Gentle Reader, time flies when the weather is good, and finally we are seeing some very pleasant weather indeed. In fact, it is so good now that I must water by hand on a regular basis. Thirsty pots are hard work if you want your plants to thrive. The water barrel is nearly dry, so I am now using my garden tap, sparingly of course!
Despite the good weather, I have been unable to do much in the garden this week due to unavoidable commitments and distractions, not even much needed weeding or mowing the lawn. Although the weather is good, the temperatures are still only hovering around 60℉ in the day, night time is still quite chilly, and the wind is often keen. I have not taken the ground temperature, but I am certain it is not very warm. I shall sow some basic salad vegetables like mixed leaves, beetroot, salad onions, and radish (all of which are not too fussy over a chilly night) and in a week I might plant some courgette (zucchini) and squash directly into the ground. I have planted both this late and found that, although they do not crop quite as well as when planted early, there will be some fruits and something is better than nothing. It will get me back into the swing of things.
Can it really be only a week since those strawberry plants arrived? I am sure you remember I took care of them immediately upon their arrival, and here they are after planting up last Saturday afternoon ~
Here is a picture of them today, just six days on, and you can see healthy new leaves and some flower buds too . . this looks promising and is exciting indeed!
I am giving them small amounts of water twice a day, rather than one daily deluge. I think this keeps the soil more moist around the roots and stops them drying out. Seeing the two images together is encouraging.
My pretty pansies are a delight. They are going from strength to strength, flowering well, and putting on quite vigorous leaf growth too. I love their little faces so! Do you remember this one? I showed it to you a few weeks ago because the flower was huge (about four inches across) and dwarfed the pansy plant which hid behind the bloom. There is a lot of soil visible in the pot too ~
Just look at them now! This is the same plant (centre) as above and is now much bigger and the plant trough is filling out fast, as are the other pots of pansies. There is hardly any soil showing and I think that very soon the plants will be spilling over the edges ~
The purple and white combinations look soothing and calming, but I also like the sherberty colours of this orange and yellow with the sparkling white ~
and the mix of complimentary yellow and purple sing out with a pop of colour.
I like to mix colours, but what are your favourite combinations?
Gentle Reader, do you recall at the end of May I planted up some calendula seeds? For the last few days I've been watching them germinate into strong looking seedlings. If the gentle sun keeps warming them each day and I am careful watering them, then I think I will be potting them up into bigger modules very soon. I know they are way behind because our spring was so cold (one of the coldest on record) but they will give some bright colour through into Autumn with a little luck.
I hope they will look as pretty and colourful as the ones on the packet!
The Dill seeds have also germinated. They are such tiny, fragile, wispy looking little seedlings, quite different from the sturdy calendula. They do not like their roots disturbed so this will be a challenge when they are big enough to pot on. I have an idea, and I will let you know nearer the time what my plan is. So far, though, there isn't a sign of anything in the Garlic Chives pot or the runner beans. I wonder how long they take to germinate?
The sun is warm now, and everything is slowly catching up. It is strange, though, to have camellias on both my bushes in June when they are late winter flowering. I need to prune them as they are getting too big but do not know what effect it will have doing it so late. I do know that it will drastically impact on the amount of flowers next year, as the buds form immediately after flowering the previous year so any pruning will remove next year's potential flowers.
Today, I went out to water in the cool of the early morning, before the sun came up over the trees behind the cottage and noticed that the Papaver Orientalis (oriental poppies) are full of big buds. I love poppies of all kinds, and these are big, blousy, and colourful, giving a showy splash of colour. They seem to do well in my garden, thriving and giving good, weed suppressing ground cover, so this is a plant I must consider to increase in variety soon.
Imagine my complete surprise, just a couple of hours later, to be walking past the "Coral Sea" to discover, to my pure delight, that one of the buds burst open giving the most magical treat for me to see. Here are some photos of this beautiful poppy, one of my favourites.
See the delicate, tissue~papery layers of pretty petals?
Inside hides the downy, powdery~soft pollen and the rich, darkness contrasting in a perfect mix with the delicate peachy pink petals ~
Here, the single bloom set against the distant backdrop of purple Aquilegia, and a pop of acid yellow greenery ~
The forecast for the weekend is good, so I hope to get some digging done without the distraction of weekday chores. Worryingly, the forecast for the following week is not looking so good so we will see what it brings. Rain would be a blessing for the soft fruits, and for the garden in general, for watering is long and heavy work, but I do enjoy it all the same. I let my mind drift into a state of peaceful being while showering the water over the plot, and it is a very relaxing thing to do as the sun sets on another day.
In a perfect world the weather would be dry in the day with cool and comfortable mornings, gently warming sun would bathe the garden in the afternoon, the balmy evening light would dance across the garden heralding dusk, and nourishing rain would fall in the night saving the heavy work of lugging watering cans!