The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


The Syringa Summerhouse and flowers from the garden June 2008

Posted in Flowers | 11 comments

The Syringa Summerhouse and flowers from the garden June 2008

My mum pruned her Philadelphus on Sunday and had saved a large bunch of flowering branches for me. The Philadelphus (Mock Orange) has a special meaning for mum. When she was a child she played in a Philadelphus summer house in her parents’ garden. She always calls it the Syringa Summerhouse. In those days Syringa was a name for Philadelphus and didn’t refer to lilac as it does now. “The grown ups weren’t interested in it at all so I thought of it as mine.” I’d always imagined this summerhouse at the end of a...

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Opium poppies (Papaver somniferum)

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Opium poppies (Papaver somniferum)

I went into the garden in the morning when it was sunny to check the keets and see what was happening in the garden generally. The rain has battered a lot of the plants in the herbaceous border but it still is looking lush. This opium poppy had opened in the kitchen garden and was attracting hover flies. I love the flowers of this anual herb. The papery petals and their fleeting flowering makes them so special. I have seen opium poppies in the hedgerows in the lanes around here. They are tough plants that thrive anywhere. The medicinal value...

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Flowers from the garden: June

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Flowers from the garden: June

I’ve been away in London for a couple of nights. Danny took over as Maternity Matron and attended to Mrs Boss’s castle. The first thing I did on my return was rush down to check if we had keets. They could arrive anytime from now on. Mrs Boss was looking pretty chirpy and the nest of eggs was still a complete nest of eggs. There is nothing like a trip to London to make me realise how much I love living in the country. When I poked my head out of the back door I could smell Hyacinths. An unusual waft for this time of year, as they...

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Old Roses: Rosa Complicata

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Old Roses: Rosa Complicata

Many years ago I worked in a London Day Centre for mentally ill adults. One day a pretty Maltese lady looked troubled. When I asked her what was wrong she replied, “I am feeling,” she jutted her chin as she searched for the right word, “. . complex.” Sometimes I too feel complex and Rosa Complicata is the perfect antidote. This is one of my favourite roses in the garden. I love the name and the simplicity of the flowers. It’s like a child with large clear eyes. One of my duties at the Day Centre was to organise...

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Old roses: Rosa Rambling Rector. (1910, unknown breeder(s))

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Old roses: Rosa Rambling Rector.  (1910, unknown breeder(s))

This gorgeous frothy rose makes the biggest impact of all the roses in our garden. We open the back door to find it spilling over the first half of the herbaceous border. It has climbed into the plum trees in the garden next door and splashes over the shrubs below like a floral Niagara. It flowers throughout June. For a whole month we savour it from the first buds to the last few handfuls of flowers. “We ought to have our summer party in June.” Danny declares each year. But we never do. The cottage is small, so big parties take...

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