July Gardeners Blog
It’s been a scorcher over the last few weeks here at Trentham, and most of our plants have been coping bravely with the extreme conditions. Watering is an almost daily routine for the gardens team, as we try to keep our new spring planting from getting too crispy!
Our planting once established is pretty resilient in these types of conditions however. The plants selected by the designers we have worked with have been chosen in the main for their sustainability in terms of low maintenance, and adaptability to the impact of climate change. Our mature planting schemes in the Italian Garden, Floral Labyrinth and Rivers of Grass are coping pretty well with the heat so far, but we’ve considered our lawns to be less of a priority. Grass species are pretty tough though, so with (hopefully!) a bit of rain, it will soon bounce back.
As you take a stroll around the gardens this summer you may notice some green plastic bags around the base of our Portugese laurels (Prunus lusitanica). These are special watering bags which we fill up every week or so, which allows the water to slowly drain through down to the root system. This helps ensure our ornamental trees get exactly the right amount of water they need to keep going.
We’ve spent some time deadheading the roses in the rose border which has been a time consuming but very pleasantly scented job. If you get the chance to take a whiff of the shrub rose ‘Brother Cadfael,’ you won’t be disappointed! One of our David Austin roses, this has beautiful globular, clear pink flowers that might remind you of peonies. It’s repeat flowering and has a beautiful, slightly fruity fragrance.
We’ve also trimmed back our Knautia macedonica and hardy geraniums to reduce the potential for self-seeding, and to encourage a new flush of growth which will hopefully give us more flowers later in the season. In the lower beds, our daylily, Hemorocallis ‘Stafford’ has been looking particularly glorious lately. These tough plants, native to East Asia, are tolerant of poor soils, including heavy clay as long as they get plenty of sun - they should definitely be enjoying this weather!
Tips for the July garden:
- Keep greenhouses well ventilated and damp down regularly to increase humidity and discourage pests and disease.
- Feed and water all plants growing in containers.
- Summer prune wisteria, cutting back the new whippy growths to within 5 or 6 buds of the main stem.
- Remove some foliage from tomato plants, to allow more light to reach the fruit, and better air circulation. Start with any old/yellow leaves at the bottom.