What's looking good in August

Glorious summer weather greeted our garden visitor earlier this summer and after a turn on TV's Gardeners' World recently with mouth-watering aerial shots of the gardens, even more people are coming to discover the delights of West Dean; so do come along and see for yourself. Along with your garden visit you'll be able to enjoy a little smackerel of something in the Gardens Restaurant, then indulge yourself the Gardens Shop and plant sales which are currently chockful of tasty morsels of a different kind. All in all a very satisfying experience!

Recent healthy supplies of rain in July have revitalised the garden and perked up recent plantings in the Kitchen Garden. Following on from harvested onions and potatoes, the same bed is now full of young leeks, lettuce, fennel and chard and all these crops will benefit from the incorporated organic matter earlier in the year. Second generation courgettes have also been planted as well as further crops of dwarf French beans, so it's a good time to revisit to see these new beginnings including the nearby hot border which is looking…. hhhot in time for this year's Chilli Fiesta.

Have a look at this year's cutting garden located in the Walled Garden; amongst other flowers we are specifically growing different larkspurs and gaillardias to see which have potential as cut flowers. Larkspurs are perfect pointy additions to flower arrangements and so far the very soft pinks and lilac colours are my favourites. There is also a couple of cracking gaillardia mixes which are brilliant for cutting so they'll be sown again for 2018. Now's a great time to note down your favourites to grow in your own garden next year and all the plants are labelled which is a bonus.

Summer pruning of fruit is nearly complete, each year its quite a task to prune and thin all the fruit, but the trees need to be returned to their trained form otherwise chaos reigns. There are lots of ideas to copy so bring camera if you're looking for new ways of fruit tree growing for your garden at home.

Elsewhere in the garden you will see recent plantings growing and thriving due to the recent rain, a splendid Pergola draped with all sorts to thrill and delight, a Sunken Garden to relax in plus various paths to take you around the whole place. As many of the paths are tarmacked pushing wheelchairs and buggies is not a problem.

Have you been to our Chilli Fiesta? If you follow West Dean on Facebook and Twitter you will see the talented music line up booked for this year, so if you're a novice fiesta attendee and a musical enthusiast it might be a good time to visit. The dates are 11-13 August. Find out more here for all other fiesta activities to thrill and delight and we all look forward to welcoming you on the day.

Sarah Wain, Gardens Supervisor

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