Back in May, when I planted up the newly terraced beds, I was worried that I’d left it all too late for there to be any chance of the garden looking interesting this summer. But three months later, although in no way finished, the garden is full enough to provide me with a daily fix of flowers. Not massive bunches for huge vases, but small posies just large enough to fill a stem vase, little jug, jam jar or tin can. The bunch above, which includes roses, fennel flowers, sweet peas, sedum and achillea (I was guided by the colours on the golden syrup tin), was picked at the start of the week for a friend’s birthday.
The next morning I gathered the slightly garish little selection above for the bathroom windowsill. It’s not the most tasteful affair, but something about the clash of the nasturtiums and achillea with the soft mauve of the Verbena bonariensis, and the hazey blue of the catnip pleases me – it feels slightly 70s for some reason, like a jolly wallpaper design for the kitchen. Later the same day, rather obsessed with the nasturtiums, which seem to be taking over the garden (more in another post), I picked the flowers below.
The need to keep the sweet peas producing prompted the picking of the next bunch, that and the desire to have the scent filling the kitchen. Incidentally, this vase is my best bargain ever – 25p in a charity shop. I don’t know anything about it, it has no mark, but I love its nipped in waist and the graphic grey, black and white stripes which are enlivened by little raised dots of orange and teal – odd and lovely in equal measure.
By midweek my inner Constance Spry had awoken fully, and I found myself tip-toeing through the flower beds in my pyjamas, scissors in hand. No plant was safe. Sedum in particular has been a regular target – fortunately I have a lot of it – and it has proved to be not only a very useful filler, propping floppier flowers up and bulking out the little bunches, but also a star in its own right. I like mixing it with knautia and fennel fronds -
and with verbena bonariensis, which I also have in abundance.
Yesterday I went all out and just cut a bit of anything I could reach without falling over: the last of the buddleja (Black Knight), more verbena, knautia and nepeta, sweet peas, again, some roses – Gertrude is in flower once more – scabiosa and a lone anemone.
It’s not a great picture, but this little jug of flowers smells amazing – the combined scent of the musky, honeyed buddleja, the heady sweet peas and the fresh sweetness of Gertrude Jekyll is out of this world. The perfume curls up the stairwell from the kitchen so that every now and then you catch a little waft as you move around the house.
The jug, one of a pair, is a bit of junk shop treasure rather than a charity shop bargain, and it’s perfect for flowers. I’m planning to use it for the Nigella which is about to flower any day now.