Garden Gossip from The Bannut - July 2013

Las month I mentioned how the bluetits in our nesting box (with the camera) had built their nest, only to have it completely removed by a couple of robber bluetits. Having set to and started building all over again, our pair are now busily feeding five hungry babies. It is lovely to watch Mum & Dad (via the television set) popping in and out with tasty morsels – I once read how many trips the parents make in the course of a day and seem to remember it ran into four figures. On the days we are open we turn the television towards the kitchen door, and often have a little queue of visitors peering in to see them.

bannutRegular reader to my monthly ‘waffle’ may remember how I have tried for the last few years to get the lovely tree echium (Echium pininana), to survive the winter and produce its beautiful blue flower spike, up to 10 feet tall.

This year I was (sort of) successful, as the plants survived the winter and started to produce new top growth, which was promptly nipped off in the April frosts. One of them has recovered enough to flower, but, instead of the one long flowering spike I had hoped for, it has produced an ‘explosion’ of shorter ones. So I have a rather unusual looking Echium, covered in flower buds and looking rather like a seven-foot flowering tree. Still – the bees will still love it and I will be able to collect the seed and have another try this year.

Although we complained bitterly about the wet summer last year, (especially as it seemed to pour with rain every Wednesday and weekend when the garden was open) most of the plants in the garden obviously loved it and, this spring they put on the best display we have ever seen. The winter/spring heathers excelled themselves and flowered from February right into June, and the rhododendrons and azaleas in the Old Goat Paddock are still flowering magnificently. The same applies to the Japanese Wisteria whose three feet long racemes are draped over the pergola outside my window – filling my little office with perfume. After such a superb spring show, can we look forward to an extra-special summer too?

Daphne Everett

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