Inspiration for my monthly editorial comes slowly sometimes, but sitting here and writing this on a cold and damp June day my thoughts turned to my Grandfathers, both of whom taught me much about practical skills considerably adding to my academic education. My paternal grandfather taught me about wood and how very beautiful it is; and carpentry, I could even turn my hand to a mortice and tennon joint once upon a time!
My maternal grandfather taught me animal husbandry, including how to milk a cow by hand (yes, he did have a little three-legged stool to sit on!), and drinking his home-made cider at haymaking time from an old chipped mug (don’t tell my mother!!). I can remember I spent most of my time at the weekends and holidays outside with one or the other, and usually came home thoroughly covered in mud and other things too unmentionable. Talking to Grandad one day I commented that I maybe made more work for him than helping and he replied “everything you do is something I don’t have to”, a phrase still used in our family to this day. It does go to show though, that time spent with grandparents is important, and the skills learned then I am still using to this day.
Hopefully, the weather will turn a corner at last, and we will be basking in some warm sunshine. Watering takes up a considerable amount of our time as you can imagine.
We have some really beautiful plants at the moment, especially the perennials which are looking particularly good.
And a final note, we are offering our Sunday Roast Lunches on a weekly basis now. Lovely food served up for you and vegetarian option available.
Check our facebook page for regular updates and please book early to avoid disappointment.
Call 01297 551113 to reserve your table.
The Garden Shop King Street, Colyton, EX24 6PD.
Plant of the Month - Penstemon
What a most versatile and valuable late-flowering plant. They provide additional height in the border and are mostly left alone by the slugs in my garden. Penstemons are available in a broad array of colours and height, and require little attention other than pruning in the spring when the new shoots appear. They like a fertile, well-drained soil but reasonably moist, and will grow in full sun or light shade. If you are growing on clay then they shouldn’t need much in the way of watering, but on free-draining soil they may need watering every two weeks or so in a dry spell. Apply a general fertiliser and a mulch of organic matter every year in the Spring. Deadheading will prolong the flowering season. They are easily propagated from cuttings or seed which should be done every three to four years as they will decline. My favourite has to be ‘Sour Grapes’ which has greyish blue to purple flowers, or ‘Tubular Bells’ which is pale pink with a white throat. Why not try some in your garden …
THINGS TO DO IN JULY
Feed and water all plants in containers regularly.
Tall growing perennial herbaceous plants may need some support if it isn’t already in place.
Prune shrubs that flowered in early summer.
Most gardeners give their borders a feed and top dress in the Spring but a further dressing now is very beneficial, particularly if applied after cutting down any early flowering plants.
Deadhead flowers as they fade.
After rose flowers have shed their petals it is important to deadhead. This helps a good second flush of new flowers in a few weeks time.
Divide bearded irises.
After flag irises have finished flowering, they will benefit from a dressing of Epsom Salts. This will encourage better blooms for next year.
Layer and take cuttings of carnations and pinks.
Plant autumn-flowering bulbs.
Transplant seedlings of biennials sown earlier.
The vegetable plot should be yielding all the results of previous hard work which is very rewarding. If runner beans are dropping flowers, then a light misting with water will help them to set better. Consider growing sweet peas close to or alongside beans to encourage bees and pollinating insects. Keep small sowings of the salad crops going for a good continuity – radish, for instance, can be sown every week but don’t forget to keep it well watered to prevent the roots going ‘pithy’. During hot, dry weather lettuces may be prone to bolting so try adding some shade and keep them well watered.
THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO….
Fill any gaps in beds and borders with bedding
Sow the last vegetables for harvesting in Autumn
Plant out all winter brassicas
If next Spring’s wallflowers have not been sown yet, don’t delay, otherwise it will be too late.
GET IN FRONT….
Make plans to ensure plants are cared for if you are taking a holiday
Plan Spring-flowering bulbs
Opening hours: Shop: 9.00-5.00pm Monday to Saturday, 10.00 -4.00pm Sunday
Café: 10.00-4.00pm Monday to Sunday King Street, Colyton, Devon EX24 6LF