The garden is buzzing with preparatory activities; a large marquee has sprouted on the lower lawn and the garden teams are doing last-minute dusting polishing and hoovering of the gardens.
Seriously though, we do so want the gardens to look at their glorious best for our attendees. All we need now is some sun – but people are blaming me for the chilly weather as I've got shorts on!
Wearing shorts turned out to be a doubly bad idea because this morning found me attacking brambles with a vengeance. It started out with me heading into a patch of rhododendrons to remove an errant weed that thought it could get away with not being noticed, when I discovered to my horror an insidious group of brambles tucked away nearly out of sight, so waded in and they attacked back by wrapping themselves round my legs. Such is the reproductive ability of these clever plants that they succeeded in layering themselves at both ends of their long stems. Anyway their lifespans were somewhat shortened as I emerged bloody but triumphant.
The gorgeous Primula Harlow Car hybrids (not a spelling mistake) are really doing their tutti frutti pastel colours on the streamside and the glorious mixture of shades take your breath away.
There was a small group of admirers as I walked past them this morning. These primulas were planted as individual species, and over the years hybridised happily into what we now know as the Harlow Car hybrids.
They are easy to grow and once they set seed will multiply generously. They like dappled shade and moisture-retentive soil and are very happy near watercourses.
Sunny plants for sunny days
Another tiny star up on the Mediterranean Border caught my eye: Erigeron ‘Dimity’. What an adorable little pink daisy, just like its pretty cousin Erigeron karvinskianus or Mexican fleabane (not the world’s most attractive name). This is slightly larger, but enjoys the same growing conditions: in free-draining gritty compost in full sun, they will happily adorn a little sunny spot in your garden and have a long flowering period without any intervention from us. In among it some Scilla peruviana (Portugese squill) had muscled in on the act, creating an attractive mix of purple in among the pink.