This Month

This Month August 2016 - Sunday, 31 Jul 2016

I don’t know where the month has disappeared to and I am not sure I can remember what jobs I have been doing. I think mostly general weeding and tidying in different areas of the garden depending upon whether I wanted to skulk in the shrubberies from the hot sun or work in the open to avoid dripping wet trees and shrubs.

In the spring garden I pulled grass away from the mature Rhododendrons and planted things from other areas where there was enough to split and make good ground cover such as Bergenia and Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens (Black Mondo Grass). I also planted Aster vastarval and a purple-leaved Actaea. I will do more of this area when the ground is a little more moist again as I like to get plants in the ground as soon as it is cleared and before any roots still in the soil have time to shoot. We also have Actaea japonica Cheju-do and Actaea racemosa to plant in other shady places. I am fond of Actaea foliage, flowers and berries and they seed around in some of the driest of places.

We are saving seed of some plants such as Foxgloves to mass plant in the wilder end of the Fernery and Camassia to sprinkle in the grass of the Lower Garden.

This is the time a lot of visitors ask about the Calycanthus, until recently we only had a red form but we now also have one which has white flowers with red markings which is very striking. We are also getting comments about the insects on certain plants, Eupatorium, Buddleias, Marjoram and Pratia to name just a few. Many people comment that we have a lot of bees and butterflies but even here we have noticed a reduction in recent years. It is very serious the way so many pollinating insects are being depleted due to farming practices as well as the gardens which use chemicals.

I have particularly noticed how the Epipactis palustris has spread of its own volition , this Helleborine is a native to Europe and grows in marshes and damp places although some of the places it is growing here are not that damp. It is very attractive and a plant I recommend encouraging to grassy areas.

There is occasionally an early autumn feel in the air and I am even starting to think about the autumn jobs as well as winter projects such as a new seat for which there are various designs running through my head but it will most likely depend on what materials are to hand I can reuse.

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