This Week in The Garden... 24th June 2021

The Gardens are at their best in early June and the hot sunny weather at the beginning of the month showed everything off to perfection. The showstoppers are the roses along the wall in the Cloister Garth, heavy with flower and scent. Rosa “Rambling Rector” flowered first, a mass of small, double, white-clustered blooms. They are now leaving a delicate, petal confetti all across the path and border every time the breeze catches them. Rosa “Centifolia” and rosa “Comte de Chambord” with their lush pink blooms, highly scented, were next followed magnificently by the amazing effervescence of rosa “Ghislaine de Feligonde” which is smothered in masses of apricot-cream flowers.  Although all were battered by the unseasonal winds and rain last weekend they are well-supported and tied-in and so have withstood the bad weather with most blooms intact. Further along the wall there are several other ramblers and climbers still in bud so we look forward to more scent and colour well into July.

The foxgloves in the shady riverside border and the Cutting Garden are reaching 5’ in height and look elegant and architectural as they rise above the underplanting. Their spires of pink- spotted or white trumpets are loved by the bees and hoverflies and at any moment you can see busy insects hovering in and out of the horn-shaped blooms. We will leave them to set seed and spread themselves around in the shady border, but as an insurance policy we are also growing more from seed in our mini-nursery at home to plant out in the autumn to ensure we have another good display next year.

We have been busy weeding and “curating” the riverside, entrance path and rose borders; taking out “thugs” like the alkanna tinctoria (Dyer’s Alkanet) which is a fantastic blue flowered space-filler in March and April but by now has gone leggy and is looking tired. We’ve cut back the salvia officinalis (sage) which has flowered in profusion and have been removing the spires of the campanula rotundifolia (harebells) as they fade. We’ve also removed the seedheads of the hesperis matronalis (sweet rocket) hoping that it will encourage it flower for a second time later in the season.

The Cutting Garden is also in full bloom, everything is loving the rich but well drained soil and the all-day sunny aspect. We have a crop of broad beans ripe for picking, despite a minor infestation of blackfly. The phacelia has flowered profusely and has been smothered in very contented bees for weeks now. As it goes to seed and flops we are cutting it back row by row and digging in the roots which will release their stores of nitrogen and feed the hungry pumpkin plants that we are planting there ready for autumn.  The penstemons and ox eye daisies are a delight, the first a deep burgundy red, the latter a bright swathe of cheerful nodding white heads.  The dahlias are growing strongly and the sweet peas are smothered in flowers- we can hardly keep up with picking them all…. many highly perfumed bunches have been given to various lucky recipients over the past few weeks and there will be many more to come in the next month or so too.