It is time I took up my camera and took photos of the delights our garden has to offer. This is a particularly important set of photos as we have decided on August 3rd as the date we are going to open our garden for the National Garden Scheme next year. We keep looking for gaps or places in need of improvements be it little tweaks or bigger tasks such as re-laying our main central path in the back garden.
So I went off around the garden with my zoom lens attached to see what’s what in our patch. As it panned out there was so much to see in the back garden that all this month’s photos were taken there. Please enjoy the journey and feel the damp, cool morning air which acted like a soft lens filter giving a delicate misty blue atmosphere to some of the shots.
In the “Shed Bed” the delicate china blue flowers popping out of the spiky spheres of the echinops provide sustenance for our bees and the apple tree trained over an arch will provide sustenance for us. The odd white flowers come from the gentle creamy colours of the hydrangea heads.
Our tulbagias continue to flower in the new slate garden close by and above them the purple sedum foliage hangs from the old gypsy kettle on our old ladder.
There are lots of plants to look at around the end of the greenhouse where the vine is dripping with grapes awaiting late summer sun to ripen them and paint them in purple and black. The Quince vranga tree has a few fruits hanging at the tips of the branches and the soft pink curled flowers of Sanguisorba “Pink Elephant” brighten the border below.
In the long “Tree Border ” this lilac flowered clematis is dripping with flowers and the thornless blackberry is heavy with young unripe fruits.
The Secret Garden and the Chicken Garden are at their best, blooming brightly with the cordon apples full of ripening fruit acting as a backdrop, many of which are just beginning to develop a flush in their cheeks. The Shropshire Damson tree overhangs one border and its deep purple fruits are weighing down its branches so heavily that the fruits look like they are reaching out to hold hands with the flowers.
A few new plants are waiting, still in their pots, in the Secret Garden while we decide where to plant them. They seem to be the colours of citrus fruits!
Along the central pathway our pears are close to their peak picking time. As I pass each day I look longingly to see if a couple are ready. Surely this is the ultimate gardening experience, eating a juicy, scented pear still warm from the sunshine just seconds from leaving the branch. The few plums look sad and lonely – from all four cordons we have just one clump of fruit. A poor year!
In the greenhouse the tomatoes are producing prolific amount of fruit in shades of yellow, red and purple. We are picking and enjoying them daily and adding some to the store of produce in the freezer. In the late autumn we shall make them into chutney coupled with our onions and apples.
From the greenhouse door I can look out across the “L Bed” and the “Long Border” through an arch draped in richly scented roses and a delicate china blue clematis. This is a herbaceous clematis rather than a climber, but it does enjoy a good scramble over everything in its path.
This strange fruit is a heritage cucumber called Booths Blond, which Jude the Undergardener tells me is very tasty. I don’t eat them, they are one of the few fruits and veggies I don’t enjoy. This variety certainly looks very different to the long straight regimental cucumbers sold in supermarkets.
We have been concerned about the lack of butterflies and bees this year but recently they have come back in good numbers. Honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees are all feeding furiously on any simple flowers. The butterflies are particularly tempted by the buddlejas and the marjorams. We garden with wildlife in mind particularly in the choice of plants we grow. Our flowers tend to be simple and open, just the sort preferred by pollinating insects. We rely on our insects and birds to look after our garden for us. We garden totally organically relying on wildlife to do our pest controlling and pollinating of our crops.
As I am writing this the sky is full of House Martins and Swallows gathering together in readiness for their long migratory journey to the African continent. There they will find flies to feed on while here in the UK the insect population will disappear with the onset of winter. These acrobatic flying little birds seem to be celebrating a good English summer!
In the shrubs and trees warblers and titmice are busy feeding up after a period of moult. August and September are when we tend to see our warblers, Willow, Garden and this year even a Grasshopper Warbler. Chiffchaff and Whitethroat tend to be with us most of the year.