Knowing your onions

Towards the end of July a couple of inches of much-needed rain fell. The summer rains have not made much of an appearance so far this year so we really, really appreciated it when it finally arrived. After all the rain last year, this year's dry weather is capping the growth of the garden, you know how it is - gardeners are never really happy with the weather.

Veg Talk

Our spuds, onions and their allies have been harvested in the kitchen garden leaving room to plant chicory endive and radicchio modules. There is also space for more sowings of beetroot, chard, spring onions and carrots for baby vegetables towards the end of the season. These crops relish the fertility and friability of the vacated potato ground and along with leeks, thrive here in the second half of the season.

For ease of pushchairs and wheelchairs, whilst also being ever-so-easy to maintain, the paths in the spring garden are currently getting a tarmac make over and eventually will be tarred and chipped so that they look like gravel paths. This is a task that takes a lot of preparation and is not normally part of the gardeners skill set but on completion really sets off the garden beds and mown grass. Crisp edging and good paths are two essentials for a much-loved garden - anywhere!

The Cutting Garden

Is still looking fantastically floriferous with all the plants - perennial and annual strutting their stuff. It's a good time to visit to see whether there is anything that you might like to grow at home so that you too can have plants devoted for cutting. The new kid on the block is Pannicum Frosted Explosion a grass that looks like a firework. It's brilliant in a flower arrangement and is easily raised from seed and boy is it popular!

Anne the border queen continues to keep the floristic borders and climbers under control. In the lead up to the Chilli Fiesta. Anne is checking all the borders to make sure they are looking their best which means plenty of dead heading, tying in and staking. August is also the time of year we look at the borders to see how we can improve them for the following year. Pictures and notes are taken, and filed away until we get an opportunity to review them and implement our new ideas.

Following on from apple thinning, Stu and Will are currently summer pruning the trained fruit trees, reducing their summer hairiness and revealing once again the underlying design. (By now the fruit is visible and beginning to make a show). Where would we be without our wonderful volunteers to continue to assist us in our efforts of making West Dean a tip-top garden?

Sarah Wain, Gardens Supervisor @sarahwestdean