A Garden View


Wednesday 15 July is St Swithin’s Day.  Swithin was Bishop of Winchester in the 800’s.  Unlike other senior churchmen, he asked not to be buried in the Cathedral, but outside ‘where the sweet rain of Heaven may fall upon my grave’.

Legend says that, when his remains were moved indoors, there was a great storm, and it rained for many weeks.  After that, the legend grew that, if it rained on St Swithin’s Day, it would rain for 40 days.  If it was fine, it would remain dry for 40 days.

This has never actually come to pass, within a literal interpretation.  However, there is some weather lore here.

The British Isles sit at the conjunction of 4 weather cells, which is why things can be so changeable.  However, by mid-July, the weather pattern for about the next 6 weeks  is generally established.  So, whether it’s rainy and cold, warm and sunny, or simply unpredictably changeable, that is the pattern that is likely to continue.  It’s never guaranteed, though.

Let’s see what Wednesday brings…

These lovely images come from one of our gardeners, and show us some very pretty plants.


Jean 2 1 A


Jean 2 2 A


Jean 2 3 A


Jean 2 4 A


Jean 2 5 A


Jean 2 6 A


Thanks for sharing!

Tuesday Treats


I’m sorry, there has been a short absence…

I’ve not been very well for a week or so.  Nothing so boring as Covid-19 – other ailments are available….

Still here we are again, with Tuesday Treats.

The last Tuesday Treats has been edited to give the answers, and it’s here:


This week’s will be a little truncated, I think, but hopefully we’ll be back to n ormal shortly.

So, what do we have…


1    What is this plant?  And what is the condition affecting the flower spikes called?  What causes it?

Jo's Veronicastrum virginicum



Hugh's Oxalis deppei Iron Cross

And a closer look

Hugh's Oxalis deppei Iron Cross 3



Hugh's Romneya



Jo's Clematis


5  The pink flower spike – the foliage next to it is a different plant.

Jo's Francoa


6  The white flowers to which the foliage does belong.

Jo's Valeriana officinalis



Jo's Monarda Adam



Jo's Leucanthemum Phyllis Smith


And there we are for this week’s Tuesday Treats.  Good luck!


From the Allotment


Our allotment gardener has sent some more pictures from her patch.  And an intriguing bunch they are…


1  Strawberries vs Leafcutter Bees

It looks as though the strawberries (the sweet little wild alpine type) aren’t too bothered by the bees’ depredations.  Isn’t it marvellous how the bees manage those perfect geometrical circles?  Even when I was at school, I could barely do that with a compass and protractor….

Our gardener has a bee hotel, with quite a few of the holes now filled with discs of strawberry leaf and, hopefully, bee larvae.

Nat's leaf cutter bee strawberries A


2  Digitalis ‘John Innes Tetra’

This is a lovely little foxglove, a real shorty and a real sweetie, not nearly as well known as it ought to be.

It’s a hy­brid be­tween D. lanata and D. gran­di­flora. Bred in the 1920s at the John Innes Hor­ti­cul­tural In­sti­tute in Sur­rey – later the John Innes Cen­tre in Nor­wich, and the people who invented the recipes for John Innes composts, among many other things – it has glossy, spear-shaped leaves and 2ft-tall spires of orange-yel­low flowers.  Unusually for a hybrid, it comes very true from seed.

I have a certain parental investment in this plant because it, and its friends out of shot, were grown from seed from my own plants.  I’m assured that they’re all doing very well…

Nat's Digitalis John Innes Tetra A


3  Tomatoes ‘Sweet Million’, with marigolds

The weather has been murder for plants like tomatoes – stifling hot and then freezing cold.  But these look to have shrugged all that off, and are now loving the current warm and humid conditions.  Our gardener, naturally, is waiting with bated breath for the first bite…

Nat's tomatoes Sweet Million with marigolds A


Thanks for sharing!

What I fail to understand is…


Why?  I mean, WHY??

Let me explain.

When I decided to have a Yin/Yang bed in the back lawn, I thought that, for the first year, it would be a good idea, in terms of weed aggravation, to fill it with annuals.  Still, I’ve kept it watered and fallow since the winter, taken a bucketful of bindweed roots out of it, and a fair few brambles.  Weed growth has been almost non-existent, apart from that.  Until Wednesday, when the recent rains have sung their siren song.  Both halves looked like the green baize on one of the snooker tables at the Crucible Theatre during the World Championships.

So, out came the swoe (rather like a sharpened golf club), and, hey presto, all neat again.  Until this morning.  When we’re back to baize.

That is not what I fail to understand, though.  That’s just background.

No, it’s my lupins.  My little Avalune annual lupins.  Here’s a picture of them, from the Thompson and Morgan catalogue, where I got them, so I hope they won’t mind me filching their picture…

Jo's TM Avalune lupins mixed A


They are annuals, they flower in the first year, they only grow to about 16 inches, and I grew them from said seed.

They have stood on the path that runs up past the greenhouse since the end of April.  Here they are, with their friends, on 6 May:

Jo's seedlings A


If you stand where I stood to take the photograph, and step 6 paces to the right, you will fall into my Yin/Yang bed.

Everything grew well, and was untroubled by any of the local wildlife, except for the odd slug that nibbled a leaf on the Nicotiana suaveolens.  You see, I learnt from the rabbit eating the rosebushes (and foxgloves) episode.  Leave them close to where you’re going to plant them and see what happens.  Nothing happened.

Here’s what I fail to understand.  Why, if these young plants stood unharmed for a couple of months about six feet from where they were to be planted, why, oh why, when they were planted the weekend before last did I find them this Thursday morning, like this:

Jo's Avalune Lupins A


All of them.  There’s nothing left but stalks.

And at tea time, a large rabbit was nonchalantly hopping from the area of the greenhouse to plant its front paws in the new bed and investigate the possibility of a little snack.  There was nearly violence.  I’m not sure the back door will ever be the same again.

I think Beatrice Potter’s Mrs McGregor had exactly the right idea…

Okay, rant over.  I’m off for a cup of hot chocolate and a gin and rhubarb biscuit…



As I write, there is an exotic monsoon taking place outside.  It’s often said that the typical English summer is three fine days and a thunderstorm.  This year has had many, many fine days, although precious few in the actual summer, but the thunderstorms – or at least, the cloudbursts – are making up for lost time.  It’s midnight, so I’m not going out to see whether anything needs staking, but it’s going to be a rainforest in the morning.

But that isn’t what today’s post is for.

Among the images sent to me by our group members is one that stands by itself, and is very exotic and summery.

It’s a hibiscus in a garden in Panama.

I know no more than that, but let’s just admire it, because it deserves it.

Pauline Hibiscus in a garden in Panama A