As Spring fades into what augers to be a hot summer, grasses thickly intersperse with self-sown wildlings and tangles of sticky paspalum heads. A subdued hum spreads amongst the sweet domes of clover where bees forage steadily for nectar. How delightful it is to wade ankle-deep through the cool soft grasses at day’s end! The birds welcome our overgrown lawns at this time, for the sprawling meadows proffer a nourishing array of both plant and insect foods.
This is the time to breathe deeply and slowly. As one wanders through seasons lush yet lingering wilderness, try to embrace nature’s irreverent sense of humour. As herbs embark on their final, riotous indulgence, clumps of sorrel and chives, lettuces and herbs will soon bear seeds instead of leaves. They will sway … primed to disperse seeds on vagrant winds for a seasonal harvest, unless we salvage them for next year’s plantings. When autumn comes, those defiant escapee seedlings will suddenly emerge in the most unlikely places … baby lettuces amongst evening primroses, parsley and coriander in the pebbles outside the Nook, and perverse mustard leaves … curling like lime snails out on the rock-hard driveway. It even seems that the wild-propagated seedlings which have disregarded the gardener’s pursuit of order and design, somehow, often possess more fragrance and flavour !
Through a blue-hazed screen of flowering Bog Sage, the Children’s Potting Shed emerges, its cedar shingles silvered and shining in the summer glare. The ever reliable Souvenir de la Malmaison Rose inclines its flat, quilted blooms across the shed’s doorway, while sprawling catmint carpets its base with mauve, floral sprays that are gently cushioned amongst their gray leaves. Around them rise hosts of small, pastel-winged butterflies … transient, winged visitors, who often frequent our herbal haven.
Last week, a Spotted Pardalote was found hovering, like a hummingbird, outside the Nook. Feasting on insects in the corners of the paned doorway, this little “diamond bird” must have been gathering lunch for his family. Pardalotes are shy creatures of habit but perhaps this one has found the sub-terranean nest in the undisturbed mound of earth, secreted, beside the old well. It is wonderful to be able to welcome bird visitors to our Haven, by simply providing shelter and plentiful bowls of cool fresh water.