Posted by: christinelaennec | June 1, 2015

June! Anticipation…

Katharine Stewart’s essay for June 1st begins:  “A dry day, but a cold one.”  (p. 74)  Today in Glasgow has been a wet day, but a cold one.  In fact, this has been a very cold spring all told.  My garden had 5″ of rain in the month of May, but the high temperatures in the day lately have been between 8 and 12 C / 46 and 54 F.  The result is that many plants in the garden have been waiting to flower:

Peony bud.  Photo taken 31st May during a rare moment of sunshine.

Peony bud. Photo taken 31st May during a rare afternoon of sunshine.

Stewart wrote, “This is a time of waxing moon, a propitious time for planting.”  It’s the same with us this year: the moon is full tomorrow.  She continued, “Older Highland people still watch the moon closely, in all its phases, for weather predictions, days appropriate for certain activities and so on.  The waning moon is good for ploughing and peat-cutting, for the ‘sap’ is going, leaving everything dry.  An old lady will still walk clockwise three times round the house at the first appearance of the new moon.  People don’t like to see the half moon ‘lying on her back’.  This is a bad omen.” (p. 74)

Back garden, Glasgow, 31st May 2015.

Back garden, Glasgow, 31st May 2015.

I don’t take on new superstitions, so I won’t be walking around the house at the new moon, or worrying about the half moon on her back (though I have a Highland friend who will comment on such a sight: “seall, a’ghealach air a cùl”).  But I try, where possible, to plant at the time of the new moon, because this does seem to be a sound and time-honoured principle of gardening.  The lupins that I grew from seed collected in Aberdeen are doing pretty well, in their second summer.

Lupin coming into bloom, slowly.  31 May 2015.

Lupin coming into bloom, slowly. 31 May 2015.  The columbine behind and to the right is interesting:  the blooms below are purply but the ones near the top of the plant are a deep red.

The garden probably looks like a sea of green to most people, but to me it is brimming with possibility:

Rose buds on Constance Spry, Glasgow, 31 May 2015.

Rose buds on Constance Spry climbing rose, Glasgow, 31 May 2015.

And the cosmos (planted inside the porch at the time of the new moon) are doing pretty well.  I am just hoping the snails keep away from them…

Cosmos seedlings, 31st May 2015.

Cosmos seedlings, 31st May 2015.

Katharine Stewart writes about something called “Gudeman’s Croft”:  “a small piece of land dedicated to the ‘Gudeman,’ a kind of earth spirit, which was sacrosanct and not to be touched by plough or spade.  There are one or two such spots up my way!  I call it Permaculture!” (p. 75)

I want most of my garden to be “permaculture,” the same plants left undisturbed to flower year after year, or plants like foxglove that self-seed in profusion so I can choose which ones to keep and where I want them.  But I have also planted some annuals, besides the cosmos.  The sweet peas went in yesterday, and I bought lobelia to put along the edges.  The poppies, nigella and marigolds that I planted as seed are all up, but not putting on a lot of growth just because it has been so cold.

As I write, the rain is lashing the back of the house.  But it’s now light until after 11:00 pm in the western sky (unless the clouds are particularly thick), so it does, despite the weather, feel like June.

Happy June, everyone!



  1. And a happy June to you! I hope the temps warm a bit. The long days sound nice!

  2. Happy June to you, although it really doesn’t feel like June. The winds are howling and the rain is thrashing down although we are predicted better as the week goes on. Fingers crossed.

  3. Such interesting information. I love when you include those sayings and superstitions. I planted in the late afternoon and into the evening this year. It made me feel like I was sneaking out to plant during some phase of the moon, but it really was just after supper. And, mostly I am still trying to recover. Gardening is not nearly as easy at 58 as it was at 40.

  4. Such lovely pictures of your garden, l miss my peonies at the old house. I love the lush green of late spring/early summer. Like you, we have had a very cold spring. As l write, the rain is thundering down, the wind howling and the fire roaring in the wood burner. I can’t ever remember using the wood burner in June. I am so enjoying the light though, woke at three a.m. yesterday and heard the birds singing outside my window. Wish you and your family a fine week, Pam

  5. The tote bag arrived yesterday. I’m looking forward to sticking some knitting in it and going to a concert in a park or maybe my lunch for a day out as a mini-vacation. Thank you so much for sending it to me.


    • Oh I’m so glad! You’re very welcome. Enjoy it in good health. All the best, Christine

  6. Your garden is so lovely in its springtime colors. I would love to have a peony bush. And, the lupin look beautiful, too. I’m trying to plant some perennials as opposed to annuals. Although with our warm weather throughout the year, some of our annuals grow like perennials 🙂 We are suppose to get some clouds and maybe a bit of rain this week. We’ve had to cut down on our watering due to the drought conditions. My best to you and your family. Hugs, Pat

  7. I’ve just pinned the picture of your garden onto my ‘Very small gardens’ board on pinterest because I love the design. Our new house has a beautiful white peony in the garden. I am so looking forward to getting out there and doing things with our small green space. I like the idea of perennial planting. It’s been wet and windy down here too – let’s hope we get some warm weather soon! Judy.

  8. I love your garden.Lynn l

  9. Thanks so much for all your comments! It’s continued to be wet and windy. I see there’s been an inch of rain in the last 3 days already… and obviously we aren’t alone in Britain, though I think our friends south of the border may see some summer weather. Pat, if only we could ship some of our rain to California!!!

    The garden is a delight to me, and I still can hardly believe that it’s mine! One of the peonies that I planted last year has no blooms (Bowl of Beauty). It must just be taking a rest. Meanwhile a peony that I was completely unaware of last year has appeared next to our fence! It has no blooms either but we shall see what happens in future years.

    In Scotland, people call peonies “peony rose”s. It’s a lovely name, and very descriptive.

    Lucinda, I’m glad you like all the lore. I still read the Old Farmer’s Almanac (courtesy of my mother and/or sister over all these years), for the same reason. Some of the old things are a bit silly, but quite a bit contains wisdom, I think.

  10. While unpacking from our camping trip this afternoon we took quick stock of the progress of the gardens on either side of the front door. I am amazed and pleased with the visible growth of our plants while we were gone for six nights, and I love learning about your garden, too, Christine! Your cosmos remind me of a stellar crop of them I had back in NY, years ago….maybe I should plant some more 🙂 xx

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