Rose Mme Isaac Pereire, June 2004

Above: Rose Mme Isaac Pereire

Garden diary: May

30 June 2006 - blooming June

For various reasons I've not been up to posting any garden news for about a month so there's a lot to catch up on. 'I must tell everyone about the mock orange!', I've been thinking for weeks. I don't suppose it's that exciting to anyone but me, but after years of non-flowering my Philadelphus coronarius 'Aureus' (golden-leaved mock orange) had buds in early June - hurrah! And then, not surprisingly, flowers - hurrah again! It's near the back door, and its bright leaves have always been welcome, but I was a bit disgruntled at the laziness in the flowering department. After all, that's why you have mock orange bushes, for that wonderful scent of the flowers. It didn't last long - it's finished flowering now - but while it was flowering I was out there all the time hanging around by it having a sniff. It's always hard to describe smells - but this one can be best described I think as fresh and uplifting.

Also exciting is an equally strong flowering performance from a honeysuckle I'm particularly fond of which hasn't really flowered before. It is, I think, Lonicera japonica 'Halliana', and the few pieces I had of it came originally from a plant that came from a cutting from my mother's garden, which came originally from a place called Barden Manor in Somerset where we went on holiday in the 1970s when I was very small. My dad took a cutting (with permission I hope) from a couple of honeysuckles - the other one was one of the red-flowered types.

For many years they grew on our garage wall at home, and a piece of the 'Halliana' was one of the plants my mum gave me when we first moved into this house and I was starting my garden. In those early days of gardening there was much trial and error and moving plants around, and I recall this honeysuckle being constantly disappointing, looking sickly and feeble wherever I put it. Somehow it never looked like the one we had growing at home did. I ended up with a bit of it stuffed in a pot in a corner somewhere, as I didn't want to give it garden room if it was going to look so pathetic.

Thankfully though I didn't kill it off, and had a few rooted pieces of it which I bunged into a couple of more favourable locations - both near the kitchen, on north facing-walls. While I wasn't paying them much attention they've both crept up the supports and the one against the shed wall, having now reached the guttering, has bulked up on the edge of the shed roof, where it gets more sun, and produced a lovely show of sweet-scented yellow and white flowers, among foliage which for the first time is a strong and vigorous green.

Just like the one I remember from home. Though it seems that this plant and the other honeysuckle are long gone - thrown out in one of my mum's radical garden remodellings. I mentioned that I still had a few pieces and so I've been able to give her a plant back, which is now back growing in her garden again. A well-travelled honeysuckle it is.

Another flowering highlight of June is the startling scarlet of the poppy 'Ladybird', which is about as bright as red can be. It only ever carries a few flowers but they're enough to command attention. Last year I watched one of them open in the early morning, as the prickly green case split and was pushed away by the force of the flower's opening, crumpled and slightly damp-looking petals gradually uncrumpling in the sun and drying and flattening out to present the familiar poppy flower to a bright summer day.

Back to June highlights and diaries


Delphinium, June 2004

Above: Delphinium, June 2004

Garden diary: July