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My Garden Journal 2018 – June

I finished my latest entries into my garden journal just as we reach the mid-point of the year. June has once again been a month of mixed up weather and the garden plants have continued in their state of confusion.

My first words for June were positive words about the weather, a rare occurence to use such words this year. “The first week in June treated us to warm bright weather but thunderstorms, really wild powerful ones, broke the spell several times. Humidity was so high that it sapped our energy and made our joints ache.

Through all this the garden looked wonderful and full of atmosphere, with bees, hoverflies and day-flying moths adding sound and movement. The borders have filled out with fresh lush growth.”

I used six photos to illustrate this lushness.

   

On the opposite page I continued in the same vein using my quote this month from Dan Pearson, “My quote this month from Dan Pearson’s “Natural Selection” concerns greens and promises of the June garden. 

“The June garden is still full of promise and greens remain fresh and foliage pristine. There is a quiet rush to the longest day of the year with everything reaching towards this moment. The roses are never better than with the first flowers out and the promise of buds to come.”

I followed on with another six photos.

   

Turning to the next double page spread I considered our roses and add a few more words from Dan Pearson.

“Dan Pearson later singles out one Rose, “Bengal Beauty”,  for comment. This is a rose we grow and love it for its buds and unusual flower shape.”

Pearson wrote, “I have also set aside room for “Bengal Crimson” (or “Bengal Rose” or “Bengal Beauty”, depending where you read about it). I was first smitten when I saw it at the Chelsea Physic Garden years ago, but forgot all about it.” He recalls how he was gifted a specimen as a present for opening their summer fair.”

 

 

“Dan Pearson describes Bengal Beauty as “a delightful, informal bush and all the names describe it well – its single cherry-red flowers splayed wide and recoiled on themselves as if they were stretching are like sweet wrappers scattered over the bush.”

I then included photos of Rosa rugosa and Rosa “Summer Wine” in flower and in bud.

  

“Rosa rugosa”

 

“Rosa Summer Wine”

Over onto the next two ages I looked at Thalictrum, Centaurea and Gypsy Dianthus.

I wrote, “Thalictrum in all their guises are a real favourite of Jude, who has now brought together a good collection. The varieties include Thalictrum delavayi, T. Black Stocking, T. Elin, T. Rochebruneanum, T. Hewitt’s Double and T. flavum glaucum.”

    

“This Thalictrum has grown so tall it passes the apex of our greenhouse!”

 

“Centaurea put on a fine display throughout June, but do tend to flop if we forget to give them support”

 

“This biennial Dianthus has been with us for a decade or so now, but still performs reliably and beautifully.”

 

My next double page spread considers the colour orange in the garden and complimenting it with purple.

“Blazing orange for a blazing June. The sun lights up oranges as if they are on fire!”

“The zinc bath planted hot!”

  

“Geum Totally Tangerine and G. Koi

 

“Euphorbia griffithii “Dixter”

 

“Rosa Warm Welcome”

“My favourite colour to compliment orange in the garden is purple. Each colour intensifies the other in this strong partnership.”

     

To finish off my June entries I shared some of our cameos and combinations to be found in our garden during the month, and on the opposite page I had a quick look at “pin cushion” plants.

First here are my photos of “Cameos and combinations of the June garden.”

   

“Some flowers in the June garden remind me of pin-cushions especially Astrantias and Knautia macedonica. Each flowerhead is a tight circle with fine stamens, the pins.”

     

June this year ended with a fortnight of high temperatures and beautiful blue skies, two weeks of the beginning of a heat wave. Next time we return for a look at my 2018 Garden Journal we will be into the second half of the year. Things may have changed a lot in the garden by then. Perhaps we might even get a splash or two of rain!

 

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A Wander around our Garden in August

Our garden in August is a bright, colourful place full of lush growth, rich scent and so much wildlife to enjoy. Our wild birds are mostly quiet at present as August is the time when they hide away as they go through their annual moult. They have gone to ground and gone silent.

Above our heads however avian activity is busy and exciting. The Swallows and House Martins are feeding up in anticipation of their migration south. The sky is full of them, but the screaching of Swifts is absent as they began their own long journey a few weeks ago. For a few days there is a gap in the sounds – we miss them for their excited calls and aerial displays.

The calls of the young Buzzards can be heard above the Swallows and Martins, as they excitedly search out thermals and discover the joy of riding them. The Peregrines have reappeared now that their breeding season is over so we can watch the adult pairs rising in ever-higher circles until they disappear from view. Our eyes become incapable of seeing them as they become smaller, become dots and are then gone. They have the luxury of far better long distance vision than us – they will see the movement of their prey from hundreds of feet up in the air. A real treat is to spot them as they stoop, travelling down at speeds of over 200 miles per hour with a pigeon in their sights.

Yesterday when deadheading in one of our borders we were surprised by a low-flying, high speed Green Woodpecker who zoomed close to us, just a few feet away. A real treat!

Insect life is flourishing. On any warm bright day a variety of insects can be seen hunting out nectar and pollen. Butterflies, bees and hoverflies are attracted to Buddleias, Alliums, Salvias, Nepetas, Lavenders and Echinops. There are so many Peacock Butterflies around at the moment but you can’t have too many of them. The Holly Blues are much scarcer and flit continuously rarely seeming to settle.

Bees and hoverflies are attracted to our Lavender hedge which borders the lane which passes in front of our garden.

The ponds are full of life with shoals of young fish basking in the shallows, diving Beetles and Boatmen moving up to the surface and back to the bottom regularly. On the surface Pondskaters pace out the length and breadth of the pond surface. Young newts regularly appear at the surface take a gulp of air and drop back down. When Jude the Undergardener nets the duckweed and blanket weed from the pond she catches newts every time. She is delighted with every newt that graces her net. I am convinced that removing the weed is an excuse for her newt catching exploits. In August the majority of newts Jude catches are youngsters.

The front garden is looking good! So much colour! The Hot Border is HOT!

The “Beth Chatto Garden”, our gravel garden, is full of interest with Agapanthus taking centre stage. These Agapanthus were actually bought from the Beth Chattos Gardens nursery.

Early in August the front garden was dominated by yellow – even Jude the Undergardener was wearing yellow – but after a few weeks all the other colours caught up.

In the back garden the growth in our Secret Garden is exuberant to say the least. The foxgloves are going over but the achilleas, lychnis and alliums are still giving us a full performance.

Elsewhere in the borders of the back garden the seedheads of our Snakebark Acer add rich reds, Crocosmias give every shade of yellow, orange and red, Achilleas add subtlety and the spiky Erigeron flowers provide silver.

In the greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicums are adding sweetness and freshness to the cut-and-come-again mixed leaves of ours summer salads.

The world beyond our garden is changing this month as in our borrowed landscape the hay in the paddock has been cut and baled and the wheat fields turn gold and are being harvested one by one. By the time my September garden wander comes around the skys will seem empty as the Swallows and Martins will be on their way to warmer climes, but the garden will be getting busier with mixed feeding flocks of titmice and Goldcrests, and others of mixed finches.

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Plant Portraits – August

This post is dedicated to portraits of the blooms that are starring in our garden in August. The individual stars which shine out of the borders.