The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

My Favourite Garden

The Man that Can, Toad, Bumblebee and I spent some time wandering around my favourite garden this afternoon. Regular readers may recall my visit to the Botanical Gardens in the Springtime, and my wish to visit the re-modelled Rose Garden in the following season.

The roses, a sight to behold and a great many scented, were too numerous for me to remember, but this particular one caught my eye. It is called rosa 'Blue Moon' and is such an unusual lilac/grey colour. It's a repeat flowering, delicately scented, hybrid tea rose.

This is rosa 'Black Beauty', again a repeat-flowering lightly scented bloom. Red roses are of course a sign of unconditional love, and this has to be one of the darkest of red roses I've seen, hence I suppose the name. The photo doesn't quite do justice to the deep colour.

Some other roses to feast the eyes upon

This delicate pink bloom (below) is that of rosa 'Valentine Heart'. A sweetly perfumed, repeat-flowering floribunda rose.  Pink roses denote friendship, appreciation and admiration.

Another feast of loveliness that only lacks the invention of a scratch and sniff computer screen

A view of the Rose Garden

And another

We were never alone in the gardens. We had a couple of playful and extremely inquisitive squirrels following us around, and had we some food with us, I am certain they would have taken it from us. Next time we shall be prepared.

Strangely I feel no animosity to these little grey creatures...I see them as comical, cute and almost tame. I do not however see the family of squirrels who frequent my own garden in the same light. They are destructive, annoying's that I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to feed!! Does that make me a Nimby? (not in my own back yard).

Of course the Botanical Gardens isn't just about the Rose Garden, and I spent a good couple of hours wandering around taking photos of colour combinations and drinking in all the lovely lusciousness of it all.

This is a leaf-cutter case you're wondering. It's hiding in a bed of an impressive collection of Penstemons.

What public garden doesn't have at least one traditionally planted Victorian Garden, planted according to the seasons? This one, situated by the Gatehouse as part of the heritage landscape was apparently shown on the 1853 Ordinance Survey map, and while the plants obviously aren't the originals, they are planted using varieties that would have been available to the original designer, Robert Marnock.

A flower's appeal is in its contradictions - so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect. ~Terri Guillemets

When does Summer end, and Autumn begin?

Athough we're more than half way through, this year has thus far been a year to remember. Beginning with record testing temperatures and snowfall levels, everything in the garden was a bit slow on the uptake. The latest strange oddity of this year is C. Rhapsody re-flowering. The flowers do seem to be a little smaller, but there are just so many buds waiting to burst open.

In contrast to this Spring-flowering beauty, the dahlias I grew from seed earlier in the year are blooming. They are somewhat smaller than I had invisaged, but there are some lovely colours and forms.

I particularly like this one. I shall see if I can overwinter it.

I thought I'd add this photo, purely because the bedding is flowering so well in these window boxes, that I should imagine it will exhaust itself before very long. I have yet to decide what to replace them with, and in the meantime, I will continue to cut them back to prevent them getting too leggy, keep feeding them and hope they will last until the Autumn, when given the weather we've had this year is anyone's guess as to when it will start!

More Fuschia's are in flower, and deserve a quick mention. This one is from Grandad, and I was surprised it made it through the winter. It is a little late to flower this year though.

Another hardy fuschia, this time with tiny pure white flowers.

And just because I love their purity, yet more lillies.

I've been cutting these lillies, and the pink ones along with scented sweetpeas, and my home is filled with a lovely fragrance to beat anything that plugs in!

I just cannot get enough!

Blooming Marvellous!

After a period of drought followed a period of cooler, wetter conditions in the garden, and after a few battered blooms have been trimmed back, the flowers are looking their best right now.

The Hemerocallis, or 'Daylilies' are coming into their own right now. Each bloom lasts only one day, hence the common name, but many buds are waiting for their moment on the same stem to prolong the interest.

The rain spoiled a number of petunias, but removing the untidy blooms by nipping the stem back to a healthy bud forces the plants to produce yet more flowers.

The Pelargoniums are a little more weather-resistant, and those tiny plug plants purchased in the Spring has brought some very pleasing varieties, both from the bush and trailing versions.

The baskets are practically heaving with their summer bedding plants.

And so to one of my favourite flowers of the season, the Fuschia. You may recall my taking some cuttings of young bedding varieties in the Spring. Being the same 'age' as their parents, they too are beginning to flower.

These are in a shadier spot in the greenhouse, as I still haven't got around to planting them out. But for now, lets have a look at those outside.

There are a few varieties of Hardy Fuschia dotted around the place too, some yet to flower, but this one just goes from strength to strength.

There is only one drawback to growing Fuschias, that they seem to be a magnet to wasps. Not enough to make me want to dig them up and resign them to the compost heap, but enough to warrant The Toad to back away in dread. I wondered whether they provide a little watering hole for them as they seem most attracted to them after watering, but more probably it's just the pollen they're after. This time of the year wasps are still feeding on aphids, and as there is still so much sweet natural food around for them, they pose less of a threat to us.

A surprising thing has happened in the garden. For the first time since moving here, the Clematis 'Rhapsody' has formed new flower buds. Perhaps it is making up for such a poor show in the Spring.

And now to another of my favourite Summer flowering plants. Lillies. As these began to open, so too did the heavens and our first Summer storms rolled in. I decided then to cut an armful for the house to be able to enjoy the heavy scent indoors, should the rain spoil the remainder.

The established Hebe's are in flower. This particular one had cuttings taken from it a few weeks back, as it's on the list of plants to move. The cuttings were taken in the event of it taking umbridge at being shifted from the island bed and giving up the ghost. A back-up plan if you like. It hasn't performed as well as previous years, and since there is an identical form in the same bed, it will be replaced by the one bought a few weeks ago, with blue flowers.

Escaping the unruly children's attention last week, this purple Allium globe is colouring up nicely and awaiting the moment when it will burst out into a firework display...apparently.

Penstemons are opening too. I hadn't realised just how dark these would be when I bought them, so I might just have to buy some more in a lighter shade to show them off a little better. They seem to be lost in the foliage right now unless viewed at a certain angle.

Before we move to the vegetables, there just time to take a peek at the first Potentilla bloom. Peering out from beneath the large leaves of the courgette plants, it seems very out of place. This shrub will hopefully fill out a little more and become more substantial in the coming years, as it's unlikely we shall use this bed for so many vegetables in the future.

In this modest raised bed built by The Man that Can back in the Spring with York Stone we discovered in the garden last year, lie courgettes, pumpkins, sweetcorn and french beans jostling for position with various annuals yet to flower. I cannot for the life of me remember what annuals we sowed apart from Cosmos, whose filigree foliage stands out amongst all the various leaf shapes.

I thought it might be an idea to show the difference between a male and female courgette flower. The male has quite a thin straight stem, and by contrast the female displays a swollen stem, which is the forming courgette.

The Sweetcorn is in full swing now. The chickens are eager to get their beaks on the cobs already, but they've still got a while to go until ripe.

A quick peek into the greenhouse now shows tiny white flowers on the peppers. I'm quite pleased with these as last year they failed to bloom.

And finally my very first cucumber! I'm wondering now when to cut it, as I understand they don't usually grow to supermarket size...any ideas?