I have made a promise to myself that this year I will not squander the lovely long summer evenings inside, neither at my desk working nor in front of the tv, but be outside enjoying the daylight hours in my garden for as long as I possibly can and so far I'm sticking to it.
I'm equally happy doing something useful and productive like a stint digging in the veg patch or just pottering around looking which new flowers have opened and noticing as day by day the garden gently settles down from it's fresh spring flush into the soft fullness of early summer.
So well known by day, the garden changes into an unfamiliar and magical place as dusk gathers, the blackbirds which always seem to be the last birds to stop calling fall silent and the rooks and jackdaws pass over following the same flight path every night on their way home to roost.
As the natural light fades there's a chance to see bats flit silently but swiftly over the pond on the hunt for moths and as all the colours disappear, in monochrome, any white flowers glow as if artificially lit.
As vision become less certain we notice other sensations like the drop in temperature and a freshening breeze. Hearing becomes a bit more acute picking up the typical night time 'twoo' of a tawny owl and a sharp 'twit' answering call and the scents of the night garden are suddenly really noticeable.
There's the heavy sweet perfume of so many flowers, late bluebells, lilac, honeysuckle, wisteria and as June wears on roses pervade the air but to sniff the delights of many plants we need to rub the leaves to release their oils. Herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage evoke a succulent Sunday roast, Perovskia, Santolina and lavender are a reminder of a Greek island holiday. Mint has to be the freshest of all scents especially after rain, just like toothpaste, but for me the best of all the garden's many wonderful perfumes is yet to come. I'm looking forward to one of the highlights of high summer, walking into a warm greenhouse full of tomato plants, it's just scentsational!