the week in pictures … from sunsets to sunshine-filled days

I love the quietude of misty dawn before the sober sun is up … The morning songs of the birds awakening in the blooming garden sets my soul gently … Aroma flowers with glistering of the dew … Deep full chest breath …Shy sunbeams flickering over the tops of wisdom whispering choir of waving trees … Serenity of mind … The crystal still lagoon reflecting soft lavender sailing clouds … I step in breeze realm, close eyes and fly with them over the miles, time and space … The serenading music fills my heart … Above the skies the joy of the refreshing winds, as our summer, recalls my being by your side and makes me feel the touch of you and gladness of your tranquil vibes… I smile” (Oksana Rus)

Sunset

I hope the weather has been as lovely where you are as it has been here.  I have spent most of the days outdoors pottering around the garden … harvesting the first of the summer crops … picking flowers for posies and generally, enjoying, and making the most of outdoor life.

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“Here are sweet-peas, on tip-toe for a flight … With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white … And taper fingers catching at all things … To bind them all about with tiny rings” (Keats)

sweetpeas

“Who would envy a sweet pea?  By rights they should reign over the choicest spot in the garden – looking and smelling as ravishing as they do – whereas more often than not you track them down to a row by the cabbage patch where they languish in regimental splendour ready for cutting.  Though I think them lovely as cut flowers, my enthusiasm for sweet peas in the garden is boundless.  I grow them up everything – the climbing roses, the apple trees.”  (Felicity Bryan)

The beginning of the Sweet Pea season, picking every day as they produce more and more flower heads.  I found some packets of ‘saved’ seed that I had forgotten … sowed them all, not expecting any results as I wasn’t sure how old they were … and guess what … they all grew … now I have five wigwams full of growing plants which hopefully will keep producing right through to the autumn.  They have to be one of my favourite flowers … so simple, such delicate colours and all with that elusive fragrance.

First harvest - Foremost potatoes

The first of the new potatoes ‘Foremost’ tipped from the florist bucket where they were grown … one potato in each bucket produces enough for a couple of meals … and delicious they were too.

First harvest

Eaten together with the sugar snap peas and the first heads of the summer broccoli, lightly steamed … so mouth-wateringly tender.

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So much in flower in the garden … it is hard to know what to pick for a posy … geranium, sweet william, ladies mantle … all in abundance.

philadelphus - mock orange (belle etoile)

The garden is full of fragrant flowers – including the beautiful Mock Orange (Belle Etoile) and my new rose Arthur Bell

Rose - Arthur Bell

and how could I leave out the Lavender which is flowering profusely in the front garden

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ladies fair, I bring to you lavender with spikes of blue; sweeter plant was never found growing on our English ground (Caryl Battersby) 

lavender - hidcote

"lavender, sweet lavender;
come and buy my lavender,
hide it in your trousseau, lady fair.
Let its lovely fragrance flow
Over your from head to toe,
lightening on your eyes, your cheek, your hair."

Cumberkand Clark Flower Song Book 1929

lavender

The blue tit nest box has been cleaned out – sadly there were three mummified chicks in it but happily the tits did manage to rear a couple of youngsters who have been hopping merrily here and there waiting for titbits from their mom.

blue tit nest

You can see clearly what the nest was made of - with a lining  of soft green moss – and from the look of it, mainly the coir from my hanging baskets.

crow flying low over a field of flax

An early morning walk capturing the moment a crow flies low over a stunning field of Flax.

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An inquisitive calf comes to investigate the car as we stop to take his photo – this is a suckler herd – where the calves are left with their mothers to roam free across the Gumley Hills not far from where we live.

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I sit on the terrace in the afternoon sun ...pretending to read … watching the bees lazily exploring the foxgloves ... trumpet after trumpet. The chatter of sparrows as they visit the pond daintily sipping ... thirsty in the heat. The nuisance crow lands with a click of his claws on the greenhouse roof - his viewing point ... eyeing the bird table for leftover seed cases – he calls … ‘cark, cark’.

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A ‘ plop’ as a fish leaps to catch a fly and lands clumsily back into the water.  A starling sits on the very top branch of the willow tree - preening and making a 'ree, ree, ree' sound. The swifts twist and turn high in the sky - two, three, four of them - an aerial ballet. Two pigeons clap their wings that make a whistling sound as they fly - chasing one another. An ant scuttles over my foot, hurry, hurry, scurry - then disappears  down a crack only to reappear just as quickly. A butterfly lands on the window sill - stretches its wings - soaking up the sun's warming rays - flick, flick - and it is gone.

