June is the month when my front garden rides on the edge of glory. The roses, that drape like a garland across the railings, are festooned with sweetly scented blooms. A once solitary apple tree is barely visible through a haze of fennel that reaches ever upwards, racing the Inula. Drifts of cosmic blue borage flowers are scattered like stars through the planting, alive with the ever constant motion of buzzing bees.
This is not a ‘traditional’ front garden by anyones standards, it refuses to sit quietly and look ‘presentable’. This garden is
ever-changing, gathering pace like a whirling dervish, spinning wildly with flashes of colour, reaching a joyous equilibrium.
The beauty of this garden comes from just a few flowers that are encouraged to self seed freely. The garden faces south making it the perfect place to grow a variety of herbs that love to bask in the sun.
As with all good gardens there is a structure to hold it together; an informal rosa rugosa hedge that bears edible hips in autumn, a cordon apple tree that produces an abundance of rosy red apples and a selection of evergreen herbs that include oregano, rosemary, lavender and bay, all kitchen garden essentials.
Then, as the soil warms up the first violets begin to bloom alongside the creamy yellow primroses. Then comes the valerian and the first roses begin to bloom. Lavender gains a new lease of life and shoots out its purple spikes softened by the flush of daisy yellow flowers of anthemis. And, when all is bursting with life, the self seeders get to work, weaving their way through the plantings, creating patterns and colours that only nature can do.
Some would consider this plant a weed yet I wouldn’t be without it. Masses of dainty white flowers are produced throughout the summer. Feverfew, particularly the golden form, will tolerate partial shade making it happy to sit at the feet of its taller companions It is a short-lived perennial that self seeds freely, often appearing in gaps in the paving and other places you weren’t expecting. Height 45 cms
The active ingredient in feverfew is used to reduce the severity of migraine. Regular consumption may reduce the frequency of migraine. The leaves taste bitter and can cause mouth ulcers so use sparingly. A couple of leaves added to a salad or sandwich will suffice. The flowers are also edible and can be consumed in the same way. Feverfew must not be taken during pregnancy.
Who can resist the intensely blue flowers of borage? Not I! Borage suprises me. In the blink of an eye saturated masses of such intense blue appear within the garden, beacons to a myriad of winged creatures. Borage loves the sun and stretches up high to greet it. Plant amongst roses and fennel, steady companions who will hold it up. Borage is a great traveller and I smiled when I spotted it growing outside the garden, propped up lazily by the wall. Height 80-100cms
Borage is such a pretty flower and deserves to be shown off. Freeze it in ice cubes to capture its essence then add to a delicious jug of Pimms, the perfect summer tipple.
The flowers of pot marigolds add a certain ‘zing’ to the garden. In shades of yellow and orange they lift a border like they lift my spirits. Once planted these cottage garden favourites will never leave. Marigolds will often run to the front of a border where they shout “Look at me Look at me!” Height 40 cms.
Pick off the petals of the flowers and scatter them in a salad, they will make it look as good as it tastes. Alternatively add the petals to herbal tea. I enjoy it with lemon verbena, a relaxing brew best enjoyed in the garden.