1 August 2012 - 8:33pm

Will 'Charnwood' be a media star yet?

It has been an interesting week at Charnwood. A few weeks ago we got a telephone call from the BBC asking us if they could come and film the garden for East Midlands Today. Fortunately Peter took the call, I would probably have assumed it was a mate taking the mick. Anyway, they came one morning in mid July, three of them; a producer, cameraman and Ady Dayman, their gardening correspondent. All three were absolutely charming, very professional and great fun. They spent almost four hours here filming – by now you may have seen my 30 seconds of fame! It was a really interesting experience seeing them at work. I now understand how important continuity is and what it involves, and how the weather can mess up the best laid plans. What they did do was give the book a good plug – if you don’t know about it yet, it is now available; details are on the www.katescuttings.net website. We have all moaned and worried about the wet weather, but one thing it has done is helped young trees to get properly established. Our really heavy clay makes it hard for young plants to really thrive, however much we try to improve the drainage. The catalpa, golden birch , ferns and acers all look better than they have ever looked and roses and clematis have loved the rain. I know it must have been horrid for folk who have been flooded, or who’s crops have been wrecked, but from where I garden it’s not been a wholly bad season. My biggest job has been to stop the garden looking like a jungle. I like bold, exuberant planting, but there are limits even for me! The bamboo must now be 6 metres high and some of the grasses and inulas are towering way over my head. I may need to get the machete out! Over the summer keep deadheading your annuals and give them a feed so they keep flowering. Lavender benefits from a good shear back now to keep it young and neat. Hardy geraniums, delphiniums and alchemilla mollis that have flowered and are looking a bit messy can be cut back to the ground, they will throw up new, fresh leaves and may flower again. September is a good time to rejuvenate your earlier flowering perennials such as brunnera, heuchera, pulmonaria and daylilies. Dig them up, fork over the soil and add some compost. Throw the woody, congested middle bits onto the compost heap and replant generous clumps of the best, new bits from the outside with plenty of roots and water well for a bit. Next year, or possibly the year after they will reward you with much more vigorous growth and more flowers. You can divide your bulbous iris in August, don’t replant too deep and dig in plenty of grit, they prefer well drained soil and sun. On September 8th we are running another fun packed garden day here at Charnwood with a home cooked lunch, tickets are £28. For details give me a ring, email me, or check out the website. In the meantime, don’t forget to relax and enjoy your garden. I will leave you with a photo of the lovely Ady Dayman, gardening correspondent for East Midlands Today, basking in a deckchair in our seaside garden at Charnwood.