To Walter Degrasse

WP_20160731_09_32_56_ProDear Walter,

Summer finally arrived! It’s been a warm few weeks after a cloudy and wet June.  Wa + We= G (where Wa is warmth, We is Wetness and G is growth) just about sums it up.

The growth has on the whole been a victory for wanted plants rather than weeds, though I’ve still been ‘speed weeding’ in the more prominent areas of the garden- mainly bindweed.

It’s been a month of change; our daughter and her husband have returned from living in Portugal and are currently living with us pending settling jobs and a permanent place to live. It’s great having them around, and our son-in-law, Diego has been especially helpful in the garden and more generally; he’s done a great job repainting a lot of the woodwork in the kitchen garden and helping tidy things up. They also brought their two cats with them and one of the most important jobs earlier in the month was finishing off their new home- the ‘Cat Cave’.

At this time of year many of the floral treats of high summer are coming into their own, so here’s a pictorial round up of Old School Garden today…

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After the first flush of produce from the kitchen garden, things have slowed a little, though we have a good store of potatoes, onions and garlic. The strawberries were very disappointing, a combination of poor weather and the early shoots being nibbled by deer. We now have a rather untidy bed with corn growing out of the straw I put round the strawberry plants- a job next week will be removing this and perhaps using some of the spare ground for planting out leeks or carrots.We’ve had and continue to get a good supply of tomatoes, and other things are well on the way, such as some newly planted leeks and red cabbage…

Another important achievement has been finishing off the path next to the ‘Fruit Fence’; I decided to board the edges and cover it with landscape fabric and gravel. It certainly tidies that area up. I’m now starting to contemplate the next big thing, my DIY shed. I’ll turn my attention in the coming weeks to finalising the design and then getting hold of the timber for its framework.

WP_20160731_09_40_44_ProYou may recall a couple of years ago I was involved in tidy up at the local churchyard, and promised the then vicar that I’d produce a Management Plan for this? Well, two years on and with a new vicar in place, who’s keen to get the church up and running as a community venue as well as a place of religion, we are working together to set up a ‘Friends’ Group, part of whose role will be to look after the churchyard. I’ve drafted a management plan for this (see the visual plan below), which features a mix of close mown paths and areas of recent burial, with blocks of ‘meadow’ like habitat. The local Wildlife Trust is interested in helping us and have already completed a survey of the churchyard, which has a good range of wild flowers

st. peters planJuly is also a good time to take semi-ripe cuttings, so I’ve taken around 60 pieces from the lavender in the front garden  (‘Imperial Gem’) with a view to replacing this in a couple of years time, as the plants are now getting rather woody.

WP_20160731_09_39_41_ProI’ve also recently purchased a few ‘bargain’ plants to replace the early flowering Sweet Williams (having collected seed from them) and Violas.

The pond garden continues to fill out and I was pleased to spot a Frog and Dragon Fly there the other day and the host of insects continues to expand. The Water Lily I thought had died off, appears to have revived (the warmer weather is probably the key).

WP_20160731_10_06_24_ProOh, and I also got some free plants courtesy of Blickling the other day, some Ricinus communis. Though a bit ‘leggy’ they have fitted into my exotic front circular bed well, and having added some Scabious (‘Nana’) and Marigolds, as well as a Tithonia, I’m looking forward to this bed producing a bold ‘splodge’ of vibrant colour in the next month or two.

I hope that your own garden is looking splendid and that your new gardener is continuing to impress you with her skills and ideas. she certainly sounds to have been a find and with my recent experience of extra help, makes me think about getting in some extra help here…especially with the prospect fo so much weeding to be done in the autumn…I rather like the idea of being a ‘Head Gardener’!

Old School Gardener