Phew…what a scorcher it was yesterday! Phew! What a hectic afternoon it was on Thursday! Whew! What a relief it is to have some rain today! Take your pick…
On Thursday afternoon we had our only (so far) booked group visit to the garden, the first time we have had such a visit before our general openings. The organiser made a provisional booking when she visited in February, confirming it a few weeks later with an expected group size of around 20; this was followed up on Tuesday of this week with a revised estimate of 33, necessitating roping in extra support, calling in some of my ‘special’ chicken mugs to ensure there were sufficient, and modifying plans for plant sales. It meant a very hectic couple of hours on Thursday, but a good source of income for the National Garden Scheme as the group had pre-booked refreshments and spent a moderate amount on plants too. The roses were certainly on form and their fragrance hung in the air on the pleasantly sunny and warm afternoon:
Thankfully it wasn’t as hot as yesterday, when temperatures reached nearly 35°C by late afternoon, although you can see from ur weather monitor that it was pretty warm inside too, reaching 29° by the end of the day in our kitchen with the always-on Aga. The upside was that we were due rain all day today, although it has mostly been persistent showers rather than anything heavier. Temperatures have dropped to 12 or 13°, more than 20° less than yesterday, although it is still exceedingly warm in the house where the heat seems to have been retained.
Deadheading and staking roses were on the schedule for today, although I took a busman’s hYliday to visit (wet) open gardens in a nearby small town this morning, and progress was limited because of the weather. They will still need deadheading and staking tomorrow…
Yesterday’s heat was probably the last straw for the Winter Sunshine sweet peas in the greenhouse which, although still covered in blooms, are producing them on increasingly short stems, making them difficult to use in a vase. Now that my outdoor sweet peas are getting going, this may now be the time to remove the former, enabling me to get my tomatoes into the greenhouse border instead. I usually wait till after our main garden openings, this year on 22nd and 26th June, but I may take the plunge and pull them out before then.
Next to the greenhouse, in the cutting beds, one or two more annuals are beginning to show colour now, particularly the clary sage, like ‘Oxford Blue’, below. Incidentally, I have made a second sowing of zinnias which are growing at the rate of knots and will hopefully still produce many weeks of flowers in due course. It seems as if the demise of my others may have been damping off, perhaps due to a relatively cool April.
Finally, despite the dampness of my rambles around the garden today, I managed to notice the often overlooked ‘stinking iris’, Iris foetidissima, flowering in the woodland edge border – more often than not it is the autumnal berries that catch my attention rather than the flowers.
I wonder what our host, Jon the Propagator, and his guests will be featuring on their blogs today? Do pop over to Jon’s blog and find out.