Saturday, 24 May 2014

Last Saturday's village festival was a success, the sun shone, Fiona Fullerton diligently judged the gardens, Morris Dancers danced and the bees swarmed overhead as prizes were awarded and the festival officially opened.

Festival plant sales at BH from a trailer.....'Would you buy a used car from these gentlemen?!'
We've had, I feel, a normal spring i.e. rain, sun, rain, sun and some particularly gloriously sunny days; however it had been a little too dry  for the week spanning the festival and mid way through this last week I had hoped for a little rain. The Geranium phaeums in bed 4, although supported, had collapsed, sagging in their frames and buffeted by swirling breezes, they have been cut back hard now and will regrow. Rain is necessary to propel the Roses forward, I'm praying that we don't have the late June and all of July we had last year when the Roses fried in the relentless heat, before their blooms fully opened literally just as they were showing colour they were crisp, flowers and buds routinely prematurely removed. Watering was futile, the damage was being inflicted by the sun's relentless glare, Viola cornuta, Lamiums etc that were normally cut back to promote fresh growth and flowers for the rest of the year struggled and often failed to regain their glory as the sun pummelled their new young shoots. In casual conversation bosses remarked how the weather was so good for tourism, inside I was praying as more and more people came to see the garden. We were watering at 5 and 6 in the morning and striving to  carry on as normal, when the weather broke in very late July and normality resumed for the rest of the season we had one of the best late summers that I've had here. Those six weeks were my toughest period in the garden, so what is my point! I'm hoping for a normal summer where the garden can be enjoyed in glorious sunshine, fuelled by that all important gentle rain.
Towards the end of  work yesterday I stood on the parterre lawns soaked to my skin. All day we had experienced what my Irish cousins would call 'soft weather', continuous light rain coming straight down, not driving in at an awkward angle. John had finished the twice weekly cut of the lawns just after lunch, Ben had cut them on Tuesday too so they looked just right, the beds and borders were full to overflowing, heavy with water and studded with the early blooms of Roses such as deep pink 'Wild Edric'  or soft pink 'Frau Dagmar Hartopp'. I'd spent the day seruptisciously cutting back and removing unnecessary growth from overweight perennials and shrubs, brushing up debris and  dropping pots of Lilies through beds 1 and 2. The golden Lily 'African Queen' was snuggled under, through and out of the Hybrid Musk Rose 'Buff Beauty' in bed 1, a stunning rose with equally stunning dark green/bronze foliage. As Bed 1 approached Bed 2 White Lilium regale was threaded in and it continued into Bed 2 replaced by dark pink Lilium 'Pink Perfection' as I got past the variegated Holly on the corner.

Soaked by rain and the labours of a day in a garden that was  glowing in late spring, a garden thickly coated in a deep green quilt  with Roses threaded through it was paradise, John Evelyn's quote at the end of the Laburnum Tunnel echoing in my ears, here was true heaven on earth. It was made perfect by 'Maintenance Dave' as he'd just handed me a sandwich of  cheese, corned beef and brown sauce between two slices of white bread ; he'd watch me eat four bananas and a bunch of radishes for my lunch and knew I was starving!

Yesterday evening the rain stopped for a pre wedding BBQ and glorious sunshine arrived just after lunch today for the wedding, perfect. 

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