Hasn’t the weather been glorious lately? I’ve been enjoying staying close to home, walking or cycling to wherever I want or need to go, tending the garden, keeping the allotment ticking over and making easy summer food such as pizza, tarts, roasted aubergine lasagna, frittata, anything and everything that can be accompanied by a simple salad.
It’s that time of year when the asparagus is over, I’ve over-cropped the spinach, the broad beans are really too tiny to pick and we’re still a couple of weeks at least away from the first courgette or French bean that one is thankful to have been so diligent with direct sowing salad at the allotment. Soon I will be able to make the first pesto, the basil is putting on some growth at last and I have 40 or so heads of garlic drying in the sun. Pasta pesto with French beans is one of my favourite (and quickest) summer suppers and I look forward to it appearing in my repertoire.
When I’m not cooking or gardening or cycling around the countryside I’m working on a largish piece of canvas embroidery and I’ve been swatching with patterns, needles and yarn trying to decide which summer shawl to knit. Whenever I think I have decided I stumble across a new one to consider. I hope to have made a decision by the time Wimbledon starts as I like the idea of knitting while half-watching tennis.
But back to today and it is the anniversary of my mother’s birthday and to celebrate I am planting a new rose, Rosa Lavender Lassie, bought at Polesden Lacey yesterday. My mother adored roses and I can see her now hoeing around the roses in her summer rose garden, a formal square bisected by two diagonal paths making four planting triangles that overflowed with scent and colour and beauty. She underplanted the roses with violas in the spring, lamb’s ears flowered in the summer and later there was sedum. She always cut masses of roses for the house, arranging them beautifully with her artist’s eye. I know she would have loved the roses and other flowers I’ve collected together here. Some are from my garden, most are from Polesden Lacey and a few from a visit to Nymans the other week.
When I’ve planted my new rose I plan to make a birthday pilgrimage to the Sunbury Millennium Embroidery which was worked on by 140 people, including my mother. After an initial unveiling by the Queen (she popped in informally one June morning and two hours later was proceeding down the Royal Mile at Ascot) this 25 foot embroidery is now displayed in a modern purpose-built elliptical gallery within the Walled Garden at Sunbury-on-Thames, yet another wonderful garden to see beautiful roses growing naturally.