July- Mow, weed, sleep, repeat

Chris Flynn, Head Gardener Chris Flynn Head Gardener
Water lilies blooming in the fountain at Dyffryn Gardens

This is certainly the mantra of the gardeners at this time of year, plus a lot of watering of course, but it’s also a time to reap the rewards of projects from the year before when they have finally realised their floriferous potential.

Water, water everywhere

We talk a lot about water at this time of year, usually whilst wondering when the next band of rain will arrive to resuscitate the parched lawns. This time though the focus is on bodies of water rather than precipitation. For the first time in 10 years the Fountain Pool on the Great Lawn is holding water and has been planted up with a range of marginal and ten large clumps of waterlilies. The Canal on the Great Lawn has also been repaired and replanted meaning we’re now growing fifty different water lilies around the gardens. Historically the canal was filled with the bright blooms of the latest Nymphaea cultivars so we’re checking a lot of boxes with this project, not least the biodiversity box after the newts, dragonflies and toads have all re-colonised the refurbished features.  One of my favourite places to view them is from the lookout over the Pompeian Garden now that the surrounding hedges are in slightly more sensible proportions.

The Reflecting Pool at Dyffryn Gardens
The Reflecting Pool at Dyffryn Gardens
The Reflecting Pool at Dyffryn Gardens

In the Reflecting Pool the battle of the blanket weed is slowly being won with a mixture of persistent removal and the addition of barley straw. The clear water is now living up to its name and reflecting the summer planting of water cannas, giant papyrus and for this year Zantadeschia ‘White Giant’ that can flower at over 2m tall. We’re also looking to start work on extending the pool at the top of the cascade system on the rock garden to further the range of plants that we can grow. Once this extension has bedded in we’ll be able to drain, de-silt and repair the lower cascade pool to stop it from leaking and get a better depth of water all year round.

An exotic summer

I was so pleased to see one of the new Hedychium flowering in the Exotics Garden this week. It was one of the nineteen new varieties that were picked up from the National Collection last year. The delicately scented, white inflorescence of H. yunnanense is worth seeking out along one of the historic stepping stone paths that we have reinstated in this part of the garden. In the opposite bed the almost black leaf and shocking red flower of Canna ‘Australia’ make it one of the top performers in the garden. This particular specimen was liberated from my mother’s garden a number of years ago and after a good bit of growing on, seems very happy amongst the other lush leaves and bright colours in the Exotics Garden. Speaking of the Exotics, that is where you’ll find me over the next few weeks, mostly sat on a digger working on the new path network. Once these are complete you’ll be able to get in amongst the big leaves, which is definitely the best way to experience this sort of planting.

Canna Australia
Canna Australia flowering at Dyffryn Gardens
Canna Australia

It is good to find time to appreciate the work that goes into the garden, it’s often very easy to be so focussed that you might miss out on something good. For now though the mowing and weeding is calling.