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Jo's News and Views August 2021

Hello Everyone

Well, another month has flown by and the weather still can't make up it's mind if it's Summer or Autumn. Luckily for us the garden doesn't mind this warm damp weather, in fact it thrives on it. There is a lushness around this year because of all the rain we've had.

The white teasels, Dipsacus laciniatus, photo 1, in the Arboretum are very tall this year so have definitely enjoyed the damp weather. Also, on the drive was this beautiful Thalictrum, photo 2. It appears as a lilac cloud of tiny individual flowers which last for quite a while. On the front lawn in the centre bed was this Rhus typhina, the Staghorn sumac, photo 3. It seems to enjoy this position and I can't wait to see it in the Autumn.

Walking around to the side of the house this stunning Agapanthus was taking centre stage on the steps there, photo 4. Then I visited the Old Conservatory. The planting has been changed and I can imagine Mr Bowles pottering around in here quite happily, photo 5. Pausing outside for a while I was able to appreciate the beauty of the pond, photo 6. It really has recovered from it's makeover and the plants around the edge are now quite established. The pathway on the right hand side that leads to the Pond Terrace has been repaired and improved too.

Next I wandered down to the Rock Garden. All along the bank was this amazing display of Arum, photo 7. It has so many common names. Some of you may know it as something different but a couple of names are 'lords and ladies' and 'Jack-in-the-pulpit'. The fruit is pretty but very poisonous. The project of restoring water in the pools in the Rock Garden is going well. There has not been water here since Mr Bowles died so this is something none of us have seen before, photos 8,9,10,11,12 and 13. The pipes for the water were laid a couple of years ago so Richard has been able to concentrate on putting liner in two of the pools and a waterproof concrete mix around the other one. The boulders around the pools have been placed carefully to give it a natural look and planting will begin soon. Richard would like to introduce acers, japonicas and azaleas here to give it a Japanese feel. Mr Bowles always wanted a Japanese area in his garden so it is perhaps fitting that this area, where his ashes were scattered, will become just that for him. Along the back of the Rock Garden is the Hosta bank which was looking pretty in the sunshine, photo 13.

Back on the New River Lawn I stopped to admire the Pond from this angle, photo 14. The gunnera have established themselves and seem very happy to be back on the side the pond. Also here was this delightful cyclamen, photo 15. A sure sign that Autumn is on it's way.

Down in the Kitchen Garden there has been a bumper crop of everything and there is colour everywhere. The sweet corn are almost ready for harvesting, photo 16. The colours of the nasturtiums have been so enjoyable to look at, photo 17. The mixed border alongside the glasshouse has been ideal for the pollinators, photo 18 and the Cut Flower bed has been a triumph again, photo 19. Overall a fantastic festival of colour.

Walking up the steps to the New River Lawn again I stopped to enjoy this view of the Tulip Terrace, photo 20. I love the structure of the big banana plants here. In the Rose Garden the edges of the beds here have been replanted with euonymus japonicus and dahlias, photo 21. It is hoped to reintroduce roses soon and the bed in front of the Market Cross has already been planted with rose bushes so this should be a riot of colour next year.

Now for my round up of fauna for the month. I saw this cricket in the long grass in the Millennium Orchard, photo 22. I was lucky enough to spot this male Common darter, photo 23 and also a female Common darter, photo 24. So obliging for the pair of them to turn up! In the small Wildlife pond I found this extraordinary looking creature, photo 25. It is an exuviae, the cast off skin of a dragonfly. The dragonflies lay their eggs in the pond which then turn into nymphs. The nymphs live in the water for a couple of years. When they are ready they emerge from the water and the dragonfly crawls out and clings to the leaves of the plants until their wings are dry and hard enough so they can fly. The shell they crawl out of is the exuviae and I counted 18 one morning! This was a Southern hawker dragonfly that was still wet when I saw it, photo 26. An amazing moment for me. There was another special treat in store for me when I visited the garden recently. I spotted this pair of Grey wagtails enjoying the edges of the pond looking for things to eat, photo 27. Some people walking by disturbed them and they flew into the Cornus kousa where I think they were camouflaged quite well, photo 28.

Finally, Jill's Botanicals Exhibition will be showing in the Coach House at Myddelton House from Monday 6th September 2021 to Sunday 12th September 2021. All proceeds are passed on to the Bowles Society, thank you, Jill.

That's all for now so I hope you have enjoyed this wander around the garden with me.

Best Wishes



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