What is in my garden in June?

I have had a day in the garden today, a day full of sunshine and nettle stings and planting out.  Somehow the brassicas in the greenhouse went in so late in a cold spring that I had almost forgotten about them and achieved that state where you look at something without seeing it.  I had been watering them but I had been closing my mind to their increasing legginess.  Today I suddenly saw them again and realised that if I didn't get them out there pretty quickly I may as well say goodbye to brassicas for the season.  Now that wouldn't be a bad thing if these were cabbages which I am not too keen on, or sprouts which I actively dislike, perhaps the only vegetable I can think of which makes me turn up my nose.  But these were purple sprouting broccoli and chard and kale, all of which I love, so it was time to relocate the protective mesh, anti cabbage whites and anti peacock, and get them into the ground.

But there is just so much to see in June to make me go back inside for my camera.

Everything is growing in green tidal wave.

Even the lettuces look beautiful and once again there are far too many to eat.  Older daughter gave me Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook for Christmas and everywhere I look there are things needing to be picked and cooked and eaten.  It is a great book for those who grow their own or those who eat seasonally, clear and intelligent with the sort of simple but wonderful tasting recipes which slip instantly into your repertoire.  I think it is her best book by far, and I like many of the others.

The alliums are just going over, revealing the beauty of the complex flower structure,  as lovely in its own way as the vivid colour of the young flower heads.

The oriental poppies are out in all their glory.  They are already beginning to spread and flop and sag all over the place.  They do this to me every year but they have to be forgiven for the sooty perfection of their blotched centres.  And they love our garden, which not everything does.  But next year I will reduce the number a bit, despite their beauty, if only to do something about the scale of the problem when they have finished flowering, are cut back and leave a gaping jagged scar desperate for disguise.

The chicks are out too, starting to grow feathers instead of fluff and moving from impossible cuteness to spiky teenagerhood.  Soon the mother hen will get fed up of them and will need to be moved back to the big hen house.  She has already stopped fussing and clucking over them.  The next stage is active irritation, or that is what it looks like!

The opium poppies are starting to flower, taking the baton of poppyhood from the perennial orientals.  They pop up everywhere here, they are practically a weed, but I never think of them as such.  I let them flower among the beans and the strawberries, pulling them up when they get over excited, but they also flower on the sunny bank and in the gravel path.  Last year there was a perfect ruffled pink and some brilliant reds amongst the usual purples and lilacs.  I hope they come again this year.  I did shake the pepper pot seedheads around but I could very easily have pulled them up somewhere.  If I could get  my garden recording right I would be so much better a gardener.  I keep diaries and make notes and carefully label things for weeks and then have an attack of what-the-hell and leave it for a week and lose track all over again.

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.  This is valerian.  I had wanted some for ages and my son and daughter in law dug a bit up from their garden in Derbyshire.  It hung on last year, looking a bit unhappy, but this year has thrived and spread on the sunny bank next to the penstemons and poppies.  I expect it will become another rapid coloniser and self seeder like so much we grow up here, but I like that.  It makes for abundance and surprise and you can always pull it up if it tries to take over the world, as my alchemilla mollis is doing in front of the house.
I didn't get into the side garden with my camera.  I think this must be a garden for spring and early summer.   There is so much to see.  I wonder if there will still be a gap in August?


  1. It's looking fantastic E. The pace of growth is hard to keep up with even if this year it has taken a while to get started.

    I too would like valerian - its pink and white variants grow like weeds in the villages around us. I wonder if there is a reason it doesn't grow here. Are we too high perhaps or did no one ever bother to plant some?

  2. I think it would grow for you Mountainear. There was none up here either but it is clearly happy enough. Shall I bring you a bit?

  3. I love your poppies.I planted some this year and for the first time they grew.I can't wait for them to bloom.
    Your chicks are at that teenager size which is my least favorite stage of chicks when they are raised in our garage,so smelly and messy.(Hmmm sounds a bit like my teen aged boys.LOL)
    I should have photos of our new chicks around the 25th.

  4. All those gorgeous poppies - love them, especially the ruffly opium poppies. I can't wait to get home to see what might be growing at Pondside.

  5. your garden is great. I planted kale in my back yard last year and my dog ate it and the lettuce.
    I do have peony's can't grow the poppies,
    nice post. yvonne

  6. I have always been told to start eating things as soon as they are edible. If you wait for everything to be full-sized, you end up with a glut.