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A little breeze picks up and flower petals flutter.

I hear a creak as my neighbours shift in the sun chairs, chattering on about their day - though not loud enough for me to hear the conversation. Overhead a bi-plane drones and I hear the whine and clatter of the refuse collectors lorry and the clink of bottles put out for re-cycling.

So much going on … so much to listen to … so much to see … if only we have ears and eyes for the sights and sounds of nature.

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‘Til next time -  enjoy everything that is going on around you.

Comments

  1. Hello Elaine,

    How idyllic all of this is. And, all to be enjoyed right in your own garden.

    It has been such a joy to share it all with you from the comfort of our very own armchairs here in Budapest. The wonders of modern science!

    Sweet Peas are so deliciously reminiscent of a British summer and the Keats quotation is a perfect fit. They make the most wonderful of posies and do, if one continues to cut them, carry on flowering over a very long period. And, all the colours seem to mix and mingle perfectly. We can smell the delicious scent from here!

    Happy days!

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    1. I think I look forward to the sweet peas flowering more than any other. As fragrant flowers go these have to be top of my list.

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  2. Hi Elaine! Am I just imagining things or do you have a new blog layout? I love it! Those new potatoes look delicious. And I love the photo of that inquisitive calf :)

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    1. The only thing I have changed Keith is the header picture and the font which seems to give the blog a more uncluttered look. Glad you like it.

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  3. A wonderful post with wonderful photos... Your posies are so pretty, I love sweetpeas too. That calf is so adorable :o) Too many people are in a hurry these days and don't have time to watch and listen to the sounds of nature.. I love it, they don't know what they're missing! :o)

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    1. Sometimes it seems we are too busy to notice things around us - I enjoyed my quiet afternoon observing and listening to the sounds of what was going on in the garden.

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  4. Such a beautiful post to match the super weekend weather. I could hear all those garden sounds you describe. The blackbirds have been waking us up really early for the last few days singing their hearts out. I love your sweetpeas and wish we'd set some this year but somehow I forgot:)

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    1. Thanks Rosie - I have to keep the bedroom window closed as there is a tree right outside where the sparrows congregate determined to wake me up at an ungodly hour.

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  5. Lots of lovely flowers this time of year. I've been bringing in sweetpea as well and it smells so good, and looks lovely. I can never get it to grow neatly, so I just let it romp away.

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    1. Yes sweetpeas can be a bit unruly I know you are supposed to cut off the tendrils so that you get long straight stems but that seems a lot of time consuming work to me.

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  6. It has been lovely, I hate it when out fish leap out of the water as I dread finding one has jumped right out of the pond.

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    1. This has happened once or twice but they have always managed to wriggle and flap their way back into the pond.

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  7. Well....I totally lost myself in this beautiful post....I was there with you observing and listening to all the activity and drinking in the scents and colours of the flowers. Wonderful, it read almost like the opening to a novel. I loved the pics too, the perfect accompaniment You have a very special way with words! I really enjoyed this.xxx.

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    1. Thank you Snowbird, very kind of you to say so, although the end result was in fact three draft blog posts mixed together (sometimes the words just don't flow as easily as I would like).

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  8. You conjure up such beautiful country scenes. Our first vegs are coming up now but we have had a disaster with our sweet peas.

    Jean x

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    1. Oh that's a shame Jean. I literally threw all my saved seed on to a tray of compost never expecting the results I got - so you can imagine my delight that they all germinated.

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  9. What a delightful post, Elaine. Those sweet peas and the lovely Keats writing are both lovely. I really like the little bouquets you make and like to see the photos you post of them.

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    1. Thank you Diane. I get a lot of pleasure from my little posies which are like a snapshot of what is available in the garden at a particular moment.

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  10. Elaine - thank you for sharing. I can almost smell those wonderful sweet peas and your vegies would have been delicious.

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    1. The perfume of the sweet peas permeates through the house I just love it.

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  11. Your photos are just outstanding Elaine! That shot of the crow flying over the field is an amazing composition! And your bouquets are so pretty! Your arrangements literally always knock me over! Between the nature and your harvests I would say life is sweet where you are! Enjoy every second friend! Nicole xoxo

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    1. Thank you Nicole - at this stage of early summer there isn't so much to do in the garden except sit back and enjoy it.

