Autumn vibes

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Blue sky and autumn leaves. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Hello again. It’s been a lovely weekend so far here in central Scotland. Lots of sunshine and blue sky which really shows off these Japanese maple leaves, slowly on the turn from green to gold, and finally to red before they fall. The temperature has dropped a few degrees, and the forecast is for a much cooler week ahead, so I think the new season has well and truly arrived.

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Scottish autumn-flowering heather. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

The garden is still looking quite flowery which is good news for the bees. It’s been a great year for all the heathers, with the autumn varieties looking particularly pretty and laden with tiny blooms.

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Fading white Hydrangea.. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

The well-established white Hydrangea shrub has been heavy with flowers this year. A victim of its own success, its thin stems and branches have bowed with the weight of all the flower-heads. Whilst most have a pinkish or brown tinge, there are still one or two perfectly white blooms visible with their pin-head-sized tiny blue centres.

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Late flowering Campanulas. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

The Campanulas have been out in flower for a while. I keep trimming away the spent flower-heads and new ones have been forming lower down the stems which is why they are still flowering so late in the year. The same goes for the deep-pink Verbascum which is now flowering for the third time this year.

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Deep pink Verbascum. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

When I was out in the garden today, I was happy to see so many bees and flying insects enjoying the flowers and sunshine as much as I was. All the lavender bushes in the garden have a few late sprigs of flowers which these insects particularly love.

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Autumn lavender flowers. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

It’s not all blue, purple and pink in the garden, the Rose of Sharon has produced a few more golden yellow flowers which have a waxy-look to the petals in the sunshine.

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Second flowers on Rose of Sharon (Hypericum). Images: Kathryn Hawkins

My final image is of my favourite Lupin which has broken my back garden record this year, with its third flowering of the year. It’s not fully open yet but it’s not far off. All the other Lupin bushes have died down completely yet this one has stayed lush and healthy. Alongside is one of my Borage flowers; these have only just decided to put in an appearance this week. Better late than never though ūüôā

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Third flowering Lupin and the first Borage flowers of the season. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

I hope you have enjoyed my images this week. I will be back in the kitchen for my next post. Until then, take care and thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Autumn is in the air

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The full splendour of Crepe Myrtle. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Hello again. How can we be at the end of another month already? When I wrote my last post, we had been having some very hot weather and a distinct lack of rain. Since then, the rain has started falling, the air has cleared and it has been feeling a lot cooler, with some mornings feeling positively chilly.

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Crepe Myrtle flowers. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

The garden is far more advanced this year with quite a few favourites finishing their display much earlier than before. The Himilayan Hydrangea is looking quite spectacular at the moment. Recently, I discovered that it is also known as Crepe Myrtle which is a charming name. The other Hydrangeas in the garden have started to fade from bright blue petals to mauve and pink.

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Blue Hydrangeas fading gracefully. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Another blue flower I captured at its peak about a week ago, is my potted Agapanthus, Regal Beauty. Last year it had 3 flowering stems, but this year, after splitting the plant in Autumn, I had a single, very large flower stem. it is such an eye-catching shade of bright blue.

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Agapanthus Regal Beauty, August 2022. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

More blue from the Globe thistles (Echinops) which grow alongside the bright yellow Golden Rod stems. Such a great contrast on a sunny day, and both are very popular with the bees and other flying insects.

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The blue and yellow of Globe Thistles and Golden Rod. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

It’s not all blue in the garden. For a few weeks now, the Japanese Anemones have been in flower. They seems to survive all weather conditions and haven’t been affected by the extreme heat or lack of rain earlier in the month.

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Autumn favourites: Japanese Anemones

At their best this week, the Star-gazer lilies which grow in 2 separate places in the garden, both nestling beside high shrubs which offer support for their very long stems.

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Blue sky Star-gazer lilies. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

It looks like I will have a good crop of apples this year, and the birds will be pleased that I managed to dry the head of the greenhouse sunflower successfully; they will have plenty of seeds to pick at very soon.

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Ripening apples on a blue sky day. Image: Kathryn Hawkins
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Dried and ready for the birds. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Apart from the birds and bees, the occasional frog, squirrel and the neighbours’ cats, the garden is quite quiet. Once every couple of years, a young deer, completely disorientated, has ended up in the garden. I am always unclear as to how they get in and get out again. This one visited one evening and took quite a liking to the flowers of several Japanese Anemones. Quite exotic taste-buds don’t you think?

