Gardener's Diary Post

May 2021

An almost inner light…

Another month dominated by the effects of weather being unseasonably cold and wet for most days, though it ends with a flourish and a sharp rise in temperature leaving it feeling much more like it should be for the time of year. This of course has meant that things are much further behind than usual – grass seed which had begun to germinate just stalls to a halt, and has not put on any further growth. Seedlings in the greenhouses are much less developed and there have still been early morning frosts so little by way of planting out or moving things on.

The additional volume of water from the rain means too that the pools are full to brimming, though the Temple pool needs tidied from blanket weed and the elodea – Canadian pond weed – can be seen lurking beneath just ready to plague us again.

There seem to be more nettles than ever especially around the Top pond perimeter and the tree column base  Pantheon – even though an early round of removing them helps it will not eradicate their relentless presence and they emerge again here and throughout the woodland. The other plant which seems to be thoroughly enjoying conditions is ground elder – it is in amongst the roots of the perennial beds in the Front garden and choking out mint in the Kailyard. Again, one of those almost impossible tasks as no matter how much is removed it keeps reappearing again.

A leak in the Top pond at its weak spot on the filled again – another unwanted result of the volume of water just passing through the system – water always finds its way to the course it wants to run, rather than that directed or desired.

The car park area is given another clear up in advance of the visitor season – the wooden front gate here replaced temporarily with an aluminium one, following an incident involving the farmer’s son and an unruly tractor….

Wild flower seed is spread around bare and boggy patches here to improve appearances and a planter made from an old feeding trough dug up from the field, filled with ox-eye daisies and white purslane which will now great visitors at the entrance. 

In the Parkland the cobble circles of the Virgil groves are cleaned of moss and look sharp and clear again, the Woodland Flute grove gets the same treatment.

The Hortus is also given a good clear-out, the paths and gravel raked clean and the Cloud pool left clear – hopefully all of the earlier top-dressing and feeding of the roses in here will help – the fruit trees are blossoming, though whether or not this will result in any better harvest remains to be seen.

The parterre box hedging in the Hortus is given a light clipping as are all of the topiary box forms in the Front garden.

The brass silhouettes and name plates of Camouflaged Flowers are given a polish, their burnished presence always coming as a surprise glinting through the trees.

There is more blossom now in the woodlands – a luminous understory of bluebells, dog’s tooth violet and persicaria in flower by the grotto of Dido and Aeneas. Elsewhere cowslips, primrose and forget-me-not carpet the edges of pathways. 

There is rhubarb in abundance, and trees now turning to leaf provide that wonderful bright pellucid green – an almost inner light.

The new reception building is nearing completion – the last few days of construction once finished will mean that those few remaining art works can be uncovered or brought back out into place. The UNDA patio has been relaid and looks well – the return of an old friend, the beginnings of passage into summer.