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It has been wonderful to be able to welcome people back to the Walled Garden this week. The marquee has gone up and although we could have done with it in recent weeks to provide some shade, this week it has given us a dry spot to eat our lunch and do some of our practical sessions. Everyone has been happy to be back here and it has been good to see faces old and new on this week’s courses. We kicked off with our first Peony & Dahlia Day taught by Sarah Hammond of Norfolk’s English Peonies. She took us through the history of these fabulous plants before showing us how to propagate, grow and store them as well as how to cut, condition and arrange the beautiful flowers. She brought with her buckets of summer flowers from her walled garden in north Norfolk and everyone went home with a stunning, colourful hand-tied arrangement in a jug. There are two more of these courses next week as well as a Summer Flowers workshop on 23rd July. Do let us know if you would like to join us on one of these or any other of the upcoming courses.
In between the showers and before the students returned we have been busy weeding the flower beds and trimming the edges. The beds which we mulched last autumn with Strulch have had hardly any weeds, so after drenching the plants we have applied a thick layer of Strulch to each new bed. The visual effect is wonderful. Instantly neat and tidy. And there is also the benefit of increased protection from slugs and snails who hate Strulch as much as we love it. We have also carried on cutting back and feeding some of the perennials and biennials as they finish flowering. In some cases this will encourage a second flush of flowers and in others it will prevent a thousand seedlings germinating where we don’t want them!
The compost heap has been feeling a little dry in the past couple of weeks, and when it dries out it cools down and slows the process of decomposition, so we have given it a soaking. We have also turned it as much as we could to introduce some air which will also speed up the process. The first compost we made a year ago is looking nearly ready, so we shall be adding that to the veg beds in the coming weeks.
Upcoming courses with availability:
Peony and Dahlia Day Tuesday 14th July
Summer Pruning Thursday 13th July
Peony and Dahlia Day Saturday 18th July
Sumer Flowers - Cutting, Conditioning and Arranging Thursday 23rd July
Gardening Under Glass Friday 31st July
Lawn Care & Maintenance Wednesday 2nd September
Plant of the Week
Perovskia 'Blue Spire'
This is a deciduous sub-shrub with aromatic, deeply divided, grey-green leaves and large, open panicles of small tubular blue flowers from late summer to autumn. The ghost like stems add interest to the winter display before being cut back in the spring. Perovskia is native to south western and central Asia. It grows well in poor soil in full sun and is an excellent plant for the dry garden.