Summery Showers

Birmingham is playing hide-and-seek with the sun, everyone's carrying brollies and some people are still getting sunburnt - it's summer once again!

Let's have a look past the raindrops at even more beautiful plants and flowers blooming in Michele's garden.
Peonies started appearing in Michele's garden in spring, and even more are blooming as summer continues! Easy to grow with lovely foliage, they are magnificent in the garden and as cut flowers. These pictures show a selection of some gorgeous varieties and their vibrant petals.
Also known as Lily of the Nile, agapanthus adds plenty of drama to a border. They are native to South Africa so it makes sense that they need lots of sunlight and pair well with ornamental grasses. With bright shocks of colour and large, spherical flowerheads, they're a great sight to see.
Michele has many poppies in her garden. Here is a selection of the different colours, all showing the flowers that make poppies so popular in British gardens despite their fleeting appearance.
Verbascum, seen top left here, has a distinctive upright spire of flowers that bring height and structure to a garden. They are also brilliant for wildlife, including bees, hoverflies, and moths.
You might think that the plant in the middle looks very similar to a thistle, or know it by its common name 'sea holly', but did you know that the flowers of an eryngium plant are really long-lasting and can even be cut and dried for use in winter arrangements?
The lower left picture here shows a beautiful summer plant. Delphiniums have a commanding presence with their tall flowers and rich coloured petals. They need plenty of space to grow and like plenty of sun - so it's wonderful that they're doing so well with our current unpredictable weather!
These cacti are growing in pots in Michele's conservatory. They both have incredible fragrances that Michele can smell and know when the flowers have opened! Their beautiful, vibrant flowers are even more special as they only last for one day.
Roses are often the typical flower of an English garden in summer - and it's easy to see why! This rose has been in Michele's front garden since she moved in to her home forty years ago. There were no flowers for over thirty years, however it has recently begun blooming and this picture shows the only flower to have appeared so far this.
Penstemons are also known as beardtongues, and are recognisable for their narrow pointed leaves and their flowers that flare at the tip. Michele has a variety of colours in her garden, including the bi-colour penstemon above which combines pink and blue hues in its petals.
Abutilon is a large genus of plants that are closely associated with the tropics and sub-tropics of the Americas, Africa, and Asia. This type is known as abutilon megapotamicum Kentish Belle - a bit of a mouthful! - which creates stunning bell-shaped flowers of red and yellow from spring through to autumn.
Magnolia are fantastic ornamental plants. Their tulip or star shaped flowers are a burst of bloom contrasting against the lush green foliage. Many magnolias also have a wonderful fragrance.
The smell of the English summer is undoubtedly lavender. Like the rose, lavender is another plant classically connected with our summer. It thrives in a sunny spot, like you see here, and it's becoming increasingly popular for its attractiveness to bees and other pollinators.
Michele has a wonderful range of lilies in her garden. At the top are her amazingly decorative 'Arabian knight' martagon lilies that grab our attention with their curved petals and bold colours. Up to fifty blooms can appear on one stem!
A dainty shrub with tissue-like flowers, cistus are an easy to grow flower that provide plenty of colour to a garden. Perfect for even poor, stony soil, their bushiness and profusion of flowers conjure images of Mediterranean gardens under joyous sunshine.
Irises are some of the world's most popular and varied garden flowers. Aptly named after Iris, Greek goddess of the rainbow, they are loved for their colourful flowers and are connected to English and French royalty because of their closeness to the fleur-de-lis symbol. Brilliant summer bloomers, irises are easy to grow and absolutely gorgeous.
Another plant with an excellent common name are 'coppertips' or crocosmia. These fiery multi-flowered perennials thrive in sun or in partial shade and can grow in a variety of soil types.
Michele's garden really is filled with amazing plants! Roscoea are less well known plants with unusually hooded, orchid-like flowers. They are excellent pot plants, and amenable to cooler, damper situations.
The second picture is a charming oakleaf hydrangea, native to the southeastern area of the United States and suited to moist woodlands and streams. Fun fact: it's the state wildflower of Alabama.
Garlic, garlic, and... more garlic. This is just one of the many bunches of garlic Michele has harvested this year!
The plant in the lower corner has another unusual name for a very recognisable plant. If you recognised this as a calla lily you would be correct - but it's scientific name is zantedeschia. The bold colour combined with their ornamental leaves and flowers add the perfect splash of tropical colour and drama to a garden.
Last but not least, we have the humble hollyhock. Their jewel tones make them the perfect way to round off our latest venture into Michele's garden! Did you know that their petals are edible? Why not try them mixed into a summer salad or crystallised on a celebratory cake. 
And here she is! An amazing visitor captured this photograph of Michele in her garden when it was open to the public through the Open Garden Scheme in May.

We hope you enjoyed this insight into Michele's garden!
Thank you for reading from the team at Artisan Alchemy.

As always, if you would like to commission an extra special piece of jewellery or furniture, please do get in touch - email or call 0121 233 1186.

With best wishes from Michele and the team at Artisan Alchemy 😊