Go where you will through England's happy valleys,
Deep grows the grass, flowers bask
and wild bees hum.
The flower of this unassuming well-known cottage garden plant looks like a pincushion surrounded by a ring of petals. This variety is Columbaria (small scabious). It forms a rosette of finely cut, green leaves and single, lilac-blue flowers produced from summer to early autumn attracting butterflies and bees to the garden. As it is not as tall as the common Scabious it does well at the front of the border growing to only 40cm. A useful tip is to place grit around the base of the plant to protect it from winter wet.
A few gardening jobs that I have been getting on with this week, inbetween showers; turning the compost heap. This really does help the heap rot down quicker. I have also added a layer of horse manure to it which hopefully will accelerate the rotting process. I spent a couple of afternoons in the field carrying trugfulls of manure and storing it in containers at my allotment to spread over winter. I also cut back the spent raspberry canes. Despite the dry start to the season, the raspberries have been bountiful as have the blackcurrants and redcurrants. There are still plenty of them hanging on, but as I have a dozen punnets picked and in the freezer waiting to be made into jelly, I will leave the rest for the birds.
I have been harvesting my veg daily, including potatoes 'Vivaldi', tenderstem broccoli and French beans. There is so much to choose from at the moment but that is a good situation to be in.