“Oh, the summer time is coming …”
I’ve been out in the garden today after a busy (and very wet) weekend where I didn’t do a great deal other than sit and knit. Oh, it was bliss!
The garden, however, didn’t have a weekend of doing nothing. The grass has shot up and looks like a field again and everything has burst into leaf and – in some cases – flower. It’s that time of year again when every wander into the garden is a joy because something new is happening.
The lilac is in full flower now, blending beautifully with a clematis which is just about to open it’s flowers and the variegated Weigela. Our lilac is a sucker from the tree in my Dad’s garden; it’s been in our garden for years now but has only flowered so prolifically for about the last two or three. It’s such a lovely colour, quite different to lots of the others that I see around.
The first of the Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale) are out as well now, which was a lovely surprise when I spotted them. I love the sooty pollen in this one (I’m not sure of the variety but it could be one called “Coral Reef” that I grew from seed one year)
and the frilly edges of these petals (I think this variety is “Turkenlouis”). I love Oriental poppies, I do have quite a lot of varieties in various shades from pink to red to purple – I don’t think I could ever have too many of them in my garden!
I’m also enjoying the foliage that is emerging too. These leaves are from the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), they have a fuzziness to them that makes you want to stroke them, and they’re such a gorgeous soft silver colour. The young leaves are the best thing about this plant – once the flower head emerges they go a bit scraggy, as if all their energy goes into producing the enormous thistle-like flower head – so I like to admire them at this time of year.
More leaves – these are red Cotinus “Grace” with the variegated Weigela that grows beside the lilac. I’m very happy with the way these plants merge together. My garden is very definitely a springtime garden, and I do need to have a look at it over the summer to fill in the gaps when the flowers start to fade. Foliage plants are always very handy for helping to fill those gaps!
I get such a huge sense of satisfaction from cutting the grass and seeing the garden look tidier again. (Did you know that’s the trick if you’ve got visitors coming and not much time to tidy up outdoors? Cut the grass and your garden will always look fabulous!)
I’ve also got a song constantly playing in my head as I breathe in the scents of the outdoors. You might know it, it’s a song called Wild Mountain Thyme and my favourite version is by a band called The Silencers. It was originally the soundtrack to a gorgeously evocative Scottish Tourist Board advert on the television years ago and even now the advert makes me want to pack up my knitting (always something by Rowan, for some reason – perhaps it was what I was knitting when I first saw the advert!) and head north. I was even inspired to buy the book of poetry from which Norman MacCaig reads (the poem is called “Celtic Cross”, by the way) and have often dipped into it over the years.
“Oh, the summertime is coming
and the trees are sweetly blooming
and the wild mountain thyme
grows around the purple heather…”
Do you have songs that play in your head on certain occasions? Music is so tied up with our emotions and our memories that I couldn’t imagine not having a soundtrack to my days!