Welcome to our high summer garden diary from our Victorian Walled Garden. It is the second of August already and somebody came to me yesterday and said it is the first day of autumn! I must have looked a bit shocked and started to explain that in Germany August would be your main summer month. I know that seasons are counted a bit differently here in Ireland but I always struggle to accept that February is spring and August counts as autumn!
Anyhow, the weather we are experiencing is definitely more like summer at the moment and it is a pleasure to work outside and enjoy the fruits of hard labour from the previous recent months.
The summer bedding is doing very well. Regular deadheading, especially of the Calendulas are vital at the moment and ensure a continuous display. They have to last another month at least, preferable another two before we start to change the summer bedding to next years spring bedding. We are also replanting a second lot of younger Calendulas in between the older ones.
Pic1 Calendula ‘Orange King’ in combination with Lobelia ‘Chrystal Palace’ in our Parterre
Pic2 Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Golden Gem’, Lobelia ‘Mrs. Clibran’, Tropaeolum ‘Empress of India’ and Canna in our formal bedding scheme with the Propagation glasshouse in the background
We finally got around to fixing our sundial at the top of the garden. We got a nice replica from an antic shop and it is lovely to see that visitors try to read the time, only on a sunny day of course!
Pic3 Our new sundial at the Parterre
White is always a good colour to bring out contrast in the garden. Our ‘Snake beds’ are planted with the white flowering Lavatera ‘Mont Blanc’, a lovely annual Mallow. The huge flowers attract a lot of insects, a good sign nowadays. The white works well with the restored Vinery in the background.
Pic4 ‘Snake beds’ in full bloom
The kitchen garden is similarly lovely and at its heights at the moment. We never saw the Curley Kale so big and full. Also the Red Cabbage ‘Red Drumhead’ gives a great show this season. The Calendula in between the rows is acting as a companion plant and also brings a bit of colour in between the greens.
Pic5 One of the Brassica plots with a selection of Kales and Cabbages
The Courgettes, Marrows, and Pumpkins have had another good season. It is worthwhile to cover the young plants with cloches when they are planted out to give them the needed protection here in our climate. The leaves can develop mild mildew sometimes but it is removed easily.
Pic6 Tiny pumpkin ‘Rouge Vif D’ Etampes’, still a bit to go to full size; this heritage variety dates back to the 1880th and was once the main pumpkin in French markets
Pic7 Courgette ‘Green Bush’, always a good reliable variety
It is the second year in a row that we were able to grow this unusual tomato variety. The ‘Pineapple’ tomato, also a heritage variety, is called after its shape and has a marbling flesh and a fruity taste. Many beefsteak tomatoes are rather dry but this one is very juicy and worth a try. The size is similar to a medium-sized apple.
Pic8 Delicious tomato ‘Pineapple’
Other garden areas like the Rockery are also worth a visit. This natural Rock Garden is hidden behind a Sycamore hedge on the top of the garden and like a secret garden since not visible from down below. It took many years to establish as the growing conditions here are not the easiest ones. The yuccas enjoy the heat in between the natural lime stone and are in full bloom at the moment.
Pic9 Yucca flaccida (‘Adam’s needle) and Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican fleebane) in the foreground
I planted a few different heritage varieties of Cannas in our Head Gardeners Border recently and Canna x ehemannii which has lovely reddish purple blossoms. The name ‘ehemannii’ derives from the german name ‘Ehemann’ which translates into ‘Husband’.
Pic10 Canna x ehemannii in the subtropical Head Gardeners Border with the Head Gardeners House in the background
Another showy plant in front of the Head Gardeners House is the Pineapple Lilly, Eucomis bicolor. Its striking and very unusual flowers are a show stopper at the moment. The flowers will last for a couple of weeks and we will save seeds from this bulbous perennial when they are ripe.
Pic11 The Pineapple Lilly in full bloom
Mornings and evenings are the quitest times here in the garden and are very inviting for a calming stroll through all the different areas like the Herbaceous Border for example.
With these words I would like to end this months Garden Diary, more to come in early September. Enjoy your own or other gardens for the last month of summer!
Pic12 The Herbaceous Border end July
Your Head Gardener
Things you can do in your garden in July:
To Sow / Propagate:
~ Its still time to sow more Green Manures like Phacelia to cover plots; lovely for wildlife when flowering
~ Start to sow spring beddings like Wallflowers
~ Sow spring cabbages like ‘April’ or Curley Kales for over wintering crops
~ Take cuttings of non-flowering shoots of Santolina, Dianthus, Pelargonium, Hydrangea or Fuchsia
~ Plant out potted plants into borders and water well in
~ Replace summer bedding if necessary
~ Plant out more catch crops like lettuces and spring onion
~ Courgettes, Marrows
~ Mangetouts, Peas, Broad beans
~ Main Potatoes
~ Lettuce, Spinach, Leaf beet
~ Herbs for drying or for fresh herbal teas like Sage or Mint
To maintain & prune & feed:
~Feed annuals in pots or planters on a regular base
~ Cut down Comfrey and use as mulch and feed
~ Regularly dead heading of bedding plants 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, blight
~ Prune shrubs like Weigelia after flowering
~ Feed lawns and treat Box hedges