The Morning Mist

It has been a scorching couple of weeks.  It has been five weeks since our last rainfall.  Then yesterday the heavens opened.  I was driving home under the raincloud, hoping it would come with me all the way home.  It did, and the garden got a much-needed drenching for twenty minutes.  The temperature didn’t drop, so it was a very warm shower, leaving the garden steaming.


The smell of summer rain is a wondrous thing.  Warm, wet earth, and leaves, and dripping flowers.  Rain-heavy blooms lean into one another, making new colour combinations, creating different shapes and angles.

When I woke up this morning, the garden was shrouded in mist.  The temperature had dropped overnight, but it was still warm enough to walk barefoot on the scorched grass.

Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’

All the colours were subdued, as were the sounds.  There was a conspicuous lack of buzzing insects at that time in the morning.  Even the birds were a little muted.

Euphorbia palustris

I have been recovering from Hampton Court for the last couple of days.  Just one day away from the garden left me feeling behind.  As so often happens when I am tired, I got a cold.  But summer colds are very different from winter colds.  An hour in the garden last night left me feeling refreshed, and energised.

Euphorbia schlingii

I have been doing what Monty calls ‘editing’ the borders.  Geranium ‘Brookside’ had reached maximum sprawl and was becoming more silver than blue, with all the seedheads.  It has received what I am calling the ‘Hampton Court Hack’.  (See Secrets of a Hacker).  It has been cut to the ground.  The roses can breathe; it is like they have thrown off their skirts, and can feel the breeze around their legs again.

One thing always leads to another in the garden.  Now I could clamber over to Rosa ‘Thomas a Becket’ to deadhead him.  I won the tussle, but only just.

The Salvias, like ‘Caradonna’ and ‘Ostfriesland’, have also had a little clip. The Bright Border is looking less blue and purple, and is concentrating on its zingy citrus colours: lime, lemon and orange…

Euphorbia schlingii
Hemerocallis ‘Bonanza’

The flower-forms are spiky and sculptural, with Hemerocallis and Crocosmia:

Hemerocallis fulva ‘Flore Plena’
Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

There are some berrylicious tones too, with Penstemons and Phlox.

Penstemon ‘Pensham’s Plum Jerkum’
Phlox paniculata ‘Starfire’ with Hemerocallis fulva ‘Flore Plena’ and ‘Bonanza’ behind.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and ‘Anne Thomson’ escaped the chop: they are sterile hybrids, so will just keep producing flowers and set no seed.

Phlox paniculata ‘Starfire’ with Geranium ‘Rozanne’ behind.

I love the burnt toffee tones of spent Hemerocallis next to the magenta of Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’.

Hemerocallis ‘Crimson Pirate’ with Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’ behind.

Hemerocallis fulva ‘Flore Plena’ is drying out in the sun.

Hemerocallis fulva ‘Flore Plena’ with Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’ behind.

I don’t have much yellow in the garden, but the Bright Border is the perfect place for it.  Three years ago I planted a Helianthus (perennial sunflower) at the back of the border.  These are the best plants for providing late summer freshness, with plentiful bright yellow flowers and equally lush foliage.  I spotted bindweed creeping up the stem a month or so after planting.  I have a terror of bindweed, and uprooted the lot.  Then and there, in my work clothes.  I keep meaning to plant another Helianthus, but somehow never get around to it.

But… I am blessed by happy accidents in this garden.  Some of the orange Hemerocallis I planted turned out to be yellow.  Even better, they appear to be just the variety I had been dithering over, ‘Bonanza’.  These remind me of banana chews.  I love the way they are all looking in different directions here, like spotlights.

Hemerocallis ‘Bonanza’

I kept on floating along the border, over the mist.  On to these Astilbe ‘Vision in Red’.  I love the red stems with brightest magenta feathers.

Astilbe ‘Vision in Red’

And encountered a couple of quivering spider-webs, suspended from the fence.

Spider’s Web with dew-drops.
Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’ with a spider’s web.

The fragility of the spider’s web contrasted with the encrusted lichen on fence post.


At this point I realised that I really needed to get dressed and ready to meet friends for coffee.  Even now, not yet 9am, the mist was lifting, and the day was heating up.

When I came back a couple of hours later, we were back to fierce sun and humid heat.  The Hemerocallis were aflame.

Hemerocallis fulva ‘Flore Plena’
Hemerocallis ‘Bonanza’

The Euphorbia were glowing.

Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’
Euphorbia palustris
Euphorbia schlingii

The Phlox had erupted.

Phlox paniculata ‘Starfire’

The Clematis was smouldering.


And Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ was ablaze.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

Time for the paddling pool.

My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors.

If you would like to join the joy, click on the ‘Follow’ button at the end of this post. You will receive an email each time I post a little pop of wonder.


