Notes from a soggy garden

It’s been raining, a lot, a deluge that just keeps on coming. Gardeners up and down the country have been complaining, somewhat bitterly, that growth is slow, seedlings are sulking, French beans aren’t germinating and slugs are thriving; but on the other hand, the plants themselves just go about their business: growing, flowering, preparing to reproduce.

Aquilegia vulgaris

The plants in the ‘cool shades’ east-facing border seem unperturbed by the wet, if anything they are revelling in it. The aquilegias are now at their prettiest. I was given the dark purple wild ones by a neighbour in a swap (she got tomatoes from me in return), and the white one was picked up on a quick visit to the garden centre. It sports fabulous spurs, and looks good with the Ostrich or Shuttlecock ferns in the background.

Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Alba’

The aconite has begun its mysterious unfurling. The tight new buds higher up the stem look like inscrutable little aliens, while the opened petals bring to mind their common name, Monk’s hood, although I like to think of them as deadly cloaked assassins, fleeing from the scene of their unspeakable crime. Aconite is a highly poisonous plant, so this role of assassin suits them.

Aconitum napellus ‘Spark’s variety’

Another dusky plant, Geranium phaeum ‘Springtime’ is a quiet character in the border, but its satin sheen gives it grace and allure, and this variety also has striking white and green marbled foliage.

Geranium phaeum ‘Springtime’

Alchemilla mollis is at its best when bejewelled by rain drops, although at this point only a couple remained. It’s growing at an astonishing rate daily, and threatens to engulf its neighbours. The frothy lime flowers will be out soon to make lovely contrasts.

Geraniums don’t mind the rain either. Many of them are just getting into their flowering.

G. himalayense ‘Gravetye’

So hard to pick a favourite geranium, but I love G. himalayense ‘Gravetye’, which has lovely large cup-shaped petals with violet veins and black stamens. There’s a Geum, ‘Scarlet Tempest’, upping the tempo in the background. Both are in dappled shade at the top end of the front path.

Further down the path, a clump of chives is in full bud – I love this stage – with some chamomile also coming into flower.

And while we might bemoan the rain, don’t these glistening drops add magic to the buds of oriental poppies, which remind me so much of dinosaur eggs that I expect pterodactyls to hatch out any day now. Even in the humble veg patch, the rain adds a touch of magic to the flowers of peas, this one is ‘Douce de Provence’.

To top it all off, the first rose to open up in the garden: what a moment, I feel a glass of Prosecco is in order! This one is a lovely botanical rose, single flowers of soft primrose yellow, and interesting almost fern-like foliage. It’s Rosa x cantabrigiensis, a rose developed in Cambridge botanic gardens in the 1930’s.

Rosa x cantabrigiensis

So really one feels much better after a tour of the garden, to see things alive and well, by and large, in their soggy domain.

22 thoughts on “Notes from a soggy garden

  1. Lovely garden tour. I love the images of the aconites as cloaked assassins and the poppy buds as dinosaur eggs. This rain is a boon to the garden, even if you have to duck and dive to enjoy the flowers.

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  2. Young seedlings are strugling due to the cold and rainy weather. We have the same problem on our balcony. It’s the coldest month of may since 35 years ! Lets hope for some change…
    On the other hand, the flowers in your garden are doing well and look lovely !

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  3. It is a consolation that the rain brings great growth in the plants and we can enjoy that. Today we must enjoy it simply through your photography as it is pouring here and there will be no gardening done today but I have lots of photographs from yesterday to look back on and an excellent gardening book to read.

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  4. Some great purples here Sel, I do like the Phaeum. Hardy geraniums are such great flowers to have, though some of my pink ones do like to throw themselves around the garden! I love going around to see what’s on the cusp of opening, but I fear this wind today is going to wreak havoc on my fat clematis buds.

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  5. You are so right when you say how gardeners moan about the weather but the plants just get on with it! LOL! That is a lovely rose. I am not keen on roses, but that one is such a pretty colour and single too. A gorgeous white Aquilegua too. I still only have Geranium phaeum in flower, but the other Geranium foliage is almost scary… all the damp weather has surprised them and they are lapping it all up and expanding like there is no tomorrow!

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    • I know, the Geraniums really are going for it in this weather! There will be more digging up and dividing to do soon, sounds like! I love this rose too, its new, planted last autumn, after reading about it in one of Monty’s books, it’s very different to the big, blousy ones which will be coming soon (I do like you increasingly prefer the single-flowered simpler ones).

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  6. Such lovely photos selwa and you set the mood with it you should be on TV at Chelsea flower show ha ha
    Not a rose has opened here so late but I am eating some radish nibbled by snails.

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