Swifts, house-martins, and swallows are flying overhead by day and by night we have several species of bats, all seen whilst pending hours outside in the garden to try and keep cool. Mostly it is to escape the news and radio.  Inside I am reading blogs and gardening tips...a lovely pastime is reading The Props posts, and other joining in like me each Saturday

(1) Watching ants and their antics in the garden: a short video published on the Hardy plant Society web site.  Myrmechochory  has been going on in the garden here, I'm observed ants carrying seeds across the gravel garden.  Cyclamen will be coming up in strange places next year I am sure. I am sure the ants are farming the greenfly on the runner beans, now in flower, from the tubers which overwintered in the ground.

(2) Garlic Harvest: This week it was time to harvest the garlic. A quick wash to remove the soil, or the roots would take too long to dry,  and now these beauties are hanging up in the shade with good air circulation.  Since I grew this lot from five fat cloves from a head I bought last year. I shall grow some next year from the largest and best head. Some of what I thought were fat single cloves grew two shoots, giving eight heads in total. I may have harvested these a couple of weeks too early though, but they were starting to be overwhelmed by the Pattipan plants. There are lots of tips on the Isle of Wight site on growing garlic.

Garlic harvest 

Lettuce Royal Oakleaf

(3) I'm growing two types of lettuce in the garden at present.  I just love lettuce and salad, so this has saved many trips and supermarket plastic bags.  I harvest the leaves from the bottom, enough for each day, early in the morning, before it gets hot, and wash and pack it away in the fridge for later.  This variety of lettuce is said to be "heat-resistant, long-standing leaf ... produces large rosettes (indistinct heads) of oakleaf-shaped, dark-green leaves with thick midribs. Its tender leaves resist turning bitter even in hot temperatures" It is living up to its name.  Mr S likes smaller portions of lettuce!

(4) First flowering of Alstromeria.  This one came from the grounds of local Almhouses, and the gifter had never seen it in bloom.  I don't have many yellows in the garden, but it is a little pool of mango sweetness. At first I was a little disappointed, but they have grown on me.  

(5) Eryngium bourgatii with its silver marked leaves is just coming into flower.  The blues will get stronger.  The whole plant disappears completely during the winter.  During winter and early spring, before it emerges, crocus cover the area.  This year I waited in trepidation to see if it would emerge.  The plant has bulked out nicely from its small origins, and it was relief to see the first deeply lobbed silver veined leaves emerge.  At its feet is a creeping thyme now in flower and just in front, more sun loving plants. It survived the very wet winter pretty well.

Eryngium bourgatii

(6) At its feet, Origanum Kent Beauty is starting to show her pretty hop like bracts. This is one of Elizabeth Strangman’s lovely hybrids.   From the stems pairs of  bracts are turning pink, as they mature.  Origanum Kent Beauty is small compact plant with flowering stems growing and floating close to the ground.  Collection a few of the types of origanums is fun and not expensive, and as the plants thrive in the dryish conditions, its not surprising that I am acquiring a few more beyond the Golden Marjoram that I have been growing for years. They do need good winter drainage, and if that is not possible, a good idea is to grow them in free draining compost in pots.

Origanum Kent Beauty

I learned this week on a walk on the top of the Mendip hills close by, wild marjorams can be found growing on the limestone thin soils. I happened to have a clump grow up in the very dry 'turf' in the front garden, some of which was saved, when I decided to remove all the turf from the garden.

 I am trying to compile information on Origanums, for now trailing through the internet.  If any one would like to share any stories, links etc I would be delighted to hear from you.  

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Exploring the Mendips - Up on Draycott Sleights

Realizing the rest of the week would be hot, we decided last minute to take our first walk using the car  to get us to Draycott, which is not far from Wells on the Cheddar Road.

With little preplanning, except to take a walking stick, a bottle of water and the ordnance survey map, we set off for a circular walk.  On our return I have found the walk with description and it is spot on.

As we chose to walk below the exposed cliff, we shall be sure to go again soon and explore the reserve further.

