Back in May 2015 we visited Kilver Court Garden in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. It was breathtaking, as you can see from the photo below.
We visited the garden again earlier in the week and initially I was a little disappointed. Their lawns were brown, the dreaded box blight (which they’d had a bit of back in 2015) had got worse, quite a few of their perennials were past their best and the vegetable garden (which was out of bounds but could be glimpsed through a gap in the garden gate) looked rather sorry for itself. There was no photo taking this time around. Much of the garden looked, well, tired.
However, I came away feeling better about the state of our own garden this summer. They’d obviously had the same struggles with the hot dry weather as I had. Still, when Kilver Court is at its best it looks rather impressive and I often think our small garden might benefit from a viaduct and a cascading stream. Maybe next year.
All the showers we’ve had lately are definitely helping to revive the garden and there are all manner of seedlings appearing (probably foxgloves and forget-me-nots, though fingers are crossed for some red campion and ragged robin as I was a little overzealous when thinning them out last autumn). On the downside (there’s always a downside) the slugs and snails are making up for lost time. Anyway, on to the first of my Six on Saturday…
1 The Sweet Williams are flowering again after the first lot of flowers were dead-headed several weeks ago.
Instead of just the one lot of flowers at the top of the stems they’re now flowering all the way down. Next year’s batch are doing well and will have to be planted soon.
2. A mystery herb. I think the marjoram and oregano are accounted for so I’m not sure what this one it. It’s growing amongst a pot of chives that I purchased earlier in the summer. The leaves definitely give off a herby scent when rubbed, though I’ve not risked nibbling on it yet!
3. The Graham Thomas Honeysuckle has some new flower buds on it but also some berries. I’m hoping the birds will enjoy them, although the blackbirds appear to have done their annual disappearing act (have they gone off to moult?)
4. The Phloxes really haven’t enjoyed this hot dry summer. They were one of the few perennials I took pity on and watered occasionally but up until now the flowers have been poor, shrivelling up almost immediately. However, thanks to the rain we’ve had lately, and frequent dead-heading, they’ve perked up and a second flush of flowers has begun.
I’ve no idea what varieties they are, but they seem to be the most slug and snail resistant ones as some newer additions, planted in the garden last year, were polished off fairly quickly.
The pink one (above) has been split from time to time and planted all around the garden. I’m not convinced any of them are scented though, with the possible exception of the white one.
5. Meet Ernest. He’s the most frog like frogling in the pond at the moment. The tiny pond has done well since being moved to a more sunny position last winter. The marsh pennywort, watermint, pigmy water lily and duckweed have all thrived and, for the first summer ever, the pond has remained nice and clear. The addition of frogspawn has made peering into the pond even more interesting this year (well it did until the duckweed took off). I’m hoping some of the frogs decide to hang around and develop a taste for slugs.
6. And finally, the yellow and red Tumbling Tom tomatoes have proved to be a success. If you’d told my younger self he’d one day enjoy raw tomatoes (mixed with olive oil, salt, a generous amount of black pepper and a few torn basil leaves) on toast he’d have looked at you as if you were mad and said “yeah, right”. However, they’re delicious (especially the yellow ones). The leaves on the plants are looking a little ropy now and we’ve had some split tomatoes as a consequence of the rain, but the fruit taste fine. I think I’ll be growing them again next year.
And they were my Six on Saturday. For more Sixes on Saturday, from all around the world, take a look at the site of the chap who started it all over at https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com.