Garden Diary 2017

A great deal of work was completed, clearing old plants and eradicating others which invade the choice ones. By the end of the season, 47 jobs had been ticked off the work plan, far more than can be mentioned here.

64 new plants had been purchased or donated filling spaces in the beds e.g. Campanula, Clematis, Dianthus, Epimediums, Eucomis, Ferns, Fritillaria, Geranium, Grasses, Hosta, Lathyrus, Lupin, Lychnis, Lythrum, Penstemon, Nepeta, Phlox, Phyteuma, Polemonium, Salvia, Sanguisorba, Scabious, Silene, Stokesia, Trachelospermum, Vancouveria, Verbascum, Veronicastrum and Zaluzianskya. Specific plants removed from beds whilst renovating were repositioned into their respective family beds.

Jobs completed

Long Border - Courtyard Side

For the first time in years the walls at the back of the Fern bed were free of ivy although the remaining trunk has to be kept under surveillance to check any signs of recurrence. Erica is the Fern expert and spends much time tending the area. The main attraction in Spring are the Trilliums and Paris quadrifolia, visitors are always taken by the former even though most have no idea what they are. The ferns come into their own later in the season, the number of visitors showing specific interest and buying ferns are on the increase.

Just along the other side of the gate a selection of new Epimediums are establishing in the bed with the Podophyllum, these plants in the same Berberis family differ considerably in appearance. The Rose and Saxifrage family areas have been cleared and dug over, new species of plants are needed to expand these beds.

After flowering the Astrantia bed was revised, splitting and repositioning some plants and potting up the favourites which are always in demand with visitors. In between there and the Hostas, the Arums and Persicaria were sorted out early in the season. Adjacent the new Pulmonaria plants and others in the Borage family put on a good display in their first season.

Clematis ‘Vyvyan Pennell’ (photo above) unfortunately had to be removed, after years of putting on a wonderful display it declined in recent times and finally died. It won’t be wise to plant another in the same spot for some time.

Long Border - Sundial Side

Apart from weeding and providing support for the climbers, the Lathyrus bed (pea family) has not been disturbed for a decade or more. Mary and Dee set about removing all the plants along the path edge as most had grown into each other. These were split, returning a piece of each plant to the bed in a new position, the remainder potted.

Lathyrus aureus flowers early in the season, ours is a really good specimen with its unusual apricot flowers, it now has the space to display itself. New metal supports (photo left) for the climbing peas were made by Jed’s friend and installed mid season. Cuttings were taken from the old woody salvias before removing them. Plants in the mint family were also give the go over. More on the Iris section later.

Photo above of Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’ in the display bed.

Display Bed

The display bed presented a colourful site throughout the season, but some plants were taking over and the colours of a few adjacent plants clashed; not to everyone's liking. Plants to move and the new positions were identified with a large label for later in the season. Jed and Dee then did most of this work in the autumn.

Middle Beds

Renewing the grasses bed was reported on in the autumn newsletter. Iris continued to work on the Phlox and Geranium beds planting six new Phlox paniculata, two Phlox subulata and three Polemonium. The Geranium bed is now almost completed, it just requires a bit of fine tuning. The majority of the Hemerocallis plants in the lily bed are overdue for division, a start was made lifting a couple of the clumps, these produced plenty of offsets for selling, most which were potted up flowered and sold well. Veratrum album didn’t cope with the same treatment, the large pleated leaves flopped and proved too tempting to slugs and snails who soon had a major feast chewing great holes in the limp leaves, the plants looked pretty awful so were put out of site. Hopefully they will grow better in the spring.

The Ranunculaceae bed containing anemone, clematis etc. has become very congested stifling the Peonies. Self sown seedlings growing in the centre of other plants were proving difficult to eradicate. Clearance commenced in late summer with further work to continue this spring.

Maintenance and Admin Projects completed

Jed does much of this, examples are given elsewhere but one of his last projects of the season was restoration of a ‘Dutch Trolley’, allowing extra storage space with two or three tiered shelves next to the plunge bed.

Working to keep the garden attractive for the weekly openings takes up much of our time each Friday. Photographing new plants and those in flower.

Away from the garden, work still goes on maintaining the database of plants, making new labels, publicity work and other admin tasks.

There is insufficient space here to report on all beds in the garden or to record all work done on site and off. Not everyone has been mentioned either but all work equally well and are just as enthusiastic. 2017 was an exceptionally busy year with the Diamond Jubilee events taking place which most of us participated in. We won’t be sitting back on our haunches though as it will soon be time to start back at the garden. So why not come along and join us.