The walk up Batscombe Hollow was glorious, with bird song, and wild thyme covering the anthills, and great views over the Somerset Levels. The stone walls and stone styles speak of a landscape well loved, and cared for.  Beyond and up the hollow the early summer flowers were starting to come out.  At first I had trouble finding out the name of this small pink flowered plant.  Veronica came to my aid. There were several patches of common centaury starting to bloom in the close cropped turf.  On the west facing slope of the Hollow, blue small scabious were just coming into flower. Emerging common rock-rose: helianthemum nummulariun, and ant hills covered with creeping thyme  

Common Centaury

Common rock rose

Down on the levels the tree clad Nyland Hill is one of the many 'islands' rising above the drained levels with the water filled rhynes glinting like fine ribbons forming boundaries to fertile fields.

The one mistake I made, but on this occasion, was not a problem, is that without thinking I wore a bright red tee-shirt.  We had to cross a field with a herd of long horn cattle, which thankfully continued to rest under the shade of trees, simply checking our progress.  I did not even wish to halt to take a picture of them! I felt relieved when we reached the other side of the field and went through the farm gate.

Monday, 22 June 2020

In a Vase on Monday - Seed Heads and Summer Blooms

The garden is getting that mid Summer Look.  Seed heads, Fuchsias and Penstemons this week.  The Love in the Mist are seedlings from last year crop, which ought to have been weeded out much earlier, the poppies with no name, the Fuchsia a hardy one but with no name, and a lovely deep purple Penstemom.

Cathy has prompted me, and on consideration, looking at the form of the plant, shape of flowers etc., I believe that it is Fuchsia Riccartonii.  

The Vase is the bottom of an Arts and Crafts period Pewter biscuit barrel, that has a lovely lid.  It usually sits on a kitchen shelf along with some other pewter bits.  The mosaic birds were bought from  and made by my friend Helen Clues who is based at the Farthing Gallery in Kenilworth.  We just happened to be invited to a soiree just before we moved, and I fell in love with the Lovey Doves as Mr S and I are....

The Penstemon was given to me by neighbour Val, which was from a cutting from one bought by her mother.  It is a lovely plant too, and yesterday I took cuttings.  We shall see in a few weeks if they have taken.  

As for the lack of names, I could have posted a 'wordless' IAVOM........Cathy who gathers us together has a very colourful arrangement, together with a great story woven around her theme of Bright Eyes.  Do go and have a look, other too will join in, and well worth a dip into, not only for lovely arrangements from home grown flowers, but dotted here and there good prose, photographs and gardening tips.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Six on Saturday - 20 June 2020

At last some rain, two days or more of continuous rain this week. Hurrah! The Prop under whose 'umbrella' we gather on Saturdays, has some lovely plants, so do go and have a look.

With a couple of days inside I still managed to get some jobs relative to the garden done: sharpening secateurs, and cleaning all my old labels ready to use again.  There was a time I could remember the names of all my plants, where they were planted and when.  Those days have past, so labels are necessary.  I have also made a plan to write labels for all the plants that I wish to give away.

(1) One of the plans, a few weeks ago, was to rationalise the number of plants I need to take in, in the autumn, as well as the number of plants in pots.  Rather than face that dilemma in October, I decided to repot the majority and offer the plants on our gardening club Facebook page.  I had two succulent enthusiasts call around, and with all social distancing rules adhered to, there were two very happy gardeners.  It was great to meet up with two fellow club members, and to send plants to good homes.  Two really beautiful Aeonium Velours went, and now I have just this one, newly potted.  Many other succulents  also flew the coop and I have just one or maybe two of each cultivar remaining, for myself, but just one of these lovely aeoniums, since I have plenty of material to propagate again should I wish to.

(2) The Penstemons have begun flowering and are doing very well following a severe cut down in March.  This is a pass along from Val my neighbour. It looks a little like King George V.

(3) As soon as the rain eased off yesterday, I just had to get out into the garden.  Some of the lemon verbena: Aloysia citrodora, was harvested, ready to dry for my winter supply of teas.  Not surprisingly, a few cuttings were taken. As he inside was not looking, the bench doubled up as work bench, and when I was finished, everything wiped down and put away. He doesn't mind really, but I am a messy person, doing several things at the same time.  Another thing I ought to work on!

