Sue's Garden - August Jottings
Welcome back everyone. How did you get on in July? Did you manage to get out and about and visit some gardens, or has work on your own garden taken up all of your time; perhaps you managed to do both?
I have certainly been kept busy in my own garden and those of my clients, but I also managed to fit in a couple of lovely garden visits, which I will tell you about a little later.
So what are the things which keep us busy in our own gardens at this time of year? Well, now is a good time to trim Lavenders (after flowering) which will stop them becoming too leggy and help to keep them nice and compact. You can also prune climbing and rambling roses once they have finished flowering.
Given the recent weather, it is a good idea to check your Clematis for signs of wilt and if seen, quickly cut it out. Now is also a good time to prune Wisteria. This is usually done twice a year - January to February and July to August. To prune in summer, cut back those whippy green shoots from this year's current growth to five or six leaves after flowering. This will encourage better ripening of the wood and flower bud formation, giving you even more flowers next year.
My plant of the month has to be the castor-oil plant Ricinis communis 'Gibsonii'. I love the architectural foliage of this plant...big and bold. This plant is ideally situated in amongst the plantings of a hot border...with cannas and crocosmias and the wispy flower heads of Cotinus or the Smoke Bush. The flowers are really interesting too (see photograph to the right).
Sue's Plant of the Month
In July I only managed a couple of garden visits much closer to my home in Sussex, as this time of year is one of my busy periods. These were Pashley Manor and Great Dixter, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed ...
Pashley Manor is a beautiful Grade 1 listed Tudor house. The property is surrounded by a 10-acre garden, which is delightful, with romantic landscaping, fountains and ponds and artistic planting, all sheltered by some very old trees.
The garden first opened its doors to the public in 1992 after renovation and assistance from the late Anthony de Gard Pasley. Today the garden is quite breath-taking, with the highest standards of maintenance on display throughout.
Pashley is famous for its Tulip Festival in late April and that is well worth a visit, but it is also a stunning garden to visit in June and July.
There are more than 100 varieties of rose and when in flower, the pervading fragrance experienced almost everywhere is quite wonderful. Also, thoughtfully placed throughout the garden - and you cannot miss them - are a series of striking sculptures.
Other delights include a swimming pool garden, where you will find succulents and Mediterranean plantings and on display in the Victorian greenhouse are fragrant and interesting climbers, including Jasmine and Passiflora.
Such a beautiful place to visit ... I thoroughly recommend you plan a visit to Pashley Manor.
My second garden visit was to Great Dixter - which was of course the family home of the late Christopher Lloyd. This garden became one of the most celebrated horticultural delights of its day and indeed still is.
Along with his trusted Head Gardener, Fergus Garrett, Christopher Lloyd experimented with his plants to create the most amazing displays and themes.
The gardens are truly fascinating and inspirational.
The placement of plants in pots, at the front of the house and in other parts of the garden is another gem to behold. The great thing about plants in pots, is that you can keep moving them around until you get your placement just right. You can also move them into shelter over winter if they need it. For great inspiration, in planting styles and planting combinations, I thoroughly recommend you get yourself along to Great Dixter just as soon as you can.
I shall be visiting more gardens later this month and look forward to telling you all about them in my September Jottings.
Until then, Happy gardening and garden visiting.