At last we’re having something that passes as summer. Temperatures into the eighties, unbroken blue skies and baking sunshine, for nearly a week now, have made an incredible difference on the plot. Plants that have been sulking have suddenly perked up and it looks like I might actually start to get a courgette crop. It’s not just the fruit and veg that are loving the weather, my flowers are blooming. It’s a little late for some plants such as my rudbeckia, which have never recovered from the incessant rain but, at last, I’m actually able to pick enough sweet peas to have some on my desk and some by the bed. It wouldn’t be summer without some sweet peas.
The cut flower beds seem to be going through a bit of a purple patch at the moment with the tall spires of larkspur, some sweet peas and my annual asters just starting to open. The larkspur are my first attempt and I’m so pleased with them. I’ve never managed to grow delphiniums, simply because they were just slug fodder but the larkspur were quite substantial plants when they went out and, despite plague-like proportions of the mollusc enemy this year, have remarkably remained untouched. They last ages once picked as well.
The asters are another newbie. They haven’t looked quite so good and got off to a very slow start and even now look quite weedy but they’ve started to flower and are looking much healthier in the sunshine, so fingers crossed they’ll keep going for a good while.
The real stars of the show at the moment are my scabious plants. A mix of white, pink, an almost black colour and my favourite of them all, this gorgeous plum colour.
It’s not just flowers for the vase though. I love having some edible flowers in our salads and the first nasturtiums have opened in the last couple of days. With a beautiful, rich, velvety texture and a reddy-orange colour, they look and taste great scattered in with some salad leaves. Add in a few calendula petals, pink chive flowers and white garlic chive flowers and you’ve got some unusual, tasty and very pretty additions to the plate.
So, despite the fact that I appear to be allergic to summer, with hay fever, a touch of sunburn, insect bites, rashes from contact with borage and now prickly heat, all my flowers are making me smile.