The garden comes alive

All the established perennials - we have been here for seven years now, and things are starting to feel at home - seem to be extra big this year, perhaps thanks to the generous mulchings of muck they received last year.  A thick mulch is the best gift we can give our flowers: it smothers weeds, seals in moisture, and eventually rots down into the soil, improving soil structure and adding goodness which then feeds the plants.  As it breaks down it also helps to support diverse ecologies of mini-fauna, which in turn means that we will have a more balanced eco-stsyem at the garden, which we like!  Unfortunately, we have also discovered that slugs love a thick mulch, especially of muck, which they hide under before sliming out to eat our tender young plants.  This year we have experimented with nematodes for the first time - who knows whether or not it's working?  So far most things seem to be battling through.

Sweet rocket, geum and alliums are in flower all over the garden, and clematis send white and pink trails over the red brick walls.  Most excitingly, the first roses are beginning to appear: the very first this year are the sumptuous red Baron Girod de l'Ain, which disports itself on the lovely warm south-facing wall with figs and honeysuckles.  Bees are hard at work buzzing from bloom to bloom, and Jak makes us leave the bothy door open with her chair against it so that the swallows can fly in and out to their nests.