‘June Gap’ is a now a thing of the past

A young chaffinch that was rescued after crashing into a window. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
A young chaffinch that was rescued after crashing into a window. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

In the garden, colour is increasing daily.

A handful of pink flowers is appearing on the variegated Weigela Florida, and soon it will be covered. The lilacs, dwarf and tall, are in full fragrant bloom. Bridal wreath (Spiraea arguta) is awash with white flowers, and ancient woad (Isatis tinctoria) continues to self-seed and show why it’s survived for centuries.

One of the shortest-lived displays in this garden is arguably the most spectacular. It comes from oriental poppies, whose large paper-like blooms are easily damaged by wind and rain. Buds are just opening so we’re hoping for a few calm days.

Perennial wallflowers (Chieranthus cheri) are coming to the end of their display and seed pods are forming. The original plants have been in the dry stone walls here for almost five years and the old stems are becoming brittle. Soon pruning each June will not be an option and we’ll need to renew them. Mixing seed with runny mud and throwing it into the crevices worked well enough last time.

Perennial plant colour combinations are catching the eye, a patch of Astrantia Hadspen Blood standing against Rosemary Jessop’s Upright in glorious blue. Elsewhere, Centranthus ruber (red valerian) has a background of silvery-grey globe artichoke. And Symphytum caucasicum (comfrey) makes a super patch of blue beneath a tall, golden broom.

Gardeners used to refer to the period between spring and summer bedding displays as the ‘June Gap’. That’s certainly not the case now.

We’ve had several fledgling birds taking short flights across the garden and cheeping as if lost, but best advice is leave well alone, a parent will be nearby.

When a young chaffinch crashed into the kitchen window, action was required. It was placed inside a tall shrub and regained its voice. A parent arrived on the scene and all was well.