The Old Rectory

Kingston,

Isle of Wight

2014 has been a very busy year for us in the garden. We have been taking advantage of not opening for the NGS this year to do lots of work. I am writing this at the end of June, and the new design of the Crab Apple Lawn has been very successful. We approached C.A.R. Gardens, an Island based company to carry out the work, which they did to a very high standard and were a lovely bunch! The planting was mostly finished by the end of May and has quickly filled out and already looks like it has been there much longer, partly because we re-used plants that were already here, but I have also sown masses of annuals to fill in until some of the perennials and shrubs get going. The annuals include Ammi Majus, Hordaeum Jubatum (the Squirrel tail grass which I haven't grown before and is just stunning!), Antirhinnums, Lavatera, etc. We started this project at the end of January, but the wet weather held things back and the site looked like a pond for many weeks in early spring. The transformation from mud to a floriferous garden has been a joy and I hope it will get even better as it matures.

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We have also been doing ground preparation for a new Wild Flower Meadow on the site of our Piggy Field. This is a sloping field to the east of the house, so will form a lovely backdrop to the garden when established. We are using a perennial meadow mix from the Wildflower specialists 'Charles Flower Wildflower Farms'. The meadow that we sowed 3 years ago this autumn has been wonderful this year, and to see the difference in insects and butterflies on this patch (probably about 3/4 of an acre) has reinforced the fact that diversity of plant species will reap huge rewards in terms of visiting wildlife species.

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