The magic of summer.

It’s been a disappearing trick…the last seven weeks have sped past and suddenly we’re almost into August. And the garden has changed from the perfection and optimism of early June to the blowziness of late July in the twinkling of an eye. I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s the trouble with opening the garden so frequently…we’re so busy keeping our heads down with the weeding, mowing, dead-heading, watering, cake-making and general organisation that we hardly have time to notice the subtle rhythms of the summer. But when I thumb through the photos of our visitors this year - four groups from Holland, one from Austria and one each from Eastbourne, Westhumble and Wimbledon plus of course the public opening day - it becomes much easier to spot the languid but inevitable changes.

But now we can relax a bit. No more visitors this season. We can - at least till yesterday’s rain and wind which flattened them - enjoy the hollyhocks. We brought one black flowered plant with us when we moved and thanks to the bees and The Long House conditions they’re thriving here.

And late July is the time of year when we’re asked to do a butterfly count. How many painted ladies have we seen? Well, none yet despite the apparent mass influx of them. And sadly also a total lack of any blues. Perhaps last summer’s heat, when there were hundreds in our meadow here, disturbed their breeding patterns. It’s also glow-worm spotting time too now. They’re on a decrease for sure…four years ago we found a few but haven’t seen any since. So for old time’s sake here’s a picture of each of the three.

Talking of our meadow, here’s how it’s changed in five weeks. The early season ox eye daisies and grasses have been replaced by a proliferation of wild flowers and thousands of bees, butterflies and insects…now that really is magic.