My role also includes updating the horticultural database and ordering engraved labels which, in turn, help the visitor experience.
So, armed with clipboards, holding a bed plan, logging sheets and plant movement forms (PMFs) together with pencil and rubber, I head out with my volunteer to log the additional planting that the gardeners have recently completed in the Dry Garden. On this clear summer’s day as I walk down the slope and around the bend my eyes are drawn to the beautiful views looking down and beyond to the Essex countryside.
Arriving at the bed I am working on, I now have to focus on the plants that I need to look for that are listed on the PMF. As I slowly walk around the bed, eyes glued to the ground looking for evidence of new planting I am distracted by the bumblebees, hoverflies and butterflies that are buzzing around a clump of Calamintha nepeta subsp. glandulosa ‘White Cloud’ and I cannot resist crushing the leaves of this plant, giving off a refreshing minty fragrance.
One of the plants that I am looking for is Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ and I find a group added to an existing planting on a slightly raised slope of the bed, which really enhances the pinkish-white flowers as they appear to flutter like butterflies in the slight breeze. Having recorded the number and condition of the new plants onto the PMF I move on, passing a Stipa gigantea, and I cannot fail to admire the shimmering golden jewel-like spikelets of this grass set against a clear blue sky.
The last set of plants on my list is Erigeron glaucus and I locate a group at the edge of the bed. However, my form tells me that five were planted and I can only see four good plants; looking more closely I notice a tiny half chewed piece next to a hole, suggesting that either the hares or rabbits have dined on our fifth plant! I duly record my findings and also complete the new label request column.
Behind the Erigeron is a large clump of Agapanthus africanus ‘Albus’, and whilst making my notes on the Erigeron I have to admit my eye is drawn to this Agapanthus with its white flowers tinged purple-pink at the top of dark stems that seem to cool off the heat radiated from the pebbles.
Having recorded all my findings I take one more look at that stunning view before making my way back to the office to update the database accordingly – one bed completed and on to the next...
Read more about RHS Garden Hyde Hall's Dry Garden.