Gardener's Diary Post

May 2024

May, the month that zings…

All Is zinging bright green and fresh, there is lushness in all new growth, which is now romping forward. Blossom follows blossom as the trees stretch and fill themselves out and even on dark and dingy days the vivd colours of spring dominate, 

Beneath there is the froth of sweet Cicely, a sea of bluebells, wild garlic, forget-me-nots, all of the woodland geraniums are flowering in sequence. The greenhouses become a production line moving things out, sowing new seeds. Into the Kailyard go peas, beans, broccoli, courgettes, salads and kale of course.

So too begins the inevitable work of keeping it all in check.

The large yew hedge at the top of the Parkland and all of the topiary box are given a quick trim, as is the front perimeter hedge and Huff Lane – just enough to keep things looking neat.

It has become inevitable now that the box hedging in the Hortus requires a major rethink having succumb to blight. This is heartbreaking and unsightly but at the same time perhaps long-term allows the chance to resolve the problem imaginatively.

Grass cutting dominates all of the lawned areas, and bare patches are given a top dressing of fertiliser and some reseeding to try and fill in any gaps.

There is strimming around all of the grass pathways and by the settings and surroundings of objects. The car park also gets a tidy.

The rain comes at the end of the month – in some ways a very welcome necessity, in others a portent for the days and weeks ahead.

The major intervention this month is the weeding out of Lochan Eck – potamogeton has been very rampant and now seems to dominate, clogging up the entire surface of the water. While the cutting back is successful it is almost inevitable it will be back up again in no time. Horsetail is also a troublesome pest around the margins and is incredibly difficult to eradicate. More clumps of ever encroaching flag iris are removed from the edges – especially by the rowing boat Never Enough.

The drystone dyke at the entrance is causing concern as it bulges out where the inscribed plaques are set into it and the danger of collapse is very real, especially (appropriately or inappropriately) around Loosestrife and Adrift. In fact, just after I write this, Loosestrife does sink to the ground and a takes a fairly sizeable section of the wall with it. There is no damage to the inscribed stone, but emergency repairs are already planned.

We are pleased to have completed our first bird survey and hope to continue to gather and share these and further records as part of our continuing biodiversity studies. Next on the list dragonflies and damselflies.

And so the garden is at that stage again where it is soon to be open for visitors – suddenly populated after months of emptiness. A place and a time become present