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Ian's Gardening Tales From The Weald - August 2018


Ian's Gardening Tales From The Weald - August 2018

Scorchio! Well, as I sit here on a late July Sunday afternoon, the rain falls gently down outside after a very difficult two months gardening through the searing heat!

We've all been aware of climate change for years and have been told and seen the changes in weather patterns throughout recent years. As plants-folk we have to consider this when planning our gardens for the future.

When I was presented with a very supportive client and a large blank canvas, we as a team got to work quickly! As you are probably aware, my passion is wildlife or natural gardening encouraging the establishment of habitats supportive of a wide range of living things.

My client was and is, very keen on grasses and with my desire for nectar rich flowers, we agreed on a design of 70% grasses and 30% perennials. My research was influenced by the Dutch designer, Piet Oudolf.

Throughout the recent scorching temperatures, I have been observing what works and what does not. We work two other gardens, one a mature tree and shrub garden wherein lie a network of large ponds and a small traditional English country garden.

All have held up well and the only watering I have done is the new autumn and spring plantings from last year and this, the vegetable garden and the containers. I only had to carry out emergency watering of some small mixed borders last week in our small traditional garden.

The main reason for this is the application of mulch in the form of mushroom compost. We weed through our borders in late winter and early spring, then apply our mulch, on average, to a depth of around 15cm over the moist, seasonal beds. This conserves water in the borders, acts as a weed suppressant, improves soil structure and adds nutrients.

The garden that's held its own the best is our prairie garden and fills me with pride and confidence that this style of gardening is the one that has every chance of success in our changing climate into future years with the correct management techniques.

Although climate change is generally accepted as fact, it is important that each and every one of us work wherever possible to mitigate its effects for the good of all things living in future years. I coach my colleagues to aim to leave our gardens better than we found them day by day. This should equally apply to our fragile planet as we live on it in our relatively short lives.

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