Summer in the garden

Summer in the Garden
Your garden should be a feast for the senses, especially in the summer when the garden is at its fullest. For sensory overload, try and incorporate plants or features that appeal to all the five senses, and get out there and enjoy your space!
Sight: give yourself some colour therapy and pack your garden with flowers! For an instant pick me-up use summer bedding and fill pots, window boxes and gaps in the border. For more long-term colour, plant perennials that will give you years of service. Planted now, summer beauties such as rudbeckia, giant verbena, Echinacea, sedums and coreopsis, will give you flower through to first frost. As a general guideline, plant hot colours in a bright sunny spot, and keep the cooler, paler shades to less sunny areas. We can help you choose plants that are suitable for your garden, but you will be the person looking at them, so pick flowers that you like to look at!


There are many different ways to introduce sound in to your garden – the rustle of ornamental grasses (such as Miscanthus or Golden Oats)and bamboos in the wind, the gentle tinkle of water, wind-chimes and of course, the most natural of all –birdsong. Make your garden attractive to birds and enjoy the free concerts every morning and evening.


I’m not suggesting that you go out and hug a tree, but the feel of plants can really be incredibly soothing – soft, furry Stachys byzantina is known as lamb’s ears for very good reason, and grasses, such as Stipa ‘Pony Tails’ are wonderful to run your hands through, as are plants with soft, ferny foliage such as fennel. For the ultimate touch sensation, walk barefoot on the lawn early morning – real sensory therapy!
You’d have to have spent the last six months on Mars not to have noticed the huge surge in interest in growing your own. Easy to do, even if you don’t feel like creating a veg patch, why not fill a planter on the patio with salad leaves and scallions. Perfect for summer evenings al fresco. You could pot up a few pots of herbs, or throw a few springs of rosemary and thyme on the barbecue coals for a Mediterranean twist. If you just want a few sweet treats, try growing some strawberries and cherry tomatoes in a hanging basket or window box and then pick and eat as you pass – great for kids.
This would have to be my favourite sense in the garden, and the one which is the most personal. Scent is evocative, and will trigger individual memories – for me honeysuckle reminds me of my childhood summers playing in the garden. Our garden at the moment is filled with scent from an old Philadelphus which only flowers for a few precious weeks each year but the scent is so incredible, I would not be without it even though it is completely unremarkable for the remaining 48 weeks of the year. For fragrant delight in your garden, try planting Chocolate Cosmos, Chocolate Mint (me? Like chocolate? Never!) , Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Lavender, roses, honeysuckle or jasmine. Some plants, such Sweet Rocket or Tobacco Flower, smell more at night so make sure you plant them near a night-time seating area for maximum benefit.

Your garden can be an amazing space, full of life and colour, and more important than how neat / weed-free / designed it is, is that you enjoy it and take time to experience it. Find a quiet corner either first thing in the morning or in the evening and take it all in – the sounds, the sights, the scents. At this time of year gardens are alive – dozy bumblebees falling from flower to flower, adult birds being harassed by loud youngsters on the branches, busy honey bees, ladybirds munching through greenfly, butterflies dancing over flowers and moths coming out as darkness falls. Who needs TV?

Sarah Evans
The Secret Garden

Published in The Corkman 18th June 2009
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