(4) Growing a few veg: Once upon a time,  I spent hours at my allotment.  I still like to have a little corner to pop out to, with herbs and a few other small patches of edibles.  I had sown a few peas to harvest as pea shoots, and after nipping a few ends, the plants ended up in the 'potager', size in opposite relation to the grandness of the title. I have picked a surprising number of peas, which end up playing a prominent role in canapes, risottos, etc. Something I wouldn't do with the very good ones that come frozen.

 Here the first garden peas star on some bruchetta; we had one each. One chicken liver slice and fried in butter, topped with 'verdure' from the potager,  deglazed  with brandy which had been used to soak dried cherries, on a small slice of home made sourdough.  I bought a lovely organic chicken from a local artisan producer at the market on the first day opening after over 12 weeks, and it came with all the innards, just as they used to come years ago. 

Next year, I shall grow some mangetout....

The lemon verbena which grows slap in the middle of the potager, will be moved at the end of the summer, as I hope this way to make a little more room for veggies.  The cuttings are an insurance in case it hates the move, and keels over.

(5) Things can get a little out of hand, or out of proportion.  Is there such a thing as giant fennel, growing to over 2 metres?  It did look cute with delicious feathery leaves which were chopped up for salads only a few weeks ago, but was it the sunshine, or is it trying to have a look over the next door fence, or the other way to the levels?  Next year I'll try Florence fennel, and buy my fennel seeds from the grocers!

(6)  Just how many spots and which way round?  Or stripes? Lots of two spotted and other ladybirds in the garden as well, which is why I am holding off dealing with the black and greenfly for now.

Let me also mention the larger animal with stripes, whose appearance made our wedding anniversary completely memorable.   After never having seen a badger alive, one day this week I saw one run in broad daylight just the other side of the wall, and on the following evening, as we were finishing off our special meal, one came in the garden, drinking from the bird bath on the ground.  I had wondered why and how the freshly filled bowls, were nearly empty and pretty grimy every morning.  I now surmise that it was not from all the early birds having their morning wash, but that the badger had been desperate for water during the dry spell.  I reacted quickly, and did not want to waste time taking a picture,  and shooed it off,.  The bird bath won't be left on the floor overnight again!  A quick sighting is fine, I would rather my garden remain a haven for frogs, slow worms, and grass snakes.  After cutting Mr S's hair yesterday, I scattered the clippings along the boundary, I hope the smell of humans may deter it.

Monday, 15 June 2020

In a Vase on Monday - Dark

Cathy this week has sweetpeas arranged beautifully a little posy.  Light and airy, and I look forward to seeing other arrangements from others joining in with Cathy's weekly In a Vase on Monday gathering.

Just how dark red can a rose get?  

What a wonderful perfume from just a single stem but with multiple roses.  Rose Munstead Wood is here paired with some stems from Phlomis  pupurea Matagallo. Its pink flowers are now largely over, but I love the woolly stems and the seed pods along the stem.  I chose stems that were growing from low down and had taken on a more twisty form.  The flowers have been a favourite of  bumblebees.  

The Vase is one which belonged to my parents.  It was brought back by my father from Japan, when I was very young, as a present for my mother, and it is one of my very favourite vases.  Each time I use it it brings back happy memories.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Flour tortillas from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet

Made some tortillas today for the first time.  Another recipe from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet.  There they are called Corn oil flour tortillas.  I just happened to have rapeseed oil which I used instead of corn or sunflower oil.  I used the water drained from my home cooked chickpeas, apart from that as per the book. 


They were delicious and so easy to make.  The filling consisted of a spicy stir fry/stew of things that had to be used up: the remains of the chicken, chickpeas, and some fresh peas from the garden, onions etc and spices, thyme, parsley and coriander from the garden.  A bit like a Mauritian rougaille. 

As I was flicking through to find the page of the recipe, my eye was caught by 'Lentil-stuffed flatbreads'.  Reading a little further into the recipe I saw the name Trinidadian dhal puri they make these there.  I wonder how they compare to Mauritian Dhal Puri?

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Six on Saturday - 13 June 2020

I'm very often inspired by the many bloggers who link into The Propagator's Weekly Six on Saturday Event: some of this week's six below is evidence .  I love The Prop's  theme this week.  It could have almost been mine!  So pleased he is 'full of doubts' aka an excuse to acquire more geraniums, I too have caught that virus.

