There’s only one way to describe the plot this morning and that’s soggy. What’s become apparent in the last couple of days however is that it is very much a plot of two halves and that whilst I am sharing pictures of seemingly evergreen crops here today, some things seem to be positively thriving on a diet of torrential rain and cooler temperatures.
Throughout the season I’ve been adding to the number of perennials on the plot, a couple of helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer‘, a potentilla ‘Elizabeth’ and campanula, amongst others. I’ve not mentioned them much because although purchased in excellent condition they floundered a bit once planted and I wasn’t sure they’d survive in allotment conditions. Finally after three months in the ground they look established with full green foliage and in the case of the potentilla some very pretty flowers. The same is also true of the herb bed which inspite of being mostly sage, rosemary and other plants that like dry conditions was looking a bit frayed around the edges. At the end of July I tidied it up and cut back everything other than the lavender which was in full bloom at the time and now there’s plenty of new growth.
Following Bob’s lead I’ve tried to take more care of the dahlias this season, feeding weekly and cutting off any blooms that are passed their best, this might not seem like a big task but I’m estimating that’s it’s about a hundred flowers a week. Definitely been worthwhile though because whilst these plants seemed to reach their peak very early in the year they still look fresh even if not quite show worthy.
I said in the last post that my thought were already turning to autumn and to that end I’ve already started clearing beds in preparation. The sweetcorn is finished now, it all tends to come at the same time and although I have left some of the smaller cobs for the ‘wildlife’ the rest of the plants are already on the compost. This I think will be replaced by chard and cavolo nero. I’m still holding out for the tomatoes, although I do feel that green chutney is inevitable at some point, but will start to clear away plants that have given their best fruit. I am thinking now that forty two plants was just too many.
Here’s hoping for a good weekend.
Thank you for reading and let me know in the comments what’s going on in your garden.
Furzey Gardens describes itself as ‘a haven of peace and tranquillity’ and that’s just about right because I think on the wettest bank holiday I can remember we were just about the only group of people visiting. It had been planned some weeks ago and being very much of the ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes’ school of thought I wasn’t going to be thrown off by a ‘bit’ of rain. Especially because this has been on my visiting wish list ever since it won a gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2012 with it’s very first entry. When looking for a garden somewhere in The New Forest to meet my chum Annie and her children I put a call out on twitter, with one or two exceptions Furzey was the response, so it was game on.
Planted in 1922, it’s an informal space, with a myriad of pathways meandering away from the original sixteenth century cottage and kitchen garden down to a lake full of lillies and through the woodland. As might be expected in such a setting the planting is mainly trees and shrubs that have been chosen to provide colour and interest throughout the year. Azaleas and Rhododendrons in spring, bluebells, cyclamen and narcissus, through to autumn where the beautiful, warm fire shades of red and orange from the foliage take over. Dotted around the gardens are shelters, child appealing tree houses and a bug barn all with ‘Furzey thatching’. If you look carefully there are even fairy doors to be found. The Chelsea garden is also recreated here. It’s all rather magical.
Whilst being a beautiful space what also makes this garden really special is that it is run by the Furzey Gardens Charitable Trust part of the larger Minstead Training Trust. The trust provides residential care and horticultural training to adults with learning disabilities and its students work within the gardens and nursery gaining horticultural experience and craft skills. These crafts are sold in the gift shop and plants that they will have raised can be bought from the nursery.
A little bit of enchantment set right in the heart of the New Forest
Minstead is just outside of Lyndhurst. The location map can be found here.
Opening Times and Prices
Gardens open daily from 10am to 6pm all year round.
The Gallery Gift and Coffee Shop is open from 1st March to the end of October. Daily from 10am to 5pm. Last orders for refreshments are 4.15pm.
Prices and Donations
Entrance to the nursery, gift and coffee shop is free.
Entrance to the Gardens is by set minimum donation of :
Children (ages 4-16) £4.00
Children under 4 are free
Family ticket (2 adults and 3 children) £19.50
Disabled visitor and helper free
Annual “Furzey Friends” Membership £49.50 (member and up to 3 guests).
All other information can be found here.
If you’d like to read more about the work of the Minstead Training Trust you can do so here
What happened to summer? I don’t know what the temperatures are like with you but here it’s definitely more mid September than August and despite the sunshine I’ve already had to delve into the sweater drawer.
The tomatoes have slowed right down and although grateful that they can be picked as and when I want, I’m now concerned that not everything will have the time it needs to become ripe. Jono, who writes the blog Real Men Sow, has the same problem and the RHS recommended via their twitter account that a feed of potassium might help, though not to exceed the suggested dose in case the flavour is affected. So I’m guessing we’re not alone.
Some of the chillies and the bell peppers that are in pots I’m now considering moving back into the green house because if the tomatoes are slow these are at a complete standstill. There’s plenty of fruit but it’s staying resolutely green.
On a brighter note we have plenty of sweetcorn, as many runner beans as we can eat and I’ve ‘discovered’ some ‘Minicole’ cabbages that we planted months ago on the new plot and forgot about. Given the benign neglect, they’re looking rather splendid.
The last couple of weeks have been about housekeeping on the plot and this weekend will be no exception. I wrote about tidying up the strawberries in the last post and it’ll be the lavender next. Bob removed the flower heads from his plants earlier this week and the smell throughout the site was heavenly, so this is one job I’m really looking forward to. Less appealing is the inevitable green house tidy and pot wash.
My thoughts of course are now turning to the next season and for the first time I’m planning a big autumn planting around vegetables, salad crops and bulbs. Plenty to be getting on with.
Thank you as ever for reading.