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.
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:
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.
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.
“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.