Summer sneaked up on me this year. Of course, with temps in the 90’s it felt as if it were here before the actual day arrived, but it didn’t really register in my mind. Unnoticed, there was no celebration of the Solstice to mark the occasion in any way. So, a day late I made it a point to take some time to actually just LOOK and to celebrate how far the season has come in what has seemed to be record time. I think about it, how time seems a bit skewed. Maybe it’s because without the usual meetings that normally mark the weeks, and without the gatherings (graduation parties, weddings, clubs, etc.) that point out the days in a month, all the days and weeks and months just meld together in a big, innocuous lump. But Mother Nature is skipping along at her usual pace, so the flowers are opening and closing whether I notice or not!
I’ve been so focused on growing and harvesting the vegetable crops, keeping on the time line, and planning the succession crops that I’ve pretty well ignored the potager’s interior borders. While the flower gardens have been in the “gap,” there has been no lack of interest in these borders, which line three sides (East, South and West) of the potager. Gertrude Jekyll knew what she was doing when she mixed herbs into her flower borders, and although I limit my selection for this space to only edible flowers, the addition of herbs and vegetables never lets me down. In the NE section shown, the feverfew in the foreground has been blooming for weeks, and the dill’s yellow buds are just beginning to show color. If you look carefully, you’ll notice a pretty deep red lettuce peeking out. If I’d taken this photo looking east, you’d see groups of calendula, black-seeded Simpson lettuce, bright orange dwarf snapdragons, blue salvia, and purple “Breadseed” poppies. Soon anise hyssop and daylilies will join in. This is one of 6 sections that make up the potager’s interior border. Four of the sections are 3′ x 32′, and two sections are 4′ x 24′. This is the driest section, and the only one that has spring bulbs, so the feverfew, dill and lettuces are used to hide the fading tulip leaves.
In the SW section, this second-year rose, “Pearlie Mae” has 11 flowers and lots of buds. Only the south and west borders currently have roses. Notice the “red” cabbage which adds a lot of color and texture to this section. The feverfew here is just beginning to bloom because they were volunteers from seed this spring rather than returning adult plants as in the NE section. The sunflowers along the fence are just beginning to bloom. And there are tomato plants being trained up the fence as well. If you look closely, you’ll see tiny yellow flowers of purple mustard on slender stalks. It’s allowed to self-seed here and there in this section because the dark leaves are so pretty in spring, and the yellow flowers attract tiny pollinators.
The “Monterey Jack” daylily is fully budded, but until it comes to steal the show, the hollyhocks, red cabbages and this new little rose will do. Just beyond the daylily there are lots of blue nigella in bloom, but they don’t show up in this photo. There had been lots of chamomile until recently. Once all the flowers are harvested for tea, the plants are removed. Now there’s room for dahlias and a couple of summer squash. Take a good look at those pink/rose hollyhocks because they won’t be there for long. Here’s the colors I’m keeping.
These pretties are in the NW section, which also has rhubarb, hyssop, chamomile, sunflowers, peppers and basils. And near these hollyhocks is my new favorite rose. I can’t wait for it to get bigger and fill out this section of the border.
There was just a bit of rain in last evening, much needed, but not enough to cancel watering today. Even though there’s a lot of items on the “to-do” list, I’m going to take a few moments to just enjoy the blooms in the potager’s borders. I hope that wherever you are, you’ll also take a moment to enjoy the flowers, the green of the trees, the vastness of the sky and all the other good things in life. Blessings!