Summer Flowers & Sweet Visitors

You know how quite small things can make you feel disproportionately happy all of a sudden? I'm sure it's not just me that feels that way...and it's usually nature (or Mozart!) that does it. The swallows and swifts who have now returned from their African winter and wheel overhead, screaming joyously as they flicker and swoop....the first blooming of the crimson peony I planted 2 years ago...

the beauty of the little robins egg I found, sadly cold and abandoned under the euphorbia...

I've moved it under the day lily in our big, iron urn...I know it's purpose has gone, but it looks so pretty..

The first flowers, so heavily scented and lush, from my rose bushes (the darker one is Gertrude Jekyll...I don't know the name of the other one, but it's gorgeous too)

we have now had a few days of rain, and the garden is just bursting into early summer glory...I'll post my June garden soon...but here's a peek, taken late last week...

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my blog followers (and one whose blog I follow) for the first time! It was wonderful to welcome Guillaume, whose blog Vraie Fiction I have enjoyed for a long time, and his sweet wife for tea and scones! Quite a surreal experience, because we knew much about each other already...but had never before exchanged a word or heard each other's voice! You can read about the encounter from his side on his blog ( a lovely tribute,I was very touched!) but for me it was a lovely experience and I hope to meet more friends like this through the years!

And then, this morning, walking back from The Coffee Tree, my heart leapt as I spotted something unusual out of the corner of my eye in the churchyard. I couldn't believe it at first, but it was this little fellow...
a gorgeous hedgehog! I don't think that I've ever seen a real, healthy wild one...they are usually sick or squashed on the road when you see them this close. I wanted to make sure that this one was safe from harm before I went inside. I took this photo and also a small video of him, for posterity...and then drew back to watch him. His little nose was snuffing the air as he bumbled along...his eyes weren't too good as they are usually nocturnal foragers and I knew he should be asleep! Sure enough, he found a cosy, sheltered spot under the corner of the gravestone you see him near. I watched for a few minutes after he disappeared to make sure that he was no longer visible to possible predators...and then I returned to the house, with a huge smile on my face! Beautiful flowers and unexpected visitors...the week has begun well! I hope that you had a lovely weekend - a holiday for so many of us - and that your week will be full of magical surprises too...they are everywhere if you look!


  1. What a wonderful and sweet and inspiring post, Rachel! I love all the photos of your flowers in your garden, the little bird egg, you meeting your blogging friend (isn't it wonderful when that happens?), and the sweet hedgehog. I miss seeing them, but I usually discover one or two when I visit my family in Germany... Glad you are doing well!! Love, Silke

  2. Lovely post, Rachel. I agree with you about how observing the things around us can make us so happy. The flowers, little critters, birds and having a cup of tea with someone nice makes life soulfully satisfying. Your garden looks wonderful!
    How lucky you were to observe the little hedgehog.

  3. Thank you for the lovely tour, beautiful descriptions, and photo of the little fellow lost in the sunshine...glorious way to start this short week...Thank you!

  4. a lovely, lovely post. I get ridiculously excited when the peonies flower, and delirious when my pink roses bloom!

    Yesterday I found a single wild red poppy and was so excited. I don't think I've ever had one plant itself in the garden before. So you are right, there is magic if you look for it.


    glad you were able to post - wretched Blogger!


  5. Oh Rachel,
    What a beautiful post! Your garden looks absolutely gorgeous! I love all the pictures, especially the one of the peony. I also love the robin's egg. I would have done the same is too pretty to throw away. And that chubby little hedgehog! He would have put a smile on my face as well. I can imagine how special your meeting with blog follower was. I will definitely check out his blog and read more about your encounter (as soon as I get a break). Been so busy, busy today. Just came in from hanging clothes outside. With this heat, they will be dry in no time! Love and hugs xoxo

  6. Again, you have such an exquisite way with words- I loved it all!! Little things from Nature are the most genuine moments of bliss ever---we spotted a bobcat on Sunday- I'll try and post some pictures later in the week- this darling little hedgehog made MY morning, however!!! Thank you for sharing! ox

  7. Oh Rachel how adorable that you ran into Mrs Tiggywinkle. I always loved her. ANd how true that being surrounded by small miracles is a source of happiness and emotional restoration. The world is complex in its beauty walking hand in hand with misery. Nobody can say it's bland. So glad you got the beauty and miracles today! Garden looks gorgeous with all the lush green and bright pink!

  8. Thank you again Rachel! For the tea, the lovely afternoon, for the best scones I ever had and for the lovely cake.

    And since this post is not all about me, I will add that I love the new squatter of your garden. I hope Alice stays friendly with him. She has her temper but she is a sweet dog.

  9. What a lovely little hedgehog, well-spotted! It looks like he has found such a cosy, safe home in the churchyard too.

    You mention 'magical surprises' which is funny as that is exactly what I thought when I saw the glittery decorations on the cake you so generously made for us. I have never seen such a sparkly cake before (it tastes delicious too). It was great to see your lovely house, the churchyard and meet you, Paul and, of course, delightful Alice! Thank you so much for your hospitality and the magical cake.

  10. How lovely, he looks a bit sharkey to me! I envy Guillaume and his lovely wife, oh to be sitting in your kitchen with a slice of cake.....maybe soon xxxxxxx

  11. Rachel, a hedgehog!
    And finding shelter in the graveyard, how sensible and peaceful of her.
    Lovely flowers, lovely post.

  12. Hi Rachel,
    Another charming post. It's the little things in life that mean the most. It's wonderful to appreciate all the beauty in the world. Thanks for the inspiration : )

  13. I think it's all about the little things, so...yes. :) Sweet hedgehog!! Groundhogs are my animal, I just love them so much. It's easier to catch groundhogs running around than hedgehogs, though. I don't think I've ever seen a live one. How cute. :)

  14. a hedgehog !!!!! my favorite...what a cute little guy...i would welcome him here with open arms....loved this post...i have been out of blogland for 10 days !!!! my computer got a virus..but i am back...and visiting all my favorite YOU and ALICE !!!

    so happy to stop by today, my friend
    i have missed you

    sending love,
    kary and teddy

  15. How fun for you to meet up with a fellow blogger and tea and scones sound delicious!

    What a cute hedgehog! He looks very healthy judging by his size.


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