July is very much a month of keeping on top of the weeding alongside lots of deadheading flowers. This is simply done by pinching or cutting the faded blooms from the flower heads just above the first set of full healthy leaves. Not only do the spent flowers spoil the appearance of a border, regular deadheading directs energy into stronger growth and encourages more flowers.
What’s looking good in the walled garden?
Our wicker bee has settled well into the orchard of the walled garden, looking resplendent in our new enlarged circular border.
The ornamental grass and white perennial border is into its second summer, with a group of nine Stipa gigantea (giant feather grass or golden oats) having produced their 8ft silvery purple-green spikelets, adding additional height to this border. These are produced in early summer and will turn golden when they ripen and stay looking good until well into the winter.
Top tip – As well as looking great grouped together, Stipa gigantea can be used individually and are effective set against a dark backdrop of shrubs or conifers.
Fruits of our labour
In the orchard we also have a nice selection of fruit trees. Alongside the apples, cherry, fig, pear and plum trees, we have a medlar tree (Mespilus germanica ‘Nottingham’).
We’ve recently planted medlars in the newly created edible garden in Colby's woods too, as they will tolerate most soils, unless very chalky or badly drained, and can be grown in partial shade.
It’s a small spreading self-fertile tree (6m x 8m), producing white blossom in May which the bees are very fond of. The fruits that follow in the autumn resemble a large brown rose hip and are edible following the first frost in late autumn, when they are well ripened.
Harvested on a dry day, they must be bletted; stored in a dry, frost-free place for two to three weeks, until the flesh becomes brown and buttery. Medlar jelly or medlar cheese can then be made which is delicious served with cheese!
It’s thought that the walled garden was originally a vegetable and fruit garden feeding Colby Lodge, although now it’s set out as an ornamental cottage garden where fruit, herbs and vegetables are grown within the plants.
Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the fruit in the orchard and around the garden. Did you know that the Bothy tea-room also use the fruit in their wonderful dishes?!