Mid-summer’s garden

Mid-summer’s garden

Unlike us, plants don’t take holidays! Returning after a week away we found that our garden has moved on. Cottage gardens are forever changing, ours certainly is.

One of the joys of returning from being away is to see  how things have grown back at home. We found the garden paths swamped by midsummer lushness.

Cottage garden display

Campanulas are sprawling onto the paths, see-through veils of Golden Oat Grass and feathery Stipa tenuissima grasses are giving a wispy relaxed effect. Yes, there are plenty of weeds and a lot of dead-heading to do (one of summer’s most valuable tasks), but a walk round the garden has revealed some delightful surprises of very pleasing colour combinations, some planned, others not. Here are some examples:

Blue and Yellow always go well together. Here feathery Stipa tenuissima acts as a background to Salvia superba and Anthemis E.C. Buxton.
Pink Chinese foxgloves with Valerian
A pink pairing of common Valerian (always welcome in my garden) and beautiful Rehmania angulata (The Chinese Foxglove). I’ve discovered that this traditional greenhouse plant does well outdoors.
A colourful mix of foliage from Fennel, Euonymus and Rosa rubrifolia with left-over Allium heads

Mid-Summer Fullness

I love old-fashioned summer flowers like Sweet Williams, Campanulas, Lychnis, Penstemons, Salvias, Anthemis, with Foxgloves lighting up shady corners and Clematis rambling elegantly over pergola posts, while Catmint and Campanulas flop over the path edges. As in any cottage garden there is a lovely casual beauty, a heady colour mix of flowers, softened by feathery grasses. Here you’re immersed in the garden, becoming part of it. As you brush past plants petals fall on you and pollen dusts your arms with scent wafting about your face. The buzz of contented bees seems to reflect the fullness of mid-summer’s garden here. There’s a satisfying dreamy feel of joyful abundance to welcome us home.

Lemon Yellow Bottlebrush bush
This bottle brush (grown from seed) is a case of ‘I wish you were here last week!’ This show is now over but while it lasted it was smothered in bees.

That’s our small front cottage garden. Now come with me round to the North facing back garden with its lawn, trees and wider paths. There’s a bit more space here with a different feel, but still plenty to see.

Display of patio plants in pots
A display of potted plants on our patio – Christopher Lloyd style.
Garden path and shrubs
An elegant pairing of Catalpa (Indian Bean tree) and Cornus alternifolia.
The gazebo is almost hidden by Vitis coignetii, Rosa ‘Mermaid’ and Clematis Etoile violette. Again the purple and creamy yellow go so well together against the background of our neighbour’s trees.
A striking match of Penstemon ‘Garnet’ and Lychnis oculata

A Thankful Gardener

“After all, what is a garden for? It is for ‘delight’, for ‘sweet solace’, for ‘the purest of all human pleasures, the greatest refreshment for the spirits of men’. It is to promote ‘jucundite of minde’, it is to ‘call home over-wearied spirits’. So say the oldest writers, and we cannot amend their words, which will stand as long as there are gardens on earth and people to love them.”

          My favourite piece of garden wisdom from Gertrude Jekyll  (herself a lover of cottage style gardening) quoted in her ‘A Gardener’s Testament’.

Tidy gardeners would notice the weeds, but I’m happy to let plants romp and roam creating the sense of profusion. I refuse to become a slave to the garden. It’s here for ‘the purest of all human pleasures’, a relaxed haven where there need be no frown, but contentment on all faces, both the plants’ and ours. Where better to be on a sunny day in midsummer than to be in your own peaceful garden where you can dream dreams. I want mine to be for ‘delight’ for ‘sweet solace’ to ‘call home over-wearied spirits’ and promote ‘jucundite of minde’. A garden is a healing place, such a pleasure and delight – one of God’s good gifts. Two years ago I called myself an ‘Adventurous Gardener’ and last year a ‘Contented Gardener.’ I think I’m still both of these, but also a ‘Thankful Gardener’.

Wishing you plenty of delight and pleasure in your own and in other people’s gardens this summer.

Thank you for visiting.

16 thoughts on “Mid-summer’s garden

  1. How sweet to see your cottage garden…and an interestingly descriptive way to describe it! I have walked your way with letters more than once—knowing your garden will point me correctly!


    1. Thank you Jim. Most houses these days seem to have parking spaces instead of a front garden. We like to share our garden with passers-by. We wish you all the best as you both settle back into Arkansas. Keep in touch.


  2. Lovely, Richard! I wish our little weed-infested patch would take a holiday – you can’t turn your back on it for a minute without something growing. And then another one does the same thing. The little tinkers. I foresee a very busy day ahead…sometime..!


    1. Thank’s Mike. I hope you can allow yourself a little time off from gardening duties to enjoy plenty of the ‘purest of all human pleasures’ and ‘jucundite of minde’ from your patch! A suggestion (or an excuse?) – We’ve let part of our rear lawn grow long this year as a possible mini wildflower meadow. It looks promising !


  3. Thank you for sharing your lovely cottage garden with us, Richard. My favourite gardens are those that let the flowers be as exhuberant as they want and spill over lawns and paths. I love gardens that follow no trends but show somerhing of the heart and soul of the gardener, as yours does.


  4. “Where better to be on a sunny day in midsummer than to be in your own peaceful garden where you can dream dreams” – this post spoke so clearly to me, Richard. The scenes are your garden are delightful but your thoughts about gardening were just as moving. Thank you for sharing your garden and your heart.


Do please join the conversation by adding a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s