The Summer Season

9th August

When you think of this summer you think of a month of temperatures in the 90s. The garden stood up to it quite well, and although everything is flowering well I do not really like this time of year. We do not have a watering system, and all we can do is to mulch everything in the spring. Already we are entering into the soft autumnal light and lower temperatures in the 70s which is much kinder to the plants. We do not water unless it is newly planted, for example our new trees, the Crateagus laciniata, Magnolia sieboldii, and the new grasses.

My puppy Pertemba has been a huge success and is absolutely adorable. All my friends kept telling me I must be completely mad to have a puppy and they have all been proved wrong! He arrived virtually house trained and plays with Tensing all day long. He enjoys all the people that we have round the garden. My younger son Thomas is engaged to Anya, a very beautiful Russian girl and I am now a grandmother to a little boy called George. This has really been an exciting year for me.

This weekend we had Sybille Kreutzberger to lunch and I was interested to see what she thought. She says what she thinks too! She was in such good spirits that she had us all laughing. She took one look at the beech hedge out the front and murmured “scorch” under her breath. It does look terrible as it got cut a couple of days before the temperatures in the 90s. As we have quite a lot of clipping we have to space it out otherwise it would be too much for Polly at one time.

On Monday we went to see Sybille’s garden and were greeted with a haze of soft colours and interesting plants. The colour was mostly coming from clematis, mostly the viticella variety, and made me resolve to have some more as August is a difficult month.

In our garden the geraniums, astrantias and acquilegias have all been cut flat, as you get the new foliage and sometimes new flowers. Allium pulchellum will seed everywhere and you wonder why you have it in the garden at all, although it is very pretty. Luckily we have had rain and thunderstorms for about 3 weeks. All the other alliums have been pulled out, ‘Globemaster’, ‘Purple Sensation’ and ‘Mount Everest’. We still have not got the Burgundy border right. It is difficult because when the Camassia and Allium ‘Globemaster’ are finished it leaves big gaps, and it is not a large border. We are going to put a Phillyrea latifolia at one end of it for structure and it will look good when you look down on it. The new yew hedge has grown very well as have the ‘soldiers’ in the courtyard . This year the dahlias look healthy and are all flowering. They were planted straight out in the Parterre without being potted up as the tubers were too big. I always get very nervous about the dahlias, though Polly seems to remain quite calm, as it is important they look good when they take over from the tulips. I do get fed up when you order things and then get something quite different. This happens with the tulips and the dahlias, because it then spoils your whole colour scheme.. We have ordered all our tulips and I cut out pictures of them from catalogues and paste them in a book saying which border they are going to go in. This is a great help for when they arrive. We are going to take Rose ‘New Dawn’ out simply because I am bored with it, and it is not very healthy. I think it would be fun to have a change. We have put two stone pineapples either side of the entrance gates, apparently it is a symbol of welcome. All our new Eryngium ebracteatum var. poteriodes are completely in the wrong place, they do not show up unless they are in the front, so they will have to be moved. They are a strange little plant, rather like a sanguisorba, probably better in the second year. I love the Ratibida pinnata, it remains to be seen if it comes through the winter. I do hope so as it is one of my favourites.


Our new stone pineapples!


Ratibida pinnata


Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ in the Autumn Border


Eryngium, Allium pulchellum and sphaerocephalum and Clematis ‘Alionushka’


The Lilac and Peach Border


Echeverias and sempervivums in pots around the blue bench


Path leading away from the blue bench lined with pots


Achillea and Stipa tenuissima


Pertemba! Our new Lhasa apso puppy

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