I have bleated on in previous blogs about the fact I am now retired. Early retired let me remind you. So I was looking forward to my first summer of retirement with hopes of a summer of ’76.  Hot. Sunny. So I could chill out in the garden. Garden. Have afternoon teas. Drive  to the coast for lunch at a favourite cafe. Sit and read a book  by the river. – stream really but river sounds more romantic. Which I’m not. 

Summer of ’76

 What have I had so far? Well the word chill sums it up. Chilly days. Chilly nights.  So chilly fat Harry the cat has taken to sleeping in the chimenea. Like me he’d prefer some sun. Sadly I’m unable to join him.

We have had Quick glimpses of sun and a dry day here or there to at least cut the grass.The garden is green but needs more colour. What colour there is looks great. But like everything. I want more. And I want it now. Like a plant. I want the perfect shape. ( so do I ) Repeat flowering. Disease resistant. Low maintainence . Exquisite scent. Everything. Now. Unrealistic. Probably. 

The roses this year are stunning. Those that haven’t gone mildew or rotted on the bush that is. The few days of a little sun this week has meant there have been some great blooms. We were moving a main bed to accommodate a new extension. Which hasn’t happened  so  – I hadn’t pruned them. Too late for the extension. To late to prune. So the branches are long. With stunning  floppy blooms heavy with petals heavy with scent. Sadly black fly is an issue too this year. 

The dahlias are way behind where the were last year. Great dahlias from the lovely Karen at Peter Nyssen 

Facebook is a great reminder where we are now against last year. The year before and earlier. It posts memories whether we want to be reminded. Or not. Last year at this  point the  dahlias  were glorious. As I leave  the garden to head up to London for two days there are  three flower  heads. But loads of buds. The Bishops seem to be strong this year.  I did leave them in the ground though – the tubers. Not your actual bishops so Im lucky they came through at all. 

Don’t even  mention the S word. Two destroyers. Both start and end in S. Also know as little s:::s –  same number of letters. Starting and finishing in S. Particularly when I find a favourite plant devoured over night. So I’m to be seen torch in hand on S watch at night. And morning. 

My alliums were brilliant last year. This year. Short. Stumpy. Bit  like me. Big flowers where they flowered but were few and far between. 

The good bits?  Other than the glorious roses on long straggly stems. 

Runner beans at the top of the canes already. Plenty of flowers. Well one set anyway. The other is barely out of the starting blocks. At least the glut will be staggered. 

The tomatoes cucumbers and courgettes are doing great guns. But it’s early days. Let’s see the crops. Probably all will

Come at once when I take a two week holiday. Like the beans. 

So far plenty of currants. Red and black. Slowly. Ever so slowly ripening. Gooseberries getting plumper –  the red ones won’t last. Not the birds but me. I can’t resist them. Sweet as honey. But Mr Blackbird is hovering too. Next year a fruit cage. 

The Astrantia are blooming lovely again this year and are great as a picked flower. Encouraged by a  Georgie Newberry workshop I have been picking what I can.

Daily posy 


The clematis are patchy.some have flowers like dinner plates. Others like expresso saucers. Tiny. Little  blooms that open and get blown away with the wind. 

Honeysuckle Arch 

The honeysuckle arch – a Graham Thomas – has had plentiful flowers. But I miss the end of the day scent following the summer heat of the day. It’s been colourful but somehow the scent has been low. I miss the heady smells of the honeysuckle the neighbours Philadelphus Belle Etoule with the lovely dark centre. On my list for the rearranged borders next year. But the roses which have a delicious scent have been fantastic in petal and scent when not ravaged by the rain. 

In London the agapanthus are simply stunning. Big fat white ones bought at Columbia road Market for less than a tenner. Tree ferns with slowly unfurling fronds. Very different to our Somerset garden. London is a courtyard and small front garden. 

The river at the back of the cottage looked lovely early this morning. I disturbed the Heron – unintentionally and saw him/her take flight over a neighbours bridge. Thankfully I had my phone to catch the pic 

Heron in flight 

River Pitt 

Well. It’s only the first week of July. Things will get better. Honest.  I’ve got my fingers crossed. But I’m afraid that if I blink I’ll miss it. I heard a presenter on the radio say we are going to have our hottest warmest weekend. For a month. For a month!! It’s July for Petes sake. Wimbledon is in its second week. It’s strawberries and cream and sun and burnt foreheads. Cliff singing in the stands.  Best weekend for a month. Oh. And it might rain Saturday night. 

Did I say I’m retired. Well. It also means I have time to use what little produce I have in the garden. Or Produce that gets left on my doorstep. Rhubarb that obviously someone had either been given and didn’t want or they had had enough crumble and tart to last the season. So I’ve been making cordials. Elderflower. Elderflower & rose. Blackcurrant and lemon grass. Rhubarb. I’ve left some strawberry seeping I’m the fridge. Apparently it takes 4 days. So. There will be cordial with water. In prosecco. In gin . There are gooseberries and more black currants to come.  Some black elderflower in the freezer for when I run out. 

Strawberry cordial in the making 

Bottled and ready to go 

So. Fingers crossed the sun will come out. Tommorow. Bet your bottom dollar…… Which is worth less now than when summer started. That’s a whole other story……….

Summer of ’16 -(Italy!) 

One thought on “So where is Summer – I wanted ’76. Without the flares

  1. Hoot! Glad no actual Bishops were planted for this blog. I was 10 in 76 and remember the endless hot & sunny days the parched lawns & the sneaky running under the sprinkler during a hosepipe ban! Strawberry cordial there’s a thought, but we ~ the family, the slugs, snails, birds & mice have exhausted the strawberry patch, till its second flush & we won’t be here. Shall have to buy some post move as shall be a lady of leisure, whilst not walking dogs and house hunting. Come on summer!


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