open garden results

Our first year of participation in the NGS is over.  Pour me a glass of wine!  We welcomed 254 guests. We served 21 cakes and many, many cups of tea.  We raised £986.  Not bad for our first year given the dreadful weather on our last open event.

Would I do it all again?  Yes, now that much of the structural work has been completed. Perhaps not every year – if we open every 2nd year then I get a chance to visit some lovely gardens myself in the June/July period.  I had a lot of people saying they would like to come back in a couple of years to see our progress (orchard, walled garden, spring border…).   Perhaps some rejuvenation time over the summer will help me to make up my mind!

While the torrential rain of the last couple of weeks flattened a few plants in the border, this week of summer sunshine has progressed other plants beautifully.  The water lilies are stunning.  Alba – seen above – planted just this year has two flowers and many, many buds.  The most beautiful waterlily – white with a very subtle touch of pink on the outer petals as it opens. Stunning.

Also in the pond we have seen the annual emergence of the Emperor Dragonfly.  I was able to capture the adult breaking through the larval skin where it then ‘hangs’ to allow the legs to harden.  Despite some high winds it was very safely secured.  The emerged dragonfly then clings to the vegetation for approximately 24 hours, allowing its wings to dry.  Watching the full emergence took about 3 hours – my little one and I sat in the sun as it unfolded in front of us – incredible.

In the potager the flowers are finally here.  The cow parsley has been beautiful in bouquets. The cornflowers are still going strong.  And the dahlias have started to arrive. Early I believe.  I have also had a good crop of Autumn-fruiting raspberries?  Why so early when everything else is so late?  Now, with fairly mixed feelings, I leave the garden for 4 weeks to head for the beach, ready to enjoy some R&R but also sad that I don’t see my flowers every day.






small acts of love

As we head towards the end of the school year, things in my home have started to get a little tense.  My daughter is due to transition to secondary school in September – a large, new school, an increase in expectation.  For most children that transition is difficult, for children who have suffered childhood trauma the transition can feel overwhelming.

Sometimes it is very hard not to be sucked into her world of shouting, anger and slammed doors.  It is hard not to feel upset and frustrated when the notes written with loving words are torn up and (very visibly!) thrown away.  In the face of such adversity I have a few stand-by solutions. Home-baked cake. Bedroom ‘chaos’ sorted.  Kind words.  Flowers.

Mindful time in the garden is my emotional salvation.  This week, in between mammoth cake baking sessions, I have watched birds bathing, harvested produce and smelt roses. And I have picked my first decent bunch of sweet peas.  Half are in a vase on my bedside table, my daughter has the other half on her bedside table.  It is these small acts of compassion that help a little girl to heal.

Progress in the garden is also slow.  By now I had hoped to be totally inundated with courgettes – to date a few flowers have appeared but no sign yet of any vegetables.  The continuing cool days, with plenty of rain, means very little is maturing.  My rose flowers are stunning as are the peonies – and these brighten up all the borders just beautifully.