A week of high pressure, sunshine and warmth has really pushed the garden on. Indeed, this has been a weekend of watering to ensure that the sunflowers, new herbaceous, sweet peas and transplanted polyanthus don’t suffer a check. In previous years, we’ve found that the sweet peas can often suffer quite a check in growth once planted out. This year, we germinated the seed much later and as soon as they were ready to go out (early May), we planted them out. No yellowing leaves, no check – something to note for next year – don’t be in too much of a hurry to plant them in the spring!
This weekend, we have started to plant out the Dahlias – between the two teacup yews in the walled garden and round in the ‘kitchen garden’, the air of which is now filled with the scent of the white lilac.The dahlias should provide a welcome blast of strong colour right through until the first frosts. As well as a dwarf variety, we are also growing Bishops Children again with its lovely dark-red foliage, a perfect foil for the almost tropical-coloured blooms. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll get the other bedding planted out; for the moment, it can stay cosseted in the greenhouse, with a weekly feed of Phostrogen to keep it moving.
The rhododendrons in the woodland this year have been marvellous and just keep on coming – a positive legacy from last summer’s washout! With them the focus of attention at the moment, I nearly missed the tree peony flowering there – unlike the yellow Ludlowii which seeds itself in the walled garden, this one is a more modest size and a has a rather old-fashioned, poppy-shaped, dark red flower.
As the days go on, the herbaceous starts to change from green to technicolour – irises, geraniums, blue perennial cornflower, lupins in all shades, to name but a few, but my favourite are the Granny’s Bonnets – aquilegia,
which we grew from seed a couple of years ago and which are themselves now starting to set seed. Each clump offers a different colour combination – some blowsy, some quite unassuming – all very beautiful.
Finally, our Laburnum, now freed from the deep shade caused by a tall holly, is in full blossom now – a cascade of golden rain – surely one of the most beautiful early summer trees.