Sunday, 28 July 2013

Garden Update July 2013

Sorry it's been a wee while since my last update but things have been a bit hectic recently. Anyway, quite a lot to get through so on with the show - and talking of shows, I'll start wih the first show we entered this year - the Sutherland County Show which was held at Dornoch Links on 20th July. Now the previous long term convenor had retired and the show was organised this year by some growers from Alness - David Munro, George Pirie and his wife Christine who agreed to organise the show this year until the Show Committee found a willing volunteer to take on the task annually. Anyway due to various political and social factors, entries were down this year but there were still some quality exhibits. Scotsburn Garden entered Sweet peas and a vase (alright a bucket same as last year!) of perennials, as well as a set of the anemone flowered dahlias. And bettering our outing last year when we came away with two seconds, this year we came a way with two firsts and a second. We won the sweet pea class with a vase of 12 "Gwendoline" - I had picked all the Gwendoline that were ready the day before the show and had 14 to choose from, but two had lost petals overnight so my choice for twelve blooms was made for me, but they were all good and proved their worth.
The perennials bucket was filled with Campanula, Peruvian lilies, Valerian (red and white varieties), Echinops, Sea Holly, Alchemilla, Astrantia (three varieties), Achillea (mixture of Summer Pastel), Shasta Daisy and Scabious.
Here are a couple of pics of our entries

Another highlight came last week when the Kiftsgate rose started to flower it's not insubstantial socks off yet again. This year, the Climbing Iceberg rose that is adjacent to it is also putting on a magnificent display and there follow three photos that cannot hope to do justice to just how magnificent the display is in real life. The noise of the bees visiting this rose surpasses the constant drone of those v=bees feeding on the huge lime trees that overhang the garden by the potting shed, and that takes some doing, believe me!

The raspberries and strawberries are now being picked with the former in particular having a huge crop. The first early potatoes are also producing a heavy crop - the variety is Foremost (aka Suttons Foremost). I have grown this variety before and have found it to be both very reliable and a very heavy cropper.
Now on to the hare saga - despite having James rid us of 5 so far, it would appear there is still at least one more in the garden - I had planted out all the brassicas but the following week they were all gone - and I know it was the hare because I could see footprints and droppings amongst what was left of the young plants. So another night with the gun is called for.
The lupins, both in the herbaceous borders and those of the Lupin Wall have been deadheaded religiously and we await a second flush - there were a group of four plants in the lupin wall that were absolutely smothered in aphids  but these were cut right down to the ground and the area given a generous spray of Provado.. Other than these four plants, I have not seen aphids anywhere else in the garden this year
I also managed to procure 5 largish clumps of white Campanula from another garden I look after over in Shieldaig - the words "there is too much white" were uttered and I thought to myself, I know just where this "too much white" is going
The Cordon Sweet Peas are looking good, though it is doubtful any of those bought in as replacements will ever make a show bench/ However, with the exception of Jilly (the sole white variety we grow) the others are up and away and flowering well. I think that the initial hare attack was harder on Jilly as these plants were at the end of the row and would have been eaten first, and therefore probably took a bigger hit than those further down the rows.
The old rose-bed, now home to Gladioli, Dahlias and Canterbury Bells looks full of promise with plenty of flower buds on all the plants and the Glads look to be coming on well for a bit later in the summer.
In the small bed to the left of the summerhouse (under the Garrya elliptica tree) we have planted up and other 9 Hellebores which will hopefully grow well and bush out to join the existing heelebores and give us a fairly large clump in years to come. In the opposite corner of the same bed, we have planted up 3 Anemone "H Jobert" as these will allegedly tolerate the dry shade caused by the Garrya - though if they look to be struggling, we now have a water supply about three feet away.
Richard has a painting in the house of this bed as it used to be and we are going to try and recreate this. It shows a tap (done), a Belfast Sink (located but not yet in place) which is surrounded by black Iris. Now I have seen many irises advertised as black but when you see them in the flesh they are not even close to it -but I have now been successful and have located a black iris at a nursery in Rogart and Sarah (the owner) assures me that it is black (not a dark purple) and I have been invited to go have a look for myself but I have known Sarah for a number of years now and if she says it is what I am after, I believe her.
In the greenhouse, the tomatoes are doing well having now all set about 4 trusses, the scallions are ready for a first picking and I have sown some mixed salad leaf for summer eating. The greenhouse does look a bit bare with only odds and sods on the staging now, so I might suggest that Sally has a go at growing some pot plant flowers next year - possibly Begonias.
Anyway, that's about it for now so I'll leave you with a photo of the borders looking pretty full and lush.

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