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July Journal 2021

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

My monthly notes of the gardens, growing and ideas.

As I write, I am looking out through the picture window of the studio, straight down the long border. It has really lifted over the last month. I can't see beyond the heavy iron bench and so it's a surprise whenever anyone pops their head through the door.

Plants this year are huge. Really huge. The grasses are swaying already, the cephalaria and rudbeckia are easily 7' maybe 8' tall. The antriplex is enormous too, towering over me. The Braybrooke garden is a series of tiny vistas across one or two beds rather than the usual view across the hurdles of crops.

So why, when there is total abundance in the gardens, every bed full, am I taking less pictures, and feel like I have less to say? I've noticed that my entries are getting shorter with fewer images as the year progresses. I have been thinking about this today. I wondered if it's that embarrassment of riches thing.

We’re also super busy, buckets flying out the doors, working on some really exciting projects and

I‘ve run some lovely ‘flower sessions’ too.

Looking back on the monthly photo files, we certainly played and took many more images and really studied the plants when there was far less to see. Now flowers bloom, cut and delivered to a doorstep near you before I can say 'let me grab the camera'. Perhaps that's it. The business of the season and no time to stop and stare.

(Maybe no time to sit and stare, but it looks like we have done plenty of hosting with the flowers.)

As I predicted in my last Edition Column, July is mostly for the hammock. It is a well won pause in the gardening year for me. We are reaping the rewards of our efforts. I feel the next year's preparations really begin in August with sowing perennials, then get really going in September. There is little that matters to do right now. It's well deserved rest too. The first half of the year we are sowing, potting on, clearing, planting and harvesting. Then again next month, we will start clearing again, sowing and transplanting all whilst cutting.

As usual, my favourite time of the day to sit in the garden is late in the day, that cliched golden hour, first thing in the morning is still and gorgeous too, but it's the cool of the evening, flowers back lit and with the gardens to myself, it's very special.

The weeds are ridiculous this summer but now I've held tight and got through the really bad bit, they are as tall as everything else and easily pulled and thrown on the compost heap.

The rain has allowed me to spread compost, a job I wouldn't usually do in July but I have taken a chance to do so. This is covering the weeds, the soil, adding food for the microbes and holding the water. Win win win.

The compound effect of several years of mulching and rotating our plants is definitely showing it's benefits. Plants are rooting deeply, rich green healthy leaves and strong repeat flowering. We are growing many crops together too, like sunflowers and calendula with tomatoes and garlic with roses. The plants here are taller, more floriferous too. Despite wet periods, there is hmuch less black spot on the roses. I am fastidious in picking up leaves off the soil, cutting and burning all affected stems but you can never get rid of it. But the garlic seems to have made a difference. Plus its delicious.

The dahlias have begun flowering and they are the chef's kiss. So brilliant, I feel I may as well give up now, I am not sure how I can better this lot!

Happy Summer Holidays.


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