It’s been hot, hot, HOT here in the UK this week and we’re just not good at extremes of weather here as we’re used to seasons that generally (and gently) blur into each other through the rain showers.

This week, though, the competitive weather reports have been in full force and we’re set to be hotter than Ibiza (Metro newspaper), hotter than Morocco (Evening Standard) and hotter than Sicily (Heart Radio).  I don’t know why we have to be hotter than everywhere else, or why it really matters that people think we are, but that’s what the media like to tell us.

It has been suggested that the heat is down to the UK having just descended into the fires of hell because of the current shambolic state of our political system, Brexit (will they, won’t they leave Europe?) and yet another new Prime Minister, but that’s a conversation for another time and another place 🙂

We had a whopping thunderstorm last night in the early hours that seemed to affect most of the country and as a result, everything in the garden seems to have grown about 3 feet overnight.

The Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star Jasmine) outside our front door is one of the joys of my life at the moment.  I cut it back quite hard a year or so ago and didn’t get any flowers last year, but oh boy, has it made up for it this year!  You can start to pick up the jasmine scent as you walk down the path and by the time you reach the front door, you are immersed in this wonderful smell that wraps you up like a flowery blanket.  I’ve been leaving the front door open and I can smell it inside the house, and even late at night too.  I think this is my very favourite plant of the garden!

Another joy is this – my pot of Calla lilies.  You can usually buy these in flower at around this time of year and for a few years I have been tempted – only to find that they don’t make it through our wet winters.  I decided I would just put the plants that I had in a big pot together and see what happened.  This pot has three plants in it and this year, two of them have flowered.  Hooray!  The sun was very bright even as I was taking these photos early in the morning and the flowers seemed to shine which makes it quite hard to see them!

This photo is better!

Continuing my lily theme, these are Hemerocallis or Day Lilies, so called because their flowers only last for a day.  I’ve a got a few of these plants – yellow, orange and this pink one – and they’ve all bloomed prolifically this year.  I’m assuming they’re not toxic to cats in the same way that the cut ones you get in flower bouquets are as our cats are still standing, although I think they may be more vegetable gardening cats because they like to dig rather than smell the flowers …

Our poor Hydrangea was flattened by the heavy rain from the storm last night, but even that seems to have opened more flowers.  This year, they’re blue.  You typically get blue or pink flowers on a Hydrangea depending on whether you have acid or alkaline soil (although you can get white ones, and ones that are bred not to care about the soil type) – Winwick is built on fairly acidic soil so Hydrangeas, Camellias and plants of the Rhododendron family are very happy growing here.  This Hydrangea, though, can’t seem to make up it’s mind and some years will be pink, some blue.  This year is a blue year.

We’ve got pink roses, though!  This is another plant that has recovered spectacularly after hard pruning earlier this year.  It’s a climbing rose called “High Hopes” and it’s never grown so high!

More pink roses – this is “The Fairy”, a favourite of my late mother-in-law’s.  It’s what’s known as a shrub rose; ours is trained as a standard, with one long stem which makes it look like a little tree.

It grows next to this Buddleja davidii, also known as a butterfly bush, and it certainly has been this afternoon!  Naturally, not one of the butterflies has wanted to be photographed but there have been a whole kaleidoscope of Red Admirals, Peacocks and a little orange one that wouldn’t stay still long enough for me to try to work out what it was.  Oh, and Cabbage Whites which have reminded me that I need to go and check my sprouts in the vegetable garden for butterfly eggs so that there isn’t a re-run of 2017’s Caterpillar Sprout Massacre.

I’ve got one or two more pictures from the flower garden to show you before I finish – this is my Hydrangea quercifolia (Oak-leaf Hydrangea) which is a strange, sprawling plant when it’s not in flower but looks fabulous when it is …

and Echinops ritro (Globe thistle), beloved by the bees, which is just coming into flower.  The bees weren’t feeling in a photogenic mood either.

I think what I like most about being able to show you these photos is that although I know that parts of my garden are still a jungle despite taking the hedge trimmers to it in drastic pruning action (yes, I know it’s not pruning season but Something had to be Done), there are still flowers that grow, that smell fabulous, and provide food and shelter for wildlife.  My garden isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t have to be perfect to be able to provide something for the butterflies and the bees, and knowing that makes me very happy.  Every effort we make, however small, makes a difference.

PS  Thanks for your comments on my needle organiser post – I’m glad the idea has been useful! 🙂

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8 Responses

  1. M.G.M. says:

    I think the hot weather we had here in the U.S. has made it's way to Europe! Last week we had many days in the 90's and one at 100 and it was awfully humid. We do get a good amount of 90 degree F days and humidity in summer, but not too many at 100. Thankfully that is gone & it's 85 today and dry! Horray!!! The southern part of the U.S does get many more 100 degree days, I don't think I could live there. I am in Connecticut. I envy your weather in England. It is not as extreme as we have. Our Spring weather does not last very long. I have been to UK a couple of times, and love it. Especially all the old buildings and stone walls.

  2. happy hooker says:

    Lucky you to be able to grow blue hydrangeas, mine always turn pink. Who cares if there's the odd weed or overgrown plant – the wildlife certainly doesn't! To the bees, butterflies and other creatures who visit your garden – it is perfect! xx

  3. selina says:

    beautiful flowers you have, i love a garden jungle, they mostly look after themselves! as long as the grass stays away, mine is very bare this year, too much grass took over, no calendulas came up this year & only a few miserly zinnias showed their heads… am changing things around & putting in more drought tolerant plants, slowly as i am able.
    loved the tour round your garden
    thanx for sharing

  4. Lazy Days & Sundays says:

    Our garden was a bit sparse of plants when we moved here two years ago so its nice to see the bees and butterflies are wending their way to our little green space and by next year it should all be a little bigger and hopefully more visitors will come along.


  5. Susan Rayner says:

    Beautiful photos! Your garden is a total delight!

  6. Julie says:

    We've been melting here in the East Midlands too. Lots of lovely colourful
    Blooms in your garden to entice the wildlife. At present I'm banished to indoors beside the fan as some little insect decided I would make a nice meal for him!

  7. Chris Knowler says:

    We seen loads of butterflies in our garden this year. The bees made the most of it in the spring. I've been given a hydrangea as an end of year gift. It has blue/pink flowers and dark green leaves. They seem to be back in fashion!

  8. MidgePorterDesign says:

    Your garden looks amazing and I can only imagine the beautiful smell. Cooler up here in SW Scotland thankfully now. Was woken up at 4am to lightning and thunder!

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