The Rhododendrons are flowering prolifically in the Japanese garden under development. Our volunteers are progressively cutting them back into shape, so not letting them be the menace they can be when left untended. In large parts of the UK they have taken over where they were planted by Victorians to brighten up their gardens – at the expense of native plant species and wildlife; and their prolific seeds have also spread them into the woods and countryside. The Woodland Trust are helping some woodland managers to start the long job of clearing them to allow natural regeneration of other species, as in this lovely video.

Other highlights in the Garden this week are Sophie’s rose, next to complementary golden weigela, the first water lily flower  and blue irises in the Italian garden; (but not yet yellow flags in the rill); artichokes plumping up in the walled kitchen garden; and lots and lots of wafting cowparsley in the glade, with common orchids pushing their way through and the first bud just evident. The bees were buzzing and I saw my first damsel fly.