Early Autumn in the garden

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The heat of this past summer was really quite intense at times. Probably the longest period of hot dry weather I have dealt with and made especially hard by the cold wet spring that preceded it. But us gardeners do love to complain about the weather and looking back it was glorious! It was hard work, but with such heat and sunlight, if you could get water to plants they grew so well this year. Running around at night with hoses and sprinklers may have been entertaining for our restaurant guests to watch, but now the effort has really paid off. I am so pleased with how lush, full and colourful the flower garden has become and things are only set to improve as we move in to September. The view from our new glass restaurant has opened up so many new perspectives through the garden. Now that the main vista from the restaurant has become such an important feature, there is a new dynamic, and we have to try to keep the standard of our planting up to the quality of George’s food.

One of the beauties of a garden is that it is always changing, and with each season the place takes a different atmosphere. In the height of summer, when the light is very intense, pastel shades tend to be our preference. But at this time of year, with the mellow light of late summer, stronger colours become much more effective. Dahlia ‘Magenta Star’, which we had to plant at the height of the heat wave, is now in its full glory and the rusty oranges from Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ and Rudbeckia ‘Autumn Colours’ give a very pleasing contrast. The intense heat has also meant that our salvias have performed particularly well. Many of these originate from Central America and in such a lovely summer they felt very much at home. Salvia ‘Amistad’ has been in full flower since June and continues to improve into September. Another long-lasting display comes from the magenta Salvia curviflora. This also started flowering in June and September promises another flush of its unusual fluffy flowers.

The wild flower meadows surrounding the garden had become scorched brown by the heat. There was a good display of common spotted orchids in June but after that the sun toasted everything to a crisp. Because of this I was tempted to cut the grass early to tidy it all up but I’m so glad I didn’t. Now that September is here our Devil’s-bit Scabious is flowering better than ever, giving the meadow a blue haze in the last summer days.

Head Gardener Tom

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