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Unexpected garden visitor. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Until next time, thanks for stopping by and I will see you again soon ūüôā

Summer garden

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My Scottish country garden early July 2022. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Summer is in full swing as I sit down to type my post this week. There’s been plenty of sunshine this week and the garden is in full bloom. I haven’t been able to spend as much time outside as I would have liked these past few days but I have managed to capture a few highlights to share with you in my post this week. I hope you enjoy them.

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Summer lavender. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Along the front of the house and in several of the sunny borders, the lavender grows very well. The bees love it and the perfume in the warm breeze was heavenly as I took these pictures.

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Blue Hebe and Yellow Brachyclottis. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

These 2 shrubs have been sitting side by side for years. Both have done very well this year and are packed with flowers. I love blue and yellow combinations; the garden has quite a few plants in these colours. Below are Campanulas which grow all over the garden, and Lysimachia which takes over one whole flowerbed at this time of year with a blaze of sunny blooms.

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Blue Campanula and yellow Lysimachia. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

I’m not sure where this fine fellow came from. Perhaps a seed from the bird food brought in to the greenhouse by a mouse? For a while, back in the spring, I thought it was a self-seeding courgette plant (!) but as it grew taller, I realised what it was. Rather challenging to capture because of its position up against the glass, hence the sideways angle. I am going to leave it to dry out and then feed the birds with the seeds.

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My rogue sunflower. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

For several years I have been trying to grow Himalayan poppies in the garden. I have tried several spots, and only ever managed to achieve a flower once. So last year, I dug up my latest attempt and put it in a pot in the shadiest spot I could find. I kept it watered and, lo and behold, it has had 3 beautiful blooms from a tall and willowy single stem.

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Mecanopsis (Himalayan poppy). Images: Kathryn Hawkins

It’s not all blue and yellow in the garden, there are some pinks here and there as well. I grew this rather odd looking Dianthus from seed last year and was delighted to see that it has come back again with more blooms than ever. It’s called Superbus which I like to pronounce as Super bus ūüôā The pink Kalmia is a very old shrub in the garden, but it’s produced another fine display of flowers this year.

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Dianthus Superbus and Kalmia. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

More blue from these dynamic looking Hydrangeas. This one started life a deep red colour but has reverted back to the blue which I believe is because the soil here is acidic. I was surprised to see a couple of Japanese anemones out in flower already this week. Very early for this garden.

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Blue Hydrangea and an early pink Japanese anemone. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

And finally, I am rather proud of my barrel container of plants. Usually home to runner beans or potatoes, this year I decided to plant it with flowers instead. Planted at the end of May, they have been flowering non stop for 6 weeks, so I am well chuffed. There is a combination of Viola “Dawn”, Nemesia “Evening Dusk”, Brachyscome “Brasco Violet” and yellow Bidens.

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My barrel of bedding plants. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Enjoy the sunshine and I will be back posting again soon. Until then, my best wishes to you as always.

End of April in the garden

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Primroses in their prime. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Hello again. What a glorious time of the year it is in the garden. Some of my favourite plants and flowers are at their best right now, and this year so many spring flowers seems to be blooming better than ever.

The primroses started flowering in March, but the clumps of flowers are just getting bigger and bigger. They grow at their best in the dampest, shadiest part of the garden, and they really bring these borders to life. The Hellebores are beginning to go over now having been flowering for several weeks. They become more upright the longer they have been blooming which makes them so much easier to photograph.

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Hellebores fading gloriously. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

The new kids on the block are the bluebells. We’ve had a few chilly, grey days here, but now things are brightening up again, the pretty blue flower heads are opening up all over the garden.

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First of the bluebells. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Another spring favourite of mine are the unusual looking Snakeshead Fritillary. Alongside the well known pink variety with it’s petals patterned like snake’s skin, a white variety has also become established.

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White and pink Snakeshead Fritillary. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

The Chionodoxa that runs wild all over the paths and flowerbeds from late February into March has been replaced by tiny violets. They have a delicate delicious sweet fragrance as well as looking so pretty.