(1) Herbs From last weeks links and from the comment Lisa left on my post last week, I discovered that like me, Lisa loves herbs. I like to grow the usual herbs for the kitchen and also am working on a little collection of decorative marjorams and oreganos.  This morning after rain the low growing herb  Origanum Kent Beauty is just starting to produce its hop like flowers.

(2) Insects: The Shrub Queen has been studying the insects in her American Garden, and reading about some of the bees in her garden was interesting, so I thought I would share an insect I observed for the first time this week.

This is Oedemera nobilis or the Thick legged flower beetle.  Only the male has the thick legs, quite obvious here.  It is rather small but it caught my eye as its shimmering blue green wing coverings were covered with pollen.  

Most several of the insects in our garden, have caught my interest at times and  some are mentioned on my blog.  Rose Chaffer Beetles have been flying around this week and devouring the pollen in the middle of the large roses same time as last year.  Yesterday I found one on the Astrantia, and taking off my glasses, being very short sighted, watched it gather bunches of small individual flowers to its mouth. In Come a little closer still Jim's Garden Ruminations, he has recently posted  detailed and knowledgeable pictures of Astrantia, which is well worth a detour.

Oedemera nobilis covered with pollen

(3) I believe the flowering plant is Potentilla nepalensis 'Miss Willmott'.  An In a Vase on Monday and gardening friend Alison gave me a  small seedlings a couple of years ago.  

(4) This is the week that young birds are exploring the garden. It feels that the garden is almost overcome with birdlife,  as all the youngsters are learning how to bathe, eat, dig for worms etc.  Filling the bird feeder is costing us more than feeding ourselves for breakfast.  All the blackcurrants have gone even before they were ripe. Thousands of Amelanchier berries have disappeared, but the gooseberries are too big now.  The youngsters are learning about what plants to land on, but a young blue tit  is yet learnt that stems of  Primula alpicola var. alba are just not strong enough even for a baby blue tit to hang off from. The Primula has a wonderful scent but get both me and him inside shouting "what has brought on our itchy eyes?" and the flower is moved to the garden table, see below.

(5) The first picking: 400g, on the second season for Gooseberry Invicta. One day earlier than last year, but a whole lot bigger, and lots more to come.  I would like to find out if gooseberries are till on people's list of fruit to look forward to. I would love to have your reflections here, or on my post: Gooseberries in the garden. Even if you grow these gooseberries elsewhere for example an allotment or not your garden, your comments and thoughts would be much appreciated. 

(6) I really did not think that the 'perennial' runner beans, which started life last year from Runner Bean Moonlight, would come to much.  When I started to prepare the area earlier in the year, I came across large dahlia like tubers, with signs of shoots.  I dug them to  move them to grow in a line long the fence.  Later the one in the foreground came up, and I was loath to despatch it.  In between one and four stems, mostly three are coming up each tubers and flower stalks are starting to grow in the leaf axils.  I look forward to comparing harvests.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Gooseberries in the garden and kitchen

I am interested to hear people's feelings about gooseberries.  Do you like them, and what are your earliest memories?  When did you last enjoy them?

These days gooseberries rarely make an appearance in greengrocers or on the shelves of supermarkets, have gooseberries fallen out of favour?

Last year Susanna  and I posted a small gooseberry harvest on Facebook, and again this year I have shown my first harvest from my one and only Gooseberry Bush Invicta.  Up in Warwickshire the harvest has not yet started in her garden. Susanna may of course have a later fruiting variety.

Already the first pickings are more than the whole of  last year's crop, and together with a second picking, added to the above, I have 1 Kg prepared fruit.  There are still at least a couple of pickings left.  I shall wait until the rest are fully ripe to check on their sweetness.

Cooked in a little water and orange juice with the zest, I have a little stash of jam to enjoy in the Winter months.  I could not help thinking of my mother as I prepared the fruit yesterday, as it would have been her birthday.

Harvesting means scratches if you don't wear gloves, but once the branches are moved and the fruit is visible picking, with the bowl on the ground, is pretty straight forward. For now the birds are leaving them alone which I am happy with. I have tried netting over some strawberries a couple of years ago, but because I had not pegged it down sufficiently, a little bird got in and got trapped, so now I do not net any fruit.  Of course, if you have a large garden a lovely walk in fruit cage would be the answer.

