Garden Journal 29.5.21

Looking on the bright side!

Tidy gravel paths became murky streams, hollow and low lying areas within the garden pooled with water – some still standing days later, and hail decorated the corners of the glasshouse window panes just like the fake snow we used to spray on our house windows each Christmas. When the storm had moved on through, aside from the standing water, only the floored petals from apple tree blossom was left to tell the tale.

Glasshouse Busy-ness

Still, it is what it is, and being May with its increasing temperatures and day length, there’s usually more than enough to keep a gardener busy indoors. Indeed, at the moment the glasshouses at Sulgrave Manor are full to overflowing with pots and trays at all stages of growth, so there’s never an excuse for idle hands.

Young plants covering the benches in a small glasshouse, with lush green foliage
Pots of fun in the glasshouse!

Over the last two weeks I’ve sown trays of seeds, (including test sowings of old seed,) pricked-out seedlings into modules, potted-on young plants and moved trays of plants into cold frames to harden-off. I’ve even planted up three baskets and a couple of troughs. I can hardly describe how good it has felt to select seeds, sow and nurture them, with a view to using them in a public garden. In a professional context it seems to have been an age since I’ve been able to garden in this way, and I’m absolutely in my element!

On the Home Front

In complete contrast, my home gardening efforts continue to slow down. I might have mentioned before that we’ve been working towards a house move which was scheduled for late spring, but has now become late summer. Lets out a long sigh

Ordinarily I’m quite philosophical about these things, feeling always that things happen in their own good time, and for their own good reason, and I still feel that way of course. However from a gardening point of view I had already curbed most of my home based horticultural ambitions for the season, and now we’ve suddenly slipped into a holding situation. Ordinarily I’d be looking now to plant up some summer containers, but we’ll see.

It’s all very exciting of course, but whilst my head is full of ideas for the new garden, I know that there will more than enough to do with settling into a new house, without concerning myself too much with gardening, which will follow in its own good time. Hopefully from autumn onwards I’ll be able to post about some progress with the blank canvass garden project.


I thought I’d end this post with some observations from a garden, plant and seasonal perspective, which I hope to become a feature for this garden journal from here onwards. (But who knows, I might forget next time!)

Buttercups, they’re all over the place! I’m seeing them pretty much everywhere I look, and my favourite collection are lighting up the orchard sward at Sulgrave Manor just now along with cow parsley, bugle and speedwell; it’s quite a sight I can tell you, and the bees aren’t complaining a bit! (That reminds me, I’ll be in doing the #EveryFlowerCounts wildflower survey on Monday at Sulgrave – a great Plantlife initiative that has some great resources and tips for counting flowers and working out how many bees are feeding near you – do check it out if you haven’t already!)

Sunshine, daisies, buttercup mellow….

Daffodils are done except for the poet’s Narcissus N. Poeticus, which is holding its own very proudly. Camassias are running out of steam whilst peonies are blooming perfect. Grass has changed up three gears, Forsythia is all done and needs a prune, and box is so touchable with its luxuriant soft new growth – feeding and close observation is now on the agenda.

Herb garden growth just two weeks ago was slow and steady, whilst now some varieties are pushing beyond knee height. Inspirational Angelica flowers are forming and already shoulder high, whilst chives are preparing to flower just like the ornamental alliums throughout the garden.

Yew hedges and topiary that held their clipped forms all through winter and spring are now covered with bronze and bright green leaves and, as if to put one over the hedge, honeysuckle shoots have emerged from atop to joyously spoil the symmetry. Then down at ground level, hedge germander is finally shooting away after sitting there mournfully during the colder days. I mustn’t forget the Anemone ‘De Caen’ – they’re looking fab too! (The ones that survived winter that is…)

Vivid purple blue flowers of anemone de Caen
Anemone coronarius ’De Caen’

There’s more, lots more, but it’ll have to keep until my next journal entry… Until next time, thanks for stopping by, I hope you’ve enjoyed my post, please do let me know if you have with a little like or comment – so I know I’m not just writing for my own benefit! Regards, Gary


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