Late summer at Haddon Hall
The English summer has been as unpredictable as ever this year; one moment blue skies and sunshine, the next brooding skies and heavy rain. At least we have been spared the parched conditions that made last summer so challenging for all gardeners.
As a result our borders have a better display this year of Echinacea and Lythrum salicaria alongside the phlox and Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ that are just coming into flower. Over the last couple of weeks Dave has been trimming all the hornbeam and beech topiary in the mead and the yew cones on the Bowling Terrace. The box domes are also ready for their annual trim. Tempting though it may be to clip them several times a year, it’s best to do this just the once around July - August. This is to minimise the chance of blight, which is more likely to affect tightly clipped plants, as this dense structure limits air circulation.
Haddon has always been known for its fine array of roses, although sadly the names of many have been lost in the mists of time. As an ongoing project I have been engaged in identifying roses and completing a condition survey. Once the roses are mapped and recorded we can concentrate on their restoration, removing the older wood to keep them productive and vigorous.
The restoration of the Knot Garden continues apace, with the Teucrium and lavender hedging receiving a monthly trim. The compartments within are being weeded with the able assistance of our small but dedicated band of volunteers, allowing the spotlight to fall on individual specimen plants. Meanwhile on the lower terraces, Joe has been reducing an overly large Forsythia shrub to open up an area that borders the wild area beyond the garden walls.
As a team we’ve been trialling weed burners this summer in an effort to reduce the hands-and-knees weeding marathons that are an inevitable part of a garden abundant in flagstones and paving, all of which harbour a remarkably persistent band of weeds that the recent hot-and-wet weather pattern have found particularly to their liking. The weed burners have been moderately successful, but when it comes down to it, in a chemical-free garden it would seem that a weeding knife remains the weapon of choice.
Next in the event calendar is our Propagation Workshop on Saturday, September 14, where we will cover cuttings, divisions and layering of lots of favourite garden plants. Participants will be able to take their own cuttings home to grow on for that bit of Haddon spirit in their own gardens.