We have got to Midsummer’s Day, and the weather is hot and sunny. The birds nesting in the garden have all flown, and people have begun to cut their hedges, and along by the river the yellowhammers are just leaving the nests, with their distinctive calls racketing through the hawthorns and alders they seem to like.
It is peak herb this week, with roses, lavender, woodruff (I’m a little too late for this really, but I’ll dry it anyway, to use as a fixative for potpourri), chickweed, self-heal and clover all ready for harvesting, and peppermint and yarrow bulking up. The traditional midsummer herbs, St. John’s wort and meadowsweet are not yet flowering here, but they are close. There are chopped chives in the freezer, and basil ready for making pesto.
These are the first of the marigolds, which I sowed back in the autumn, and forgot about. There will be plenty more from the spring sowing, and they will last well into the autumn.
The plants that dominate the garden this week, however, are the ferns. They have some association with this time of year, with fairies and with midsummer magic. It was believed that you could sprinkle fern seed in your shoe and become invisible – more on this website.
This one is the hart’s tongue fern.
and this is polypody. A lot of ferns have had traditional medicinal uses, but they are most welcome in my garden for their refreshing green in the glare of summer, and because they will cope with shade.
Posting here may be a little erratic over the next few weeks. Lockdown has been tough on all of us, and especially on some of my family, and we all need a bit of chilling time. But I will be writing and gardening, and I hope there will be a newsletter soon, inspred by clover. Enjoy the summer!