I tried to get all literary and show fewer photos, whether of the garden or anywhere else; but it's not going to work. My garden and the South Shropshire Hills are too beautiful to keep secret. My photos may not be much good, but I like to show off. As always, all photos may be enlarged by clicking on them.
Perhaps I've relaxed and/or matured, but I've decided not to worry too much about what Americans so aptly and endearingly call 'volunteers': that is self-seeders in the more prosaic English English. These are Welsh poppies, hugely prolific, they appear everywhere and are well-nigh ineradicable, unless you poison them. I don't want to do that, and in previous years I've gone round, either digging them up, but always necessarily being forced to leave a bit of their fleshy roots behind, or snipping them off above ground and thereby leaving the lemony green. deeply serrated leaves but not the golden flower cups. Leaving them alone I have both leaves and flowers and, no doubt, twice as many of them next year. Que sera, sera.
Laburnums are very hard to photograph in their full splendour. This one is only just out and will turn even more dizzying in a day or two. Their German name is 'Goldregen', (golden rain) and that is exactly what they look like, a shower of dripping, shimmering, golden tassels, gently swinging in even the lightest breeze. For most of the year the tree is boring but for three or four weeks in late spring it is a wonderful sight. Beware, blooms and seeds are toxic.
More gold: this time a large leaved hosta and a golden grass, both do well in semi-shade (like most gold-leafed plants) and both bring a darkish corner to life like a golden neon light. Hostas and ferns are my favourite plants; I like shade gardening although dry shade is considered to be among the harder areas to cultivate.
Now for a bit of red: my Peppe poppy, my very own cultivar of a poppy which doesn't exist anywhere else - I have given it away to other gardeners. It was developed in this garden in Valley's End. It is a spectacular, tall, blowsy primadonna, which, if left unstaked like here, flounces and spreads its skirts over a large space, smothering everything around it, proclaiming brazenly "I'm worth it". Once it's finished flowering, I cut it down, leaving maybe just one seed head for propagation. The plants around the poppy breathe a sigh of relief when Madame has been pruned back to manageable proportions.
The long rainy spell in April and the recent heat wave (we have a week of warm sunshine and it's called a 'heat wave') have brought everything on in leaps and bounds. Shrubs and herbaceous plants are occupying every inch of ground, which is good: they swallow up and hide weeds, which saves me a lot of back-breaking work.
And finally, the castle. How could I show you photos of my garden without showing you what is just outside the hedge. I've made it look far away, but it isn't; that's the wonder of digital photography.