    I love sprouts. Christmas without sprouts? Unthinkable! Cro.

  7. Valerian always reminds me of rural tranquility in England adn your garden always reminds me that mine is a jungle!!

  8. Every year I think the poppies will make it without staking and every year they bloom and flop. They are in bud right now...no cage yet. Hope springs eternal.

    I think we have the same oriental poppy, too. Mine looks the same color.

    Christine in Alaska

  9. What a nice bit-of-everything post! Valerian grows in the pavements here, pink, dark red, cream and white, and can be a bit of a thug till the miserable-looking man from the council comes round with his plant-killer spray. Maybe I should start collecting seeds for you poor deprived folk!

  10. I start every gardening year dutifully recording what I sow etc then it all goes to pot in about late April!

    As for Valerian, drives me mad, it grows like a weed round here and I have a clump growing out of the wall that I just cant get rid of but which trips me up all the time

  11. Things look wonderful in your garden. And the chicks, although extremely irritating at this age, are kind of cute still!

  12. Your gardening photos always make me wilt. How is such apparent perfection achieved? Here too much that is planted simply dies. About two plants out of three I should think. But others try to make up for it. Nasturtiums are the worst. Still, having failed to grow satisfactory lettuces the nasturtiums, which are self-seeded just about everywhere in the garden and grow like octupi spinning plates on their tentacles, make a lovely substitute. Not a question of putting leaves in the salad. The leaves are the salad. But this year we seem to have, for the very first time!, a lovely heavy crop of greengages. The rhubarb, though has given up the ghost. Why? It did ever so well last year and we didn't overpull.

  13. No June gap for sure!!
    Wonderful post capturing the sudden ebullience that transforms upland gardening, from bare bones 'wait and be patient' to 'help, I can't keep up'....
    nature is too generous..'

    Received this post gratefully .If I am not wrong it came as a creative release after your last very self searching 'why I blog' post after your admiring band rightly protested!

    From regular follower who butterflies all over where she likes to revisit...
    Chris in 'upland' South Wales

  14. Love your garden, Elizabeth. Hope your purple sprouting dodges the butterflies and the birdies. Lovely nest spring when there's nothing else about

  15. Durr. Meant to write 'next' not 'nest'

  16. I can only say YES and YES and YES, and I wish I was there seeing all this for real, for reading your beautiful words sets my mind at peace. And I need to slow down !

  17. Rois - the comparison of growing chicks with teenage boys is spot on! They will become lovely again as grown hens.
    Pondside - I love opium poppies too.
    Yvonne - it seems funny to hear that you can't grow poppies! Your soil must be so different from mine. If I tried to stop growing them I couldn't!
    Cro - you are so right about eating things as soon as you can. I must get out there and pick the broad beans!

  18. hah - I photograph selectively! My garden is a jungle too. I was wondering about doing a post of dandelions and nettles just for the sake of truth.
    Christine - yes, mine were upright and lovely when it bud. Then I turned my back and the grand flop happened overnight.
    Rachel - I do see valerian all over the place and know it is virtually a weed for some so I am sure it will bidding for world domination here. It has competition however!
    patientgardener - I am glad I am not alone in starting well and losing it. I must go away and update my diary and stop blogging and reading blogs!
    Sandy - thanks. This is its best time. There is big gap and sag to come which I am still working on! I like the chicks too, even in their less fluffy state.

  19. Fab pics! I was holding back on eating the baby lettuces and am now inundated too! Don't you just love wandering outside to pick lunch/ - and the strawberries are coming now too!

    But I'm not familiar with valerian except as a natural sleep enhancer - can you make a sleepy tea out of it?

  20. What a garden; what a view. But then that's North Wales for you.

    I recently spent a week near Bardsey and I loved it; first time I'd spent much time on the peninsula.

  21. I think my brain just exploded. Too much beauty can do that to a person.

  22. WHAT a wonderful posting! I saw it all....and loved it. Good to be back!

  23. Beautiful, Elizabeth, and worth every bit of work.

  24. What a lovely treat. Love the aliums, I must get some of those and of course the poppies.

    More please!

  25. Is it bad of me to covet your raised beds and greenhouse area? All looking wonderful.

  26. Wow, I loved seeing the little details and sumptutous colour around your garden. Those poppies are breathtaking and, as ever, I swoon at the alliums.


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