Moving into the second half of the year
10 July 2022
Horticulturally speaking, that is. We’re seeing the end of the great rush of flowers we’ve enjoyed over the last few weeks, as those plants die back or are cut back, and the ones that will take us through into autumn are just getting ready to flower. There’s quite a lull at the moment, which usually lasts till late July, and then the rudbeckias, dahlias, heleniums and geraniums really come into their own.
We’ve thought about raising and using bee-friendly bedding plants to fill the gaps as the spring flowers fall back, but generally, we find the gardens work better when we leave them. Many of those gaps will be filled as the plants we’ve cut back begin to regrow; and in most of the others, we’ll be putting in some new perennial plants once the customary July – August heatwave and drought are over. It wouldn’t be very sustainable to be planting out the penstemons and salvias we’ve been growing from cuttings, when the temperatures are in the mid-twenties upwards, and when we’d have to be watering them every couple of days. Come September, they’ll more or less look after themselves.
That’s the ‘as a rule’ version – but of course, rules are made to be broken, and in this case it’s because the preschool children have been sowing and planting French marigolds and nasturtiums, and watering them enthusiastically (along with everything else within reach). Both these plants grow and flower well, and most importantly, bees love them.
The children have put quite a few in the bed they look after, alongside the carrots they’ll pick in the autumn term, and the annuals just starting to grow from the seeds the children sowed a few weeks back. They’ve also planted a few of them in gaps in the other beds – look out for the marigolds in the front bed, nearest the large conifer, and in a couple of other places in corners of beds nearer the car park. They’ll provide a little more colour as the garden revs up for its usual summer-into-autumn display.