Gardener's Diary Post

May 2022

Garden ready to be experienced…

A month when the garden is at its freshest, greens at their most vibrant. Everything is now rushing into growth as light and colour shift throughout. This means in turn trying to keep on top of certain jobs and getting other seasonal tasks completed before the garden reopens.


The Kailyard is planted out and already some of the early crops are coming on, while in the Allotment more herbs and companion plants – borage, summer savoury – have been put in as fillers.


It is a big job to weed out the lochan and a large section of flag iris is removed where it was encroaching into the water. There is a bulk of elodea and potamogeton which both seem to be fighting it out for dominance. On a positive note the trout are still active here, a breeding family it seems.


Most of the spring bulbs have finished to be replaced with the brief season of lilac, laberum, hawthorn blossom. Wild cherry continues to float down like confetti. There is new flowering throughout the different garden areas – red campion, wild garlic, bluebells, sweet cicely – vivid pops of colour everywhere. Annuals are planted out in the beds along the Front garden paths and in front of the Temples: cosmos and cornflower, scabious, malope, white lace flower.


More geranium and ground cover are planted by the 1774-1840 Pyramid, and more ferns put in to fill out the backdrop area to the ‘woodpaths’ so that the plinths and inscriptions here are more camouflaged and come as a surprise.


The colonnade in front of Temple of Apollo is cleared back so that all the bases and capitals are in full view. The area by the Caddis Shell is cleaned out and replanted with anaphalis – ‘summer snow’ – which was part of the original planting in this part of the garden. There are plans for a few more improvements to this area – diseased or out of scale trees which need taken out and some of the other ground cover planting to be renewed.


Evergreen honeysuckle is planted in the woodland to train through the metal garden trellis arch to make a more defined entrance to the little ‘room’ of fishing boat name pavers which sit there – Amaryllis, Zephyr, Shepherd Lad.


Moss is cleared off the stepping stones over the Middle and Upper ponds.


Repairs are made to leaks in the lower pond aqueduct in the Parkland and by Line Light Lade – thick clay is packed in to worn areas. There is no real permanent solution to this wear and tear – the water goes where it wants to rather than the route defined for it, so it just needs continual intervention.


In the Temple pool the water supply stops for a while but is unblocked and soon flowing again, and here also there is a problem with blanket weed to be contended with – its fluorescent green looks magnificent as patches of camouflage on the dark water’s surface but has to be removed as it chokes everything else.


A few trees at the bottom end of the Parkland are removed where they had split at their bases and fallen over beyond rescue. An old willow which had also collapsed into the Top pond is cut back.


Outside the garden there are other practical works being completed by the track and carpark. The parking area is extended, and new drainage put in all along the course of the track. It has been a continual source of problems keeping this ‘Stonypath’ surface intact: only time and the first heavy rainstorms will tell whether all this intervention is effective. A perimeter row of hawthorns are planted in the new carpark, and the bank edging sown with wild flowers. Mixed native hedging will go in either in the autumn or next spring – though that feels like a long time off. It will all soften in very quickly.


For now we are at the start of the visitor season, another big change, but a welcome one as the garden is now in full readiness to be seen and experienced.