This is the time when we see spring fading and summer taking over as the days draw out and the
long sunny days bring lots of colour and the start of the abundant harvest of vegetables and fruit.
The spring display of 39000 bulbs was memorable and although some came out early and others late
it has been a good splash of colour.
The flower show season has started too and at Chelsea Flower Show there was a garden for the
Magna Carta celebrations designed by Patricia Thirion and Janet Honour, which we have had the
privilege of helping the team at the runnymede-on-thames hotel install the garden in theirgrounds
for everyone to come and enjoy. We look forward to seeing it mature in the future.
It is also the time of year when the lawns are growing a-pace and the borders are getting fuller, and
the colour is bursting out everywhere. It is a very busy period for all gardeners keeping the edges
trimmed, lawns fed and mowed, borders weeded, plants tied in and supported; the vegetables being
sown and planted in the Walled Garden: beans – runner and climbing French, dwarf French and
broad beans, 6 typesof cucumbers, salad leaves, radishes, carrots, 4 different types of leek, 3
various spinach, red onions, beetroot, courgettes, pumpkins, sweet corn, salad burnet, sweet cicely,
lemon verbena, oregano, nasturtium, spring onion, alpine strawberries, calendula and mints –
Chocolate Peppermint, Moroccan, Banana, Grapefruit, Apple, and Swiss mints. Tomatoes and
peppers are growing under cover.
Tree of the month – Red horse chestnut, Aesculus x carnea
We have a number of these trees planted around the estate and at this time of year they are easily spotted because of their intense red blooms standing up from the foliage, although it can take up to 10 years for them to flower.
A medium size tree able to grow to 20m high and prefers slightly acid soil and full sun or light shade.
Herb of the month – Mint mentha
We have 10 various types of mint in the Walled Garden and each one has a different scent and taste.
Mints will grow in most conditions but prefer a slightly damp, moist soil with shade at the roots &
sunny top, although will survive in some shade. Mint can be invasive so we grow ours either in brick
containers and buckets.
Most mints can be used to treat gastro-intestinal disorders where their anti-flatulent, antispasmodic
and appetite promoting actions are needed. Good for nervous headaches and agitation. The herb
and oil can be used in baths to treat cuts and rashes. Wide dental, cosmetic and confectionary use of
their oils. Well known culinary uses. Mice and rats dislike mint.
In ancient times the Greeks used to clean their banqueting tables and added it to their bath water to
stimulate their bodies; the Romans used it in sauces, as an aid to digestion and as a mouth freshener
and it is they who first brought mint to Britain
Flower of the month – Wisteria.
Around The Grove we have lots of wisteria both blue and white. The blue ones are just going over now but the white varieties are coming into their own.
They can climb as high as 20 m above the ground and spread out 10 m laterally
We prune ours at least twice each year and sometimes 3 times depending on the season.
It can take several years for a wisteria to start blooming.
Watering and feeding wisteria is important in summer especially those that are up against a wall as the heat of the wall and the pourosity of the brick or stone dries out the soil and draws moisture from the plant
We have a lot of box hedges and balls at The Grove and there is one feature – the parterre – that is
about to be removed because we have the dreaded ‘Box Blight’ and in order to protect the
remaining buxus hedges it is necessary for us to destroy the infected plants. So later in June one of
our prime bulb display areas will be going. But we have some exciting plans for this area, so watch