Summer Solstice


Saturday 20th June is the Summer Solstice, at least in the UK.  We went into lockdown pretty much on the Spring Equinox, when day and night are equal in length, and here we are at the Summer Solstice, the longest day, when the sun is seen to stand still at the northern-most point in its travels along the horizon, and starts to return south again.  These were – and to some, still are – days of mystical significance.  The time between them is one quarter of the year.  That’s how long we’ve been locked up for.  Now that things are easing up, let’s hope that by the Autumn Equinox, we’re back to a more normal carry on.

Here are today’s lovely images, from one of our gardeners.


Philadelphus Belle Étoile AGM

This is a compact version of the usually towering Philadelphus, or Mock Orange, and a very garden-worthy shrub.

Hugh's Philadelphus Belle Etoile 2


It has these large white single flowers, with the characteristic maroon flush in the centre.  It is very highly scented, perfuming the garden with the scent of oranges.  For non-French speakers, the name means Beautiful Star (as in the ones that twinkle in the sky).

Hugh's Philadelphus Belle Etoile 1


Here’s the white version of our native foxglove, Digitalis purpurea f. albiflora, self-seeded, I’m told, as foxgloves love to do.

Hugh's White foxglove self seeded


I have a little tale to tell about foxgloves, prompted by this picture.  All the websites that I have consulted this week tell me that rabbits do not like foxgloves.  Because foxgloves were the original source of the heart medicine digitalis, the plants are very toxic, especially the leaves.  A rabbit might have a small nibble at a leaf, but no more than that, because they don’t like the taste.

Earlier this week, the rabbits that invade my garden felled a blushed ivory foxglove flower spike, as a lumberjack would fell a tree, and ate every single leaf down to the stem.  Then they ate all the leaves on its neighbour.

Do I have a self-medicating rabbit with pre-existing heart problems, or are there a lot of rabbits with serious palpitations down in their burrow?

Thanks for sharing those lovely images!

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