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30 JUL

Just enough rain in July

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July has been a pretty good month for us in the gardens. I was worried about a possible drought, but we have been lucky enough to get plenty of rain showers to balance out the fine weather. I was visiting Kew gardens earlier in the month and they are really suffering from the heat. I know most people would prefer the blazing sunshine but I’m happy with a nice balance! The result of this is a huge amount of growth in the gardens and fantastic colours around every corner. There are certain areas of the gardens that deserve a special mention this time of year. If you are visiting in the next few weeks make sure to see our Tropical Border, Jungle and Fern Garden that are all thriving. The Herbaceous borders, Poison Garden and the Seven Sisters are also well worth seeing.

One of our new projects that is currently in the building stage is the Carnivorous Courtyard. It is in a space adjacent to the Poison Garden and I’m really excited about it. There is nothing I like more than building new garden spaces and creating something a little different. Carnivorous plants are plants that derive some or most of their nutrients from trapping and consuming animals or protozoans, typically insects and other arthropods but in some cases frogs, lizards and even rats. They have adapted to grow in places where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients, especially nitrogen, such as acidic bogs. Their pungent scents, glistening glue or grasping tentacles lure their victims to a nasty end, and many species are native to Ireland. We hope to have the garden open by the end of August but it will be next year before we are able to introduce all of the plants. I’m looking forward to seeing how the public take to it.

We are in the process of summer pruning our fruit trees. Apples and pears can be pruned now to encourage fruit buds to form next year and also to maintain shape or train the tree into a shape. There are two periods for pruning, December/January and July/August. As a rule winter pruning encourages growth of new shoots and summer pruning discourages growth. We also prune stone fruits now, tipping back and tying in new growth on our wall trained plums, peaches and nectarines. Stone fruits should only be pruned in early spring or midsummer as this reduces the chance of silver leaf disease. Fruit pruning is not very complicated if you follow a few basic rules, and there are many helpful sites on the internet with step by step guides.

A good tip that I can give this month is to plan your bulb order now. You can probably still remember how things looked in the spring. Make a few notes as to where you would like some extra colour in the garden, then select bulbs that suit. Too often bulbs end up as an impulse buy that get stuck in a corner and forgotten about. This can lead to some nice surprises but often leads to disappointment. Bulbs, like any other plant, have certain preferences and it pays to do a little research first. We have just completed our order. It totals 38,000 bulbs so we are going to have a busy Autumn!

I look forward to seeing you in the gardens. Adam

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