Seeing those flowers encouraged me to check amongst the mixed foliage in another border and sure enough, Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ was flowering there too. This one has grown on me after being bought in an end of season sale maybe two years back, and now I’m quite taken with my Katherine, who continues to thrive in a small corner of my garden. If either of these Iris types take your fancy, either pick them up from a garden centre or nursery now, or order them as bulbs for autumn planting in a container or near the front of a border – you won’t regret it I promise.
On the Sulgrave Manor gardening front it’s been a tale of two halves this week – having two work days in which to make a difference. On the first I managed to finally kick the hedge clearing in to touch followed by a rapid session of willow arch pruning, and on the second day I began pruning the orchard trees.
The main comment I’d make surrounding general gardening at the moment though has to be the ground conditions, which are decidedly soggy to say the least. Obviously the conditions are different around the country, but around here the soil is absolutely saturated, and in the worst areas at work it’s puddling across some of the lawns.
Whilst standing water is less than ideal, it is what it is, and in time will drain away leaving us to see which plants survive, and which ones suffer. In the meantime I’m treading as lightly across the orchard ‘wild flower’ lawn as possible trying A) not to leave any footprints and B) not to step on any developing daffodil heads!
I have though enjoyed an almost full day on the orchard pruning after briefly researching which varieties I’m playing with. There are some interesting varieties that I’m hoping to feature on social media over the coming weeks, but after a steady start, my confidence has returned along with a modest increase in pace, and I’m looking forward to the challenges each tree brings.
Whilst it can be considered something of a treat to spend some time with each tree, it also brings responsibility, and ‘reading’ each tree correctly is an interesting if time consuming process I find. Maybe on a commercial orchard pruning activities are different, but in a garden setting, whilst fruit is the obvious target, a nicely proportioned tree is important too – at least in my book. To those ends, much of my fruit pruning activity this year appears to be in the form of ‘opening’ up some of the trees, improving in the process airflow and light penetration amongst the branches – at least that appears to have been needed for the first two trees I’ve tackled.
Well I think I’ll have to leave it there for this week. Until next time then, thanks for dropping by and getting to the end of another Gardening Ways Journal entry – I hope that like me, you’re watching the days lengthen and are cheered by the first blooms of the year; it’s none stop from here onwards! Best wishes, Gary