This Week in The Garden…… 10th June 2022

If you have visited the gardens in the past week or so you’ll have noticed a dramatic change beside the Chapel. The huge leylandii which split in two during Storm Eunice has, I am pleased to report, been felled. It took the tree surgeon team a whole day to take down and the area now is littered with enormous sections of the trunk which we have retained to use for rustic seating. It is good to know that the tree is no longer a risk to the Chapel and it’s quite amazing the amount of space that has been opened up now the huge, overbearing canopy has been removed.

We have plans for this space and once the cut wood has had some time to dry out and the sticky sap that is currently dribbling from the bark has set and hardened we’ll be clearing the area of ivy, weeds and some of the overgrown, woody, light-starved shrubbery to create a rustic outside classroom /  picnic area. All the logs that are suitable will be fixed securely for seating and the original old trunk (4 feet wide) has been cut level to make a tabletop. The bark chippings that are piled up will be spread across the whole area to suppress weeds and create a suitable surface. The tree’s removal also means we can now put in much more sympathetic planting to support wildlife and improve the visual appeal of the Chapel. Along the back wall we’ll plant blackthorn and hawthorn hedging in the autumn, which will now be able to thrive and grow, complementing the other wildlife hedging in the meadow. As part of our contribution to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Plant A tree Campaign we will be planting a young English oak (quercus robur) here as well, which will grow and mature over the next century or two, creating a much more pleasing deciduous canopy, less prone to winter storm damage and providing a more diverse habitat for insects, small mammals and birds than the leylandii could offer.

The roses are now in full bloom and the climbers and ramblers are looking gorgeous along the Rose Wall in the Cloister Garth. The old style roses in the Symbolic Border near the back of the chapel have also put on a good show this year, Rosa Complicata and Rosa Mundi looking particularly glorious. The entrance path from the shop to Wisteria Walk is scented with the delicious old-rose smell of Maiden’s Blush, Old Blush, rosa maxima semi plena and rosa rugosa alba which is particularly strong in the afternoon sun.

We are deadheading regularly in the hope of a second flush of flowers later in the summer, but will leave some roses to fade naturally so that we get a good crop of colourful hips in the autumn and winter too.

In the Cutting Garden the phacelia is in flower and is smothered in bees all day long. The sweet peas are flowering prolifically and we are cutting bunches every day so that they keep producing flowers and don’t run to seed. An unexpected treat is that the little strawberry runners we dug up from the dry, nutrient-starved soil by the old back wall and replanted under the honeysuckles along Assisi Cottage’s fence are now full of fruit which is ripening well. We have tasted a couple and they are delicious. If only we knew what variety they were! It’s not only us that appreciates them, the blackbirds and thrushes have been feasting on them too.

Tracey and Robert… the gardeners.

The gardeners