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Jo's News and Views No7 July 2023

Hello Everyone Well, our July weather hasn't been a repeat of last year, thank goodness. The rain has been welcome although we all know that a mix of rain and sun leads to more weeds but then, we can't have it all our own way, can we? The garden has benefited from the rain too and there were many shrubs and trees to enjoy on my walk. In the car park the Fraxinus excelsior, or Common Ash, was looking very fresh and stately set off beautifully by the blue sky, photo 1. In the Courtyard I stopped to admire the newly restored Clock, photo 2. The Society made a contribution towards the repairs using funds from the sales of Jill Kidgers' paintings and cards. It was Jill's wish to do this and we thank Jill for her continued support of the Society and you, our members, for continuing to purchase her beautiful cards. On the Front Drive this inconspicuous plant is often overlooked. The Thalictrum delavayi, or Chinese meadow rue, looks delicate but is quite hardy, photo 3. The lilac-mauve flowers are only 2 cms wide with prominent cream stamens, photo 4, and look very pretty. The view of the house is always different depending on the season, photo 5. The Rhus typhina, or staghorn sumac, is looking good and looks as though it will put on a good show in the Autumn. Walking through the garden to Tom Tiddlers ground I stopped to enjoy the sight of one of my favourite trees in full flower. The Catalpa bignonioides 'Variegata', or Indian Bean tree, photo 6, is an absolute joy. It is the sort of tree that just cheers you up by being there. The flowers are 3-4 cms wide with orange and purple markings in the centre and hang in conical panicles, photo 7. On the Tulip Terrace the colourful planting has been chosen with the summer heat in mind, photo 8. The gardeners have certainly been glad of the rain helping them with the watering. In the centre of the annual bed in the Kitchen Garden was this perfect white poppy, photo 9. On closer inspection I could see it was an Opium poppy, or Papaver somniferum, but I have to admit that I have never seen a white one before as they are usually shades of pink through to red. Very unusual. The Conference pear trees in the Fruit Arch were heavily laden with pears, photo 10. Good to see the birds haven't eaten them all this year. These lovely red lettuce have been left so that the seed can be collected, photo 11. The different Heritage tomatoes made a wonderful display, photos 12, 13 and 14. They are so interesting to look at. Not like the usual round red ones in the supermarket. In the next bed was this large Corylus avellana, common nut tree, photo 15. I don't think any nuts have ever been harvested because the squirrels always get there first, photo 16. They have certainly developed a taste for young green hazelnuts or cobnuts as they are also known. Back at the front of the house I stopped to watch the bees on the Echinops ritro or Globe thistle, photo 16. The violet-blue flowers appear to be covered in spikes but the wonderful thing about these spikes is that each one opens into an individual five petaled flower. It never fails to amaze me ever year. Finally, my fauna contribution this month starts with a collection of butterflies. The garden was full of them but these are the ones that were kind enough to stop for a while so I could take a photo. The Gatekeeper, photo 18, the Peacock, photo 19 and the Comma, photo 20. Then walking around the pond I spotted this tiny moorhen chick, photo 21. I think there were three all together but this is the only one that stayed for a photo. I hope you have enjoyed this wander around the garden with me. Best wishes Jo



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