The rain has been very welcome, it saved the parched grass in the Cloister Garth and saved us about 2 hours’ watering time on Monday!
The huge old viburnum that has been smothering the oak tree at the side of the wildflower meadow has been tamed. It took both of us a whole morning to reduce it to a more suitable size and shape whilst keeping as much green as we could. We are pleased with the new shape and size which is much more fitting for the space and now gives a much better view of the oak tree. We managed to save lots of the lupins and golden rod growing around it and transplanted them elsewhere in the border. We also found, struggling under the canopy, a hardy fuschia! It had a huge root but only very thin, etiolated growth above ground. We dug out as much of the root system as we could and have cut it back and replanted it in the little corner bed between the three bridges. Hopefully with some nurturing there, among the violets, it will come back to health and make a nice feature plant next summer.
Robert has been shredding all the green cuttings from the viburnums into the compost bins and we now have one bay filled completely and two others “on the go”. All the woody branches have either been cut into small logs or chipped and used on the path in the composting area.
Tracey spent a rewarding morning in the Master’s Lodge, clearing away all the faded leaves and stems of the masses of bluebells from borders and pathways and beginning to thin out some of the thick thatch of perennials in the herbaceous borders. There’s been a dreadful plague of blackfly here this year, partly due to the early heat and partly due to the fact that the greenery is so abundant and crowded it makes an ideal, humid and verdant breeding ground for the aphids. Several of the large lupins had to be cut back really hard as they were smothered with it. In the autumn we’ll thin out about a third of the planting in the bed by the Lodge and create some narrow earth pathways through the bed so that we can more easily get into it for weeding and deadheading and also to give the plants more space to breathe and have some fresh air and light around them, which will hopefully deter the aphids. That and the project to renovate the vegetable patch will be keeping us busy for a few weeks in October and November!
Basil the fox has not been seen this week, but has been making herself known by leaving us several piles of pungent poo near our shed. Thanks Basil. Luckily, as dog owners, we always seem to have dog poo bags in our pockets and so have been able to pick it up and bin it!
There are two moorhen families about now, one with four large chicks who are a few weeks old and often venture the length of the river from the Chapel end of the gardens to the Eastbridge, and another with two very small, recently fledged chicks who have been out and about exploring the undergrowth by Assisi bridge.
Tracey and Robert… the gardeners.