June & July in the garden

An Instagram retrospective of June & July 2017

The year is flying. We’re already weeks past midsummer, the days are beginning to draw in and early morning mists have arrived. June whisked by so fleetingly, Hampton Court was upon me before I knew it and I didn’t have time for a review of that month, so I hope you’ll excuse a double shot in this post. And before you ask, no, my yoga practice is still non-existent. Though I have been leant a kettlebell, which so far I have carried from the car to the front room. That should do it.

June began scorchingly. In fact, you could have been forgiven for thinking we weren’t in good old Blighty, so warm was the sun and blue the sky. Rather a difference from now, but that’s the joy of the British weather.

“What’s that smell?” asked the nice lady whose garden I was looking after this afternoon, as she brought me a cup of tea and TWO biscuits. 🍪🍪 (As a rule of thumb, don’t ever garden for people who don’t bring you tea. It’s not an infallible guide, but it’s a pretty good indicator. Biscuits and/or cake seals the deal.) 🍪🍰 It was a nice “What’s that smell?”, in spite of the heat, the slightly sweaty gardener, and unlike yesterday when the same question led to the discovery of half a rotting badger in the orchard. So we both wandered about the garden, sniffing flowers, until I dragged the ladder over to the enormous yucca** which for most of the year sits around looking like Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. Sure enough, the marvellous white flower spikes crowning the huge muppet plant were emitting the most heady jasmine-like fragrance – with the sun and the sky, and the perfume, we could have been on a tropical island, rather than a small garden in Kent. Or, as was mentioned, “somewhere even more exotic than Torquay”. 🌿 It may just about be possible to look slightly rugged for a second or two, hopping about atop ladders chucking around large throbbing petrol engines with long blades attached to them, but anyone who knows me even slightly will be aware that I spend most of my working day in conversation with earthworms, discussing the weather with robins, or skipping about sniffing flowers. And drinking tea. ☕️ 🌿 ** actually a cordyline, as spotted by @jackjjw, but we call it a yucca in a generic kind of way. Or Oscar, which is better. 🌿 #iphoneography #mystoryoflight #tostandandstare

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Another outing for the splendid #mygardenrightnow hashtag from VegPlotting’s Michelle Chapman had folk across social media sharing images of their gardens. Here at home, the alliums were out, and the geums were lending their colour to the borders, even if Bill was insisting on rampaging through the plants.

June really kicked off the pink rose theme, followed hot on the heels by the pink paeony trope. I don’t think it was just on my instagram, but there’s no denying I have an eye for pink flowers. I’m not sure I can account for this, except by observing their resemblance to scoops of ice-cream, to which I’m rather partial. This is as good an explanation as you’re likely to get, and as justifications go, it’s quite as convincing as many we’re asked to swallow in these interesting times.

We’ve been receiving further treasures from the Plant Post Club run by the lovely folk at GeoFleur. Not only fascinating (and hard to murder) succulents and cacti, but gorgeous ceramics too. Such a treat!

Meanwhile, outside in the garden, the houseleeks seemed to be enjoying the weather as June turned to July.

…while the rest of the garden was going romantically bonkers. 

The first week of July brought with it the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show (you can read about my highlights from the show gardens and the floral marquee here).

The warm weather has brought everything on a little early this year, and some of the lavender will need cutting sooner than usual if we’re to preserve the nice, round pebble shapes of the plants and prevent them going leggy. It’s particularly important to remove the flowers if you’re moving the plants at this time of year, which can be a tricky endeavour at the best of times.

I became rather enamoured of the David Austin rose ‘Lady of Shallot’, which just goes to show, I don’t just do pink.

The weather’s taken a turn for the dull and rainy, but the plants in the garden are doing their best to put on a brave face.

With the possible exception of Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’, who likes any excuse to sulk.

Just as August looms over the horizon, the dahlias make their appearance. One of the first to flower this year is also one of the largest and, out of interest, one of the dahlias we chose to leave in the ground over winter, protected by an extra layer or two of mulch.

How did you find June & July in your garden? Let me know on twitter, or in the comments below.