Wednesday, 13 July 2022


This morning I cut a few flowers to show the best of the garden at the moment. It seems a fair few weeks have passed since my last post, and the hot weather we are currently experiencing has made me lazy and languid.

I’ve selected three dahlias, a small hydrangea flower and some sweet peas to brighten your day. All my lavender bushes are loving the heat, so some fragrant sprigs have been added which I wish you could enjoy!

A quarter turn reveals the third dahlia

The garden is wilting under both bright, hot sunlight as well as sultry, overcast days. Watering and caring for my plants is both tiring and time-consuming, but so important. I can only do both tasks at the beginning and end of the day when the temperature allows. 

Good things: despite the heat, everything is flourishing and there are dozens of tomatoes setting in the greenhouse. We've already enjoyed some green and yellow courgettes, and many, many punnets of raspberries, some of which I've frozen.

Not as good: the sweet peas aren't doing nearly as well as last year, despite being watered. Perhaps next year I'll try putting them in another position... two years running in the same place might have been a mistake. And while some of the dahlias are magnificent, others have dwindled to nothing and many have been shredded by slugs determined to defeat my efforts on that front!

Here are some of the new dahlias:





And not to be outdone, here are the Echinaceas I grew last year, together with a Zinnia which I'm trying for the first time this year:





Just before the heat became extreme, we ventured across the border into Cornwall to visit a lovely National Trust property called Lanhydrock House. This was a 63 mile round trip - you have to take the fuel costs of an outing into account these days, and the entrance fee isn't cheap, but it was worth the visit for the grounds alone.







Their planting is simple but very effective, perhaps a lesson for us all! I couldn't resist sneaking in the photo of me supporting the ancient 'Bodwen Cross'!


Between this and my last post, I haven't read much to recommend to you. I trawled my way through Louise Penny's 'The Madness of Crowds' (no. 17 in her Chief Inspector Gamache series), and it left me cold. It was a hard read and I gave it this rather cold review:

At last I've finished this book, after setting it aside and almost abandoning it. Why? I didn't enjoy reading it, and life is too short.

This author really frustrates me. Her earlier novels in the series were so well written, but this is incomparable to those. Her style now is laboured, an effort to read. Her vocabulary is at times insulting to the reader, and her short sentences drove me mad. The plot seems thin, plucked from several social situations and twisted to fit the characters.

I think I'm done with Louise Penny and the Gamache series. I'd rather remember the good and the best of her work than struggle through any more like this.

Two stars. I won't be reading it again.

I also loathed Peter Lovesey's 'The Headhunters' to the extent that I set it aside, unfinished. I felt disappointed in this author, whose other work is incomparably better!

So I can only recommend two books which may or may not appeal to you:
Rosamunde Pilcher's 'September' is a beautifully written novel set in Scotland, about three generations of a family coming together for a party. For me, this was a bit of a comfort read, but I enjoy her style.
Richard Osman's 'The Man who Died Twice' is the second in his 'Thursday Murder Club' series and as I'd enjoyed the first, I decided to embark upon the second. He writes with a quirky style which not everyone will find comfortable, but for me it's amusing and different, and most enjoyable.


Here in GB we are in the midst of a headless government. With the increased numbers of people suffering from scary new variants of Covid, and the grimly ongoing war in Ukraine, life feels uncertain and very precious.

Look after yourselves and if it's Summer where you are, enjoy it as much as you can. We are, I fear, in for a testing Winter! I leave you with some begonias, which suddenly appeared from almost nothing in an old pot in a corner of the greenhouse, having quietly survived the winter. Perhaps they are as good as a hug...


  1. Your plantings, and cuttings, look beautiful Prue. Wish I had the time, space, patience and knowledge to have such a garden!
    Lanhydrock House looks well kept. That one doesn't ring a bell from my visit to Cornwall (many, many, many years ago - maybe before Lanhydrock House was built🙄)
    I am with you re the Maddness of the Crowds. I haven't tried another of Louise Penny's (nor anyone else's for a long time. I did start reading again after COVID slowed down (before perking up again) but I then lost the interest again....

    1. Jim, thank you very much for your kind words!
      We struggled to find Lanhydrock House, it's quite well hidden and I'm guessing that in the mists of time when you visited Cornwall there wasn't the signage there is today, lol!
      Perhaps there is a dearth of really good books at the moment? Or at least ones which hold our damaged concentration for longer than five minutes. Maybe it's the weather...? 😎