Slow painting

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - June


Glimpses of blue sky are precious this year. We've had rain and low grey clouds for weeks, it seems. The weather forecast in my sidebar is reasonably upbeat for the next couple of days, tho it's drizzling at the moment rather than the perky mix of sun and fluffy cloud that it's meant to be. Then we take a mid-week dive into rain and cool(er) temperatures, and then just cool temperatures. I have started a regime of Vitamin D tablets for myself and my daughter, to compensate for this summer's lack of sunshine. The male members of the family either don't believe in this nonsense, or are currently lying in the sun in the Canary Islands.

So even if it's a weed, if there's blue sky behind it - it merits a photo. This is our charming garden weed - red valerian. It's entirely self-seeded. My Reader's Digest 'Guide to Creative Gardening' describes it as being easy to grow, and that 'the fierce red flowers of this valerian brighten ancient walls and cliff faces all over the south of England.' I'm gratified that the wall at the back of our garden, which is all that remains of a old railway siding wall (late 19th century/early 20th?), could be classified as ancient. The Reader's Digest goes on to say 'its seedlings shoot up all over the place, though usually not in sufficient numbers to be a nuisance'. Well, it seems to love our cool, damp climate. From its lofty perch it rains down seeds which sprout merrily all over our garden. I would classify it as a lovable nuisance. And here it's got blue sky behind it.


My fragrant Alba rose is blooming, although not in such profusion as past years. The hard winter gave it quite a knock, and it's been slow to pull away in this grudging weather of the past 6 weeks.

The honeysuckle by contrast is rampant. The frosts seem to have killed off the aphids which normally plague it, clustering blackly round the emerging flower spurs and sucking the life out of them. It's busy with bees from early morning until late into the evenings.


I do have a few more blooms - just a few, however. This year I've decided to take stock and think about what will really thrive in our difficult back garden, and to dig wider beds and enrich the soil with green manure. So I'm off to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for inspiration from around the gardening world.

21 comments:

Sue@Green Lane Allotments said...

We have some valerian (centranthus) planted on our plot in various shades of pink and white - the bees and butterflies love it. It does produce lots of seedlings which I try to control by dead heading before the seeds are ripe but plenty of seedlings manage to emerge. Fortunately they are easily pulled up. It must like dryness too as it is growing in ground that is like concrete having had no water to speak of for ages.

Hilde said...

What a lovely white rose, Linda, and the honeysuckle is just beautiful. I have the wild honeysuckle in my garden, but there are no flowers yet.

I have never seen the red valerian before. It looks very pretty.

Why I garden... said...

The flowers bring a nice splash of colour. I like the red peeking over the wall, I've seen these in flower here in fields and think they're nice. The rose looks fab, so plump. I think the rain and wind hasn't done the roses any favour. I notice the aphids sure do hang on (was hoping the wind would help take them off). Kelli.

Mark Willis said...

Linda, it sounds as if your weather has been absolutely dreadful. After an exceptionally dry Spring, we seem to have gone to the other extreme now, and we have had a couple of weeks of heavy rain now. The one constant factor has been the wind. The garden is under a constant battering.

Andrea said...

Hi,sorry to hear its been so glum isn't it supposed to be spring? sounds like our winter! My first look at Bloggers Bloom Day ,Wow thats a lota blogs!!certainly lots of inspiration for your garden plans.Caio!

Happyone : ) said...

The red valerian looks so pretty against the blue sky!
Honeysuckle goes crazy here too. I love the smell of it.

becky3086 said...

One thing we have a great deal of here is honeysuckle. It has already bloomed but for a couple weeks, that was all you could smell when you drove down the road.

Jenni @ RainyDayGardener said...

Hi Linda, I'm with you, I don't care if it's weeds or heirloom blooms, if blue sky is in the background, then it's beautiful!! Hope you got some good ideas from Bloom day. Your Alba rose is lovely and who does love honeysuckle? :) Cheers,

Linda said...

Sue, I've never seen white valerian. It seems to be all red and pink around here. And yes, it survives, even thrives on no soil and apparently no moisture.

Hilde, I have forgotten (of course) the name of the honeysuckle!

Kelli, I've just noticed some aphids on my roses. Where DO they pop up from all of a sudden?

Mark, glad that your drought has broken, but the winds are a real problem this year, aren't they?

Andrea, it's all green and growing, but if the trees were bare we would think it was winter because of the temperatures. There's a lot to get round on GBBD!

Happyone, do you encounter honeysuckle on your morning lake walks? It must smell so lovely at that time of the day.

Becky, mmm, that must be a lot of honeysuckle.

Jenni, yes, blue sky makes everything better!

Jo said...

It's nice to see a photo with such a blue sky after the weather you've had this year. I have a honeysuckle in my front garden, it's gone mad this year and produced loads of blooms, which of course the bees love.

Moomin Light said...

I'm glad the frost killed off the aphids. When we have an unusually cold winter, I try to remind myself that it will help with the mosquitoes in the summer. I'm also glad you got enough blue sky for your valerian photo!

Marcheline said...

That rose.. the "little white rose of Scotland"... is the one I used in my favorite tattoo!

Lynda said...

Lovely photos ;0)

Marilyn in NM said...

What a beautiful rose and I love the color of the honeysuckle.
I'm so glad you visited my blog. I'm not a very good blogger, only posting occasionally, but I will have to post updated pictures of the garden. It finally reached the upper 80 and 90's here so things are growing.
Come visit again. I'll be adding your blog to my favorites. Love your pictures.
Marilyn in New Mexico

Peggy said...

Hi Linda, that valerian grows here too, usually around railway tunnels & walls!I love honeysuckle anywhere.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for coming over and visiting my blog!... I LOVE these flowers... and I am your newest follower...

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Linda,
I was surprised when you called that valerian a weed. It is also called Jupiter's Beard here where I live. It does not self sow in my garden. I love your photo of the blooms against the sky.

Your rose surrounded by the buds, with drops of water on the leaves sure is pretty.

I hope your summer is going well. Mine sure is going quickly as always.

The Garden On Loch Ness said...

Hello Linda,
I have just compiled a small ( But hopefully set to expand) list of great Scottish gardening blogs, and have included you in the list - I hope this is okay.
If you know of any more I have not yet included, please do drop me a comment. Thank you, best wishes, Cat @ Abriachan
http://lochnessgarden.blogspot.com/p/list-of-scottish-gardening-blogs.html

Janet said...

The first place that I remember seeing
red valarian growing out of walls in abundance was in Somerset near Margery Fish's garden. It looked fantastic against the golden yellow of the somerset stone.
Now I see it everywhere including in Montrose. I love it.

~Holly~ said...

Pretty blooms! Very colorful garden you have!

Tash said...

Marvellous colors.
Vit-D is good in relation to breast cancer too. I think it's worth a try. A friend from work moved to Seattle and I bought him a "happy light" - natural light lamp - for a parting gift.
Red valerin - so glad you identified the flower. It grew wild on the walls of my grandmothers in Pula, Croatia and I remember from my childhood.