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  12. What a beautiful post. Oh my. The flowers are gorgeous. I have two packets of sweet peas that did not get planted. We had such a late spring with cool weather, that we only planted this year in the garden what we needed. Not much fun. I bought and planted a fox glove that had a lovely bloom stock on it; now it has gone to seed and is looking rather ratty. Not much beauty there, nor will the seeds sprout new plants for next spring. I keep buying fox glove, hoping that I can grow a beautiful one. I loved seeing them growing wild by the roadside as I traveled the English countryside in the tour bus in 2001 and again in 06. I need to return. I day dream here. Have a great week.

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    1. Thank you Ann - I have to say that my new foxglove acquisitions this year have given me such a lot of pleasure - I am just hoping that they will self-seed later on to give 'foxglove corner'even more plants next year.

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  13. Two nights of storms here, last night's was the worst (best) with terrific noise, almost permanent lightning, and plenty of rain. Otherwise 31 C in daytime.

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    1. No storms for us so far - although I am surprised as it has been very humid - but nowhere near as hot as your temperatures.

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  14. You've captured the atmosphere, sights and sounds of a summer garden beautifully.

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    1. Thank you Lucille very kind of you to say so.

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  15. So beautiful, it was delightful reading this post, great words of Keats and so many lovely summer pictures. I envy your first potatoes out of own garden. Sweet peas are my favourites too and I just picked the first little bunch yesterday. The calf in front of the picture with the cows is so adorable. I am actually a farmer´s daughter but I never get enough of the farm animals.

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    1. Thanks Janneke - the potatoes were so tasty, they just melted in the mouth.

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  16. A delightful post and wonderful pictures.
    New potatoes, sweet peas, and lots more all help to make this this such a lovely time of year. Flighty xx

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    1. I agree Flighty - I am enjoying picking raspberries and strawberries too - this is the first year the raspberries at home have really produced anything so I am delighted.

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  17. Such lovely writing Elaine xxxxxxxxx

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  18. This post captures the very essence of summer Elaine, lovely.

    Sweet peas remind me of my father. In the summer whenever we met he would hand me a bunch picked fresh from his garden :)
    I miss him.

    I loved to see your washing blowing in the breeze. I still put mine on a washing line :) So many people these days tumble dry :( even in summer sadly.

    Love your garden Elaine.......also enjoyed seeing the field full of flax, have one near me. Isn't it beautiful.

    Your sisyrinchium was posted today....hope it arrives safely.

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    1. Thank you Cheryl. My father was a rose man, I can't remember him growing anything else. I am the first real gardener in the family, not sure where I got it from though. I too love to see washing on the line, especially sheets on a windy day (and it's a lot cheaper than using all that electricity to get things dry.) I look forward to receiving the Sisyrinchium in due course - thank you for your generosity.

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  19. Elaine, lovely photos and beautiful words to accompany them. So envious of your sweet peas! Ours havent got flowers on yet although I do confess I was late planting them up!

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    1. Thanks Anne - planting them late just means that you will have them around when mine are all gone.

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  20. The sweetpeas are glorious now, and so many of them. I can't keep up with the cutting but know I have to so they keep going. Some beautiful captures of your surroundings xx

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    1. It's no hardship to have lots of sweet peas in the house though is it

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  21. Wow Elaine! I felt as if I was there with you...beautiful post. x

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  22. Gorgeous my friend...every picture - every quote and then your own words describing what is happening where you are...loved the part about pretending to read...I too have that same pretense when I go outdoors and sit on the porch...there is just too many things going on. The sweet peas are one of my favorites as well. Unfortunately this March did not allow me to get them in the ground (weather was just too wet and cold to dig early and I missed having them.) So glad you shared yours with me. I can smell them right now and their fragrance is wonderful. I so enjoyed my visit. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Debbie - I'm glad I captured these pictures in the sunshine as the weather has now taken a turn for the worse. Oh well, it was nice whilst it lasted.

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  23. It's a wonderful time of the year Elaine isn't it where everything just seems to come together at once. A beautiful vase of sweet peas and another nudge to myself that I must grow a dark variety next year.

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    1. I like the dark burgundy ones myself - but then I like the pastel colours too.

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  24. You paint such a vivid picture of the best summer has to offer with your words and pictures Elaine. The writing is some of your best! I love the paragraph that begins with " A ‘ plop’ as a fish leaps..."
    I hope my sweet peas prosper this year. I don't know why I never do well with them. Your bouquet of them is exquisite. I can practically smell them from here.

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    1. Thank you kindly Jennifer. Maybe your climate is too hot for them to thrive - no chance of that here.

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