Summer in the garden

An Instagram retrospective of summer 2018

I’ve been a little remiss with my Instagram garden summaries. Nothing since March – it’s almost as though April and May didn’t happen, and now here we are at the end of August, having sighted the outriders of Autumn as the next season makes its way inexorably toward our gardens. But it’s always good to pause and take a look back at where we’ve been, just for long enough to inform the next steps we take on our gardening journey.

June began with paeonies...

...and continued in the same vein. 

Pause. Let me pause the year, just here, a while. While foxgloves are fresh, and the paeonies in bloom. While the rose is in her fullest, first flush, and the faint memory of spring still lingers on the morning air. Time yet for bright sun, warm evenings, big daisies, seeds...all that to come. For now, let’s just rest here a while. 🌸🌹 Is it just me getting old, or is this year motoring by with indecent haste? It seems more important than ever to sink into each moment, and get away from the phone (the irony’s not lost on me as write!). There’s daylight to suck up and, much as I love my sleep and function so much better well-rested (who doesn’t), I don’t want to miss any of it. Today will be a day of sniffing roses. #mystoryoflight #peninpractice #olympusuk #tostandandstare #savourtheseasonalshift #flowersgivemepower #peonies #peonyperfection

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...though hardy geraniums and astrantias managed to muscle in on the action, albeit in a supporting role. Less ostentations, more dependable, I’d say. 

The roses seemed to be loving the hot weather...

Don’t they say seven tenths of an Iceberg are supposed to be hidden below in the depths? I’m not sure if that’s true for the #rose that goes by that name (Schneewittchen in Germany), but I can confirm that the above ground parts are splendid. This is a climbing form on Shed #1 (possibly also inside it too, it’s always knocking at the window). I’ve discovered it’s fiendishly difficult to photograph in the late evening sun while retaining any detail in the petals, so I hope you get some idea of it here. Very white, very floriferous, very little trouble. If I’m being fussy, the one thing that prevents it from achieving utter gorgeousness is the leaves could be a darker green, and a tad less floppy. Oh, and the scent isn’t particularly strong. #mystoryoflight #peninpractice #olympusuk #tostandandstare

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...and while the plants in the borders bulked up, I was left berating myself that it was now too late to do some of the jobs I’d meant to do in spring, whilst wondering how the most rickety of our sheds was still managing to stand upright.

The erigeron had a fabulous summer. Everywhere. 

And, as the sun continued to beat down mercilessly with no sign of relief, I took every opportunity to spend a few moments in the shade. 

Lawns turned from green to brown, and mowers were retired for several weeks – there was nothing to cut. 

On the plus side, skies were blue and cloudless...

...and by midsummer, the big daisies and prairie plants were making the most of the strong light. 

In all honesty, it was a little too hot and dry, and even those summer perennials you’d have thought would relish the conditions were showing signs of heat stress, demanding extra irrigation, or just going to seed faster than usual. By the time August arrived, the worst of the drought conditions had passed, the rain returned, and grey skies settled in. Traditional bank holiday weather. And with the appearance of zinnias... seemed we might even begin to think about a change in the seasons.

But whether you prefer to think of this time as high summer, or early autumn, the end of the summer holidays brings harvest, and fruit begins to swell and blush on branch and vine. 

And even, down on the shingle by the shore line. 

The beginning of September sees the start of meteorological autumn. Is summer done with us? Perhaps not quite yet. 

And while there are still dahlias, there’s hope, and light. 

How have you found summer in your garden – gloriously hot, or suffocatingly dry? I’d love to hear, either on twitter, or in the comments below. 

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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.