As the world turns, the light is changing. I am an early riser, and if I get up at 5am, I wake up to a gentle dappled light which dances against the curtains and invites me outside. I avoid going outside just yet, as the silly dogs might start barking at a squirrel.
But by 6am, the bread machine beeps, and Ruby knows it is time for breakfast. She nuzzles me at the kitchen table. If the first nuzzle doesn’t work, she switches position and keeps nuzzling from all angles until I respond. I have a surprisingly forceful dog nose popping up under my elbow, by my knees, between my knees.
I give in of course. There is quite a lot of leaping about from both dogs, though they do try to contain themselves because they know they are not allowed to jump up. They whimper with the effort.
Whilst they dive into their breakfast, I do a round of the garden.
Last week I posted about Beautiful Bokeh. This morning was so beautifully sparkly that I thought I would try to capture it in the photos I took. So there will be quite a lot of bobbly background in these shots.
The David Austin rose ‘England’s Rose’ made a slow start this year, which is unusual. I cut back its neighbour, Geranium ‘Orion’ which was rampant in June and much of July (see The Rose Garden at the end of June and The Rose Garden at the start of June). ‘England’s Rose’ seems to have hit its stride. The blooms are small; about the size of a halved peach, but are held in a spray of three to five. They are quickly replaced as each one is dead-headed.
I like the sense of space over this rose, and the fresh new day just waiting to happen.
Next to ‘England’s Rose’ is the incredible Erodium manescavii. The flowers resemble a hardy geranium, but are held in sculptural sprays of nine or ten flowers. This plant does not stop flowering. All it needs is an occasional deadheading of the slightly ickily stickily stems every couple of weeks. Lowest maintenance perennial ever.
I LOVE the bokeh (smudgy background) in this photo. To me it looks like there is an arching green roof over the flowers. It looks like it has been rendered in oil pastels.
Geranium ‘Crystal Lake’ is never covered in flower, but I like it for its modesty. It always has a few well-spaced flowers, which allows you to really appreciate each one.
Like Erodium manescavii, each flower is finely lined with darkest ink. I like the bright bokeh here. Sorry about my over-use of the term bokeh. When I learn a new artistic word, I feel the need to practise using it everywhere. I was the same with ombre.
The bright blue globes in the right of the picture below are Echinops ritro. This is a new favourite, grown for the first time this year. The shimmery lilac sea is Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’, at its most blue because the sun hasn’t been on it for long. In a couple of hours it will be brightest magenta (you can see the change in Phloxy Lady).
The rose is ‘Lady of Megginch’. At the start of June, this produced some whopperish blooms (see Getting to know you…). The flowers are still big by rose standards, but are now flatter. Even though this rose was only planted last November, it is producing masses of flower in its first summer. I love it. ‘Lady Meg’ is also looking more blueish in the morning light; I’m not sure if this is due to the light conditions in our garden, with the light filtering through trees, or if blue pigments are seen more strongly in cooler or more moist conditions? Any theories are welcome in the comments below!
This next picture captures exactly the feel of the rose garden at 6am. It is a green and lush place to be. Who says that the August garden has to be dry and tired? Those are apples on the gravel. The tree likes to drop them on me when I am bending over to inspect the plants.
Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ is challenging ‘Munstead Wood’ as my favourite rose. You can see why.
Ooh. A lovely sparkle of white and purple bokeh here! And I do love how a hand of maroon foliage is just cradling the rose.
Stevie’s vine gives us an opportunity to appreciate a blurry ‘Lady Em’ with Phlox behind and Geranium ‘Azure Rush’ to the right. This is another fantastic geranium.
‘Azure Rush’ is later to flower than the similar ‘Orion’, and so is still going great guns in August. I had to cut ‘Orion’ back before it toppled over and took the whole garden with it. ‘Azure Rush’ is more translucent than ‘Orion’; it has a clarity and a sparkle that is unmatched. I think I will split it in the autumn to make another patch of it somewhere.
Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’ of course is also still flowering. She too looks more blue-purple at this time in the morning. Maybe I do too?
This little group of Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ was planted late, and so is still hanging on to its first flush of flowers.
Here is the sea-spume of Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’. The magenta throats of each little flower are glowing. I love the silver fuzz around the edges. That’s the foliage of a cherry and the Gallica rose ‘Tuscany Superb’ sparkling away in the background.
This is another flower I am addicted to photographing, Salvia x jamensis ‘Nachtvlinder’. I have bubbles of bokeh! Just look at the Indian ink colours contained within this Salvia.
More green and sparkly bokeh. More Indian ink. And a dance partner.
Here it is having a snuggle with Rosa ‘Boscobel’.
‘Boscobel’ is proving itself to be a top rose. Divine fragrance, delectable blooms with folded petals at the centre, and a steady supply of flower. I just love the hint of warm peach in the cavity of ‘Boscobel’.
I know I’ve said it before, but Peony foliage is the best. Long before and after the flowers there is this wonderful sculptural presence. They are such good garden plants. I particularly love the deeply cut feathers of an intersectional peony (see more about these in Intersectional Peonies: A New Direction).
Geranium psilostemon is just starting to tire. I have two clumps of this. One was given the chop (cut to the ground) a couple of weeks ago and is now re-sprouting. The one pictured here was left as an experiment to compare the two. I can’t decide; I like getting a fresh flush of foliage and flower from the one that was given the chop, but I kind of like the airiness of the one that is climbing ever higher and still producing flower. I don’t even mind the splotches of blue on the heat-exhausted flowers. They’re kind of psychedelic.
I love the icy blue of Penstemon ‘Sour Grapes’. This has out-performed any other Penstemon in the garden. It is looking lovely here against the Moroccan blue pot.
It looks rather like a surveillance robot here, with two eyes looking on. This one must have been bashed by last week’s rain. The apricot smudge behind is Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’.
‘Roald Dahl’ has been a trouper. Here he is with ‘England’s Rose’ behind. We have come a full circle. This is another combination that has been delighting me. Earlier in the season, Geranium ‘Orion’ would have been blocking the view to ‘England’s Rose’. This is another advantage of cutting back: you get a completely different planting combination mid-way through the summer.
This is one of the two fig trees that we thought we had lost until it started sprouting leaves in June (you can see it almost bare here in The Corner of Complete Neglect). There will be no fruit this year, but its blobby shadows are giving me equal pleasure.
Finally, this is the view looking from the fig tree through the rose garden and beyond to the Bright Border. You can see that it is warming up already!
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My aim in this blog is to share the little pops of wonder I get from gardening and from nature. You don’t have to be into gardening to appreciate these. The world is an amazing place and there are so many sensory pleasures that go unnoticed.