On 17th June, I picked the remaining gooseberries, a further 550g, bringing the total harvest to a rounded 1.5Kg for the one bush Invicta in 2020.  More or less the largest berry is 13g.  I'm not about to join the wonderful champion gooseberry growers of Cheshire, whose Giant Gooseberries are over 60g!

I picked up this bush at a local nursery, and planted it a corner of the garden now called: Gooseberry Corner.  What attracted me to this cultivar is its ability to resist Mildew.  Invicta is an early season variety and In its second year in the garden the yields are higher than expected.  There are some very good comments on different gooseberry varieties on the site Garden Focused.  Blackcurrants are doing very poorly in this area as they need so many chill days, and over the winter, we hardly had any frosty periods.  I may well be adding gooseberry Hinnonmaki Red. Plenty of good growing guides, with the one on Grow Veg clear and simple.

I've loved gooseberries as far back as I can remember.   Once we had been invited out to 'luncheon' at a lovely large country home.  I must have been eight or nine years old, and we had all travelled to the UK.  We travelled from London, by steam train where the water intake was between the lines, and met at the station the other end and driven to this house with an enchanting garden.  Can you imagine just how excited I was?  My father knowing his little greedy gourmet, had instructed me to be on my best behaviour, which I now know, means that I ought to be quiet and not talk too much.  When the desserts were presented at the end of the meal there were two options.  I remember one of them being a Gooseberry Pie.  I just could not resist and my words were:  "Please may I have the both?"  I could not understand why the whole party erupted into laughter, after all I did ask very politely!

My mother too had a particular love of gooseberries. Once when she was visiting I found her walking back from the fruit and vegetable section of my then garden which was planted out with a great range of fruit.  She has a look on her like a cat who had got the cream.  When I asked what she had been up to, she confessed that each morning she would walk down the garden and eat the fruit off the bushes.  I was slightly bemused and asked her which fruit and she replied: Gooseberries!  I had always just cooked the fruit and had not realised just how sweet and delicious a well ripened gooseberry could be.  At the time the Whinham's Industry were as purple as dark plums, and Golden Drops soft, sweet and delicious, reminiscent of a muscat grape.  Just proves you are never too old to learn something from your mother!  Each time we travelled out to visit my mother, amongst the must haves from the UK, were tins of gooseberries.  I guess they reminded her of  home.  

Monday, 8 June 2020

In a Vase on Monday - Early June?

Looking at the garden, it is easy to see that it has been having a hard time.  The ravages of sun and lack of rain are showing as if on a weather beaten face.  Early June should be lush and full of promise.  The season seems to have peaked too soon.  Plants are under stress, and seeds are ripening, but just how viable will they be?

 A quick snip back on Geranium Joy made me wonder just how viable will the delicate flowers be in a vase?  If this arrangement lasts more that one day I shall be content.  Last week's vase is still vibrant, and I had not realised just how well Geranium Capricorn would last.  Its always worth a try.  Today's lot are not florists flowers which are selected to last several days, but mostly just look very natural and laid back in the garden.

Linaria purpurea Canon Went are the pale pink toadflax spires with miniature snapdragon blooms.  There are a few white Love in the Mist with a couple of seed capsules.  A couple of stems of  Erigeron karvinskianus to give a little movement, and a grey stem of Ballota pseudodictamnus.

A little bunch of ripening seeds from Geranium maculatum 'Elizabeth Ann'.  

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Six on Saturday - 6 June 2020

As I link in with this weekly post brought together by The Propagator, I'll be off to 'visit' other gardeners and see what they are writing about this week.

(1) Pseudowintera colorata Red Leopard sadly had suffered a severe scorching. I ought to have noticed and thought earlier. Until Thursday when we started to have more cloud, it was covered in white fleece to screen away a little sun, which is slightly ironic since the fleece is used to keep seedling warm in early spring. It was a little like bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted.  I am wondering whether to move the shrub and also what to plant in its place. In the meantime, I'll prune off all the burnt bits off later on today.

I have some cultivation notes for Pseudowintera which read: " May suffer foliage damage and stem dieback in harsh winters in cold gardens". In this case I ought to add "may also suffer scorching in high temperatures, harsh sunshine with clear skies".

