It is half way through the year and also through our monthly visits to the Dorothy Clive Gardens. When we arrived at the gardens for our July visit we noticed signs for a vintage tea party and vintage fair. So we had a little extra to enjoy.
The Dingle Garden which was so colourful on earlier visits had waned but still had a few points of interest. We were surprised to see several plants in flower but extra amazed by the beauty of the selection of Lilium martigon and Hydrangeas.
I think the best way to share our June visit to the Dorothy Clive Gardens will be to present a gallery so that you can share our wanderings. As usual just click on the first image and navigate using the arrows.
So there we have it, the Dorothy Clive Gardens in June.
I can’t believe we are in the second half of the year but as this is the post about my garden journal in July then we most certainly are!
I began my July journal entry with a reference to the weather, the obsession of the British especially gardeners. “The month of July burst in with a heatwave. Some plants objected by wilting but flower colours were enriched in the sunlight. Lilies and Clematis joined the colour pallette provided by June’s Roses and Geraniums.”
Our Oriental Lilies were the best we have ever had this July and we have been growing them for many years. We grow them in big pots so that we can simply drop them in where and when they are needed to add splashes of dramatic colour. Enjoy my little gallery of Lily photos. Just click on the first photo and then use the arrows.
I then wrote about our July pond dipping adventure, “A pond dip early in the month showed young newts still present in abundance alongside nymphs of Dragons and Damsels. This little creature (painting below) caught my eye. At just over a centimetre in length the Water Lice, or Isopoda, is the wet equivalent of the more common Wood Lice. They cannot swim but simply scramble around devouring detritus and decaying plant material. They are common prey of the larvae of Damsels and Dragons.”
I moved on then from pondlife to birdlife and looked at two of the most beautiful birds that visit our garden. “We have been visited by two of our most colourful birds over the last few weeks, Bullfinches and Redstarts.” The Redstart made a fleeting visit on our last open day at our garden when it was full of visitors, which seemed a bit brazen for a normally shy woodland bird.
Agapanthus featured next in my July garden journal as our collection in our Beth Chatto garden were budding up nicely promising a beautiful display before too long. We have been building up our collection of favourite Agapanthus for a few years now and it is now coming along well. “Our collection of Agapanthus in our Beth Chatto Garden is slowly getting more colourful as flower buds burst. Surely these are the slowest of buds to become flowers!”
To see some of our Agapanthus up close, some still in tight buds some opening up, please enjoy the little Agapanthus gallery below. As usual click on the first picture and use the arrows to move through. Next month promises to be a month of Agapanthus flowers rather then buds. Can’t wait!
My next double page is about the weather and our min-meadows.
My journal continues, “This year the heat of the early part of July was not set to continue for us in Shropshire. Dark grey masses of clouds took over from clear blue skies.”
Mighty Mini-Meadow is the title of the next page of my journal which features photos of the little but very floriferous meadow we sowed in early May in vegetable bags. The seeds germinated so well that we have been treated to a mass of blooms reminiscent of a summer meadow from the days before intensive agriculture changed our countryside into huge barren fields of monoculture. It sits beneath my collection of antique garden tools. These native wildlflowers attract insects as if drawn in by distant memories, bees, hoverflies and butterflies.
What an honour Mother Nature bestowed on us this month! This is how the next page of my journal begins. It is all about a special time in our garden, a moment we will never forget.
“Early one morning we noticed that a Dragon Fly larva had crawled from our pond, across the decking and up the door of our summerhouse. The green colour of the door must have fooled it into thinking it was tall rushes. Once in place the back of the larva opened up and a Dragonfly very slowly emerged. At first it was wingless but as warmth increased they popped out looking as if they were made of plastic. The creature shivered itself into life and the sun helped pump life and rigidity into its wings. An hour later we watched an adult Dragonfly off.”
I illustrated this amazing spectacle with a simple i-pad drawing and a photo of the head of the Dragonfly gripping the empty shell of its former self.
So with this amazing experience my journal closed up for July and will soon re-open for August.
Occasionally we buy plants wrongly labelled and usually realise the mistake the nursery has made but this is impossible to do when bulbs are wrongly named. It is a long wait for the error to reveal itself. Early in the year we bought a batch of Asiatic Lily bulbs to boost the range we currently grow in containers throughout our garden. We chose varieties of deep reds with some almost black. Most performed just as expected and we loved them. They added depth to the colour range.
But one pot of bulbs was late throwing up its flowering stems and when we saw how it grew with thin dark stems it made us realise we had something rather unexpected. When it started to produce flower buds in large groups atop each stem we realised it definitely wasn’t what the label said. This Lily was supposed to be Lilium Landini with very dark red almost black flowers.
Just look at what our mystery Lily turned out to be!
And just look how each beautiful golden flower opens up for us to enjoy!
What a wonderful mystery! A golden Turks Cap Lily!
But what would have grown in our pot if the label was correct – an equally beautiful but oh so different so dark bloom. Almost black velvet! Luckily we had three pots full of these too.
We particularly enjoy walking around our garden at the moment as the scents are so strong and the colours so vivid. One flower that satisfies both these senses is the not so humble lily. Bright, hot, fiery and warm – the colours of the sky as the sun sets in the west each evening and re-awakens in the east as the day dawns afresh.