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Garden violets. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I am very happy to see all the small fruit trees in full blossom now. I am looking forward to a good crop of Morello cherries again (fingers crossed). There seem to be lots of bees around so hopefully they are doing a good job of helping to set the fruit. Only the miniature apple tree is in blossom at the moment, but I can see quite a lot of flower buds on the large tree so with a few warm days, I think they will open up.

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Late April fruit blossom – Morello cherry, Conference pear and Victoria plum. Images: Kathryn Hawkins
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First of the apple blossom. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

One of my favourite annual tasks in the garden is dead-heading the Hydrangeas. I can stay upright for this job, little bending or kneeling is required, unlike most of the gardening chores.

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Hydrangea haircut – before and after. Images: Kathryn Hawkins
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Dried Hydrangea flower heads. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I hope you have enjoyed my pictures of spring. May is just around the corner which means even more colour in the garden. Looking forward to the warmer, even longer days, so until next time, enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of this special time of the year. Thanks for stopping by and take care.

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Bold and bright tulips. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

August brights

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Crocosmia with flowering runner beans. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Hello again. I hope you have had a good few days. As I sat down to sort out my images this week’s post, it was rather gloomy outside. The weather this month really hasn’t been very summery at all, and to be honest, it is beginning to feel autumnal with the evenings drawing in more rapidly that I care to think about. However, there are some pockets of vibrant colour in the garden at the moment to help brighten the days.

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2020 Japanese Anemones. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

The delicate-looking Japanese anemones are beginning to flower all over the garden at the moment. I know that they will last well into next month, probably longer, and will stand up to whatever weather comes their way. They are so much hardier than they look.

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Second time around Lupins. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

The lupins have all flowered for a second time this year and with much bigger blooms than usual. Often the second flowers are half the size of the original June flower-heads at best, but this year they have put in a magnificent effort just 2 months later.

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Golden Rod (Solidago) and Echinops, August 2020. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

There are still plenty of bees and flying insects being busy around the garden, and in particular the 2 plants above are favourites with them all.

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Blue, pink, mauve and white Hydrangeas. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

I have been living here in central Scotland for over 15 years now, and I am still surprised by the plants that grow around me. This year, for the first time, I noticed that the tiny blue ball-like centres of the aged white Hydrangea open out to form their own blue 4-petaled flowers with stamens.

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Tiger lily. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

This beauty hides behind the aforementioned white Hydrangea in the front garden. Far too flamboyant to be in the shadows, but that’s where it thrives, so I’ll not interfere.

Until next time, I’ll leave you with another plant in second flower, my Gertrude Jekyll rose. Heavenly scented as well as sheer perfection to look at. I hope you have a good few days. I will be back in the kitchen again for my next post.

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Gertrude Jekyll in second flower. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Shades of Autumn

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Japanese maple in the Autumn sunshine. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

To be completely honest with you all, this really isn’t my favourite time of year. However,¬†when it’s not raining and when the sun is out, I¬†do spend a lot of time¬†in the garden¬†admiring the glorious colours¬†that this¬†month often has to offer.

The Japanese maple tree above is situated in the corner of my drive-way. It has leaves that seem to glow in the sunshine, and when the leaves mature and fall to the ground, they turn a vivid shade of red as they dry out.

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Fallen maple leaves. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

There is more red to be seen elsewhere in the garden. The Cotoneaster is crammed full of berries this year. Standing in front of this hardy specimen is a more delicate Fuschia bush with pink and purple petals that clash spectacularly with the scarlet berries behind.

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Pink Fuschia and berry-laden Cotoneaster. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Another crop of Autumn crocus has sprung up in one of the flowerbeds. A later variety, these beauties are Crocus Sativus or the saffron-crocus. When the sun hits the golden stamens, the spicy aroma is quite mouth-watering.

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Crocus Sativus. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

It’s been a good year for Hydrangeas; they have been in bloom for many weeks. I love the way that the blooms fade gradually and gracefully as the days draw in, and¬†develop a¬†“vintage” appearance.

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Fading glory. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

A few plants are now on their second blooming of the year. This solitary Leucanthemum flower stem is the only one that has developed on the plant second time around. It does look a bit lonely. The variety is Bananas and Cream which is a great name for any plant in my opinion.

