July in the garden
Yesterday we had a big outdoor party - the day was just about fine but it was noticeable that people kept wandering off to their cars to bring out coats and jackets. Today of course the sun is shining and it is warm. It is time to slow down, to wander, to really look. What is happening in the garden in July?
Poppies are so fleeting and so beautiful I have tried to catch some of the best. They self seed wildly in our garden in all shades of pink and purple and this year, for some reason, we also have vivid red ones. Some are extravagant double flowers, like crumpled folded and refolded tissue. Some are perfect simple flowers, like a Remembrance Day poppy but dazzlingly alive.
I let them self seed and even allow them in the vegetable beds, except amongst the onions which seem to dislike competition even of these gentle benevolent flowers. In the raspberry beds which were manured in the spring the flowers muscle up, huge and rampant, but they also grow in the walls in the sunny bank, in nooks and crannies, in amongst the beetroot and the beans. They are summer for me.
Sometimes it is the small things that you walk past every day that you need to stop and look at properly. Entrances are lovely things but so often coming into the house is a rush, weighted down with bags, running to get to the phone, accompanied by the wails of an indignant hungry cat. Idle a minute in the sun and you can really see.
Here is the wall by the front gate with succulents growing in what seems to be nothing and astrantias self seeded in the foot of the wall.
Here is the path to the front door, frothing with campanula and alchemilla mollis, demonstrating the eternal gardening truth that the effects you aim for are always eclipsed by the ones that just happen.
And here are some scented leaf geraniums above the wall by the yew tree. Crush a leaf in your hand and the scent of childhood surrounds you.
We had a call this morning to say that a relative of Ian's died in his sleep last night. Look around you. Smell the rose. Feel the sun on your back.