An English Summer: The secret life of the evening garden

I grow ever more fond of watching night fall in the garden. After the bustle of the day and distant traffic noises, a quietness descends at around 8 o’ clock as the late summer evening draws in.

Although I find the geraniums beautiful in the daytime, they now look so dramatic against a background of shadowy foliage, in the “miniature woodland” area of our tiny potager.

Still catching the last rays of light is this pretty self-seeded wildflower, towering next to the stream, that I believe must be a loosestrife. Living at the top of a hill, it is rare for there not to be a breeze rippling through our garden. I love to watch the constant sway of tall plants on spiked stems and the bees that weave and dart around them.

A light rain starts to fall, however at this time of year I do not have to rush back inside for a coat. It is a delicate, refreshing shower, not a downpour. At the first sign of soothing water, a snail emerges to make the most of it.

Soon after the rain stops it has already faded from the stone walkways, yet remains clinging to the plants. The poppy seed heads, which hover over the stream, bob and dip. The droplets slide down stems, into the running water below.

I slowly walk the paths whilst reading about the life and times of a woodland. I have been enjoying this book little-by-little since New Year’s Day. There is an entry for every date of the year and tonight’s July observation seems very apt.

“How enjoyable the land is, when the sun has sunk below the rim of the known world, when other people have gone to bed, and there are stars over the dark, still oaks.”

“The Wood: The Life and Times of Cockshutt Wood” by JoHn Lewis-stempel

The light dims a little more; I return my book to the kitchen and grab a favourite woollen jumper.

We have lost a few young apples to the rough storms throughout late June, yet the hardier fruits hold fast, looking eminently tempting.

The raindrops stick in place on the water resistant bamboo leaves. I move the plant stem gently; the droplets descend slowly, in an orderly queue.

The bees make their final forage until morning. I took a liking to this little hard worker, heavily laden, pollen stuck to his fur.

The moon is framed by the branches of the silver birch tree. The woollen jumper’s sleeves are perfect for pulling down over my hands as the temperature drops. My husband makes me a cup of hot tea and together we walk the garden and quietly reflect back on our day.

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54 Comments

    1. Thanks so much Derrick. Weโ€™ve really been enjoying creating the videos – it gives such a different perspective of wildlife to either slow the speed down … or in the case of the snail, speed it up! ๐ŸŒ

  1. If I could give you a jewel from the Met in NY – your pick – in exchange for one day and evening and night in your shoes, I would do that, Tiny Potager.

    I am so enjoying your posts because they are beautifully photographed and the writing and pace and sensibility recalls to me a part of England which I miss. Thank you! Sarah

    1. Oh my goodness, thank you very much, how kind ๐Ÿ™‚ Today was my 100th post – what a wonderful comment to celebrate with ๐ŸŒฟ Iโ€™ve never travelled to the US, but would love to visit and tour there one day!

  2. Gorgeous! And I think your pretty pink wildflower is willowherb. You may have many many more next year if you let it seed (perhaps a few too many, depending where it is!). Hope you are enjoying your evening cup of tea in the garden as I type.

    1. Iโ€™ve compared pics and you are spot on – thank you! Iโ€™m really pleased because Iโ€™ve been trying to find out the name all week. โ€œbritish purple wildflowerโ€ turns out to be a really endless search term ๐Ÿ™ƒ Another thing you are right about – it does pop up everywhere! Happy to report cup of tea is right beside me, as I type โ˜•๏ธ Have a lovely Sunday Janna ๐ŸŒฟ

  3. Wow, your photos look absolutely amazing and it always amazes me how much beauty can be found in little things. Thanks for sharing and have a good day ๐Ÿ˜€ Aiva

    1. Thank you Aiva ๐Ÿ™‚ Iโ€™m so glad because I really do agree that a little bit of beauty can be found almost anywhere – hope you have a wonderful weekend ๐ŸŒฟ

  4. Oh the peace from watching the snail – that pace of life would suit me ๐Ÿ™‚ So pleased you get to enjoy some quiet evening moments and detail among the plants. Your garden is helping me get through our constant rainy winter here in Christchurch, NZ. Haven’t been able to get out in mine for weeks.

    1. The snail is fast becoming something of a family favourite. He lives under a pot next to the French doors, so we see him come and go.

      I know that feeling of heavy rains … that was us back in February – I hope you get some sunshine break through very soon โ˜€๏ธ

    1. Thank you Tootlepedal – itโ€™s a bit of a change for me to try night time photography, the light and colours turn out so differently – a lot starker than my usual hazy shots, but I really enjoyed it ๐ŸŒฟ

    1. Thank you Gerard ๐Ÿ™‚ Weekends are one of my favourite times to write and my little daughter had a nap yesterday afternoon, so I had several hours just writing – bliss ๐ŸŒฟ Hope you have a lovely week

  5. Your photography is exceptionally beautiful with lovely descriptions to match. I well know that time of evening in the garden and the quietness of it, so perfect.

    1. Hello there, thank you very much – apologies for the late reply, a lot of my comments went missing and have just reappeared ๐Ÿ™‚ I have subscribed to you lovely website and have really been enjoying it – especially the article: “Remembering” with the stunning macrophotography of the rain drops.

  6. Reading this post and the comments was so refreshing. Your blog’s pace and topics and beauty are just what the world needs right now. As for flowers in the dusk, the ones that stick in my soul are gardenia. They glow in the dark, it’s unearthly, and the scent! No such thing in Wellington, New Zealand though. Whisk me to off to Kyoto or Brisbane, please.

    1. Hello Rachel – what a thoughtful and heartening comment to receive, thank you very much. I love gardenia too – and I think I shall definitely plant more white and ivory shrubs in the future, they reflect the moonlight so well. I daydream of Kyoto too โ™ฅ๏ธ๐ŸŒฟ

  7. I hope you donโ€™t mind!!! But I have nominated you for the โ€˜Sunshine Blogger Awardโ€™ should you choose to take part? I considered some very interesting questions for you! Please say yes? Looking forward to finding out about you a little bit more! ๐Ÿ˜™

    1. Hello! A lot of my comments went AWOL and suddenly they have all appeared and I’m catching up ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for this … can you link me to the questions and I’ll see if I can weave the answers into my articles! Hope you are all doing well x

  8. awesome pics and refreshing blog.
    Thank you.
    If you haven’t seen my snail article I encourage you to have a look – not good for the garden but interesting insects. ๐Ÿ™‚

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