July just fluttered by……..

An escapee on the Perennial garden!

Summer really turned up in the being of the month didn’t, temperatures just kept going, leaving our once green grass a brown like colour, still growing around the edges but almost dead in the middle, making us think it’s more like August instead. The poor shallow rooted silver birches started to droop their leaves in sadness of lack of rain. But the show must go on and I was one of the first things I did last month was to head off to RHS Hampton Court flower show.  
First time I had been for years,  spend 4 happy hours on the Perennial stand, dishing out leaflets, talking to visitors about the great work Perennial does to help out those in need in the horticulture trade, talking about the plants that were planted in the wonderful garden designed by Tom Massey. Then a chance to walk around the show afterwards taking in all the gardens and of course the plants! 

The Colour Box garden, great planting, one where the planting came first, Designed by Charlie Bloom

For me it’s the plants that make the gardens, the hard landscaping is top notch and gives the gardens the back bones they need but it’s the living moving plants that bring it all alive. Moving, twisting in the breeze, adding colour, seasons and attracting wildlife in. All the gardens had so much to offer and came back with some wonderful ideas.

Well I have managed to start to get back to work very slowly, the boot is still on but more and more movement is happening each week thankfully, still so frustrating not to be able to do so much physical work. Its wonderful to get back to the gardens, seeing the clients and seeing how much the gardens have come on, hoping my little ideas of planting have worked and how it is all now looking! Just so lovely to get back into the job I love and back amongst the plants. Hopefully it is coming off in The next month, 10th of August is the date is the next Consultant date at the hospital, 4 months after I managed to damage the tendon, hopefully it will be off and I can get back to building my strength back up to normal in that leg! When I have been working, I been mainly weeding and spent bloom removal, much better word to use than dead heading I think! But also done a little bit of pruning, mainly on box shapes and just started on pruning rambling roses towards the end of the month, great and easy job to do and one I love to do (blog should be out next week on it) and of course a little bit of planting out and about with help from my great helpers. Always love a bit of planting too.

Looking forward to next months work, lots of things planed to do if I am able to do it that is! Loads more rambling roses to prune, getting back into border maintenance, that’s a tricky old job, trying to keep the borders looking their best by removing the spend blooms, cutting back the plants that have finished flowering and starting to go over, allowing the next one to come though and take on the batten on looking good, a real good balancing act to do. Always worth thinking ahead too about any important dates coming up, like parties etc as you may need to cut back plants to fill in the spaces in time for those dates. Next thing is August to think about is starting to do the main hedge cutting of the more formal hedges of yew, beech and hornbeam. Another great job to do.

One other thing I have missed is visiting gardens, thankfully the last month I have managed to get out a bit more and start enjoying so great gardens and also to take part in the Butterfly count. First place I went too, was one of my favourite gardens and a place I worked for many years, the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, this wonderful site is home to many beautiful and rare plants and a ideal place to carry out a butterfly count, this one was to be the most unbelievable butterfly session I have ever done. The range of butterflies on the border was quite lovely, seeing large skippers, meadow browns, peacocks, red admirals enjoying the nectar from the world takeaway of the plants in front of them, then I saw the biggest butterfly that ever comes to our shores, the monarch! This massive butterfly really stole the show, there has been under 500 sightings of this rare migrant to our shores and there was one right in front of me, dancing as it flew in the air around me, what a stunning site! This butterfly has the longest migration of any butterfly in its native America, but how did it get here to hampshire? Well many years ago, a small group ended up in Spain, morocco etc after being blown there, they managed to breed well after finding a form of milkweed growing. The weekend before I visited the gardens, we had a north wind that had swept around though Spain and up into the uk, I am guessing picked up these beautiful butterflies and it found its way to this small part of Hampshire and to light up my day out! The unusual butterflies hadn’t finished with me yet, just before I was about to leave, a usual dark green form of the female silver washed fritillary came and starting feeding on the Buddleja. Once again, something I had heard about but never seen until this day! Next place I visited was Lockstock Nursery to take a look at the wonderful collection of Buddleja and clematis viticella, the Buddleja once more were awash with butterflies and it was an eye-opener on the range of Buddleja on display in the gardens. The long border was stunning as well, a real delight for the eyes.
Lastly on the visits was Kew Gardens with one of my daughters, mainly to see the great stinky plant that she loved seeing in a talk I gave to her class a few weeks before. It was wonderful to see the kids being enthralled by some of the biggest, smallest, oldest plants living on our planet. Out of all the plants I showed them, it was the bristlecone pine at over 4500 years old and the smelliest and biggest flowering plant, that got them interested the most. It was so wonderful to take her to Kew to see this plant flowering in person, sadly it was daytime, so the stink wasn’t there but still amazing to see it in the flesh. It was the first time, I had been to Kew for years and it was like going into a candy store for the first time, with so many new things to see, long borders, tree walk just to name a few! Only sad part was the lack of butterflies, only saw 1 all day, loads of bees but no butterflies. Can’t wait to go again to Kew and won’t leave it so long next time.

Well that’s it for my monthly review, I hope you enjoyed it and hope to see you all again soon

Thomas stone

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