We’ve been busy using natural materials to build all sorts of interesting structures and supports in the Walled Garden. We tend to use birch and hazel – the former is remarkably flexible and can be twisted and moulded into shapes to provide sturdy but attractive obelisks or even domes. We use these for a wide range of plants, including sweet peas, Ipomea and climbing beans in our Vegetable Garden.
Parham’s own sunflower trial – boasting up to 100 varieties – is going well. Germination has been very successful, and although planting out won’t happen for a few weeks, we’re all excited at the prospect of towering cultivars including ‘Kong’ and ’Giraffe’ reaching up to four metres!
It’s a challenging time of year keeping up with the weeds. The warmer temperatures, higher light levels and rainfall have given all the weeds a boost – annuals such as hairy bitter cress, cleavers and speedwell can at least be hoed off and left on the soil during dry weather. Ground elder and the notorious bindweed (shudder…) need a more determined approach involving a spade, and of course careful disposal.
We have reached our tulip peak with some beautiful varieties such as the elegant, plum-coloured ‘Ronaldo’, the graceful sorbet orange ‘Ballerina’ and the delicate white and pink ‘Angelique’ turning a few heads. Now it’s time to use showy annuals and other plants to fill any possible gaps in our borders – so we’re planting out Scabious ‘Black Cat’, Achillea ‘Gold Plate’and Dahlia ‘Bishop of Landaff’, to name just a few. In some cases, plants like Nigella ‘Delft Blue’ and ‘Hispanica’ can be direct sown in drifts through the borders.
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