The Cutting Garden Review – July

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I am very sorry that I missed the June Cutting Garden Review – it was such an abundant month for cutting with the peonies, roses, ammi majus and other annuals all looking fantastic! Sadly I just never found the time to capture their beauty on camera. June was over far too quickly and we on the plane headed for America in early in July, so yet again I have not been around to capture the progression of the cutting garden in this midsummer month.

I did worry that I would return home to find everything in the Cutting Garden had faded, but I should have known not to be so pessimistic. Whilst the roses are largely having a rest and most of my early sown annuals have gone over in the heat, there is still much pleasure to be found from perusing the borders and certainly no lack of flowers to cut!

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One of my favourite fillers – the green amaranthus is just ready to start adding to vases of dahlias.

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The beautiful rose Wolverton Old Hall is still producing a few blooms.

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These snapdragons were sown early in February and looking stunning. As the flowers fade I will cut them back hard in the hopes of a second flush of pure white blooms.

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Bright orange cosmos ‘Bright Lights’ is lighting up the gaps between my hot coloured dahlias. The white cosmos ‘Purity’ is just about to flower between my pale dahlias and is one of my favourite late summer blooms.

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Above is possibly my favourite dahlia  – beautiful ‘Preference’ is just starting to flower. I also have the very first bloom of ‘Cafe Au Lait’ in the greenhouse with more to follow in the garden and all my other dahlias are covered in big buds. There are plenty of gladioli growing, but none in flower yet.

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These blue cornflowers have grown very leggy during July, but they are still good for a few more cuttings. My beds are ready for a good weed and tidy up after their early summer flush and  I like to remove the biennials and annuals that have gone over to get some light and air into the beds. This will give the dahlias plenty of breathing space so that they can flower at their best until the late autumn.

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Along with the dahlias and gladioli, zinnias provide the bulk of my late season flowers. Usually I would also have plenty of sunflowers, but however organised I try to be something always gets missed and this year it is the sunflowers. I did sow the seed in May, but the plants have languished in the cold frames and now look beyond planting out. Never mind – I will look forward to having these back in the garden next summer!

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White and blue nigella self seeded in the borders and produced early blooms in May and June. Whilst a few flowers are still opening, most are developing into the lovely seedheads which will stand well and can be added to arrangements until late autumn.

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Most of the ammi has gone over now – tall brown stems are littering my borders throughout the garden. If you look hard enough though you can find a few fresh flowers. I also have ammi visnaga, which was sown in early spring, just coming into flower so these should keep me in white umbels well into the autumn.

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This beautiful bed of nepeta has kept the bees happy whilst I have been away, but collapsed this week and is ready for cutting back. If we have a warm late summer it should hopefully flower again in September.

As we move into August I need to focus my attention on jobs that will ensure I have plenty of flowers next spring. These include:

  1. Making my bulb order, so that I am ready to start planting in the autumn.
  2. Pricking out the biennials sown before our holiday so that they can grow on in the cold frames ready to plant in their final position when I plant the bulbs.
  3. Checking my seed supplies for hardy annuals so that I can order any that I am missing. I will be sowing in September for early flowers next spring and will write about this more fully in a dedicated post in August.
  4. Ordering sweet pea seeds for sowing in September and growing in the greenhouse for flowers early next year. Once again my outdoor crop is plagued with pollen beetles, so I may stop growing sweet peas outside altogether. Although the stems are now quite short I do still have plenty of flowers i the greenhouse and these plants have been flowering now since April!

I am sorry that the photos are quite limited this month, but I will make sure to take plenty of shots of the August beds to share with you in my next Cutting Garden Review.

In the meantime, please do leave a link to your own Cutting Garden post, so that we can all share your progress. To get the ball rolling do take a look at this lovely post on Rambling In The Garden. Cathy got carried away and posted a week early – giving me a slight headache when I arrived home last Friday and thought I had got my dates very confused! I soon realised what had happened and owe her a big thank you for her enthusiasm.

 

The Very Romantic ‘Spencer’s The Garden’

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Before sharing a few photos from our Californian adventure  I thought it would be best to catch up with a couple of things I wanted to share from the hectic month of June. I meant to post these before we went away, but time got the better of me!

First up is a visit I made to Spencer’s The Garden in Great Yeldham, Essex. I was lucky to spend a morning here at the very end of June, just before leaving for California.

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I first discovered this beautiful old house and garden about 8 years ago when I lived in a nearby village. This old Georgian house (built around 1760) was owned by the Courtauld family at the time of my first visit and the stunning Walled Garden was managed by an entourage of full and part time gardeners. About 3 years ago the house was sold and I am delighted that the new owners are carrying on the tradition of opening this truly romantic garden to the public on a regular basis, although it is now managed with far less help.

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The beautiful timber framed greenhouse in the Walled Garden also dates back to 1760 and is said to be the oldest greenhouse in Essex.  It is home to a packed collection of pelargoniums and other tender plants.

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The building below must be the most magnificent potting shed in the country!! I had to photograph it from a distance to get the unusual roof in, so you can only see the second storey above the pergola in this picture.