(2) Another small patch which has suffered with the hot weather and dry soil,  is one where the pretty multicoloured Ajuga reptans Burgandy glow had grown congested and mildewey. Growing advice does suggest they need attention every couple of years or so it was time for a change.  I have patches of this rather nice ajuga elsewhere, so I decided to dig it up, and improve the soil a little with grit and compost. In its place went 
Geranium sanguinem alba , which I picked up on our cycle ride out to Tadham Nurseries last Saturday.

(3) Ballota Pseudodictamnus is already throwing out its felted silver flower spikes and overshadowing some small specials around it.  Either it is going to be moved, or it will have to be the small specials.  Should it get moved which is very likely,  its summer shadow area would be ideal for growing spring flowering bulbs.  

(4) As I work or sit in the garden I catch the lovely scent of Valerian.  The tall stems of small white flowers stay quite erect without the need for staking, and sway nicely in the breeze.

(5) Last year I treated myself to a couple of clay pots for my Japanese grass: Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'.  I was a little worried placing them in a position where there is quite a bit of sun.  However they seem to be coping nicely.  Maybe that is because I have been given them frequent soaks.  I went out to take a picture very early this morning, and it was cold: a huge difference compared to this time last week.

(6)  Much of the work this week in the garden has been sweeping up debris falling from the large evergreen oak.  It does have a shedding of leaves each summer, but this is the worst it has been.   A couple of days of slight rain may have refreshed a few leaves around the garden, but the tubs and pots still need attention.  Fledglings of various types of birds have been visiting the garden, and bathing, much to our amusement.  Sempervivums are starting to throw forth their flowering spikes...and thus the round of anticipation and planning of new pans of mixed sempervivums will soon be on the horizon again.

Friday, 5 June 2020

Carrot and cumin burger buns

The recipe is available out there, but I followed the recipe in Short and Sweet my go to baking book by Dan Lepard, which is a little different.  Even before they went in the oven, Mr S commented on the wonderful smell. We are having these will home made spicy turkey burgers tonight.  These will be great with some veggie burgers, and I have a few recipes to try out in the coming week.  In the meantime most of these beauties are destined for the freezer.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Stone Dinner

There is a fable about 'Stone Soup', told to me many years ago, and I tend to use this term when I have no idea what we are going to eat.  Thankfully its not because we have run out of edibles or the wherewithal to acquire them, or will actually go hungry.  It is for those days when planning has gone to pot, or I am not in the mood, or that time has slipped by.  Of course a wonderful dish of baked beans on toast can always assuage hunger pangs.

The last post I happened to have read before dinner yesterday was one from my friend Karen who lives and works in Spain.  Karen is a great traveler and gourmet, and with the restaurants now opening she felt she would like to support her local hostelry.   She and her daughter were astounded as groups met up for lunch completely flaunting the health measures, and she also felt she could have eaten better at home.  I happened to say to her that we could always post pictures of our home cooked meals.

Mr S is very accommodating, and said on account of the heat, he thought something simple...but I was in the 'zone', and imagining Karen, who does no eat meat,  knocking on the door,  just had a look through the fridge...there were only odds and ends.  Half a tub of thawed baked ironbark pumpkin...what could I make with this?  With bits and pieces such as an onion, herbs from the garden, some lovely local sheep's cheese, roasted hazel nuts, etc....oh and the magic of heat, seasoning and olive oil....afterward this picture garnished with home grown basil.

Don't worry there won't be post after post on meals...we are usually far too hungry and wanting to sit down and get stuck in, to get the camera out.  

Monday, 1 June 2020

In a Vase on Monday - Summer

They say the start of June is the start of summer.  With soaring temperatures and lack of rain, the fields are turning brown far too early.  It is not the same around the country, but we seem to have missed any rain coming over these Isles.  Very early this morning, I went out to water, and although I had already cut nearly a bucket full of the white  Centaurea montana alba, whilst I was cutting back the plants ready for their second flush,  my eye was caught by the pretty pink of Pelargonium Capricorn, and purple flower spikes of  Salvia nemorosa Caradonna.  This was one of my favourites and last year I acquired a new plant for this garden.

Together with a few stems of  Phalaris: that is is the grass, which has many names such as gardener's garters or as I have just read bride's laces on the RHS page, here is the first vase of Summer.