Garden News Mag July
In the 25 July edition of Garden News magazine I share my garden at night, plant propagation, dividing herbs and our bumper strawberry crop. The issue is also packed with great ideas for bringing wildlife into your garden.
We’ve been really making the most of the long warm evenings, staying outside for as long as possible. Every night at 9.45pm two local bats swoop in and fly loops round our neighbour’s garden. You can set your watch by them. It is a marvellous sight.
There is something special about the night garden, everything changes, the noise, light, cooler temperatures, gentle breeze, wildlife, all bringing an overwhelming sense of calm. No more jobs to be done, just time to sit and contemplate the day and observe.
Our garden has been heaving with Cockchafer/Maybugs, our silver birch has hosted scores of them and they often hurtle close to our heads with an ear splitting buzz.
Many plants have gone to seed, such as roses and red valerian so I have deadheaded to encourage new buds whereas other plants, such as honesty and foxgloves have been left to dry, self-seed or be collected to share. Other plants have ramped up into bloom. Our wild chicory is covered in beautiful lilac flowers, the hollyhocks are out and the Penstemon is a sea of raspberry trumpets, which contrast beautifully against the vibrant green fronds of the tree fern.
I love propagating plants so always have a project or two going on in the greenhouse. Currently I have an army of herbs and salvias rooting. Purple sage, golden oregano, lemon balm, Salvia ‘Love n’ Wishes’ are all leafing up well. I also love growing food and ornamentals from seed. Patience is required but I find tremendous satisfaction in transforming a tiny seed into a full-blown plant.
My latest little miracles are Salvia virdis ‘Blue Monday,’ Antirrhinums Strawberry Fool 'Chantilly' and Hollyhocks ‘Red Halo.’ I have been dividing large pots of herbs, which have required a spade to cut through the roots, but once split down the smaller clumps easily pull apart by hand. One large tub has now been transformed in to 15 smaller pots, perfect for plant swaps and presents. Onward next to the Moroccan mint, which makes the most exquisite herbal tea.
Our kitchen garden has been brimming with fruit. Strawberries and raspberries picked by the bowl full. I was worried about this year’s crop; the drought had initially produced small, hard bullets, which looked inedible but as the rains fell the fruit swelled. A taste sensation.
My highlight: Growing Fatsia japonica from seed.
All photos Debi Holland © 2020