It’s a Tale of Two Summers!

posted in: Gardening | 32

It’s a tale of two summers. This time last year parts of Scotland only had about 1.6 hours of sunlight for the month unlike this July…what a difference! It’s been an amazing month for heat and sunshine. Even the hosepipe has made an appearance in the garden and the sprinkler might be out next!

High temperatures and lack of rain bring their own problems but at least when I hoe the little weeds just shrivel away. The bigger ones need tugged a bit more as the soil under the first few centimetres is like a brick. Anything that’s bigger than a weed … well just forget about the garden trowel or spade … you  need a pick axe! That’s far too much effort!  

Days like this were meant for sitting in the garden and soaking up nature rather than being soaked in the rain. So come with me and let me show you what’s in flower today for What’s in Bloom.

It’s a Tale of Two Summers …

pink astrantia, yellow loosestrife and white astillbe flowers

The plants in ‘Muddy Boots Corner‘ are enjoying not being in such muddy soil this year. This is the area of the garden that only the toughest of plants can grow in or else aquatic ones. The yellow Lysimachia punctata is a real thug. It needs to be kept within its boundaries or else it would take over.

lavender, dwarf dianthus, spirea flowering in July
It’s a Tale of Two Summers: lavender, dwarf dianthus, spirea flowering in July

Lavender munstead, geraniums and various dwarf dianthus are still looking good in the scree borders. While the pink spirea, lemon coloured carpet roses and Anthemis tinctoria ‘Hollandaise Sauce’ daisies have started to flower.

silver foliage and purple blue flowers

Some more alliums have appeared in the garden – Allium cernuum and Allium christophii.  There’s also the fuzzy white stems and leaves of Stachys lanata better known as lambs lugs with their tiny orchid like flowers and the blue bracts from the spiky sea holly  – Eryngium.

tale of two summers - hot red colours with black foliage


It’s an Array of Summer Colour …

The white flowers from the Physocarpus diablo (bottom left) were not out for June’s GBBD and now they’ve all finished but what’s left behind is a lovely hue of red which contrasts so well with it’s dark rich foliage. I’m trying to encourage more of the flame creeper Tropaeolum speciosum (top right)  to grow closer to the physocarpus. At the moment it’s content to just ramble in the shade through the callicarpa shrub.

tale of two summers - rhapsody blue rose in the very early sunlight

Beside the Physocarpus grows the Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and below the rose the blue flowers from  Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and the yellow Anthemis tinctoria ‘Kelwayi’ mingle together.

tale of two summers - pale pinks against dark foliage

This must be the palest part of the garden just now. The purple Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ has just finished flowering. While the cerise pink Lathyrus latifolius  (everlastling sweetpea) has still to produce some buds. There are many geraniums like G. ‘Patrica’ and G ‘Anne Folkard’ in this part of the garden. But they are so young that they’ve yet to make their presence felt in among so much foliage.

For now the Actinidia vine with its pink and white splashed foliage gives a little bit of colour along the fence. Alongside is the pale pink Rosa ‘New Dawn’ and the Calamagrostis grass with it’s wonderful light and airy plumes. Then in the background arises a 10ft Sambucus ‘Black Lace’ with it’s ‘plate-like’ clusters of tiny white and red flowers against finely divided black leaves.

tale of two summers - wide angle view of the garden in July
It’s a tale of two summers


Finally here are a few wide angle views of the garden. This year I haven’t planted any summer bedding and the pots will soon be full of herbs. I didn’t think I would miss the bright colours of annuals. But I do and I might have to reconsider leaving a few containers just for summer bedding.

The wildflowers the RHS sent me for National Gardening Week have started to flower along the new path. Once they’ve grown a bit bigger I’ll put the bark on that new pathway.


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Photography Tutor and Gardener

Rosie is a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at one of Scotland's only photography galleries - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh. She also writes and shares her nature images on

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32 Responses

  1. ann

    You have such a variety of plants. Some I have never seen before. I quit buying annuals when we moved here because they have gotten so expensive. I used to buy loads of petunias because they were cheap and colorful. Not any more. Nor did I pot up any pots this year since we left in June and I knew that they would just dry up. I did pot up four post of herbs that are doing so well. I am hoping to to bring them in to over winter. Your garden is lovely and your photos show it off nicely.


    Thanks for the stroll around your lovely garden, I also enjoy the gorgeous weather we have had the last couple of weeks, long may it last! I don’t even mind having to water every other evening, it feels like a small price to pay for such a beautiful summer – when did we last have weather like this? Down here in London my garden is still later than usual, nothing has really caught up, everything is just coming up in the same order as normal, later than usual.
    Have a great week, take care, Helene.

