With an extended period of fine weather the garden is moving into early summer at pace, the plant collection ramps up its display and the horticultural staff have more tasks to perform than they know what to do with. Yet the planning process for the coming autumn and winter is already under way, in fact as I sit at my desk the preliminary work programme for 2015/16 is already at hand. It is all too easy to spend long periods of time plotting and planning and not take time out to check out the here and now. So with this in mind I allowed myself the pleasure of an end of day stroll around, my first port of call being the Great Glasshouse. The rather dramatic thinning out process of last year particularly in the Canary Island and Chile sections has benefited a remarkable display of herbaceous perennials and throughout May and much of June a riot of flower colour has ensued. Personally I have enjoyed the displays in the Chile section where the removal of some of the larger evergreen trees and shrubs has enabled a ground-flora to go rampant giving a vibrant Technicolor display to an area previously rather drab.
The Wild Garden down to the lakeside is burgeoning and with much anticipation I wait to see what displays this will offer us this year. The vistas up to the Great Glasshouse are beginning their growth and I enjoy to see the grasses starting to sway in the breeze. The spread of yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor is pleasing to see; for all those wishing to develop a wildflower area this splendid little plant is an essential ingredient to success as it suppresses grass growth and allows other species of wild- flowers to compete. We need now to have a baseline survey of the vista so that we can monitor species diversity over the coming years.
The Inner Walled Garden is gradually changing as beds are revamped and in particular the Colour Corridors that form the cross paths are undergoing a renaissance; removal of shrubs from the long borders has once again opened up a sense of space, offering a long vista of the borders rather than the staccato punctuation previously presented by blocky shrub planting. New and different planting will be undertaken over the coming years and a number of “under achievers” and invasives will be removed. The emphasis very firmly being placed on herbaceous display will enable our visitors to see the trained roses and other interesting plants on the wire frames to the rear of the border, once much hidden by the preponderance of shrubs.
Simon Goodenough June 2013