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29 JUN

Weeds and watering

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As June draws to a close, I find myself running around the gardens dragging hoses here and there as we try to keep up with watering. That said, I would not change the weather. We have been complaining all month and it’s finally starting to settle. The sun is out and I am hoping July and August will bring us the proper summer that we all deserve. The good news is that features like the Tropical Border, Jungle, Poison Garden, and the Herbaceous Border are all looking great. The rose pergola that frames the Herbaceous Border is in full bloom and is a tunnel of scent. It is worth coming just to experience it!

Maintaining the gardens is always a challenge, especially this time of the year. Weeds are doing their best to invade the borders and the pressures of regular maintenance work make it difficult to keep on top of everything. We take a very Robinsonian approach to our management of the gardens and let nature mingle where possible, but it does require a certain level of control to maintain that semi-wild charm that looks so lovely. For example, leaving bluebells to go to seed and wild garlic to die back gives time for other less precious species to grow, and this then requires clearing out. It keeps us pretty busy.

In the glasshouses our peaches have ripened, and the nectarines, apricots and grapes are all coming along nicely. We are a little disappointed with our apple crop, as well as our range of summer berries. There were several late frosts in our very stop, start spring that caused damage to the blossoms and will mean less fruit overall. Hopefully, we will still have enough to produce some jam, ice cream and apple juice for the cafe next year!

Jobs for July will include pinching out tomatoes and cucumbers side shoots, thinning growth on our grape vines and also thinning the fruit to improve the overall crop and tying in the new growth on the peach and nectarines to form next year’s branch structure. Ongoing watering and feeding is very important. We feed every second week with phostrogen for the ornamentals and seaweed for the vegetables. In this dry weather you should make sure the plant has been watered prior to feeding it so that it does not take up too much too quick.

We are hoping the good weather brings a few extra visitors to the gardens. It has been a very quiet year so far and we are grateful to have had the support of the locals, many of whom have purchased season tickets. Mental health is front and centre at the moment and I believe an escape into nature is a perfect way to reset oneself. We have met many locals in the gardens over the last year who have told us how important it is that we remain open as a place of sanctuary, a little oasis from the madness if you will. I am delighted that so many people have discovered the gardens and are making use of the facilities. There really is something here for everyone. If you haven’t been recently or ever, then please do pay us a visit. I guarantee you will not regret it. I hope to see more of you here soon. Adam

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