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Jo's September Walk

Hello Everyone

The exceptional weather we have enjoyed was beginning to takes it's toll on the garden and then the rain arrived! I think we were all very pleased to see it as we certainly need it. Whether we'll be as pleased in a weeks time I'm not sure but for the time being I for one will put up with it.

Let's start with the good news We are very pleased to welcome the new Head Gardener, Richard Harmes, photo 1. Richard was appointed in August and has a wealth of experience behind him, being Head Gardener of private estates since 2011 after completing 4 years as Deputy Head Gardener at Penshurst Place in Kent. He plans to maximise the great potential of the award winning gardens, the first task being to enhance the Rock Garden. Richard thinks it's important that the garden does not stand still and believes that gardens are a living thing and need to reflect the different seasons, so that they can achieve their full potential throughout the year.

The garden was awarded a gold medal by London in Bloom recently so congratulations to the Gardens Team

Moving on to another task that is already receiving Richard's full attention is the pond. Unfortunately, after over 30 years of being in place, the existing lining is due for renewal. It has been leaking for a while and now with the hot weather it has almost dried up, photo 2. It is a big project and will involve cutting in the edges, removing the silt, lifting the irises and some of the gunnera. These will be replanted in due course. Then a clear perimeter around the pond will be created to give better access in the future. The preparation has already started and I'm sure by spring it will be on it's way back to looking as good as it has done in the past, photo 3.

So what else is happening around the garden? The colchicums and cyclamen are looking lovely and provide lots of colour throughout the garden. Here are some outside the Visitors Centre, photo 4.

A plant I've not mentioned before is the Fallopia japonica, known as Japanese Knotweed. The information board states that there are there are two plants here, photo 5, but does not indicate which varieties they are. What I hadn't noticed before was that they have completely different looking leaves and flowers, photos 6 and 7. They were planted at Myddelton by Mr Bowles because he admired their architectural qualities and they have continued since and been retained in recent times as an educational aid and as a warning against the introduction of alien species.

Walking onto Kitchen Garden I stopped to admire the different varieties of tomatoes growing there, photo 8. Too many to mention but here is a selection that were on sale in the garden shop, photo 9. In June I mentioned the different potatoes being grown by Steph. I am pleased to tell you that the crop from the British Queen variety was 78 kilos and the crop from the Ratte variety was 39 kilos. Along the path the annual bed was still looking beautiful in the sunshine, photo 10. Behind the Glasshouses the pumpkins and squashes were receiving some much needed watering, photo 11, note the rainbow!

Moving up to the Tulip Terrace, this has looked in fine form all summer and I thought it was worth another mention, photos 12 and 13. Now the weather has changed the pots of succulents have ended their summer sojourn on the terraces and have returned to the Glasshouses leaving the terrace looking a little bereft, photo 14.

As you know the Asylum received a major tidy up earlier this year and, with the late summer sunshine coming through the trees, it was looking delightful, photo 15. Definitely somewhere to linger now. Nearby, on the Sunken Lawn, the display of cyclamen were also creating a splash of late colour beneath the Gingko Tree, photo 16. They are surrounded by Viburnum farreri.

Following the path around to Bowling Green Lawn there is this unusual plant, photo 17. This is Hyoscyamus niger, known as Henbane, it is an extremely poisonous member of the potato family Solanaceae.

Now for the fauna. Last month saw the hatching of the ducklings and they are doing very well, photo 18. I didn't frighten them, they have been taught not to speak to strangers! The sunflowers in the annual flower bed have been a good source of food for Great Tits, photo 19 and Blue Tits, after the rain, photo 20. Then finally this Small White Butterfly, photos 21 and 22. Very pretty but just as much a nuisance to gardeners as the more common Large White Butterfly.

Hope you have enjoyed this wander through the garden with me.

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