Summer is almost here. There's no mistaking that wet grass scent or the slightly heavier humid air that so distinctly belongs to early summer mornings. The village gets busier as the summer crops inch closer to harvest. Just today I've watched a ride on mower, two oversized John Deere tractors, 2 or 3 smaller tractors, and some sort of intricate looking ploughing(?) contraption thunder past the cottage. For a teeny, tiny village hamlet, the roads are getting quite backed up with farm vehicles and the like.
Everywhere I look signs of summer are making themselves known. Sweet peas, barley, elderflowers, delphinium, and roses. There is so much colour and life.
In my garden I am clipping roses and larkspur. As well as eyeing-off the elderflower blossoms for cordial making. But back to the roses...
This powdery pink beauty is David Austin's The Ancient Mariner. Named after Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem The Rime of The Ancient Mariner, it is a large and impressive rose in all senses of the word. A prolific repeat flowering rose, it can grow up to 5ft tall by 3ft wide. It has a lovely scent- like most DA roses- and its beauty is evident from bright pink bud through to faded fully reflexed blooms. This is a relatively new Austin rose, released in the last couple of years here in the UK, and only now becoming available in the US and Canada. She should flower abundantly until the first frost in November.
The slightly more apricot pink rose is another DA, The Queen of Sweden. She begins as a very peachy-apricot, almost orange bud, opening to that iconic cup shape associated with Austin roses with a faded apricot-blush hue. The mature blooms fade even further, just before they finish and shatter, to an almost pale tea-stained hue. I favour her scent and shape, and I think she has much better 'staying power' when clipped for a vase.
The larkspur has been so welcome for the bees. I've left these tall flowering spires well alone except for the two stems I cut for a little garden posy gift to take to a new friend. It paired so beautifully with the pink of the roses.
Also left well alone as much as possible has been the robin nest in our garden wall. I have been watching our resident robin pair building and fussing over their nest for a few weeks now, and noticed in the last week Mrs Robin has been diligently sitting on eggs. Today she was flitting around the garden and beyond for an extended amount of time (feeding perhaps?), so I took the opportunity to peer into the nest to count the eggs. I think there are three, it is difficult to see all the way into her delicate and cosy nest because it is in quite a tight nook in the dry-stone wall. My phone camera could just about capture one little speckled egg. The sweetest thing I've seen this week I think.
Hopefully she can manage to hatch her entire clutch! The weather is certainly very nice for her. Seven new tiny ducklings have also appeared on the brook. I spotted them from a window last night, so I rushed outside to the brook, barefoot, to count them.