On starting to write this blog I realised that I’ve completely missed out the summer, not that I was unaware of its passing, probably more due to fact that in July I have been working at Reveley for 10 years. Time for another rolling 10 year programme then.
In fact horticulturally it was good summer, the new plantings of hydrangeas in the woodland and the mixed perennials under the lime trees have flowered particularly well. There is always a surprise and this summer, having bought Castor Oil plant seed (Ricinus) from a different supplier, it responded by towering over 6 ft with massive leaves and is still growing – shame for the smaller plants I had planted alongside which were not shade lovers.
As a gardener whose training enables me to fill the garden with plants from all over the world with interesting (to me anyway) backgrounds and history it is inevitable that the plant most asked about by garden visitors was a self-sown weed in the vegetable area. Thorn apple (Datura stramonium) is an annual with purple trumpet flowers and curious egg-size green prickly seed heads , it’s poisonous and my very tongue-in-cheek answer on the reason we grow it is to keep visitor numbers to a manageable level was accepted with a smile I think! I allow quite a few self sown plants to wander about through the garden, the most noticeable at present being the tall blue Verbena bonarensis in the Mulberry garden. Because I mulch with our own compost and do not hoe through the borders, these ‘free’ plants often appear in different areas year by year, and usually in more numbers than from sowing for a seed packet. It’s very much easier to watch plants grow than try to grow them.
When you buy a newly published book on Salvias, the bulk of which is 150 Salvias for the garden, it sets a bit of a challenge. To date we have 22 species and varieties flowering their socks off here at Reveley. Apart from a long flowering season, and some with scented foliage, the bees and hover flies love them .
Certainly when the sun pops out after a misty morning – leaves on the trees are beginning to colour, it seems to be a good year for berries plus the late summer flowering perennials are still at their best – out in the garden is a good place to be. (Until the gardener gets that infernal leaf blower started).
See you in the garden soon. Title is Sandy Denny’s magnificent song from Fairport Convention’s ‘Unhalfbricking’