The Old Rectory


Isle of Wight

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An occasional (depending on how busy I am gardening!) comment on beautiful plants or moments as they happen in our garden.

By roses382, Sep 20 2017 04:12PM

This year I have planted a number of Delphiniums in the borders to the rear of the Potting Shed. These four equal size plots are open to the ravages of rabbits, but Dahlias and Bearded Irisis do very well here in the open sunny position and remain largely untouched. With a bit of space in one of the beds I thought I would try Delphiniums as I had read that they are rabbit-proof. This does not always prove to be true and I have lost many so-called rabbit-proof plants, so I was sceptical. I can now report that Delphiniums are, here anyway, also untouched by rabbits.

One of the cultivars planted was from the 'Highlander' series, a range of double Delphiniums bred by a Scottish couple, Tony and Maureen Coakley. These are extremely hardy, sturdier than the average Delphinium, and come in the most exquisite colours. I have planted Highlander 'Moonlight', and it lives up to it's name, being the most beautiful mix of palest opal, lime green, sky blue, and lavender, with an unlikely hint of chocolate. Using it as a cut flower means it is at eye-level on the patio table and I can fully appreciate this wonderful colour mix.

Also in the vase are; Dahlia 'Emory Paul', the most edible shade of raspberry red imaginable, Symphiotrichum novi-belgii 'Marie Ballard' (commonly known as Aster - how I wish the powers that be would leave names alone!) with Eucalyptus gunnii 'Azura, and a solitary stem of Dahlia 'Hillcrest Royal'.

By roses382, Sep 2 2017 07:35PM

The polytunnel has never been so productive as it has been this year. We have had plenty of sunshine, and I have been more diligent about watering, feeding regularly with a stinky mix of Comfrey and Burdock leaves. The Padron peppers have been prolific, and the freezer is already full with Tomatoes and Tomato sauce. Aubergines have also done better than previous years, despite being smothered in Red Spider Mite. I have used the biological control here, Phytoseiulus, and this has visibly reduced the Mites, although I would have achieved better results if I had been organised and ordered a little earlier. I will also have enough Chilli Peppers to keep me going for about 10 years! These will shortly be strung above the Aga to dry; the strings resembling colourful Chinese Lanterns which will be cheery in the depths of Winter.

This year I have grown 'Vampire', 'Zimbabwe Black', and the pretty yellow 'Trinidad perfume'. An annual batch of Chilli Jam will also be heading onto the Pantry shelf shortly.

By roses382, Sep 2 2017 07:14PM

The sun shone for our last opening of 2017. In fact it was sweltering, just as it had been in June for our NGS day. Of all the groups that came this summer, there was only one afternoon where it rained a little. So we have been very lucky.

Over a 100 turned out on Monday, and the total raised was £967. The Red Cross volunteers did a wonderful job of teas and cakes, and everybody said lovely things about the garden, which was a relief, as things are definitely a little on the straggly side by now. The money will be used to buy 7 wheelchairs for the Island, which is fantastic. Many thanks to all who helped on the day, and to everyone who came and made it a success. We are looking forward to a bit of a rest now!

The photo below was taken the following day, the Stipa Gigantea really beautiful at the moment, and the Eucalyptus Gunnii 'Azura' making lovely fountains of steely blue.

By roses382, Aug 19 2017 08:23PM

We will be opening for the last time this summer, on August 28th, Bank Holiday Monday, 2-5pm. Adults £3.50, children free. It will be in aid of the Red Cross, who are providing Tea and Cakes.

We don't normally open this late in the summer, so it is a chance to see the garden in a different season. Dahlias abound (the one pictured below is 'American Dawn'), and there is plenty of colour in the form of annuals, Salvias and grasses, Persicarias, Hydrangeas and Japanese Anemones. And the Pumpkin Patch is a sight to behold! There will also be Plants for Sale, propagated here in the garden.

So, fingers crossed for some late summer sunshine. Do come along if you can.

By roses382, Aug 6 2017 07:32PM

Yesterday we cut the newest of the Meadows to the ground. Everything had set seed and it was a haze of brown. I always feel sad when we start cutting as it feels like the days of summer are numbered, and it only seems like yesterday when it all looked so beautiful and fresh, with so much still to come.

This evening I took the camera with us as we walked the dogs around the fields after dinner, and the older meadow is still a picture. Almost everything here has set seed now, apart from the Knapweed and Field Scabious. Looking across, it is a gorgeous haze of purple, and today the Goldfinches have been feeding in flocks on the seedheads, with many butterflies and moths still enjoying the flowers. The recent rains have freshened the grass paths making a lovely combination of green and purple. The last few months have seen so many beautiful combinations of flowers, from the Sorrel and Ragged Robin, through to the Daisies and Lady's Bedstraw, and finally the pink Musk Mallow and Knapweed, that I never tire of it.

We will be cutting this meadow in a couple of weeks, and removing the top growth. Unfortunately I don't have a shirtless man with a scythe (just as well or i'd never get any gardening done!), so it is done by tractor and finished in a day. And then I just have to wait until next year when it all happens again....

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