Just had a few days to remind us how nice summer can be, and then, you’ve guessed, the rains returned. A. managed a few hours heavy gardening in his Edinburgh garden – the header shows the soggy but spectacular view from the house front. And then, with it still raining, we went down in the Borders garden… Ah, I thought that the decision of have lots of old rose varieties and paeonies was a bit dodgy. And so it has proved. OK, the rugosas are more or less flowering, but Comte de Chambord, Souvenir de Dr Jamain, and all the others are soggy like the weather, but fungal brown rather than grey, and certainly not the rich colours we had so hoped for.Still, the weather suits some of their neighbours perfectly. The gorgeous green-flowered Veratrum viride grows taller than I have ever seen it, some flower spikes vanishing up into overhead apple branches. It’s going to be fun in flower, and this year I MUST remember to collect seed. The daylilies seem imperturbable, and the wet season means that pollen beetles are few and far between, so don’t teem as they did last summer in the lemon yellow trumpets of ‘Hyperion’ and its cousins.
Astrantias thrive, most of ours now random hybrids, some of great beauty, and a favourite genus of A’s – Polygonum – finds favour with me too, P. orientale in brick reds and sultry pinks especially. I need more.
Then there are all the usual wet-weather suspects – ferns, japanese irises and so on. All marvels. Some of our ferns look positively subtropical this year, as if we should have parakeets flocking amongst the apple trees. And the irises… Well, you know that odd feeling when a collection-mania starts to form. I begin to calculate how many we could squeeze around the pools, even if we need another pool. We used to collect forms and hybrids of the European flag iris, but now begin to feel that if summers are going to be like this from now on, something more exotic might keep us happy beneath the umbrellas.