If you live in a country where it either rains most of the time or it's cold and windy, you want to make the most of Summer. One of the joys of Summer is eating outside. A few weeks ago we bought a very nice, if rather expensive, outdoor dining set. We put the table and 6 chairs on the decking, close to the sliding doors of the conservatory for easy access.
When he made the decking, the under-gardener also built a pergola frame. After the wooden frame was finished, a trellis of plastic coated steel wire was made to provide a support for the climbers I'd put in a year before. The trellis is above the eating area and after the climbers have done their job properly, it will provide us with some much needed shade in Summer and will also make the area more cosy. This area of the garden is west facing and therefore very sunny for most of the day. During Summer it can get really hot, so a bit of shade is very welcome.
Here's a more detailed picture to show how the wire trellis was made.
As you can see here, the grape vine has already reached the top of the pole and is weaving its way across the trellis. Hopefully it will cover it quickly.
Apart from 2 vines, 1 blue and 1 white, I also put in a Clematis (Ice Queen)to provide us with some colour and a Honeysuckle for scenting our long summer evenings under the grape arbour. I thought it would be the height of decadence to lean back in my chair after a meal, reach out and pluck a bunch of grapes from above my head. Then casually pop a few grapes in my mouth, still warm from the sun, by way of dessert. Absolutely blissfully decadent, don't you think? (Yes, I lead a very sheltered life.)
We like to entertain our friends and family on a regular basis and enjoy long conversations over a lovely meal. Having a meal with good friends or relatives can take hours so after a while it will get dark. Sometimes the night is so balmy that we don't want to go inside so I asked the under-gardener to install some electrical lighting, which he did (he's fully qualified to do this sort of job).
Aren't they fun, my bird chandeliers? I bought them at Ikea.
And while the under-gardener was busy doing his job, I was busy doing mine. I'm painting the conservatory and because this side is in permanent shade, I decided to paint it yellow to brighten it up a bit. It's worked a treat and I'm very happy with the result. There was trellis against one part of the conservatory where honeysuckle and a vine where climbing their way upwards, It had to come off, otherwise I wouldn't be able to paint all the woodwork. We rested the trellis and climbers against the kitchen steps, I painted all the woodwork twice, waited until the paint had dried and then the trellis was put up again.
We also have outdoor heating for when it gets a bit nippy. Balmy nights are not all that common around here so some extra heat is very welcome if we want to stay outside in the garden. A friend of ours made an outdoor wood burner for us. The burning wood heats up the stones and they in their turn will radiate a lot of heat, making us all feel warm and toasty.
Surprise is admiring the bird chandeliers in the picture above and in the foreground you see the wood burner.
So now another area of our garden is finished and all we have to do now is wait for our guests to arrive and have nice long chats with them over a lovely meal with a glass of wine or two on warm summer evenings, sub vitis, under the vine. Makes a nice change from conversations sub rosa. :-)
June is the month that takes care of itself. Even the dullest garden can't help being colourful in June.