An English Summer: Unexpected arrivals, bees in motion and the first potato harvest

We are still keeping up with the early starts. Bright light streams in around the tiny gaps in the shutters; getting up is not so hard when the sun is waiting to greet you.

In the garden, the bees arrive dozily, a few at a time, meandering amongst the lavender flowers. Soon, there are countless numbers, the tempo increases and the combined buzzing is audible from the other side of the garden. Nature’s own rush hour.

Share in our morning ritual and enjoy this slow-motion capture of the first bumble bee of the day on the lavender flowers.

By the French doors, a single sprig of self-seeded verbena catches the breeze. I have tried buying verbena plants from the garden centre before and they have never taken. During the lockdown, I have been a lot more appreciative of “weeds” and their potential as free flowers. I have been allowing them to grow and, like a lucky dip, seeing what I have got. I’m so happy with this latest arrival.

Tucked into an old mossy log that forms part of the edging to our stream, a strange silvery leafed “weed” appeared this April. It looked a little like sage at first, then grew taller and taller, the leaves became scallop-edged and multiple large buds drooped heavily towards the ground. By then, we had already guessed it was a poppy, but could never have imagine how beautiful it would be.

On my kitchen windowsill, I thought I was only nursing newly sprouted courgette seedlings, safely away from the greedy snails. However, little bell-like mushrooms appeared overnight; there must have been some spores in the organic compost. The tiny fungi only survive into the afternoon before withering, though for the next few days, every morning I find another trio.

When my order of bird netting arrives by post, I plant the courgettes into the old onion bed, with gravel around the stem, copper mesh and the netting stretched above. So far, so good.

The rose has been persuaded to attach to the arbour and now, clinging on securely, it is climbing at speed. Fresh buds are appearing daily. My little daughter, who always likes to run around the garden before her breakfast, enthusiastically points out any new ones, happily calling “flower!”

As soon we see the honey-scented white blossoms appear amongst the vegetable plants, it is time for our first ever potato harvest. Unlike most of the vegetables we grow in our potager, the potatoes give no hint to the size of their crop, hidden so completely beneath the soil. Even onions give you a bit of a glimpse of how things are going.

My son chitted these seed potatoes throughout Lent and, keeping with horticultural tradition, dug the trenches for them on Good Friday and kept them watered them throughout the draught. I really wanted them to be a success for him. Happily, he is able to pull the plants out whole from the loose no-dig soil and as he triumphantly raises them aloft, the bounty of new potatoes hang beneath on tiny white stems like little baubles.

We ate this first batch within an hour of unearthing them, simply boiled and served with a little butter. They were delicious; soft and melting. It was one of those times I have wished for our own acre of land, meaning we would never need to buy shop-bought potatoes again.

Newly emptied terracotta pots now await my next round of seedlings.

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    1. It was – and it’s on about its 11th flower at the moment, it just keeps on going 🙂 The slugs have stayed away so far – hurray! Hope everything is going well with your beautiful family x


  1. So beautiful. We love to plant potatoes and one year experimented with sweet potatoes. The bushes are beautiful but the bounty was minimal since some creature snipped the entire bush at ground height. But we promise ourselves we’ll try it again if we can find seedlings. Thank you for sharing your beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you x I tried potatoes once before without much luck – but my gardener friend told me that I was over-pampering them. “Just chuck them in and leave them” – this seemed to work out really well and I think all the rain we’re having helped too 🙂


    1. Thank you Eliza x I’ll pass the video comment onto my husband, who did the vid 😀 My son was as pleased as anything – he has been watching them since Feb and we had everything crossed that they would work out for him! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m always happy to see a post from you as I know I’ll share in some beauty. I’ve never seen a poppy like that before. It’s quite unusual. We grew potatoes one year and they were delicious. My garden plans have almost come to a complete halt as I pulled up my three dried up tomato plants today as well as the parsley that never really made it. It’s simply too hot here during the summer. I’ll try again in fall when we have weather more suited to plants that aren’t desert plants. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy your garden and Tish’s.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Janet 🙂 There are some things that just sprung up here with little effort – root veg and onions etc. Parsley is a weed in my garden that I keep having to pull out of the paving slabs!

      However if I want to grow peppers and chillis that requires a superhuman effort, and an airing cupboard – because it just doesn’t get hot enough here 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That poppy is utterly beautiful! And as the great-granddaughter of potato farmers, I can tell you that there is no better way to eat new potatoes than by boiling them and then serving them butter. Nothing else is needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I, too, like “nature’s rush hour”. With any luck that verbena bonariensis (?), having found a spot it likes, will self seed many more. We also had lots of self seeded poppies this year. How on earth did you produce that mesmerising video?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope so – I’m going to try and save a few seeds for friends and family too as it is a beautiful flower.

      My hubby took the bee video – I’m as awe struck as anyone 🙂 He takes the footage and edits it all on his iPhone. He gets a really sharp focus on videos – I struggle to keep a camera that steady without a tripod 🌿

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I also have a new found appreciation of the humble weed/wildflower. I have an established garden though its new to me, I have only lived here for six months but have discovered lots of wildflowers doing their own thing amongst the more conventional planting. It’s been a joy discovering them. New to your blog but very pleased to have found it.

    Liked by 1 person

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