Saturday 19 May 2018 stock-taking

I went out into the front garden last night to get a picture of the cornflowers while they're still in bloom, and ended up wandering around for half an hour photographing all the other lovelies. The front garden is not extensive - it's a pocket handkerchief really - so goodness knows what the neighbours thought I was up to. They were probably hoping I'd come out to tidy, or cut the grass, but they should know by now that the grassy patch is always allowed to run wild until the forget-me-nots fade. 

As we no longer have a guinea-pig to eat the dandelions they have been growing completely unchecked this year. I had a moment a couple of weeks ago where I considered picking all the flower-heads before they could turn into multi-directional seed dispensers, but decided it would be easier to mentally reframe them as jolly yellow flowers - not weeds - and surrender quietly to their relentless quest for world domination. Besides, those ethereal seed globes really are very beautiful. 
If I hadn't taken time out to smell the lilac and the lily-of-the-valley (my favourite scented flowers) I might not have noticed the little colony of yellow poppies in the corner, or the new red leaves unfolding on the sycamore bush (it wants to be a tree but must be kept to shrub height for fear of root damage to the foundations). I also wouldn't have fully appreciated the diverse colours and shapes of the columbines - so many delicate shades of pink and purple, and so many intricate designs. If I were a bee I'd certainly be mesmerised!
This picture is just heart-stoppingly pretty isn't it?
In the back garden this year's big success story is the violet. Whenever I'm weeding (once in a very blue moon) and find a little clump of heart shaped leaves I'm always careful to leave it in situ. Gradually, gradually they have spread, until now they are everywhere - popping up in plant pots, between paving stones, under the strawberries, among the grass. Come to think of it, the brash dandelion might meet with a warmer reception if it copied the shrinking violet's softly, softly approach to colonisation!
There are peonies in both the front and the back garden (I inadvertently dug up some tubers one year so transplanted them in hopes they'd grow, and sure enough they did). These flowers are just incredible. The camera doesn't really know how to cope with the intensity of those ruby petals. They literally glow! 
Finally, who can resist the clematis in full-on Kardashian mode, flowering extravagantly to the point of vulgarity? It clearly never got the 'less is more' memo and just goes for over-the-top glamour every time. A bee could die of exhaustion trying to service these attention-seeking blossoms.

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