Have a good few days and enjoy the Autumn colours if you’re out and about ūüôā

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Bananas and Cream for one. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

My July garden retrospective

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End of July in the garden. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Hello everyone. We’re almost at the end of another month; how time flies.¬†I’ve been taking some time off work and my blog this month but I¬†found some time to capture¬†some of the flowery and fruity delights that have come and gone these past 4 weeks.

The wonderfully prickly¬†specimen below¬†appeared in the garden last year courtesy of the birds. It didn’t flower, but produced some magnificent spiky leaves. This year it has gone from strength to strength and this¬†month it really took off. Sadly it was a victim of its own success and toppled over under its own weight. Most of the blooms are growing at all angles but upwards apart from this one.

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Wild thistle. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Something a little bit more delicate are the charming and dainty Campanulas which flower at the beginning and middle of the month. The flower-heads seemed a lot bigger this year. And in the picture below them, my beautiful, very fragrant and very old rose bush. It did me proud again this year and was laden with blooms. Sadly now finished, but I am ever hopeful for a second blooming later in the year.

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Early July Campanulas. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

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Old fashioned, highly scented rose. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

The garden has been alive with bees and butterflies this summer. Lots of different varieties of bees all over the tiny petals of the Scabious (or Pincushion) flowers, it seems to be one of their favourite blooms. And here is a Scarlet Lady butterfly bathing on a very fragrant sun-bed of lavender.

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Scabious and lavender with bumblebee and butterfly. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Aside from the delicate and fragrant, the brash and bold flowers have also been abundant. The Hydrangeas seem more colourful than ever this year, and the poppies are springing up everywhere to add bright splashes of colour to the borders and beds.

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Tall red poppies and small bush Hydrangeas. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

It’s also been another good year for the outdoor soft fruit. The small espalier Morello cherry produced ¬ĺkg cherries (all bottled and stored) and the raspberry bushes, now in their 14th year, have produced another mega-harvest of berries which I have frozen for making into jam later in the year. The dishful of berries in the picture were cooked with freshly picked rhubarb and made into a “crump”, one of my favourite desserts from my blog a couple of years ago. Here’s the link:¬†Rhubarb, raspberry and custard crump (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)Very tasty it was too ūüôā

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Mid July Morellos. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

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Aptly named, Glen Ample raspberries. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

That’s all from me for now. I look forward to sharing more recipes and garden posts in a short while.

August garden

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White hydrangea. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

The more traditional Scottish summer weather has returned this past week. It is much cooler now; there have been a few more rain showers, and the garden has rehydrated and is greening up again. Earlier today,  I was having a look back at my garden post of this time last year; several of the flowers I featured then are well and truly over by now due to the heat and dry of the past few weeks.

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Goldenrod (Solidago) and globe thistle (Echinops). Images: Kathryn Hawkins

There seem to be plenty of bees (and butterflies) in the garden this year which is very good news. The Goldenrod and globe thistles were alive with sound of buzzing while I was capturing these images. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed quite so many different kinds of bees and flying insects as I waited to capture the pollen collecting action.

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Vibrant-coloured poppies. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

The poppies add a brief splash of colour when they bloom. The fragile petals are like tissue-paper. Once in full bloom, each flower head looks radiant for about 24 hours before the petals are shed, on by one.

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Japanese anemones. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Just as fragile looking are the Japanese anemones, but although they look so delicate and pretty, the flowers last for many days, if not weeks, and seem to be able to tolerate any wind, rain, heat and chill that a Scottish summer has to offer.

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Crocosmia (Montbretia). Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Year after year, the back garden flowerbeds become packed out with the long stems and leaves of Crocosmia. The weight of several flower heads per stem means that they do appear to grow horizontally, particularly in the sunshine; in the shadier parts of the garden, the stems hold their heads higher as they reach for the light. For me, it is the bright orange flowers and lush green foliage of this plant that represents the peak of summer like no other.

