• Kay

Hooray for Gladioli


I would actually find it difficult to think of any flower that I do not like. There is only the mildest of colour selection in my borders, the central mirror borders have areas of hot and cool colours, but even here interlopers are always tolerated. In the same way that I feel mild concern at hearing a new mum insist her baby girl will never wear pink and will always be dressed in neutral colours, (I feel children look beautiful in any colour), I feel the same about colours in the garden. I don’t think you will ever find a ‘white’ garden at Church Gardens ‘à la Sissinghurst’, my borders are more likely to resemble rainbows. It is probably quite obvious that my hero was Christopher Lloyd at Great Dixter. I also cannot understand fashions for flowers, so again you will probably find plants here that are considered by some to be dated. For example, we have Pampas grasses and I always had a home for dahlias (before they came back into fashion) because my Grandad grew dahlias. I also have lots of gladioli. Gladioli are probably the best behaved bulb ever, they come up faithfully every year looking beautiful, multiply and are quite cheap. They come in a multitude of beautiful colours, are quite long lasting and look (in my opinion) really exotic. They have been coming into bloom for several weeks already and they are all over the garden. I have put them around the bottom of the mount along with lots of Peacock Tigers (another favourite bulb) and they look beautiful mixed in with the antirrhinums – another very generous plant.

I started today by finishing the job of removing the sweet peas in the polytunnel. I left two behind that are still quite fresh and now I hope the other climbers will take over (its looking quite bare at the moment), but there are Black Eyed Susans, Chillean glory vines, a passion flower, a Bougainvillea, Ipomea, Asarina and Tropaeolum Tuberosum, not to mention sunflowers, ready to go. After sweeping up all the mess, I go outside to finish the weeding in the Manuka area, ready to add some final planting. I decide to leave actual planting until tomorrow because it is so hot today, 30 degrees. I finish with some late night watering which is a lovely way of looking at all of the flowers and checking everything is OK. One thing that has worked really well are the ground cover perennials I have planted along the edges of the terraces on the mount. After a shaky start, these trusty plants are growing well and have knitted together along the terrace edges creating a lovely tapestry of different greens and flowers. I pick some courgettes for dinner (the family will be delighted that the courgette season has started! – hint of sarcasm here!). Last night’s pie which included our mushrooms was a great success, even Aideen, the family greatest ‘mushroom hater’ gave them a nibble!

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