After a long, uncertain winter it was a joy to reopen the gardens to the public. Regular visitors enjoyed seeing the new planting and subtle changes that we had been working on over the lockdowns.
Spring was rather challenging with changeable weather and dry but cold conditions. Many of our seeds were late to germinate, unusually the squashes and pumpkins didn’t grow as well as we had hoped, the cup and saucer vines didn’t overwinter, and we lost some of our salvias.
Despite some plants struggling with the weather, the Lupins were spectacular this spring and we were lucky not to suffer from lupin aphid, but the slugs and snails were prolific!
We rely upon biological controls to keep pests under control and for the first time since the walled garden was planted, we applied nematodes to reduce the number of slugs.
The fruit trees here are still quite young but have started to crop this year, the peach tree bore its first fruits. Unfortunately, the Quince trees suffered from a long dry period followed by heavy rain which caused much of the fruit to split and spoil.
After a challenging start the garden blossomed and visitors enjoyed the scent and colour of our sweet peas, many of which are old fashioned varieties. One of the oldest was a purple bicolour variety ‘Cupani’ introduced in 1699 by the Monk Francis Cupani.
Some regular visitors came back each week and loved watching the garden change and grow over the summer months and into autumn.
Our most commented upon plants this year were:
- Diascia personata
- Sweet peas
- Trombonchino squashes
- Salvia ‘Amistad’
- Salvia leucantha
- Cosmos atrosanguineus (chocolate cosmos)
- Everlasting flowers Helipterum‘Pierrot’ and Helichrysum bracteatum ‘Salmon Rose’
Now the gardens are closed for the winter season, we have started clearing up and removing all the displays, it’s always an exciting time of year for us because we get to start on all the new planting and shuffling bits around in the garden.
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'It will be happier.'”
Alfred Lord Tennyson - ‘Robin Hood and Maid Marion’