Rose Mme Isaac Pereire, June 2004

Above: Rose Mme Isaac Pereire

Garden diary: May

29 June 2004

June has been roses, sweet peas, delphiniums (right), bright red oriental poppies and, less colourful but no less interesting, frogs and froglets in the pond.

From the bright green and lush growth of April and May, early June sees the garden reaching its peak in terms of flowering, and also in terms of plant health. As June progresses, the roses invariably get blackspot, and powdery mildew inevitably starts somewhere in the garden, usually spreading to (if not starting with) vulnerable plants like the Clematis 'Jackmanii'. But in early June, when the roses are blooming, I don't care. The garden, enclosed by walls, seems to hold the scent of flowers, so whether you're out there gardening, or just sitting, the scents are all around, from the roses and the sweet peas.

The sweet peas started flowering early this year as many of them were autumn-sown overwintered ones. I sowed two varieties - my usual 'Matucana' - which I've grown every year, and another Thompson and Morgan variety called 'Winston Churchill'. This has been brilliant, with long stems and bright flowers in a shade of pinkish-red.

Shades of red are difficult to describe, and also hard, I find, to capture accurately on a photograph. Certainly the startling red of the poppy called 'Ladybird' that also flowered this month is hard to do justice to - all I know is that it was perfect near the dark blue delphiniums and in front of the bright foliage of the golden hop. This year I've tried to have more interesting colour associations - inspired by Christopher Lloyd's approach, and the poppy, delphinium and golden hop association was certainly striking.

The garden in June looks best in the evening, at dusk. Dusk in June is so late, as the longest day approaches, and on the evenings I've been able to be out in the garden I've made the most of it. There are always jobs to do, like dead-heading, and if the weather's dry, watering, but just standing around looking is quite important too.

Wildlife happenings

Last year, through late May and the month of June our cat Spike was ill, and we had to have him put to sleep on 26 June. So last year I think many things in the garden passed me by, as I was preoccupied with more important concerns. I didn't notice, for example, when the tiny froglets came out of the pond, and the first I knew of it was when I walked onto the grass and found them all hiding in there, suddenly disturbed and jumping around.

This year, I watched their tentative emerging from the pond, around the longest day, and took a lot of photographs on the digital camera, which I didn't have last year. The page about frogs has now been updated and an extra page added about the froglets.

When you're using a traditional film camera you don't tend to take photos of things like tiny froglets, or ladybirds, as film and processing is expensive. Not having any photos meant I wasn't likely to create a web page, as I always try to include some images. Everything's different now I have my little Olympus digital camera, and so there's also a new page all about ladybirds.

Even the sparrows haven't escaped my attentions, as the young sparrows from this year's broods have been in the garden with the parent birds. I haven't noticed as many fledglings of other bird species this year, so it was good to know that the local sparrow population is growing, at least. A new page about sparrows has also been added to the site.

Making something from broken things

Since last writing I've made a solid floor in Millennium Shed, having realised that whether the floor was gravel or slate chippings, the cats always used it as a toilet. The floor area beyond the brickwork is now a mosaic pattern made from broken crockery. I seem to have collected a lot of broken crockery, as I think I must be quite clumsy. More about the floor to follow!
[edit, June 2005: this strange creation is now covered in full in Memory mosaic, on this site.]

Back to June highlights and diaries


Delphinium, June 2004

Above: Delphinium, June 2004

Garden diary: July