I think May saw the garden shake off it’s spring coat and move firmly into summer dress mode! The growth over the last month has been exceptional, particularly due to the hot and sunny weather that we have been experiencing. The gardens are maturing every year and the colours and displays are simply stunning. A special mention goes to the Laburnum arch in our Poison Garden which has been particularly breath-taking and has featured in possibly thousands of social media posts.
The hot weather does bring its own challenges though, and we are now trying to juggle between watering and weeding, both of which are essential right now.
We are planting up all our seasonal display beds with mixed bedding and we also put up all of our hanging baskets this week. In the beds we generally use a mix of begonias, petunias, lobelia, and geraniums. The secret to a good display is regular watering and feeding. We use phostrogen plant food every second week through the growing season. We also use the largest baskets possible as they are so prone to drying out. Here’s hoping for a good summer and fabulous displays.
The glasshouses are looking full, and we have peaches, nectarines, apricots, grapes, strawberries, and assorted vegetables all coming along nicely. There was good bloom in our heritage apple orchard this year, and we haven’t had many late frosts, so we are hoping to match last year’s bumper crop. Our bee observatory is open and is proving extremely popular with local visitors. They can observe the bees coming and going from their hives and there are several information panels in the building. We produce a small amount of honey every year, which sells out almost immediately, so keep your eyes open in the shop. You can find products from the kitchen garden in our café and shops under the ‘Over the Garden Wall’ brand name.
Jobs for June will include sowing outdoor vegetables, pruning grape vines and pinching out tomatoes and cucumbers side shoots and start to feed with seaweed feed or similar. Spray the potatoes for blight if necessary. Keep an eye out for pests as the weather warms up. We introduce biological controls for aphids and mealybug in our glasshouses. Spray roses for blackspot and aphids or use soap suds if it is a small infestation. Plant out bedding if not already done; keep up to speed with watering both in and outside. Newly planted or potted plants are especially prone to stress from drying out. It’s best to water early morning or late evening to avoid scorch from the sun and less evaporation. Heavy application of mulch such as composted bark or leaf mold is a great moisture retaining trick. One good watering is better than a regular sprinkling but every little helps.
It’s looking like being a great summer and hopefully we will continue to see large numbers of visitors enjoying the grounds. I look forward to seeing you in the gardens. Adam