Midsummer Madness

What a treat to be in the Penny Brohn garden on a Midsummer’s Day, when the weather is behaving appropriately for once!  

It makes such a pleasant change to be in cotton shirts and sunhats instead of top-to-toe wet weather gear – and to sit comfortably outside to have our coffee and cake. To come home with the sun still shining and the prospect of a warm evening and maybe even supper alfresco!

There was great excitement, and even some alarm, this week when a large swarm of bees was discovered hanging from a low branch of the Ginkgo tree. But our trusty local beekeeper was sent for and soon arrived in his ‘space suit’. Some of us watched in fascination as with a puff of smoke and a sharp shake of the branch most of the swarm dropped neatly into a box, ready to be transferred to a hive. A few stragglers remained buzzing anxiously around and he planned to return later to round them up as well. Otherwise we had a very productive day, joined by a group of corporate volunteers, who threw themselves cheerfully into all the gardening jobs they were given and even maintenance jobs like power washing paths and cleaning windows. As I left, two young women were vigorously scrubbing the big front gates – how fantastic!
All the wild planting is beautiful at the moment: red poppies in the car park and along the back of the bike shed together with mauve opium poppies. There are wild roses around the beehives, bright pink corn cockles by the leaf bin and masses of colour in the meadow. We did a quick meadow survey, finding that among a variety of interesting grasses there is a very strong population of ox-eye daisies, vetches, clover, buttercups, knapweed and goat’s beard throughout the area. There are also signs that the lovely purple cranesbill is slowly increasing and that there may be some wild carrots arriving this year. As always, we were most pleased to find orchids settling in with us – in five separate spots today!
Apart from the meadow, my favourite feature in the garden was the new lavender hedge along the front of the gravel beds by the drive – the low bushes have filled out now and with their purple flower spikes they have become a really striking feature.
That’s all for now! Please come and enjoy the garden this summer, but if you cannot visit, you can also explore our interactive garden map here.
Liz Moore, Garden Team

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