I thought that the Danse du Feu roses that I see when I look out of the kitchen windows and to the right were the best they had ever been last year, but I am not sure even then they were a patch on this year’s, bowed down though they are by the rain today. If I look out of the kitchen windows to the left, facing them across the paved area like massed armies during the Wars of the Roses, is Rambling Rector, certainly none the worse for the severe cutbacks his troops have endured, and perhaps with less than half the buds have opened yet. His rambling is very much delayed this year, as he is often in full flower in the first week of June, but we are not complaining – he definitely has a spring in his step after the surgery last year and as well as losing all the dead wood we have regained flowers at nose and eye level.
Rain has affected play again today as well as waiting in for a courier, so like yesterday I found myself grabbing gardening opportunities when I could. I have potted on all the tomatoes in the greenhouse, and unlike the flower seedlings which I didn’t pot on early enough I have relearned the benefits of potting on the tomatoes gradually even when it looks as if the seedlings have got plenty of room in the seedtray. Most of my flower seedlings will have been too weak to survive being planted out, but the tomatoes are all strong and sturdy plants. My mental list of jobs is growing, and most involve trimming and deadheading – but I will also need to move this lovely geranium, G. pratense ‘Summer Skies’, which has ended up right at the front of one of the borders where it is too tall and lax and badly behaved, but nevertheless very beautiful. She doesn’t flower for long, so I think I can restrain myself from ending her full frontal exposure until she has flowered her socks off as well.
In the same herbaceous border Patty and Sarah are also showing off, but not quite so openly. Finally there are flowers on a Papaver ‘Patty’s Plum’ in the garden after several unsuccessful attempts in the past, but I find myself rather underwhelmed – the flowers are not especially big and blousy, although a lovely colour, but the stems are very tall and way above the bedraggled leaves at the bottom, so she fails to make much of a statement at all, but perhaps in a year or two she will settle down and make a better job of it. For the first time in a few years the Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ has a number of buds which look as if they will open like the one shown lower right. The larger picture, however, shows part of the blue & white border with a white monkshood or Aconitum, correctly identified by Jackie and Anna when I posted a picture of it as a mystery plant – thanks both, you can see now how right you both were! In the foreground are the dependable but slightly thuggish centaura and Geranium magnificum and in the background the currently stunning flowers of Hydrangea petiolaris which deserve a close up picture of their own sooner rather than later.