Lazy Days of Summer

This has been a good summer. The hot days have stretched on and on and on. I’ve been wishing we had a porch and a rocking chair. On the weekends I have been getting my gardening jobs done before about 10am, and then it is time for a Sat Cap (Saturday Cappuccino) with Stevie.  Then we retire to the sun-loungers in the shade.  This is what summer is all about.

View of the rose garden from my sun-lounger
View of the sun-loungers from the middle of the rose garden

There was something about the colours today.  Wherever we sat in the garden, everything looked good.

Bright border, from the sun-lounger
Bright border
Bright border

This is the first year that I have got my planting just right.  There has been a succession of new things happening; the colour and texture combinations have worked; the borders have been balanced.

Bright border

It might be starting to look a little yellowed here and there; a bit tired; but you’d expect that in August.

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Bright border
Bright border
Buddleja davidii ‘Royal Red’ with Rosa ‘Benjamin Britten’ and a few butterflies.

Everywhere I look, it’s beautiful.

Thugs’ Corner

The trees are beautiful.


The allotment is looking beautiful.


Heck, even the compost heap is looking…erm…


Is it the blue sky?

Cutting patch


Whatever it is, it is good to get to this point.  Three and a half years ago it looked like this:

Looking across the whole garden from where the rose garden is now. There is barely a bright border. The cutting patch, greenhouse and allotment don’t yet exist.
The allotment. Before the raised beds, fruit cage and greenhouse.

Admittedly those photos are taken in early spring, but you get the picture.

We’ve come a long way. So I am just going to stretch out on this sun-lounger and enjoy the blue skies, and the trees, and the burnt grass, and the butterflies.  Because this is summer, and I love it.


This garden was a haulage yard twenty years ago, and before that a farmyard.  I have had to learn how to use a pickaxe in order to plant anything.  There have been moments (scrabbling around in a hole, chipping away at an embedded brick, falling over backwards trying to pull it out) when I have wondered what on earth I was thinking.  Today it is clear.  It was worth it.

It will continue to evolve.  Some years it won’t  be so good.  Some ideas will fail.  Others with flourish.  That’s life.  But here and now, in the present, I’m bottling this moment.

Have you been enjoying a lazy summer? Can you think of a time when you have thought you’d never get there and then you realise you have?  How do you hold on to those moments?  

If you are struggling with a stubborn, unwieldy plot, you might like to read Cultivating a growth mind-set.

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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 delights that go unnoticed. Let’s not waste the pleasure!

35 Comments Add yours

  1. Robyn Haynes says:

    Gosh what a difference Alison. A credit to you for the transformation. I’m especially impressed that you can spend time relaxing and admiring. I always plan to, but then my eye catches something that needs doing and I’m up again, book abandoned on the chair.

    1. Ali says:

      😂 I’m like that too. Except when it’s just too hot.

  2. It’s amazing to see the transformation you’ve done – great job in 3 years!! This summer in Europe just called for some relaxing and enjoying – the weather was awesome during our travels. Some days too hot to work or walk too far – those loungers in the shade are ideal. Besides, if you don’t sometimes sit back and appreciate, how would you know what to tackle next? Great work!

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Martin. You are right; it is important to reflect.

  3. What a wonderful transformation! It’s so rewarding to see ideas come to fruition, and it’s lovely to sit in the sunshine enjoying the scenery you’ve created. 😊

  4. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I’ve enjoyed seeing the earlier photos and the changes in your garden, Ali. What a wonderful summer you’ve had and I’m so pleased you’ve been able to lounge and admire. It’s a huge amount of work to get a garden to the stage yours is at, so you deserve time to contemplate.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I remember reading that it takes 3 growing years to really see a difference, and that’s true. Now it is mainly maintenance and tweaking.

    2. Ali says:

      Although I do love a project!

  5. Claudette says:

    congratulaltions on all the effort, it has certainly paid off in the enjoyment that you get from your garden, and the sharing of it’s loveliness.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Claudette!

  6. Oh my goodness ❤ that Willow tree is amazing!!! You're so lucky to have such a beautiful garden to spend time in x

    1. Ali says:

      We were lucky to inherit all these trees!

  7. Christina says:

    You’ve achieved a lot in 3 years, very well done. Our day is similar here (or has been); it’s cooled down significantly although still quite hot in comparison to the UK. OUR TERRACE IS OUR SHADY COOL SPOT. The wisteria allows the heat from the tiles to escape through its leaves and the foliage gives lovely dappled shade.

    1. Ali says:

      We are wondering if we might extend our seating area and add a pergola… would love a wisteria!

      1. Christina says:

        I love wisteria too, it is my favourite thing in the garden.

  8. Wow! You’ve come so far in such a short time and truly, it is all beautiful!!! Enjoy it – you deserve it.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Cindy. X

  9. john smith says:

    Do you think there is some link between your current ability to relax, and the improvement in the skin condition (you mentioned) on your hands? Sorry to be so personal, but you described this problem in a previous article; I wondered if you have a new found ability to relax – as opposed to (perhap) driven?

    1. Ali says:

      I really don’t know, John. I think I am one of those people who relaxes through activity; I don’t often just sit in the garden. Skin is such a frustratingly complicated organ! It was more stressful if my eczema was put down to stress, as I felt it was somehow my fault, which I know is silly. And sometimes flare-ups do and sometimes they don’t tie in with stressful times in my life.

      1. john smith says:

        Yes, skin is something you dont give a second thought to, until it stops functioning correctly. It performs an incredible function, when you think about it. Unfortunately I have been able to pinpoint a trigger for you – although obviously a very simple one which would have occurred to you already. Nb. I already have another order of perennials planned for the spring (from Claire Austin); oddly enough my garden will have a lot of similarities to yours, by coincidence…..

  10. Heyjude says:

    Your garden transformation is incredible! What a lot of hard work has gone into that and it truly is inspirational. I always thought it took five years for a garden to mature, so yours is well and truly ahead of the game. In a couple of years you will more than likely be re-arranging things! You just need to add a pond as well as that pergola 😀

    1. Ali says:

      We do! We have a tiny one which has dried up this summer. We have talked about a larger one!

      1. Heyjude says:

        Good for wildlife.

  11. Idyllic rewards of hard work. My surgery has meant I haven’t been much use this year. I hope to make it up next Summer

    1. Ali says:

      Sorry to hear that Derrick. No doubt you have made keen observations, and you will really enjoy getting back into it next summer.

  12. bcparkison says:

    Oh you give me great hope. Not if I can just live long enough….LOL

  13. Your Saturday cappuccinos are well deserved! You’ve done an amazing job creating this garden!

  14. Cathy says:

    So interesting to see some ‘before’ pictures, Ali – certainly a transformation! And I have no idea what it feels like to be happy with the planting in my garden so welk done for getting to that stage, even if it’s only temporary!

    1. Ali says:

      I probably have lower standards than you, Cathy!

      1. Cathy says:

        I don’t think so, Ali… !

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the article post.Really thank you! Great.

  16. Looks the way my gardens used to be during August after most of the work is done and I could sit back in my Adirondak chair with a tall glass of iced tea. The past two or three summers, however, have been devastating with triple-digit heat and smoke from forest fires in the Western United States. Since I can take neither, my husband has kept up with the watering just to keep things alive. I can hardly wait for September. It’s like an extended summer.

  17. Just beautiful! Your yard is a little spot of Paradse.

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