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Garden Diary for July 2014

It’s Berry time! My favorite time to go through the garden and just pick and taste and compare all the different varieties of soft fruits we grow within the walled garden. Black currants, white currants, red currants, gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries…it seems to be a good year for berries and most of them except the blackberries are ready to be pick.

Pic1 White Currant’ White Versaille’
Pic1 White Currant’ White Versaille’

Also the 2 varieties of figs we have, ‘Brunswick’ and ‘Ischia’ are carrying heavy but it will take roughly another 6 weeks of sunny and warm weather for them to be fully ripe.

Pic2 Fig ‘Brunswick’
Pic2 Fig ‘Brunswick’

When you plan to set up your own vegetable or fruit garden make sure you also consider the time you need to harvest your products. It is often underestimated how long it takes to pick especially small soft fruits like gooseberries or currants and also to prepare them later on. We use white and red currants in the decoration of our homemade cheese cakes for example.

Pic3 Homemade cheesecake
Pic3 Homemade cheesecake

Nearly all of the  apple trees have a nice crop this year which is good to see for two reasons. First of all it looks like the bees are still out there plentiful and doing there job and secondly the very hard pruning they underwent last winter did not do them any harm.

Pic4-Cooking-Dessert-apple-‘Golden-Spire’-1024x741
Pic4 Cooking & Dessert apple ‘Golden Spire’

The first spuds are harvested and the heritage variety ‘Sharps Express’,  from  1901, gave a good yield. We have started to plant pumpkins on the empty ridges and afterwards to cover the ground.

Pic5 First Early Potato ‘Sharps Express’
Pic5 First Early Potato ‘Sharps Express’

A weekly supply of fresh lettuce to the restaurant, like the butterhead ‘Webbs Wonderful’, is also on our agenda at the moment. Before we bring over the heads we must rinse them off carefully.

Pic6 Lettuce for the restaurant
Pic6 Lettuce for the restaurant

Despite the good weather we had in the last few weeks we would not dare to plant our tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines outside. To have any success with them they need to stay inside the vinery; the Irish climate is not suitable to grow them in the open.

Pic7 Tomatoes and co. in the vinery
Pic7 Tomatoes and co. in the vinery

The flower garden is in full bloom by now. Strong colour combinations like the orange of the Calendula ‘Orange King’ and the intense deep blue of Lobelia ‘Chrystal Palace’ work well together and are seen from far away which is important for the garden with our scale.

Pic8 Summer bedding in the formal flower garden
Pic8 Summer bedding in the formal flower garden
Pic9 The Parterre in July
Pic9 The Parterre in July

One of the summer highlight in our garden is always the Herbaceous Border. Especially between June and August it is a constant flowering show of herbaceous plants of all kinds. Every week more plants are opening up their flower heads and others finish flowering, so no week is the same.

Pic10-The-Herbaceous-Border-beginning-July-1024x682
Pic10 The Herbaceous Border beginning July

Below are few pictures of my favorite plants which are flowering in the border at the moment.

Pic11 Rosa ‘Blue Magenta’
Pic11 Rosa ‘Blue Magenta’
Pic12 Verbascum chaixii ‘Album’
Pic12 Verbascum chaixii ‘Album’
Pic13 Lilium pardalinum
Pic13 Lilium pardalinum
Pic14 Centaurea macrocephala
Pic14 Centaurea macrocephala

I hope this summer spell will last; everything is just more enjoyable when the sun is out, even the weeding!

Pic15 Panorama view
Pic15 Panorama view

Last but not least, a quick hello from our new arrivals within the walled garden; four Robin chicks are happily waiting in their well hidden nest for the next feed.

Pic16 Robin chicks
Pic16 Robin chicks

Your Head Gardener
Anja Gohlke

Things you can do in your garden in July:

To Sow / Propagate:
~ Pot on the last of this years summer bedding as backup plants
~ Start to sow spring bedding like Wallflowers and Bellis for next year’s spring  display at the end of the month
~ Sow spring cabbages for over wintering
~ Take cuttings of non flowering shoots of Fuchsia, Pelargonium and Hydrangea

To plant:
~ Plant out more catch crops like lettuce and spring onion
~ Plant squash, pumpkins, marrows and courgettes & feed regularly
~ Finish planting out winter brassicas

To harvest:
~ Soft fruits like Raspberries
~ Mangetouts, Peas, Broad beans
~ Potatoes
~ Lettuce, Spinach, Leaf beet
~ Herbs for drying or for fresh herbal teas like Sage or Mint

To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Regularly dead heading of bedding like Calendula and herbaceous plants for continues flower display
~ Check vegetables and flowers for pest and diseases e.g. cabbage root fly, caterpillars, green flies
~ Prune shrubs after flowering
~ Feed lawns and Buxus hedges