When I started my horticultural career as a jobbing gardener at
Haringey Council in North London, much of the work was mundane and
pretty unrewarding. However every day during the late summer and
until the first frosts, my heart was lifted by the technicolor
blooms of an astonishing collection of dahlia plants.
June was a wonderful month for a garden visit to West Dean and
July looks set to be the same. Plenty of sun filled days after the
relentless winter rain have put a skip into the visitors step as
they come along to enjoy all aspects of the gardens and there is
certainly plenty here to tempt them.
Wow! What a difference warm weather makes to a garden! So far
this summer the flower display in the cutting garden and on the
borders in the Walled Garden is looking fantastic with the
rudbeckia trial taking pride of place. Beneficial insects and
butterflies are having a field day too.
I'm going to start with an invitation, well more of plea really
to come along to West Dean soon to admire the wild flowers in the
gardens and arboretum - it really is a delightful show and like all
good things will come to an end soon.
I'm a great believer in "an Englishman's home is his castle" so
I have no desire to proscribe gardening style. Equally I look to
nature for inspiration and guidance in how I garden and the first
comment in relation to the regimental approach above is that nature
doesn't "do" bare soil.
As the dog days of August approach and other flowering shrubs
give up the ghost those stalwarts of the late summer border, the
hydrangeas, come into their own. The common hydrangea, H.
macrophylla, has spawned a huge range of varieties that divide
neatly into two main types, the lacecaps and the Hortensias, or
more descriptively the mopheads.
Last winter's rain has acted like rocket fuel to the gardens,
there is fabulous growth on trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials
everywhere. As a result the early season wild flower display was
floriferous in the extreme - always a glorious sight.