August 2013

Conditions have been very different to last year. This year there was a late frost that hit some plants, especially hydrangeas that were just starting to show their new leaves. Then we had a long dry period, finishing up with an unusually hot spell. Plants that like moist conditions – which is what the garden normally has – fillipendula rubra, and desfontania spinosa have struggled. Because of the slow start to the year many plants were three weeks to a month late in flowering, and then went over quickly because of the heat. Roses have enjoyed the conditions although their flowers didn’t last long, and Iris ensata that normally do very well were over very quickly. But I have been able to catch up on work that couldn’t be done last year, and make good inroads into the weeds.

Interestingly the hornbeam hedging has coped well with the dry conditions. It is better than beech in the wet, so it was a surprise to find it is also better in the dry. The remaining bits of beech are now going to come out and be replaced with hornbeam.

Last year vegetables did so badly that I was quite put off this year. Even tough things like perpetual spinach and beetroot just didn’t grow, probably because apart from the enormous amounts of rain, light levels were so low. This year it has been lack of rain that has been the problem. The sweet corn is ridiculously short but is starting to form cobs. Peas are coming on well, and broad beans have been good if small. The asparagus seemed to be particularly delicious this year. The Jerusalem artichokes wilted in the heat but soon recovered.

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