Year of Grace, Day 173. The garden in midsummer

The past two days have been incredibly perfect summer days – at various times the sky alternated between a pale turquoise (a rare colour for it to be here in Bonn! Or anywhere else that I have experienced, actually!) and a pure azure. I treasure these days that come so rarely in this country. M and I sat outside after dinner, relishing the twilight. It was neither hot nor cold, there was no wind – and the blackbirds’ enchanting exchanges from the surrounding trees were all that interrupted the stillness. There were no mosquitoes (thank goodness — or grass mites either — those are yet to come!) It was simply one of those perfect evenings to be outdoors — lingering outside, waiting for total darkness to fall. And I thought how good it was to JUST BE. No drinking or eating or doing anything — just being still, sitting, savouring the stillness and the oncoming fall of night.

I spent all day yesterday out in the garden, making supports for the roses that are doing so well this year. The trusses of blooms on the multiflora roses are so heavy that with the rain we get about every second or third day, the branches collapse with all the weight and the lovely blooms lie bedraggled on the ground. In fact with so much continuous rain in the past week, the rose buds on the classic, perfumed rose (on which I have written about earlier)  have gotten spoiled and rotted without opening. There is such a thing as too much rain for certain plants, I found.

All in all the garden this year, its third year under my care, has flourished, and for that I have to thank the rain that has come with more regularity than other years (we even had a bit of hail, but not as large as those that fell last year). I have not had to water the front garden as often as I’ve done in previous years. Nevertheless I cannot be entirely complacent: the passionfruit vine, which had so many promising buds, has withered for some unknown reason, and I am distraught. I thought it was lack of water as it had yellowing leaves, but it didn’t perk up despite watering. I am leaving it alone now, hoping it will recover. I had been so looking forward to a multitude of blooms as compared to last year’s meagre three. And as well I had hoped for some fruit. There are obviously many more lessons about fruit growing that I have to learn.

Nevertheless there is so much to enjoy and appreciate in the garden, despite these relatively minor setbacks. All part of having and caring for a garden. For all these blessings and the joy these flowers and plants provide, I am truly grateful.

Here is a little posey – so small it fits in a shot glass. I am enamoured of the colours and scents from this tiny bouquet. The velvety red rose is from a plant that my friend Domi gave me two years ago, and this is its first bloom. The pale pink rose on the right, still in bud when I picked it for the posey, is from a New Dawn climbing rose, finally getting into its stride in its third year. The first summer it just grew; last year it had a couple of flowers, and now it has a good number of blooms. The slightly darker pink rose with many petals is a multiflora — not scented, but very floriferous. The sweetpeas in purple and pink overwintered nicely despite being exposed to frost and snow. The white minibells are from a Heuchera-Tiarella cross, called Heucherella. The pale blue marguerite-like flowers are Felicia — my first time to grow this annual. I love their pale, sky-blue rays with yellow centres. I also stuck in a pale pink Pelargonium, bottom left. I couldn’t help taking this posey’s portrait from different angles. Wishing you all the joys of lovely midsummer!

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