We’re all frazzled here after more than a week of temperatures in the high 20’s. I can’t remember the last time it rained and watering the nursery stock is repetitive and boring. I would normally let the garden fend for itself at times like this but I can’t bear to see the plants gradually shrivel up so I’ve started to drag two or three hoses into the garden to help keep it looking fairly reasonable. It will cost us a fortune when the next Severn Trent bill comes through but I just don’t care about that. There is such a lot of hard work and time spent on it and it is open for the National Garden Scheme every weekend until mid September. we are expecting another coach load of visitors from Holland later in July and I would hate for them to see dried up plants and deep, deep cracks.

Earlier in the month the roses looked fantastic and the growth on many of the shrubs has been much more vigorous than normal. Trying to keep pace with the weeding has been quite a challenge but I think I’m winning.

The garlic has also grown well, I’ve lifted the variety called ‘Early Purple Wight’ and most of the bulbs are large. Some is for sale fresh but a lot of it is now gently being warmed up to turn it into black garlic. The first batch should be ready towards the end of July. Last year I sowed purple podded French beans which grew very well so I’m doing the same again.

Unusually hostas have sold in great quantities this year. This is tricky because they have been more or less shunned for the last three or four years which means that there is not much incentive to grow many. Trying to second guess what people will buy each year is not easy and I often get it wrong. Ferns and bamboos have also sold well but lupins (which I believe were the plant of show at the Chelsea Flower Show) have not sold well. I definitely need a crystal ball.

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