If you missed RHS Chelsea this year there’s a few more shows to visit. RHS Hampton Court Palace starts next week and will undoubtedly have some thought provoking dhow gardens and luscious plant suppliers to whet horticultural appetites.

Early in the piece there will also be superb rose gardens to visit. David Austin, Gardens of the Rose near St. Alban’s, Queen Mary’s Regents Park

Rose gardens at David Austin in Albrighton

Rose gardens at David Austin in Albrighton


Peas are romping away, some like to pick the whole crop I tend to pick what I need and in fact mostly they don’t make it off the plot. This year I grew a wide variety from Telephone climbing peas, that didn’t really climb that well to Shiraz Mangetout – don’t leave this to ‘pea up’ as it goes floury very quickly – Douce de Provence (inspired by the Kew on a Plate series)

This year I’m trying 3 sisters AGAIN. I didn’t plant the corn on mounds (making the beans work harder to catch them) but all seems to be going well despite that. The beans are behaving and not strangling the corn, yet. The Courgette, squash and pumpkins are growing well though no sign of fruit, out of 12 I’ve lost just one. Feeding and watering this area is vital to get a decent crop. Last year the corn didn’t mature well  due to lack of water.

This July there are still strawberries and viciously prickly gooseberries to pick. The red, white and blackcurrants have suddenly become plump and sweeter, picking is imminent followed by the preparation of a superb summer pudding. Signs of the early raspberries and the first bushes of tayberry and loganberry have just started to produce full rich red berries.

With the dry weather spinach and chards are bolting at the slightest drought. I lost Spinach red sentinel after a few days of drought, pretty flowers though. More planted for crops later in the summer.

Hemerocallis or Daylily are making their appearance about now, mine seem to be rather tardy compared to others but they have hard life so I can forgive a week or so. I deadhead them every time I’m near them, stops them going to seed and makes them look less straggly. This year they will need dividing as they’ve merrily outgrown their allotted spaces, cramming in leaf by stem, jostling for light. I have 7 varieties and know there will be good homes for spares.

Staking dahlia’s is becoming imperative or they’ll be too big to really support well.

The cutting garden is producing bunches and bunches of lovely blooms. In my enthusiasm to plan and grow a cutting garden I find myself completely overwhelmed with flowers and have taken to giving large bunches to friends, family and clients. Next year I might have to set up a little’ honesty ‘ stall or gather it all for a farmers market or two. Sweet peas are the most demanding of course needing to be cut every few days, one pod going over shortens the next sets of  stems and reduces the volume of flowers. I’m feeding mine weekly, just a general purpose liquid feed, drenching weekly. AND once they go over, OUT they come, straight away. Roots stay in (nitrogen fixer) and more compost lightly dug through before planting another greedy crop in the space 4 kinds of Kale this year!.

Sweet Pea bounty

Sweet Pea bounty and the pay off for all the watering


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