So many annuals have been temperamental to get going this year but they are beginning to show more optimistic signs. The first outdoor stocks are blooming now, cerinthe is getting into its stride, the first batch of Ammi majus is flowering, and the first cornflowers are opening their little blue heads. But otherwise everything has what seems like miles to go - ammi is usually hugely successful here but I had problems with germination for some reason this year so have had to sow indoors and prick out, and have only tiny crops of early blooms which is rather disappointing. Some seedlings got swamped with corn spurry and never stood a chance - my fault for being too busy to look out for them at the appropriate time, and the ducks played havoc with the first bunch of snapdragons, deciding the middle of the patch was the perfect place for them to make mudslides. We were forced to resow rows of sunflowers this week, very late I know but perhaps they'll make it after birds devoured the first crop.
But some flowers are looking wonderful - delphiniums are managing to stay majestic despite the rotten weather that has been thrown at them, and they'll be much used in the next crop of weddings. Larkspur are blooming in the tunnel, along with stocks and sweet peas. Sparkling starry alliums are sweeping through beds, different astrantia are getting into their stride, knautia, cirsium and gladioli are beautifully bright. The cottage garden is anything but subtle, suddenly it's an explosion of colour - I think it calms down a bit soon as it's certainly not to everyone's taste at this stage! Roses are blooming their socks off, various poppies are coming and going, foxtail lilies are waving their tails about, and in the middle of it all the bright yellow phlomis is shouting to anyone that will listen - it has never been my favourite plant but the seedheads are rather wonderful so I've grown to admire it in all its brashness.
Bouquets this week include campanula, astrantia, heuchera, knautia, peonies, alchemilla, nigella, lobelia, stovks, pinks........ rather lovely I think!