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Whilst the house is surrounded by 100 acres of farmland and woodland, the flower garden is found close to the house in the Walled Garden. Occupying about an acre this beautiful enclosed space is home to all the english garden favourites – roses, delphiniums, peonies and foxgloves are growing cheek by jowl in packed beds divided by immaculate grass paths and cleverly interwoven with vegetables, annuals and perennials.

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There are literally row after row of beautiful delphiniums.

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Great use is made of benches, obelisks and sundials to lead you down the myriad of narrow paths.

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The backdrop to all the planting is these beautiful old walls.

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At the entrance to the Walled Garden you can find the swimming pool – surrounded by climbing roses hugging the walls and tumbling over metal arches. This must be the perfect place to while away a summer afternoon when the garden is closed to the public.

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Much use is made of the old yew and box hedges, their neat clipped lines containing the romantically rambling roses and exuberant planting.

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Foxgloves have been used to fill every available space – they can be found growing amongst all the plantings. Sadly the foxglove season finishes as June departs, but this was a great reminder to me to make sure I sow lots of seeds to fill my own borders with foxgloves this autumn!

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I have never visited any other garden so intensively planted with scented roses – there are ramblers, climbers, tea roses, shrub roses and standard roses everywhere you look. On a warm day the scent is quite overpowering.

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The honeysuckle on the long pergola was also in flower. One of my favourite scented plants in the June garden, this too is now over for another year.

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In both my current and last garden this beautiful walled space has been highly influential in my choice of design and plants. It will be many years and a lot more work before my current garden will reach anything like the maturity of Spencer’s, but a regular visit to this very special place does much to keep my motivation up!

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Next on my catch up posts is a look at the stunning day we spent at Royal Ascot Races in mid June. Before that though I will be back on Friday with a peek at my July Cutting Garden.

 

 

 

In A Vase On Monday – Welcome Back!!

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After my long break I am happy to welcome you all back with my first ‘In A Vase On Monday’ post in July. It seems like a long time since we departed for America and despite the fog of jet lag I am delighted to be back taking part again in this lovely meme hosted by Cathy from Rambling In The Garden.

This week I needed a very quick and simple vase. Having arrived home late on Friday the weekend has disappeared in a mountain of unpacking, laundry and generally trying to get everyday life back on track. Life is rarely quiet though and by the time you read this post I will be on my way to London for an overnight jaunt with a friend to visit Kew Gardens and the famous Petersham Nurseries in Richmond. With such a quick turnaround there was no time to linger over todays arrangement!

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One of the quickest ways I know to cut and display a few flowers is to float them in a bowl so having retrieved my footed bowl from the back of the cupboard I set off to the Cutting Garden in search of something suitable to float.

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Having been away for three weeks I have to admit that the Cutting Garden is not looking quite as resplendent as I would like for the time of year. All the lovely annuals that I had in flower throughout June are suffering from a lack of deadheading and the dry hot weather, so have either gone over completely or need a severe hair cut to try and encourage them back into flower. I did plant out a few fresh plugs before we left and these should be in flower soon, but for the time being the dahlias are holding the fort. I was delighted to arrive home and find that most of my dahlias are now in bud if not in flower!

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Having said that this stunning pale yellow cactus dahlia with crimson edging is full of flowers and I used that as my starting point today. This dahlia has survived the winter outside and is flowering for its second year. I have tried to identify it, but am struggling to find a match – if anyone knows what it is please do leave a comment.

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Most of my roses are taking a break from flowering (sadly I missed the best of them whilst we were away). This rose (the David Austin rose Darcy Bussell) is full of flowers however and these flowers are a perfect colour match to the crimson edging of the dahlia.

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My dill is just surviving although much of it has collapsed in the heavy rain of the last day or two. I love the feeling of lightness that a few heads of dill can bring to a summer arrangement.

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Whilst my hardy annuals are fading the half hardies are getting into their stride and I have cosmos starting to flower all over the garden. In addition to pockets planted in the cutting beds I have also added plenty to my main borders and filled a number of pots with it. The variety that I added to my bowl today is Rubenza the seeds for which I purchased from Sarah Raven.

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This is proving to be a fantastic summer for fruit and I could not resist clipping a few sprigs of blackberries to add to the bowl. The combination of flowers, herbs and fruit floating in a bowl was for me a lovely welcome home to a new season of flowers.

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There is a sad ending to this bowl of summer bliss however and a word of warning to you all. After photographing these flowers in the kitchen I decided to move the arrangement to the sideboard in the dining room. I was very careful but managed to catch the foot of the bowl as I lifted it onto the sideboard sending flowers and water cascading everywhere. Perhaps it is best to make floating arrangements in situ!!

As I mentioned I am visiting Kew Gardens and Petersham Nurseries this week – both places that I have never been to before so I will have my camera ready to try and capture some of the spirit of these beautiful destinations. Before I share these with you however I will be posting photos from June outings to the beautiful Spencer’s Garden and Royal Ascot ( where the flowers this year were stunning). Also this week I will be here on Friday with my Cutting Garden Review for July.

I wish you all a very happy week and hope that you will pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what she and the others have been picking this week.

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