High Summer

Both Kim & I resolve to sit quietly and enjoy the garden without feeling compelled to do anything therein. Reading helps in my case (Checking out potential ghost stories for future touring, so it’s still work related. Oh dear.) Ears gradually open to the natural world around us. Standoffish blackbirds skirting the boundaries with warning cries. They are sampling the blackcurrants (That prompts me to gather the fruit today for jam making) The parent birds seen with their beaks full of worms and insects so assume their brood in whole or part have safely fledged. (There was no sign of eggshells under the empty nest discovered in the spinney wall (pictured) so I wondered what had passed). Our pair of resident pied wagtails quarter gravel and grass bobbing up and down as they go and I saw one the other day remorselessly bash a moth in its beak until it ceased to flutter. Their nest is hidden in the deep folds of the prolific Clematis Montana on the west end corner of the house. The swallow family now sometimes skate the skies in company with others. Planning migration in a month or so I wonder?

Neighbours sheep are all shorn and the handful of tups in our field spend a lot of time sleeping so you forget they are there beyond the fierce chomping of eating or creaking of gate as they rub their itches bare. Other distant flocks raise occasional bleats. One day a Hercules transport plane wheeled and turned at the forest’s edge with more agility than you might expect of such a large military craft and with only a whisper of engine noise; quite ghostly, flying low over the land in the exercise of radar evasion before gliding out of sight. Later we do not see, but clearly hear, tawny owls calling one to the other, very close by. One day a male sparrowhawk flew by, just inches off the ground, gone in an instant.

The studio border is a virtual firework display of colour and texture. The white & grey livery of Lychnis, lime green of Nicotiana, the floating finery of yellow Ridolfia intertwined with white Ammi Majus; Crocosmia Lucifer an erupting volcano, Eryngium and Alium with their brilliant spikey heads; showy delights of purple Phlox; Echinops and Leucanthemum too, with Sanguisorba about to flower…The contrasting, competing, coasting forms at their most fabulous. The presence of Ragwort, a beggar amid the beauties, does not distract. Quite the opposite. Insects are everywhere; from harvestman, winged beetles and flying ants to all manner of bees, wasps and hoverflies feasting on the flowers.

Our much cherished new greenhouse has courgettes and cucumbers on ground level with shelves presenting a riot of flowering tomatoes. A sight never seen here before, so very exciting. Have to make sure we are not away on holiday when all the fruits start to arrive, probably all at once!

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