  3. Mark and Gaz

    So much colour and beauty in your garden at the moment Rosie 🙂 Keep enjoying this fine weather we're having!

  4. A Garden of Threads

    Hi Rosie, I just returned from a garden tour of British gardens and England is also suffering from lack of rain. Even without the rain your garden is looking beautiful. Take care and have a lovely week:) Jen

  5. Carolyn ♥

    Lovely blooms, Rosie. I've never seen 'Black Lace' before… beautiful! I see it's hardy in zone 5. I may need to find a plant or two for my gardens. Hmm… but where would I plant it? Surely I could find a space.

  6. Rosie Nixon

    @ann Thanks Ann – I miss the colour but I certainly don't miss the watering, feeding and deadheading especially as they would dry out so quick in our glorious summer weather here.

  7. Rosie Nixon

    @HELENE I think it must be about 7 years since we last had a summer like this one – just wonderful! My plants seem to have caught up with the season up here Helene.

  8. Janie Jurkiewicz

    Happy GBBD! I love Rhapsody in Blue. I even like the name. I volunteer at a museum where they have a climbing rose that is called "Stormy Weather" with a scent that is out of this world. Is this rose a climber?


    What lovely bones your garden has! And I'm jealous. My Rhapsody in Blue never thrived and I finally had to remove it.

  10. CommonWeeder

    One of the things I like about GBBD is visiting new gardens, and meeting new gardeners. Here in the hills of Massachusetts rose season is essentially over, but it was magnificent, probably because of all the June rain. Now the daylilies are blooming, my giant Mothlight hydrangea, and a few other perennials like my new sea holly. The air is scented with linden flowers. Just wonderful. I hope you'll visit.

  11. Rosie Nixon

    HiJanie Jurkiewicz This rose has a lovely scent too but it's not a climber though can be trained to grow through an obelisk and become a 'pillar' rose. Thanks for visiting 🙂

  12. Rosie Nixon

    HiMarianne Skov Jensen and thank you 🙂 I was telling Kari on G+ tonight that I can't do any gardening for a few days as I've got so many big blisters trying to weed using a garden trowel and then they burst …oouch!

  13. Rosie Nixon

    HiLee and thanks. Those collages were put together so quick in picasa with raw's. So handy for getting photos online quick.

  14. Rosie Nixon My rose didn't do very well for a few years but over the past year I've increased the amount of light it gets and it certainly has thrived. This is its best year so far.

  15. rusty duck

    Hi Rosie, what a gorgeous garden you have!
    I love the first combination of Astrantia and Lysimachia. I had the variegated form of the latter, which maybe less thug like. I managed to kill it anyway, a shame.
    The combination of 'New Dawn' with the Sambuscus is perfect!

  16. scottweberpdx

    Absolutely stunning…love the Astrantia and Alliums, especially…and thank you for including the wide shots at the end…really puts things in perspective!

  17. Millymollymandy

    Oh wow, absolutely stunning, Rosie!
    I have a question about the Physocarpus diabolo. What is the red that is showing in the photo now that the flowers have finished? I can't view larger unfortunately! It can't be berries yet, surely? Does it have berries? I've hankered after this shrub for years as I have a thing for black/purple foliage…. but just have too many plants here so that will have to wait until my next garden, wherever and whenever that may be!

  18. Daniel Mihai Popescu

    This is the most beautiful garden I've ever seen. I tried some time ago to tell you this, but they prompted me to open a Blogger account :). Thank you for the beautiful pictures of the magic flowers.

  19. Silvi lara

    Hi Rosie, what a gorgeous garden you have!
    I love the first combination of Astrantia and Lysimachia. I had the variegated form of the latter, which maybe less thug like. I managed to kill it anyway, a shame.

  20. Rosie Nixon

    Sorry Mandy I haven't forgotten. I'm on week 3 of my artistic photography mentorship on G+ and it's so absorbing and the assignments are tough for me as I don't come from an art history background. I've not even been on my blog and hardly posted a thing on FB since the course started – though it finishes next week.

    I did take a photo for you after reading the comment though haven't had any time to do anything with it as it's still just a raw file in the folder. In that photo in July the red was just the remainders of what was left after the flower had finished blooming. Now that we're into August those have swelled into a lovely geometric shape and are more like berries – but not round. I must get some more photos taken for you. The other thing I like about Diablo is that it has peeling bark.