Posted by: christinelaennec | August 8, 2014

The garden in summer

Several of you have very kindly said you’d like to see how the garden has fared in its first summer.  It has been an absolute delight to me.  Here are some photos, and I hope not too many words:

end of July

end of July

I would like the flowerbeds to be mostly perennials, with roses and other plants along the fences.  But as the perennials are all very young, this spring I planted a lot of annuals to cover the bare ground.  I particularly like these apricot-coloured nasturtiums.  I was very surprised that the roses, which I planted bare-root in January, flowered.  The five climbing roses have become pretty floppy, but I need to wait a bit longer before they’ve grown enough to tie them against the fence.

nasturtiums and Falstaff rose

nasturtiums and Falstaff rose

I planted nigella (love-in-a-mist) and Angel’s Choir poppies in the semi-circular bed.  And I let some wild daisy plants grow there too – the effect has been so delicate and pretty!

Angel choir poppies, love-in-a-mist and volunteer daisy plant/weed

Angel choir poppies, love-in-a-mist and volunteer daisy plant/weed

Some of the things in the garden are gifts from friends.  Roobeedoo gave me some marigold seeds, and they obviously love the tropical heat of Glasgow.  The plants are now about 2 1/2 feet tall!

Roobeedoo's marigolds.

Roobeedoo’s marigolds.

For years I’ve loved growing sweet peas.  They don’t do well if grown in the same spot every summer, so I have two places where I’m sure they will be happy.  Certainly Spot Number One has produced some excellent flowers.  They didn’t like the sunny spell we had in July, but a few good rains have brought them out:

sweet peas

sweet peas

I have forget-me-nots from two friends, kaffir lilies from another friend, and then this very special lupin.  It’s the descendant of a lupin in my good friend T’s garden in Aberdeen.  About ten years ago I collected seed from it, and then had several lovely lupin-children in my own garden in Aberdeen.  Two summers ago, I collected seeds from them, and crossed my fingers.  The following spring we were on the verge of moving house and so it wasn’t until this March that I planted the seeds.  And look at the result!  I am so surprised it actually flowered this year.

Grandchild of T's lupin in Aberdeen.

Grandchild of T’s lupin in Aberdeen.

Tilly has been coming out into the garden since the beginning of May.  She does enjoy it to some extent, as long as we are right with her, and as long as she doesn’t encounter other cats through the fence at the bottom, or what I think is the smell of the fox.  I take her out every day just before 5:00, which is her tea-time.  Below is a rare instance of her actually relaxing in the garden.  Mostly she is on high alert, checks that I am very nearby, gets huge bush-tails, and generally runs back inside within 10 minutes!

Tilly hiding out

Tilly hiding out

Last winter I read a lovely book by Marta McDowell called Emily Dickinson’s Gardens.  Emily Dickinson particularly loved the native violet, called “Heartsease”.  I ordered seeds to grow it, and to my surprise these have also done very well.  They have flourished and now cover most of the bare earth in the photo below, which I took at the beginning of July.  Their little faces are so sweet!

Heartsease (violets)

Heartsease (violets)

The summerhouse has been a wonderful place to have a cup of tea, and visitors have really enjoyed it as well.  I’m still working on making some bunting but otherwise there’s nothing much to see in the summerhouse at the moment.  Here is the view from it:

view from summerhouse, early July

view from summerhouse, early July

I had hoped to save a lovely pink tea rose from the original garden, but it didn’t survive.  So I replaced it with the only rose bush (as opposed to climbers) in the garden.  It is a lovely pinky-peachy colour and like all David Austin roses, smells divine:

Boscobel rose

Boscobel rose

The only trouble in paradise has come in, ironically, with the new soil.  I think the landscapers were as horrified as I was that the soil they provided had small bits of horsetail (equisitum) in it.  This is a weed that I never remember encountering in Aberdeen, but I see it everywhere here in Glasgow. It can grow through concrete.  At first I literally had nightmares about it being in the garden, but now I realise that I just need to keep a careful watch, and dig it up when I find it.  Most of what I’ve dug up has been very small shoots, and hasn’t returned.  Fingers crossed.

I mentioned that we “planted” earthworms in the new beds.  I still rarely encounter worms in the soil, but as one commenter said, if we keep applying compost and manure, they will be there.  I also planted 150 wildflower plants into the new turf – during a few absolutely freezing and drenching January and February days!  It was worth it:  we now have red and white clover proliferating, chamomile, lady’s bedstraw, two kinds of daisies and other wildflowers that don’t mind being mown short every few weeks.

There are lots and lots of bees in the garden – a new friend has given me a bee identification guide!  And there are some butterflies, mostly white ones.  I will have to get a butterfly identification guide as well.  The birds come in to feed, drink and wash.  And the very last “creature” I want to show you is a funny gift from the Dafter:

A gift from the Dafter

A gift from the Dafter

He keeps an eye on things outside and makes me laugh.

I hope you’re all having a fun summer and enjoying either your own gardens or (even more relaxing) other people’s!




  1. Beautiful. Great success.

  2. What a beautiful view of the garden from your house!! Such a change in less than a year’s time! I love the intersecting, round lines of the pathways and outlines of beds. That is beautiful! Also wish I could be a visitor in the summer house :). It is surprising you got that lupin to bloom in the first year and from seed! Wow. Everything is beautiful! I love your “tropical Glasgow weather” 🙂

  3. Your garden is looking absolutely beautiful! I must try heart’s ease for some bare patches we have in ours. And I’m glad Tilly is managing to be brave and go out a little.

  4. A beautiful sight, Christine. You must have worked extremely hard to get such wonderful results. A real picture!

  5. You have done so well! I can’t believe that is just one year’s worth of gardening! You’ve got skillz!

  6. What a delightful garden! I especially like the photo of the angel flower poppies and love-in-a-mist ~ it’s amazing.
    Enjoy your weekend,

  7. How very pretty, Christine! You do have a way with flowers – I love all of your plant combinations and roses. I can imagine a lovely afternoon in your garden house, sipping tea and laughing over Tilly’s bush tail! This must bring you such peace and relaxation. The Dafter’s Meerkat is wonderful, too. xo Karen

  8. What a wonderful variety of plants!

  9. Your garden is lovely. We’ve had such a lovely summer this year to enjoy the gardens, it’s been a joy. Lets be a bit greedy and hope for the summer to continue for a while yet so we can all enjoy our gardens for another wee while! Oh and by the way, how did you manage to keep the slugs off your lupin? Mine was shredded before it had a chance to flower 😦 x

  10. Thanks everyone for your kind comments. I think most of the work in the garden has been done by Mother Nature rather than me. I still can’t get over how lush Glasgow is, compared to Aberdeen! Moist and warm (for Scotland) – it does really feel tropical. However, as I write it is cool and raining heavily. Tilly, having campaigned to go outside for over half an hour, sat at the open back door for some time, before turning around to come back inside.

    marksgran, it’s pure luck that the lupin has been relatively slug-free. Its sibling has suffered more from slugs, and hasn’t flowered. It’s over in the shadier bed, so I can only assume that the slugs prefer the shady bed to the sunny one?

  11. Your garden is growing beautifully, Christine. So lovely to have this Garden Open Day. The Falstaff rose is just gorgeous – is it sweetly scented? Is that a wallflower for next spring beside Tilly? I am just about to order bare-rooted plants, so they are on my mind.

    • Thank you Linda. Garden Open Day, ha ha! Yes, the Falstaff rose has a gorgeous scent. There aren’t any wallflowers – though that’s a good idea for next year. I think what you’re seeing is the base growth of some purple canterbury bells, whose stalks weren’t in blossom that day.

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