A pink wig and false eyelashes….not something I usually don on a Tuesday evening, but when duty calls! The main borders were the magnificent venue for our Opera Evening, ‘Don Pasquale’ a 70’s musical romp, where Harlow Carr staff stewarding the event dressed up to get the party started – hence the costume!
After a week away sailing down our coast from Liverpool to Portsmouth in a Force 8 with an amazing Atlantic swell and visibility limited to our lighthouses (!), it was a welcome relief to see the gardens were looking as colourful and lush as ever.
The iridescent Eryngium x zabelli ‘Jos Eijking’ is looking statuesque with the Salvia x sylvestris ‘Rugen’ and is obviously bee-delicious – our Italian bees with their large reliable colonies have been feasting non stop.
I was slightly smug that the exceedingly inclement weather I’d sailed in you’d had here too - great for establishing all those tip cuttings we’d taken in Feb of salvias, penstemons, phlox and lysimachia, quickly bulking up some of our existing displays for free.
It’s also really rewarding when you find a plant combination which had otherwise escaped your notice. The island beds adjacent to the main borders are looking a little tired and are due for an MOT in the autumn, but Andrew, my senior gardener, spotted Centaurea dealbata mixed with Astrantia major, ‘pink and very girly’! was his comment, he knew I’d go for that, and find a spot for it in the main borders for next year!
Problems afoot though, the hemerocallis gall mite has decimated our beautiful flowers with the larvae chomping the buds into a mushy mess - we are taking the flower blooms off all the plants in an attempt to break the life cycle of this damaging midge, which overwinters its larvae in the soil and lays its eggs on the flower buds in May. Early flowering varieties such as Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus, a scented variety misses the midge’s window so is unaffected.
Anyway back to weeding, trying to get my land legs back….