Early summer days

It’s already June; the month which is filled with the longest days, strawberries, roses and peonies. The month when the verdant garden is at its peak of beauty and when so many flowers are in full bloom.

“The deliciousness of the early summer silence was only broken by the song of the birds, and the nearer hum of bees.”

Elizabeth Gaskell

I love the layers of petals and the soft pink hues of the peonies and roses we have. They beautifully combine in a summery bouquet and fill our home with a subtle fragrance. One that is only to be scented in those early summer days.

Being surrounded by flowers in my garden is such a delight. It’s a place where I’m completely enclosed by color, scent, nature and the most diverse shapes. A place of discovery, wonder, calmness, comfort, joy and peace. It’s just one of my favourite places to stay! Do you feel the same when you’re in your garden?

This is valerian and it’s wide spread in our garden. They easily sow out. But I love them although I think I have to remove some of them as they are becoming a little dominant right now!

But not all is rosy in the garden. This year the harvest of the veggie garden is really disappointing. We had a very dry spring and at the same time an invasion of snails. They ate every tiny leaf that sprouted from the seeds I’ve been sowing. Lettuce, rucola, spinach, peas, … they have been growing really slow and I can count the pods of the peas on my 2 hands. Parsnip, beetroot, fennel, … they didn’t sprout and when they did, they were immediately eaten by the snails. Even the zucchini’s and cucumbers I’ve sown inside the house haven’t survived the invasion of the snails. I now bought some plants at the market and hope they will do better.

Wild fennel, poppies, radishes, chard, rhubarb, orache, endive, lettuce and summer flowers in the veggie garden. And underneath all those green leaves you’ll find huge families of snails!

Despite the disappointment of the veggie garden, the strawberries, gooseberries and currants are doing well. Although the snails have been enjoying the strawberries too. But I’ve been using an ecological products against those slugs and it seems to work.

Too many strawberries to eat so I’ve made strawberry-rhubarb jam. And we daily add strawberries to our smoothies. I also love to have them on top of my homemade granola with yoghurt and a little spoon of our honey. There’s nothing better than a freshly picked strawberry, still warm from the sun. What a summer treat!

Because of the drought, we won’t have a big harvest of raspberries. And the birds in the garden are having parties in our cherry trees. All the red ripe cherries are gone. I’m just hoping the birds will in return for their festive meals eat the snails…

These early summer days are the perfect time to collect and dry herbs and flowers. Like for example this malva (Malva sylvestris) with its lovely purple flowers. I use them often in my tea and when you put them in hot water, your tea wil color in a magical blue!

This month there are many herbs to be harvested. Rose, lemon balm, mint, malva, cornflower, marigold, daisies, … Pick them on a dry and sunny day, just before noon when their flavour is still strong. Spread the leaves or flowers out on kitchen paper and let it dry in a dark and ventilated place. When they feel crispy and dry, you can store them in brown paper bags and put them away in a dark cupboard until you’ll use them.

In the morning and evenings I often enjoy a little walk in the garden, especially now because the peonies, roses, jasmin and honeysuckle are blooming. They spread such a sweet scent in the fresh air. As you can see, the humblebees are accompagnying me too.

I’ve already mentioned the omnipresent valerian in our garden. Here you can see the terrace of my studio is surrounded by a wall of valerian.

Time to hang the laundry outside again! The sun and the wind will quickly dry our linnen sheets and add a subtle fresh scent which I always hugely enjoy when going to sleep.

This is the view I have on the garden from my studio window. I love all the green, blooming flowers and growing prunes on the tree. Butterflies fluttering around and birds singing from morning until late in the evening, particularly the blackbird with his enchanting songs. These are really some of the small blessings on those early summer days.

One of my favourite flowers… foxgloves. Especially this one which blooms so abundantly in the most lovely soft pink shades. These exquisite flowers are often part of my porcelain creations. They have something fairylike don’t you think?!

I hope your days will be filled with beauty and small summer blessings!

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