In previous years I have grown the sweet pea 'Elizabeth Taylor', an extremely vigorous, sweetly scented pale lilac variety. I could cut and cut, giving generous bouquets to friends and still have plenty left over for my own home. But this year I thought I would have a change and opted for 'Lord Nelson'. What a mistake! A very puny character he's turning out to be. He's only climbed as high as my shoulder and although it stated otherwise on the packet, there is very little scent. He's absolutely weedy. Perhaps if I'd planted him with a 'Lady Hamilton' he might have bucked his ideas up a bit.
Charles de Mills is a very sturdy rose and has given a wonderful show, but the garden is crying out for rainfall after weeks of hot, dry weather and further flower buds have failed. I'm having to cut back stems to keep plants healthy. The lawn is bleached to the colour of straw. Come on - this is England and it's summer, where's all the rain?
Meanwhile I'm picking bowls of soft fruit and making summer pudding, which has to be eaten with a generous pouring of cream.
(The smallest bowl contains wild cherries, gathered on a walk.)
Slices of white bread to line a pudding basin
Gently heat the fruit with the sugar for a few minutes until the sugar has melted. Keep some of the juice to one side and pour the fruit mixture into the bread-lined basin. Make a bread lid. Put a saucer on top and a 1lb weight on the saucer. Place in fridge overnight. Invert onto a dish and pour over juice to cover any pale pieces of the bread. Enjoy!