It was a great time for gardens, even if mine was parched from the lack of rain by mid-month. Goodnestone Gardens looked splendid at the beginning of June, then the weather was more uncertain by the time my birthday (and election day) dawned. The sun came out, though, in time for a birthday tea organised by my book group. More birthdays followed – a good excuse to make a cake.
Early in the month it was good to see the Little Gardens of Sandwich on their public open days and marvel at the variety of styles tucked away behind properties large and small, then be tempted by the specialist plant stalls. A couple of visits to the Salutation garden found the borders packed with interesting plants along with some fabulous seedheads – and a rather lovely secret door. I found myself deadheading roses everyday at home but the bright pink (sadly unscented) roses that bloomed in profusion out at the front might prove too much of a challenge for me. The white hydrangeas are now looking spectacular to make up for the fading of the roses, while sweet peas bought from the local post office filled jugs until the middle of the month.
It wasn’t all about gardens – I made a visit to London and satisfied my wish for a masala dosa, went to the Marlowe in Canterbury to see the fabulous performance of Jane Eyre by Bristol Old Vic and spotted poppies and hollyhocks growing on the beach in Deal. I also spent a puzzling few hours at Dover Castle. Glorious on the outside, a lack of information boards inside meant detective work was required to work out the significance of the refurbished rooms. Best bits – the lit fire in the King’s bedroom, illustrating that the fires really could heat a big, draughty room (in midsummer…), the (reproduction) Mappa Mundi and the atmospheric galleries – unadorned with uneven floors and ventilation shafts/spy holes into the main castle giving, in my view, the best glimpse of what castle life might have been like in the 1400s.
A visit to the Pines Calyx museum, tea room and garden in St. Margaret’s proved more successful. A beautiful garden featuring stunning views and an unusual flower bed formed from the ancient façade of a London house, it made the perfect way to round off the month. Apart from completing the re-painting of my summerhouse inside and out – a new writing space, maybe?