So May is drawing to a close and it is peak peony season in the garden, with the prospect of a glorious summer lying stretched out on the long grass before us. This week and in particular the last few days of uncharacteristically fine weather allows us to dream of lazy days and long evenings ahead. With the exception of some essential dead-heading or the odd bit of watering, take time this weekend to soak up some sun and enjoy the garden for what it is.
As we fast approach yet another midsummer, now is an opportune moment to take stock on the last few gardening months, a time to reflect on how well your garden has looked throughout the spring, or how you can work on improving it all for next year. We might grow them as hedges but you won’t find a true gardener resting on his or her laurels.
Having observed just how well they are doing, even with the lack of rain, I have decided to grow more of the Bearded Irises. With their flamboyant flower shape and almost limitless range of colours, these old reliables add a definite pizazz to the borders in late spring or early summer. Squeeze them in to a narrow bed along a pathway or plant them under a late-flowering Clematis. Hopefully I can get my hands on some of the Benton shades, originally bred by the artist Cedric Morris.
In addition to Irises, I will place my order for spring flowering bulbs earlier than last year, by the end of July at the latest. Last season I missed out on certain varieties and colours of Tulips. As this year has been such an exceptional year for Tulips, they will have garnered many new fans, their popularity will, deservingly continue to grow, with some of the better colour strains or species varieties selling out in early autumn. Lily-flowered Tulips such as Marietta, Elegant Lady and Ballerina are all safe bets for adding colour and drama to your garden next April and early May, while the combination of Tulip acuminata naturalised in a meadow or growing up through Stipa tennuissima (Ponytail grass) is guaranteed to be liked on Instagram.
Undoubtedly Instagram is now the place to find inspiration from like-minded gardeners and ardent plant enthusiasts. Amazingly it has fast become a way to source good gardening tips along with creative planting insight. I myself have become a victim of its influence.
For many years I looked upon the house plant as dusty remnants from best forgotten interiors. Now under the spell spun by a tattooed Argentinian with a knack for growing Alocasia, I have turned our office into a Belize jungle where very soon we might need a machete to find the coffee machine. Where else could you mingle with a vast range of extremely passionate gardeners or designers, whose work up until recently, would not have been so easy to find?
Gardening has the ability to bring out the best in all of us, yes there is a certain amount of showing off, but the underling desire of most gardeners is to share their passion with others, to bring them along and to introduce them to the obvious benefits of the garden and gardening.
This is the perfect weekend to enjoy it all.
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