06:23 Tuesday 30 June 2020
As the crops mature and the flowers bloom, our gardens have become a feast for us all, including the birds and bees – a feast for the eyes as well!
I’ve harvested enough oregano to last me all winter, hanging it in bunches and stuffing it into the wine rack. I’ll be able to give the surplus to friends & family, not that my daughter will need any: she’s been harvesting & drying her own, using the spreading-on-paper method.
I’ve no room to dry the golden marjoram – which is another version of oregano in any case – so I’ll leave it to flower for the bees! The flowers will be pale pink: very pretty!
As well as busily drying herbs, my daughter has been saving up lolly sticks for me to recycle as labels, so when I saw Monty Don sowing Florence fennel seeds on Gardeners’ World I got out a half-used packet and sowed two rows myself in potager bed 4, putting a couple of the ‘labels’ to good use.
I had weeded the bed, leaving a Welsh poppy and a couple of nasturtiums (all self-sown) and the sage, trimmed back now that its flowers were over.
I’ve been doing quite a lot of snipping & trimming this week. June is the month our woodland path gets mown, the spring bulb foliage having had plenty of time to die back and feed the bulbs, so when I got out the Flymo to cut the grass I did a quick once up and down through the woodland to form the path. Sawdust that had been generated by the tree surgeons was blown about by the mower, serendipitously covering the path!
The tortoise in the centre of the lawn is a fake, used to cover the hole for my rotary clothes line – it is very difficult to find when covered with autumn leaves unless I use a marker and the tortoise does very well!
The new bronze fronds of the autumn fern, named because of its colour, were unfurling so I trimmed back the tattered old green stems. I did the same with my tree fern, the slow-growing dicksonia antarctica, bought in 2016, and revealed a pleasing stretch of trunk.
It survives the winters in the fence border with a ‘duvet’ of autumn leaves and these blow away in due course.
David’s trachycarpus fortunei has had those ‘fans’ in danger of being burnt by next door’s patio heater cut off at the trunk, thanks to my son-in-law who noticed the potential damage!
I have washed and replenished the bird feeders in a drop of washing up liquid & a glug of white vinegar, composting the tops of the tall nettles so I didn’t sting myself as I retrieved them once dry. I grow stinging nettles because they are the food plants of so many butterflies.
A goldfinch made the most of the fresh niger seed while a pair of dunnocks and a robin chick mopped up the fallen seeds below.
The baby robin is well camouflaged to the right of the fake rabbit!
I was delighted to see the flower photos from Helen’s garden in Scotland: snapdragons, lilies and clematis: another feast for the eyes!
“Thought you’d like them,” she said.
I, too, have been feasting my eyes on the latest blooms to open in the garden this week:
the first fragrant jasmine flowers,
the white-flowered campanula bells
and Queen Elizabeth roses (the pink ones at the right), which I’ve been picking like mad, along with the orange Just Joeys and white Margaret Merrils, before the rain could smatter them to pieces. My tatty old bucket minus its handle has been recycled as a florist’s bucket for picking and conditioning the stems in water before arranging them in vases – in this case, a recycled coffee jar which was just the right size for these three Queen Elizabeths!