My final images are of another orange flower in the garden: very tall and elegant tiger lilies. I love the way the petals fold back so neatly at the back of the bloom, just like a beautifully tied ribbon. Until next week, my best wishes to you ūüôā

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Tiger lily. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

 

Early December in the garden

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Blue-sky December day. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

As I sat down to write this post last night, we were awaiting the arrival of the first major storm of the season. Nothing has materialised overnight, but it is suddenly feeling much colder. There is a thick frost this morning, and it is bright and clear again, the wind has dropped, and all is calm.

On the whole, the first few days of the month have been quite kind to the gardeners amongst us here in central Scotland. Whilst the east coast did have more seasonal weather, we were blessed with several blue sky days, milder temperatures, and some glorious sun rises.

To be honest, I haven’t been outside much recently – work has kept me inside. The garden is looking a bit tired now,¬†and ready for a rest. I cleared a lot of the autumn debris a¬†couple of weeks ago¬†and it’s beginning to look a bit bare in places.¬†However, the evergreens provide shape and colour and look very vibrant¬†on a fine day, and the Cotoneaster hedge is laden with berries, as it is every year.

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Berry-laden Cotoneaster hedge. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

The best value plants in the garden this year have been the carnations I planted last year – taken¬†as cuttings from a birthday bouquet. They began flowering in August, and are still producing blooms at the moment. I’m sure the¬†winter weather¬†will get to¬†them eventually, but the south-facing wall seems to be providing them with sufficient shelter to have kept them going¬†this far¬†into the year.

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Carnations enjoying the winter sunshine. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Elsewhere in the garden, the colours¬†have faded. The Hydrangeas have taken on a beautiful “vintage” look, and the blooms of Echinops and white Japanese Anemones have¬†left behind¬†interesting seed-heads which are slowly weathering away.

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Faded beauty: Blue Hydrangea. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

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Globe thistle and Japanese Anemone seed heads. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

The last¬†of my garden¬†features this month is this wee fellow, a perennial primrose. Just one solitary bloom at the moment, hidden away in a sheltered, damp¬†part of the garden. A small flash of pale yellow which acts¬†to remind me¬†that spring will be here again in just a few weeks. Have a good week ūüôā

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Perennial primrose. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

 

 

August in a Scottish garden

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August flower border with Ox-eye daisies. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Since the end of last month, it has felt like summer has left us here in central Scotland. There have even been a couple of chilly nights when it’s felt like Autumn is on the way. Whilst there has been some warm sunshine, the blue sky days have been peppered with heavy rain showers, and the poor plants, flowers and shrubs have been taking a battering.

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Soft pink Astilbe. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

This baby pink-coloured Astilbe reminds me of candy-floss. The tiny, soft flowers bunch together to give a fluffy-looking display which seems to bounce back even after the heaviest of showers. Just as pink and delicate-looking (and able to withstand the rain!) are the Japanese anemones which grow in a cluster at the base of one of the trees in the back garden. I also have a white variety but this year, the pinks are well ahead of the whites.

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Pale pink Japanese anemones. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

On the opposite flowerbed to the anemones is where the wispy Scabious grow. I tie the wiry floral stems in loose bunches, supported with canes, to keep them from falling over and splaying all over the place. The blooms form small white globes, tinged with pale blue-lilac petals; they are so pretty, and the bees love them!

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Wispy Scabious blooms. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

There are lots of flamboyant red and mauve poppies growing alongside the fruit bushes at the moment, but sadly, each one is only surviving no longer than a single day. These beauties are just too fragile to withstand the heavy rain drops. I managed to enjoy this one for a few hours this week, but sadly the next morning, all the petals had fallen.

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Rain splattered mauve poppy. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I’m glad of some longer lasting colour in the garden from¬†my ever-faithful¬†Hydrangeas. All the bushes are in flower now and they will¬†continue to bloom¬†for several weeks, subtly changing colour as time goes on. At the moment, the colours are soft and muted, but as Autumn draws nearer, the petals will deepen in colour and become more intense.

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Fresh in bloom, assorted Hydrangeas. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

To finish my garden round-up for this month, the greenhouse is pretty¬†colourful at the moment as well. I’ve been picking cucumbers and tomatoes for a few days now, and it looks like I am going to have plenty of produce for¬†the weeks to come. So, until next month, I bid you: happy gardening!

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In the greenhouse, cucumber and Tigerella tomatoes. Images: Kathryn Hawkins