The rainy summer means that my container garden is relatively low maintenance at the moment. I’m still watering, especially my greenhouse full of tomatoes, but it’s not such a pressure outside. My plants are blooming, and I have had particular success with Geranium ‘Rozanne,’ a very useful perennial, geums, which have been flourishing since late May, home grown cosmos and, after an initial battle with slugs and snails, the zinnias have come good. These were also grown from seed. The sweet peas are just going over, but they have been wonderful too.
Zinnias are not everyone’s cup of tea, as they can be gaudy, but personally, I love their gypsy colours and bright faces. I do have some quieter pink ones, and even some green ones. For cosmos, I’ve done well with Mr Fothergill’s ‘Double Click Cranberry,’ which are flowering on and on, with large, frilly blooms.
In my raised bed, I mixed grasses with some sanguisorba and verbena bonariensis.
I noticed a glorious display of sanguisorba at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival in early July, although mine were already planted by then.
I think this was my favourite plant combination at the shows this year. It was in Jo Thompson’s RHS Wildlife Garden, which was a joy to behold.
I realise how many ideas I bring home after visiting the RHS shows for work. I tuck details away in my mind, and then try them in my own modest plot. Some work, some don’t. But the references for colour combinations are absolutely invaluable.
This little allotment plot was another highlight at RHS Hampton. It just made me happy to look at it. Height is so important when gardening on a small scale. It helps to veil areas of the garden, and keep things interesting.
I have a herb obsession this year, too. Again, it’s probably because they are perfect in a modestly sized plot, and lend themselves to container growing. Lemon balm is my favourite, and I drink it in a tisane most nights. I bought strawberry mint from a herb nursery at RHS Hampton, and scented leaf pelargoniums too (Prince of Orange and Attar of Roses). I have big pots of parsley and marjoram dotted around my plot.
This is my latest addition. An old copper fish kettle repurposed as a herb planter. I brought this all the way from France in my carry-on Ryanair luggage. I’d spotted it in the secondhand emporium Emmaus, near Beziers, and for 6 euros, I could not resist trying to get it home. I just managed it – the air steward narrowed his eyes as I was shoving my bulging bag into the overhead locker, but just as he started to speak, it slotted in. Phew!
I am so pleased I transported it home, as it has polished up beautifully with Brasso and plenty of elbow grease, and it will be a handsome planter either inside or outside the house.
Talking of up cycling, I was very impressed with this idea of repurposing fencing as trellis at my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s home in France. What a brilliant idea, and it looks especially wonderfull against that pink wall.
Our break in France was full of sunshine and colour, it did my soul good.
We came home to greyer skies, but I’ve been raising my spirits with plenty of bright paintings and sketches. This one was inspired by straw flowers from the market. It’s heading for a spot on my new gallery wall in the attic room.
Whatever the weather, I’m determined not to let summer slip through my fingers.