AS FEATURED IN THE EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES
‘Tis the season of the open garden, as the saying doesn’t go.
Open garden events are a great opportunity to get inspiration and gather up ideas for your own patch of land, whether it be clever planting combinations, or simply seeing what can be grown in local conditions.
A lovely day out for the visitors, but a more stressful proposition for the hosts, who will have spent the preceding weeks simultaneously praying for hot, sunny weather to bring the lavenders out in time for the big day, and cursing it as the delphiniums’ flowers threaten to finish.
We had a taste of this with our entry in the Suffolk Show (which was awarded Large Gold, “Which is like an A+!” as I have proudly told anyone who has strayed within conversation distance of me).
We had hoped to include Penstemons, Fuchsias, Dahlias and Salvias in our showcase, as we grow so many varieties, but it wasn’t to be as none had cracked open more than a handful of buds by the end of May.
A week later the Salvia Hot Lips were smothered in red and white blooms, the ‘P’ lane of the Perennial A-Z was a kaleidoscope of flowering Penstemons and whereas we had only a handful of Roses to pick for the show there were now a 100 or more in flower.
With two acres of plants, we were always confident we would have more than enough to choose from, but it highlighted how much changes in a short period of time.
To keep your garden going, buy a good spread of plants and be prompt and ruthless when it comes to removing old blooms. Those mentioned above will stay colourful from now until autumn, particularly if you keep deadheading.
To encourage a second flowering period, the likes of Lupins, Delphiniums, Verbascums, Geraniums, Leucanthemums and Campanulas can be cut right back to a few inches – leaves and all.
If this leaves temporary gaps, annuals such as Cosmos, cornflower and tobacco plants are invaluable for taking on the baton.
You should also pace yourself when it comes to purchases; don’t fill every available space the moment the days get longer than the nights, or you will miss out on the later-flowerers, as well as those patio and basket plants that aren’t available until it’s warmer, such as the beautiful Angelonias, Coleus, Lantanas, Zinnias and Clown Torenias.
Gardening advice by Catherine McMillan
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