This summer hasn't been the kindest for flowers. Plentiful rain, yes, but grudging sun and even more grudging temperatures. So it was a surprise when I set about taking photos for this month's GBBD to find just how much was in bloom.
Above, my container clematis, Anna-Louise. Below, a nameless fuchsia that I nurtured from a sad, dried out stick of a plant thrust at me by a friend.
Cheerful daisies beside the front door.
This fuchsia did have a name, but of course I've forgotten it. It came as part of an order of 12 mini plug plants from Thompson and Morgan, in a plastic container with letters beside each plant, and a key to the letters in the accompanying instructions. Mail order plants always arrive when I have minimal time to deal with them, so inevitably after the initial potting up and then the potting on and finally the planting out the identity of 'A' or 'F' has long been mislaid.
A sweetly scented sweet pea beside the front door. The packet was a freebie from Gardeners' World, about four years ago, and I took a chance that the seeds would germinate.
My stalwart hydrangea, nameless of course, but I do remember that I got it from Burncoose Nurseries in Cornwall. Quite a transition to make, from the south western tip of Britain to the east coast of Scotland, but it's hung on through the worst of our winter weather.
This year's surprise: a self-seeded hollyhock.
Cheerful violas, somewhat eaten round the edges by our ever-present snails.
For real snail damage, this is what remains of some busy lizzies. They were untouched until a couple of weeks ago, when overnight they were reduced to bare stems.
Below, the crocosmia is still blooming - the latest it's been in flower since I planted it in 2004.
Climbing courgette 'Black Hawk' is doing well in a flower border, producing just enough but not yet at glut stage.
Jasmine 'Clotted Cream' has had its flush of blooms. With the light declining now I doubt there will be a second flush, but it has been a lovely addition to the patio.
Chives are still blooming and appreciated by the bees. In the background is what has turned out to be a total thug - lemon balm. It has taken over a border to the extent that I may take it out in the autumn.
Finally, two more nameless mail order beauties. More blooms, many of them with names, are at Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Garden.
A summer of marking time and clearing the decks at the allotment. We're having the raised beds debate, and so to give us a blank canvas we've opted not to fill up ground as it's vacated by crops. We're using the opportunity to improve the soil structure by sowing swathes of green manure. Above is the first sowing, of alfalfa. Last weekend I sowed phacelia in the empty area at the top of this large bed, and white mustard in a strip beside the blackcurrants at the other side.
We've also been concentrating energies elsewhere, enjoying the company of our children, one home from university, the other going into her last year at home before university, visitors, holidays, home improvements. Sometimes when I've gone along to the plot I've done half an hour's work and then sat and taken in the way the light falls on the plot and the bliss of being outside in summer. I should feel some Calvinist guilt, but I don't. It's been good to have a pause.
Meantime the fox has been enjoying marching through the alfalfa.