This time of year can feel like a bit of an in between period in the garden, as many of the early summer flowering perennials go over and some of the later ones and the annuals have not yet got going. In the Walled Garden we have still got plenty of colour and interesting foliage in the mixed perennial borders from a combination of annuals and perennials. Sweet peas seem to have had a difficult start in most gardens but they are finally getting going and providing plenty of colour in the garden as well as for cutting. The Orlaya and Amaranthus ‘Loves Lies Bleeding’ are also looking lovely in the cutting patch, and with lots of cutting and deadheading the marigolds just go on and on and on. In fact deadheading and cutting back are really important at the moment to prolong flowering and to stimulate new growth. We feed after cutting back to give plants a good boost.

Meanwhile the vegetable garden is looking wonderful. Tiny courgettes, complete with flowers, are proving delicious and we are still picking broad beans, runner beans, peas and now dwarf French beans every day. Some of the salad has begun to bolt and the rocket has been attacked by flea beetle, just as it is getting a bit tough. So we have dug it up and sown more salad seeds. We hope they will be ready to begin harvesting within four weeks, but we’ll keep you posted.

The eggshell mulch we gave to the basil and coriander last week has had mixed success. Some of the plants near the edge of the bushel box planters have been nibbled, but not the ones in the middle, and we think it is the depth of mulch and the cover which is key. If there are gaps of soil in between the eggshells the slugs seem to navigate them successfully to find some tasty leaves. We have now made sure there are no gaps, and so far so good. We probably haven’t kept them out entirely, but maybe long enough for the tiny plants to grow a bit and become less tender and therefore less vulnerable to slug and snail damage.

We ran our first floristry workshop on Saturday with Sarah Hammond from English Peonies. The classroom was turned into a technicoloured flower shop with endless buckets of glorious blooms and foliage from her farm in Knapton. There were lots of stunning dahlias as well as some of the last of her peonies. It was a hugely successful morning and everyone went away with either a hand tied bouquet or an individual arrangement, and a new confidence that they could do the same at home with either their own or shop bought flowers. We have been asked to run a six week floristry course this autumn, so let us know if you would be interested, and watch this space for more information.

Courses with availability in the next few weeks:

Plants for Free - Propogation & Seed Saving 6th September
All You Need to Know about Composting 7th September
Planning a Winter Cutting Garden 10th September
Certificate in Horticulture starts 11th September (10 weeks)
Introduction to Garden Design starts 12th September (6 weeks)
Lawn Care & Maintenance 14th September
Planting for Winter Structure & Colour 16th September

Plant of the Week

Escallonia 'Iveyi'

Escallonias are native to South America and are found mainly in the Andes. Most are evergreen and can be grown as shrubs or hedging. It can also be grown successfully as a wall trained shrub. Escallonia 'Iveyi' is a large vigorous growing hybrid bearing large panicles of white flowers on glossy green leaves in summer to autumn. It is easy to maintain by cutting back old flowering growth immediately after flowering. Grown in moist well drained soil, this shrub is excellent in coastal areas.

Escallonias are named after Senor Escallon, an 18th century Spanish traveller in South America. This particular cultivar was a natural hybrid seedling discovered in the garden of Caerhays Castle in Cornwall. The cultivar was named after the Caerhays estate's gardener, David Ivey.

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Written by Ruth Darrah of NSG