More than half way through the year and I still can’t quite believe that I am living in this beautiful county, which has the feel of a totally different country, but that might be because for the first time in a very long time I have not been out of it. Living in Shropshire I was always weaving between county borders: Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Powys. Of course that last county is also in a different country. Wales. Back in the south-east I lived at the edge of three country borders. Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex. No country or county hopping here, it takes me two hours driving to reach the only border with Devon.
Our 4th month here and it has been a very quiet month. The weather has been somewhat up and down, a damp June followed by an even damper beginning of July. And windy too. Ragged crows are blown backwards across the sky whilst the seagulls, driven inland from the coast, appear to float. A pair of magpies started to visit the bird bath and converse around the edges. Tree sparrows perched high on the hedgerows and my hazel corkscrew, heads turning every which way to check for predators before flying down for a quick bathe or drink. I have noticed that when it is windy there is an absence of the smaller birds. I have no idea where they disappear to. And one afternoon as I was working on the computer I heard a tapping sound. Looking up I was greeted by a juvenile magpie standing on the deep slate sill and tapping on my window. I got up and walked towards him and instead of flying away in fright, he cocked his head as if to take a better look inside the room and looked me straight in the eye. I have read Daphne du Maurier’s “the Birds”; I think he has too.
Then there is the mist that appears without warning, creeping from behind the hill and subsuming all in its wake. The landscape disappears behind a grey cloak of dampness for hours on end, but then a patch of blue appears and within minutes the mist disperses leaving behind a rain-washed cloudless blue sky and air so clear and sunlight so bright that the many hues are so vivid they hurt your eyes.
The renovations are on hold as it seems to be so difficult to find a builder willing or able to take on the job. We have decided to make do with what we have for now and just get on living. So all the boxes have been unpacked. Bookshelves filled and furniture moved to its semi-permanent location. A ladder will have to be found to access the loft, but it can wait.
In the middle of the month, summer arrived. The wind dropped and the clouds disappeared leaving us with a cerulean sky. Time to finally enjoy the garden. Beaches packed to the hilt are to be avoided at this time of year. We will bide our time and have them to ourselves.
We did take a trip down to the Helford River though, stopping at a lovely restored garden and café close to Constantine. The Potager is a wonderful peaceful spot for lunch or cake if you can bring yourself to drive through those absurdly narrow lanes that pretend to be roads in this part of the county.
We finished off by walking through the Glendurgan Garden as it is a pleasant stroll down to the river beach to stop for an ice-cream and watch the boats on the river. This was our first visit in summer to this definitely ‘spring’ garden, but we appreciated the shade of the magnificent trees and the birdsong.
It seems odd to be here in summer. We have always visited Cornwall in spring and once in autumn. It is much busier. I have learned to avoid driving home between 5 and 6:30 pm and we have yet to be here during the school summer holidays! Hayle has become the town of our choice at the moment, quieter than St Ives, but it has a library, bakeries and a butcher as well as a charming walk alongside the Copperhouse Pool. And a very interesting vintage shop…
The George V Memorial Walk – Hayle
Lots has been happening in the garden. More weeding and chopping down. The weeds thrive here so I am hoping that my proposed herb garden will also do well. So far I have thyme, sage, rosemary, golden marjoram and chives growing outdoors and some recently sown basil, parsley and garlic chives indoors. The lettuces have done well and proven very tasty (well as tasty as a lettuce can), radishes have been successful but the spring onions are taking their time, some kale is growing, the borage seems happy and one courgette plant has emerged and the sweet-peas are finally making their way up the obelisk! Perhaps I shall have flowers in September, when I go away! Nasturtiums are everywhere, but they keep the neighbour’s cat off the bed so I am leaving them alone. I moved the tomatoes indoors too as they were struggling against the cold temperatures, even though planted in full sun. Next year I’ll keep them inside the conservatory.
Lots of plants have been flowering. A couple of large clematis, some purple-flowering balm-leaved archangel or deadnettle (Lamium orvala) and a yellow-flowering tall plant which has taken me an age to identify: Lysimachia punctata or Loosestrife. It’s an impressive plant and bees seem to love it, as they do the archangel. Also in flower is a white yarrow (Achillea millefolium), which attracts beetles and flies. Many of these will feature over on the flower blog as part of my Macro Monday if you want to see more.
As I write this the jasmine has begun to flower which is amazing considering how much chopping down I have done over the past months, it is a lovely clotted cream colour and the perfume is sublime. Japanese anemones are in bud as are two other perennial plants that are awaiting an ID. You can probably tell that I am loving my garden, even if so far it has been more work than a place to sit out in.
What about the hill? I hear you ask. There will be a post shortly, but in the meantime here are a few photos to be going on. Golden oat grass and magenta bell heather. It’s a hill that keeps on giving me endless botanical pleasure.
And the lanes have lost their wild look from last month as the farmer has cut down the hedgerows (see header photo).
The Cardinal is continuing his photo project throughout 2016 – a blogging event, a monthly photo challenge. Read his blog for the new rules this year (he is running two versions) and to view his interpretation and those of other participants.