Gardener's Diary Post

August 2023

Autumn in August…

At the height of the season it seems a never ending sequence of tasks to keep on top of everything. 

By the Virgil cobble circle groves the crown height of the trees is raised to clear a vista to the Ovidian obelisk at the bottom of the garden.

There is cleaning too of the cobble bases of W Shenstone bronze wheelbarrow, and the Oak, Boat Barque bench at lower end of the Parkland. While moss is encouraged on the setts in Hortus, this has to be tended so does not become unkempt, and here also the top of the surrounding walls are cleared of self seeded willow herb and others to keep the ‘ruin’ structure from being overgrown.

In Julie’s garden buttercups are pulled out from where their creeping habit threatens to overtake and new perennial planting (artemisia ‘silver queen’) is put in place. Also by the Siegfried line beds sweet Cecily is removed and kept under control to allow other things which were being deprived of light here to come through.

The fruit trees are given a summer prune back and tidy, formal beds in the Front garden and the Temple garden require trimming, deadheading and weeding.

All topiary forms are given a light tidy – the box in the Hortus is giving some cause for concern as it seems like it has not bounced back in certain areas and we now might have to consider how to deal with the dreaded blight.

The Woodland flute in the Parkland gets some attention as things are starting to straggle again and grow out of scale here. The guelder rose is trimmed hard back to maintain the formal setting of this grove.

Laurel is clipped where it was overhanging paths at the Hand Grenade finials, and also in the Woodland garden by the the tank tracks and Schiff shell patios to make more a formal separation between these places and so that it works more as a dense hedge.

By the LN stele ground elder is removed and the base planted with pulmonaria ocupol  – some more perennial planting is dotted into the front beds (Michaelmas daisies  ‘White ladies’) – also a small group of bergenia by the moulded Lyre form in a shady patch in front of house, where it will hopefully thrive.

Running repairs are made to the wooden aqueduct exit of the Middle pond and in the Parkland Line Light Lade and Lower pool aqueducts are also patched up to maintain water flow and levels.

All of the waterways here are cleared of overgrowth so that the course of water can be seen clearly again and kept running freely.

In the Lochan there is another round of weeding out potomageton – vast piles are dragged out – the water surface is clear and mirror smooth again, but for how long. This seems to be putting on ever more rampant growth each season, dominating and overtaking the previous problem of elodea pondweed.

Blossom in the garden now changes to knapweed on the hillside and meadowsweet by the lochan, astrantia gives way to phlox and gooseneck loosestrife in the front garden along with all the annuals still going strong. Cerastium ‘snow-in-summer’ looks lovely and abundant by the Goddess Shell / Caddis shell font in the Temple pool. The heather is starting to turn and purple on the moorland, much beloved by the bees.

More pruning by Camouflaged flowers as the cotoneaster is clipped back into the intended wave form shapes draping over the brick plinths and bronze silhouettes. The berries are starting to redden and further down by the Synthesis stile the brambles are also laden heavy with ripening fruits. 

In the Temple garden on the island as planned two Persian ironwood are planted either side of the pathway between Azure & sons sundial and Midway, and a Stewartia pseudocamillia by the end of little wooden bridge opposite the Kydippe tree plaque. More of the trees infected by honey fungus are gradually being removed from here to be replaced with other disease resistant plants. These placings as ever take account of how the garden might appear not only next year but in many years to come.

Heavy rain dominated the beginning of this month, then halfway through much brighter and warmer but still not high summer, and thoughts already turn to autumn as winds pick up and leaves swirl and fall…