A nice surprise when the bell went.

Pretty Purple Herbaceous border at Felley Priory

The Alarm on my phone went off on Sunday morning. Assuming it was just going to be the reminder I set to go off every 3 days to try and get me to go for a run, which even though it’s been happening since January has not had the desired effect yet! I reached out to again to ignore it. Luckily though I did glance at the screen and much to my delight it was nothing to do with trying to persuade me into exercise but I reminder I had set last year after a client had told me about a lovely little rare plant fair at Felley Priory. This was a far better proposition and by chance having some free time we made the trip.

Felley Priory was established as a priory in 1156 and managed to escape being completely destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries. The surviving bit being incorporated into the house that stands today which was added to at various times until about 1890 although the garden in its present layout was created much later in 1976. Amazingly it is only half a mile from the M1 in Underwood and yet it is so tranquil. The garden is 2.5 acres and a mixture of formal topiary and long herbaceous borders backed by topiary topped hedges. I particularly liked the white alliums in the beautiful White garden mirroring the Topiary balls on top of the hedge.

The Plant Fair itself was very busy despite the inclement weather. You can’t keep hardy gardeners in search of something special away with a bit of rain! The stalls were crammed packed with many unusual varieties of perennials and shrubs. I was swayed by several things including an alpine aster and a very dark dwarf veronica as well as a couple of Auricula for our front gravel garden. Allium caesium and a Eryngium picos ‘Amethyst’ will go in our grass bank border which edges the gravel front garden and is a dry sunny spot which is a wonderful home for hundreds of grasshoppers.

The border that fronts the house before the gravel garden is planted with various shades of orange along with the green allium’ hair’. This has a new addition now too a globe mallow called Sphaeralcea ‘Newleaze Coral’. The back garden is many shades of Pink through to the darkest reds and so I was delighted to find the darkest potentilla I have seen for a while. it is Potentilla ‘Etna’.

Sweetcorn!!! I thought I was seeing things when I went back to a greenhouse on Monday. Having planted out all the veg that was ready, including some shop bought Sweetcorn, as I had tried with both last years seed and some newly purchased seed and had no response at all. Which I was perplexed about. Anyway I had left the seed tray with the newer seed in still in the greenhouse having run out of time and on my return there were six new sweetcorn plants and yet I could clearly see the six I had planted out the week previously. The seed finally decided to show itself! oh well who doesn’t love sweetcorn I’m sure I will find some room somewhere.

Keep on top of the tying in and dead heading, make sure all of the early flowering plants are not crowding out those to come later on. Get ready to dead head the aquilegia if you don’t want them everywhere. Prune shrubs such as Spirea Bridal Wreath, Exochorda and anything else that has just finished flowering. Pinch the side shoots out on your tomatoes, and if you are a couple of plants short put the side shoots in water for a few days and then plant up as new plants. I heard this recently on GQT but I have never tried it. I have two side shoots currently soaking in water to see what happens.

Gardening is hard physical work, there is no way round it. It can also be repetitive when you are doing similar tasks in different gardens all week so it is really nice to have your efforts appreciated. This week I have had the following pictures sent me which make the back and arm ache all worth it..

Weigela looking fab. Thank you! 🙂

Hi Kelly, clearly your pruning of our wisteria is paying dividents! It has never been as good as this!

It just goes to show how important pruning at the right time is. Neither of these flowered before I started looking after them. Keep up all the hard work in your own garden, it is hard but it brings many physical and mental benefits. Make sure though, you take time to stop and stare or take a trip to find something new. the RHS comes to Chatsworth this week, enjoy if you have tickets. Happy Days in the Garden. x

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