Reaping the rewards of a summer garden

·2 min read

Dyer’s chamomile, self-heal, viper’s bugloss, goldenrod, hare’s bell, maiden pink, old man’s beard, lady’s bedstraw: some of the old names of the wild flowers in the new summerhouse meadow.

Rampant, thigh-high now in just a few weeks; sunlit grass-seed-coloured blond as Henri’s hair. It takes a couple of hours to acclimatise but with a little discreet tidying at the edges, a path or two cut through, we walk around in wonder. Flower vases throughout the house bringing the outside in.

The bird cherries are in full glory – the small, sweet black fruit preferred by us; a more bitter translucent scarlet favoured by the flights of birds who ferry them to their nests.

The newly sown Serifos poppies, red as old soldiers’ tunics, have taken. The once-blue bed is already a mass of exuberant competing colour, vivid pinks and oranges. Calendula and nasturtium join the seeding phacelia, the cornflowers and borage. Others I have to ask my old Collins illustrated book and PlantNet about.

The ripe redcurrants will add sharpness to sweet local strawberries. The blackcurrants will be saved for Ina’s soft jam. The revelations, though, are the apple tree, almost barren last year, and the younger espalier pears.

Everything appears to have benefited from the stinking sack of organic manure I widely spread, to Henri’s distress. The trees are heavy with too many fruit so I cull through carefully.

I trim a few ground-hugging branches at the base of the towering larch and red pine to let air and occasional rain through. Mostly though we are here to mooch, to sit and eat outside, read newspapers, perhaps even a novel. Less so, our emails and phones.

We walk about in the mornings and evenings, consult the flower and bird apps. We cycle along the water’s edge to the good fish shop in the small harbour. We wander to the sea at sunset. We count ourselves fortunate.

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