Italian garden at its seasonal best

This time of year we are all kept busy tidying to extend the beauty of the Gardens into the autumn. The Helenium and Nepeta complement each other beautifully and the roses and dahlias are still flowering away in the Italian garden and the walled kitchen garden. After strong growth through the year, the herb beds have needed radical cutting back. And volunteElsewhere there has been lots of grass-cutting and strimming and even a start on maintenance of our sheds. There has been no let up!


Fine tuning pruning

This time of year gardening is about lots of forms of tidying: pruning to get structural bushes into shape, deadheading to leave the new flowers centre stage, the last of the strimming off of wildflower areas and of course lawn cutting. There’s always more to be done!

It was a lovely day for visitors, with the Italian Garden and the Dahlia Border looking stunning. And lots of produce to sell still: sweetcorn and greengages as well as our regular veg.

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Beautiful butterflies

It was lovely to welcome lots of visitors and their children this week – we are open every Thursday and on Sunday 20th August will have lots of extra fun activities for children. And our visitors were treated to an abundance of butterflies, enjoying the buddleia, the lavender hedges, the dahlia border and other flowers, particularly in the Italian Garden and in the walled kitchen garden.

It was a hot day for gardening, but our volunteers are hardy and managed lots of weeding and deadheading, worked on the pump for the well and cleared the new spiral feature.

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Dashing dahlias

The dahlia border is now a picture, and the first job this week was to do deadheading so it looked its best for visitors!

Elsewhere there was weeding to do, now that weeds are growing again following the rains; grass cutting and strimming to tidy the Gardens; and more tying in of climbing squashes – this week they reached the apex of their A-frames! Also fruit picking for jamming – the plum trees are laden and the autumn raspberries just starting to get going.

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At last a few more butterflies!

Between the showers today, the butterflies, bumblebees and a hummingbird hawk moth enjoyed feasting from the lavender. And volunteers and visitors enjoyed seeing them there! Why not come to our Open Day on Sunday and do your Big Butterfly Count at the Gardens? The details of the Count are HERE – it starts tomorrow and runs till 6 August.  The Gardens are looking fresh and green again after the rain and today a duck and her ducklings were paddling around the waterlily pond. On Sunday families will be able to enjoy fascinating history, children’s craft and trail and 1940s music.

Volunteers continued working to tidy the Gardens today: shaping the cylindrical box bushes in the Italian Garden and deadheading roses; and planting out more flowers and vegetables to secure succession in the walled kitchen garden.


A lovely day for visitors

After a good dollop of rain and with the sun out again, it was a particularly lovely day for Great & Little Sampford WI and other visitors to enjoy the Gardens. The roses are thriving in Peto’s Italian Garden and the walled kitchen garden and together with the lime trees and lavender provided a lovely perfume in the air. And there were volunteers fanned out across the Gardens, working hard, on a huge range of jobs: deadheading, pruning, weeding, mowing, picking fruit and veg. 


Totally Tangerine

The dahlia delight is starting, as the extraordinarily huge Cristophii alliums fade, in the flower border in the walled kitchen garden. The rain has flattened the alstroemeria and some roses, but we can help the latter. And the rain was hugely welcome as the Gardens have been parched for weeks: the dahlias will be twice their height in no time and the rain will help bring on the soft fruit and veg.

Volunteers spread out around the Gardens this week, principally weeding. The long grasses are beautiful and the nettles are great for caterpillars, but now is the time for us to take back some of the wildest of these areas and give some space to the shrubs and new trees we have planted.

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Mr Toad seemed happy today

Save the date for our Nature Day on 18 June! The Gardens are such a lovely haven for local wildlife. Mr Toad seemed happy today, near the rill pond. A kind of nest in the long grass looked like it was made by one or more deer snuggling down for the night there. And last weekend volunteers came upon a grass-snake warming itself on top of the lavender hedge.

Without the cloud, today was warmer and so now the plants are growing more quickly. The roses are coming out around the Gardens, bringing their lovely colours and perfumes. In the kitchen garden the dahlia border is coming through strongly; and the vegetables too.  Volunteers have been working hard to water key plants. We are hoping it will rain soon, but not on a Thursday or on the Open Day!

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We all love orchids!

The orchids on the bank are today’s favourite flower, but others are also looking lovely, in particular the waterlilies and irises and the roses.

It was a very busy day for volunteers today, with lots of veg to be planted, weeding, edge cutting and strimming; and of course watering too, as we haven’t had any rain for a long time. Visitors chatted to volunteers at work and relaxed over their tea and homemade cake.

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The stumpery has matured

Our volunteers have developed this lovely stumpery, which has matured and will soon be properly accessible again after this year’s work on the rill. The stumpery is half way down the Glade, so a reward on the walk down to the Japanese style garden and tenboudai looking out onto the fishing lake.

It was a lovely day at the Gardens yesterday, with the laburnums dripping gold, the wild service tree in full blossom, the handkerchief tree still waving its pretty bracts in the breeze  and pink hawthorn giving a hit of colour in the Glade too.

Visitors loved it and so did the volunteers!


Blowing in the breeze

The Gardens are looking lush – so why not come and see for yourself on Sunday 21 May? The Handkerchief Tree (Davidia involucrata) is flowering beautifully this year – a particular joy as we thought we might have lost it to drought a few years ago. The blossom is still on the cherry and apple trees and the really tall crab apple by the Archive building has flowers up into the sky! In the walled kitchen garden the cammassia are in flower, the alliums are coming and we have our first produce to pick and sell.

This week we got a lot of work done, as well as enjoying the sunshine – starting a new wildflower feature in the kitchen garden; making good the work on the rill in the Glade; and lots of weeding.