This Month

This Month July 2014 - Monday, 30 Jun 2014

So the theory is to get up at 5am and do a couple of hours work before breakfast and about 3 hours after, then have a siesta from about 12pm to 4pm when it is hot. Late afternoon have tea then do about 3 more hours in the cooler evening. It didn’t quite work out like that as I write this on the longest day, I did get up at 5.30 and was outside weeding by 6am but then I spent most of the day weeding with the occasional break but no siesta. In the evening I decided to go for a walk round the Lower Garden and spent a few pleasant moments on the jetty and watched some newts in the lake and a moorhen with 2 tiny chicks which looked no more than 2 black bobbles from a woolly hat. Then I just couldn’t stop myself doing a little weeding before ambling back up.

A few days ago when I saw a lovely grass snake about 3ft long by the compost heaps, it quickly disappeared into the fresh compost pile.

It is now the time for picking and freezing the soft fruit and the peas which is time consuming at a time when there are so many other things to do however does ensure we sit down for a while to do the podding or remove stalks.

I have noticed one or two plants in the lake which need completely or partly taking out however I have been putting off the jobs whilst first the ducks and then the Moorhens were in residence but I think I will tackle the job soon. While we are working in that area of the garden there are a few other jobs to do such as putting up another owl box.

I am also working on semi-shade areas in the spring garden by removing creeping buttercup and planting with herbaceous perennials.

Plant of the Month: Dranunculus vulgaris - Stink Lily or Dragon Lily

There are three species of these tuberous perennials which are from the Mediteranean region, the Canary Islands and Madeira. It is not recommended to grow it by your front door as it has a foul smell to attract flies for pollination. I have tried it in a few different positions, by the Smithy in dry shade, in the shrubberies in shade which is a little moist and in an herbaceous border in sun and slightly moist. The ones in the moist areas in both sun and shade are taller than the one in dry soil. They are about 3ft (1m) tall with large deeply divided leaves.  The stem is thick and bears a spathe up to 15ins (38cm) long which is green on the outside red to purple on the inside with a purple black spadix. The plants need a dressing of mulch in the winter. Propagate from seed or offsets.

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