Friday, 11 June 2010


Although the weather has been disappointing for June, lots of heavy showers and dull days, the cooler temperatures have made working in the garden easier and the plants have enjoyed the natural waterings. I've put the time to use pottering in the kitchen garden and planting out in the beds and borders all our recent purchases and seedlings from sowings in April.

The giant sunflowers, properly staked this year, have gone into the 'hot' border. Hopefully they'll rise above the recently planted Stipa Gigantea and the large yellow flower heads will compliment the softly flowing grass. Looking at the size of the grass at the moment it may take a couple of years for the effect to be realised, so I'll save the sunflower seed each year and replant.

I've also planted Rosa Smarty by the top steps on the edge of the grand lawn and it's already in flower and looking settled, though this is as a result of the good life and growth made in its pot. It will take some time to settle and gain goodness from its planting position. I have enriched the soil with horse manure as we are on fine, free-draining soil here.

I've grown winter squash and butternut squash from seed and the plants are now a good size with four or more true leaves, so time to plant, but where? Squash like to spread themselves about and require quite a bit of space. The kitchen garden beds are full and the borders where I grew them last year are now filled with shrubs and perennials.

There is an area at the top of the new drive that has only just been developed. As a new area of open ground this is susceptible to weed infestation. I have planted potatoes in about half of it to help to clear the ground. So a good spot for wandering squash as their large leaves covering the soil will hamper weed growth. I weeded the ground and planted the squash, along with a tripod of runner beans and another of a yellow podded bean, Fagiolo Rampicante. The beans should be on their way up the canes before the squash have colonised the ground and the combination of colour from these edible plants should cheer up the entrance to Holly Grove.

The digging of the soil for the cultivation of potatoes, the ground cover to hamper weeds and the nitrogen in the roots of the beans will help to enrich this border soil. So escapees from the kitchen garden help to prepare this border for next spring's planting of shrubs and flowering plants.

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