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August Highlights


So, it’s back to school and the beginning of autumn. Mike and I always felt these went hand in hand. The days have become cooler and the day length shorter. The bees are beginning to prepare for winter, consolidating, defensive of their honey stores and getting rid of their drones.

At Glenarn after a dry July, we are enjoying the heavy showers refreshing the greenery and its good to hear the flow of water through the garden again. Growth is generally lush and varied in many shades of green but with some rhododendrons showing metallic blue new foliage while others have cream or golden indumentum on the top of the leaves. Shoots vary from pale cream through greens, purples to red. There’s a lot more to this genus than flowers although there are still a few – Rhododendron auriculatum in particular and some dwarfs in the Rock Garden that like to have a second flowering now.

Our plant of the month is the eucryphia – we have huge trees of Eucryphia ‘Nymansay’ and also Eucryphia glutinosa, the only deciduous member of the family. In fact, we have all the species at Glenarn, they follow each other from July through September giving a great show of large white flowers with golden stamen bosses. These are loved by the bees and on a good day you can hear them at work.

Round the garden, hydrangeas bring colour – we have added several new ones that you will gradually start to notice. By the greenhouse, Romneya coulteri, a tall poppy with huge poached egg flowers floats above the penstemons and agapanthus. The first pink flowers of Crinum powellii are opening, loving the sheltered location at the base of the greenhouse wall.

In the Rock Garden, the deer fence is really paying off – no trampling or chomping this year! The lilies are finishing flowering and the heleniums are accentuated by the late Allium wallichii with starry purple flowers, loved by bumble bees. The last spires of blue aconites are just beginning and look good with the verbena, both tall and short. I am collecting seed of meconopsis (the fertile ones) – they are worth a try each year and some will only germinate if sown fresh.

We are just completing the garden clearance – every year in August we strim most rough areas and pull out growth from beneath bushes and shrubs – it gives the garden its ‘natural’ look in spring. All the long grass is taken off to encourage wild flowers. The vegetable garden is full of luxuriant growth and produce with tall towers of runner and French beans and fast-collapsing rows of broad beans – we visited Geilston Garden at the weekend to learn some lessons and will support the tall beans better next year. The sweet peas are past their best but still colourful. Main crop potatoes can be lifted now, when we get a minute, and we pick courgettes, peas, beans and salad crops daily to keep on top of them.



   
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