34 Comments Add yours

  1. Rupali says:

    Lovely colours and the raindrops add special effects.

    1. Ali says:

      They do soften everything, don’t they?

  2. I love the way you have captured that early morning feeling of floating round the garden before the world is awake. What beautiful images too. Ceri

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Ceri!

  3. pommepal says:

    I love how your garden is a constant changing pallet Ali, never get tired of scrolling through your delicious photos, loved the shimmering spiders webs too

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Pauline. Now that the garden in maturing, I am finding that too. I used to wait and wait for things to happen, and each episode was a much-anticipated event. Now I can barely keep up!

      1. pommepal says:

        Our plot is 20 years old now and has gone through many reincarnations over that time

      2. Ali says:

        That is one of the joys of gardening, isn’t it? Constantly changing and reinventing itself. And the reason non-gardeners think we must be bonkers!

      3. pommepal says:

        Non gardeners don’t know the joy they are missing watching and creating a garden

      4. Ali says:

        I know. Couldn’t be less boring.

      5. Ali says:

        That didn’t actually make sense! But you know what I mean!!

  4. Tish Farrell says:

    You had rain! What luck. None on our horizon for a couple of weeks at least.

    1. Ali says:

      It did take the pressure off with watering a bit, Tish, though was only a couple of centimetres.

  5. Emma Cownie says:

    Rain is such a treat at the moment. I got up early to visit Three Cliffs Bay this morning and found the sand dunes and grass covered in dew. At least the plants get a little moisture, this way.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I’ve only really thought about that recently, that dew does provide some moisture. I must investigate how much…

  6. So glad you got some rain. We’ve finally had 2 days in a row without rain. I have never seen it so lush and green here as it is this July. It is hard to comprehend you’ve gone 5 weeks without rain and still your gardens are so beautiful. Here they would be absolutely dead or I’d have a humongous water bill to keep them alive. Here, one week without rain or water would stress the plants and crack the ground. You must have amazing soil there.
    Gorgeous photos and your gardens always make me want to head outside to garden. Monty has the same effect on me. Thank you Ali since I can’t watch Monty everyday. You provide the inspiration I need and always inspire me to be a better gardener, Going outside now. May just go in my pajamas.

    1. Ali says:

      Cindy, what a lovely comment! Thank you so much. Yes, we do have water-retaining clay, so are lucky in that respect. Having said that, I am giving my rose garden a good drink this morning – no rain forecast for another two weeks, so it is do or die!

  7. bcparkison says:

    Morning mist and dew can be a life saver.I love seeing spiderwebs but walking through them in the early morning is not much fun. Now …why are my crocosmia upside down? As always this was aplesant visit. Thanks.

    1. Ali says:

      It’s my pleasure. Always lovely to have you here.

  8. Heyjude says:

    Your garden just gets better and better – as Pauline says, a wonderful changing palette. I have also chopped some of my geraniums down to the ground today as they were sprawling everywhere and looking very untidy. I am in envy of your Hemerocallis. I have one in a pot (it was in the ground, but shaded by a large fuchsia so I dug it up and put it in a container until I can think of a suitable place to plant it). But no flowers again this year. it used to flower in a pot in my old house, so what am I doing wrong?

    1. Ali says:

      Apparently if they are planted too deeply they may not bloom – could that be it?

      1. Heyjude says:

        I did read that and wonder. I might have found a spot in the sun where I can plant them so once the weather cools down I shall try that! Otherwise…

  9. Eliza Waters says:

    Your garden is beautiful any day, but in the mist, it is magical!

  10. myplaidheart says:

    Right out of Better Homes and Gardens. Such ethereal beauty.

    1. Ali says:

      Ha! I need to keep it real!!

  11. Alys says:

    I love the smell of summer rain too! You have wonderful photos on your blog 🙂

  12. It’s always fun and educational to “walk” through your flower garden with you! Your photographs are fabulous! Good choice on the camera and macro lens, but you also have a great eye photographing your garden.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, I am having lots of fun.

  13. Jenny says:

    Despite the unusual heat your flowers look beautiful and probably happy to have that rain shower. Like you we take advantage of the early mornings.

    1. Ali says:

      It is a lovely time of day, isn’t it?

  14. M.B. Henry says:

    Very beautiful 🙂 You can almost smell the rain! 🙂

  15. Penny Post says:

    Your bright border is wonderful and has me wishing my life away. next year I plan on tackling the other half of the garden which will have a nice big border in it and your border is making me long for the time I can plant large blocks of colours and plants. No rain here so its still water-cans at the ready with none forecast until next week – maybe.

    1. Ali says:

      Ah, I love that stage of dreaming and planning a border!

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