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“Kate, are you there?” I yelled into her answerphone, “Come round for a cup of tea, the garden is looking fab”

Kate returned my call I told her the garden was looking wonderful and she duly came round for a cup of tea and to examine the garden after my claims of it looking fab and perfect.

roses and peonies in the June garden

Obviously it did not look perfect;- as no weeding, or rather very little has been done this year, no lawn edging, and no staking, no cutting back and there are some rather big planting gaps. The top pond has been removed, but the new patio has not been made, some things have got rather out of hand and the cutting garden is a disaster area ….. but apart from that it was “fab and perfect”

I am not in the habit of announcing that my garden is looking “fab and perfect” but recently I have been keeping a close eye on it, as next year I want to open it twice! (gulp). I am trying to judge “that moment” I know we all have “that moment” and for me at this time of year it is the moment when the peonies start opening, the iris sibirica are still around and the roses are blooming. A new addition to the June garden is phlomis russeliana, which is flowering for the first time and was given to me by Patient Gardener a couple of years ago.

Yellow flowers of phlomis russelina in June

My dilemma of course, is when will “that moment” occur next year …..

In 2011 that moment occurred in the week of the 11th June and looking back at the images, the garden was further on than it was the same week this year. In 2012 I was photographing the peony and astrantia combination and muttering about rain and gales.

dark astrantia with pink peony in the june garden

Anyway Kate came for tea, we went around the garden with a fine tooth-comb teacups in hand and decided that yes it did (or rather would) look good enough to open in June as well as September, so I am thinking that I will open it on the 8th June 2014 …… or would the 15th be better? That is my dilemma!

When does your garden have “that moment” where (albeit with the aid of rose tinted spectacles) everything looks fab and perfect?


23 comments to Dilemma

  • Mmmm – peonies and astrantia – now there’s food for thought Karen. What is the dark foliage lurking behind them? With the aid of rose tinted specs and a glass of rosé I think that magical moment here is sometime in May. There must be a scientific formula somewhere to work it out :)

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      The dark foliage is an acer in a pot – it gets moved around to where is looks best and just happened to be lurking behind the astrantia / peony combo. May is a lovely time of year Anna and from what you show us in your blog I suspect that the rose tinted glasses are not required and that your May garden is indeed magical. :)

  • My tiny garden’s only a year old so I don’t think it has a perfect moment, not yet anyway. I’m not sure it will for at least a year or so. I love the peony/astrantia combination.

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Hello Thursday, I suspect that your garden will have lots of lovely perfect moments next year, when it has grown into itself a bit. Thanks, I am quite pleased with the astrantia / peony combo, it worked even better than I thought it would in my minds eye.
      Lovely to hear from you.

  • That perfect moment seems to be different every year. My garden here in the states is always later than yours, so I’m going to say, barring any quirky weather patterns, June 20.

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Hello Jill – Lovely to hear from you and thanks for letting us know when your perfect moment was/is – I love the precision of your answer! :)
      Sadly, I think all we get these days is quirky weather patterns

  • I can vouch for the fact that it did look fab and perfect… It’s so difficult to know about dates – this is SUCH a weird year. The lilacs have only just faded, for heavens’ sake, and lots of things which should be going mad seem to be in suspended animation. Whatever date you pick some things will be over and some won;t be out, and it will still look good.

    PS: I am planning a holiday for weeks around that time. So sorry, won’t be able for weeding…

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      But Kate, you never go on holiday for weeks at a time in June (or August! 😉 ) Anyway, whenever you walk around my garden you probably pull up half a dozen or so weeds, so just keep doing that for the next 12 months and I should be weed free! (as if). So glad that you didnt think it looked too bad either.

  • When we used to open for the NGS, we always opened the 2nd weekend in June, but the weather this year has been so strange, the garden at the moment is looking as it should have done 3 weeks ago! I think you will just have to cross your fingers and choose,good luck!

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      Yes, I think some things are around three weeks late and some things are “on time” it is all too disconcerting! I think the 2nd week in June is quite a good time to open, so we will probably go with that, although I have to liaise with another open garden in the area which we do the plant stall for, to make sure we dont open on the same day!
      Lovely to hear from you

  • Dobby

    Mmmm. Double refreshment duty. Guess I had better get into double training if Kate is going to abandon me!!
    Those peonies are absolutely fabulous. I love the phlomis russeliana as well. I still think they look as if they are about to burst into traditional flowers. Though I ought to realise that as you don’t ‘do’ traditional, that it is not likely;-)

    • Karen - An Artist's Garden

      It is funny, I have looked at phlomis in other gardens and thought “I don’t like you much” but I have completely change my mind about it this year as it looks good against the bronze fennel. Err double refreshment duty …. possibly, but I might see if I can make some new friends!! (unlikely) :)

      • Dobby

        If you do find some more ‘friends’, just make sure they have stamina and strong legs for those slate steps! Perhaps you will have new neighbours by then who will want in ingratiate themselves!! (I can dream)

  • Despite with out some refurbishing, your garden is looking fab and a riot of colors.

  • An interesting question. We are going to open for the NGS next year and have to decide on the best date. Very difficult decision indeed. malc

  • The garden is looking lovely! This part of summer is my favourite time of the year.

  • I think your garden is looking pretty fab and perfect, at least from your imagea (and we know the camera never lies!). With all the rain we’re having this year (wonderful rain, I should say) the season of loveliness has lasted much longer than usual, otherwise one of its best times is the week of the Chelsea flower show, plus April for the Tulips and September and October for the grasses and well almost everything flowers again in autumn. Christina

  • My shady border in my back garden looks good in May and then the border and beds on the other side which face south are planted for summer colour. It’s a small space so it never looks completely brilliant but that was my choice. It’s a small space and I didn’t want it to all go over in one spell and there be nothing to look at for the rest of the year. Although my summer border was meant to be redesigned this spring but since we didn’t really get a spring and I was otherwise engaged it never happened. consequently it looks a bit rubbish and taunts me every time I see it. I’m waiting now till autumn to replant. I think your garden is looking pretty fab and I love that phlomis. It would be lovely to visit next year. :)

  • Always difficult to choose dates to open the garden because you can bet your life there will be some act of nature/ lack of act of nature which will scupper all your carefully laid plans. It will be too windy/dry/wet/stormy or a combination of all !!

    I think my garden hits the Sweet Spot in early June and after that it is a gentle descent into overblown chaos ! Everything seems to ‘go over’ and holes are left by perennial poppies and delphiniums, even though there are still lots of good things yet to come. I suppose it is different for every garden. The ‘Adrian Bloom’ gardening in the 1970’s , using conifers and heathers must have avoided this problem as they looked exactly the same throughout the year !

  • oh oh oh if only – that fab and perfect will not be for several years in my garden which just right now is full of scattered socks and bones (thanks to puppy) ballast dropped by builder and collapso green manure. Drought and high summer bite deep.

  • It is a great question – when is the moment? I think mine is sometime in June when the oriental poppies are out but it has certainly shifted about from year to year. Your peonies are just beautiful. I need to expand from my old fashioned officialanis, lovely though it is.

  • woow… really like your blog, wonderful photos :)
    and do not miss…


    it is FUN :)
    Håkan ( The Roseman)