29 July 2014
Sweet peas and redcurrants
The long summer days are now upon us. Here at Allt-y-bela the
swallows and swifts are darting through and chattering around us
feasting on the bountiful supply of insects and occasionally
resting on the beam in the studio! The butterflies are wafting
around seeking suitable succulent brassicas to lay their eggs and
the buzzards are soaring high on the therms above. It is just
breathing with life and regeneration and the incredible
microclimate here has encouraged blooms and foliage to put on their
The garden is looking magical; the kitchen garden is filling the house larder full of delicious salad leaves, tomatoes, potatoes and now vegetables such as peas, fine beans and mangetout. The mixture of sunshine and rain has been perfect for bringing on cabbages and cavelo nero, which look magnificent. Sweet peas are in abundance and filling the warm air with their heavenly scent, each day we try to harvest as many as possible to keep them growing continuously throughout the summer. Alongside these, the knot garden is brimming with dahlias, phlox, campanulas, roses, veronicastrum and annuals such as cosmos. A patchwork of beautiful colours including pale lilac, rich burgundy, soft dusty pink, silvers and the palest of blues, all combined in such a way that you begin to drift into a dreamy gaze.
Some of the red currants were harvested today, their beautiful shiny little globes of tartness were popped straight into the freezer, destined to become redcurrant jelly at a later date. The next batch are still being protected from the birds by netting, we're hoping the blackbird doesn't find a way in before they ripen up.
At the entrance to the house, the beautiful gladioli I was given by friends in America has given us a stunning show. She is gradually fading now and giving way to Agapanthus Windsor Grey, whose subtle and soft grey colour is filling big shoes admirably.
Photographs: Britt Willoughby Dyer