It is several years since we lost our charismatic black cat, Sid, but he certainly isn’t forgotten. It is surprising how many visitors still remember him and ask after him when they arrive. Sid was real character, he would walk over to greet our visitors on the car park when they arrived and, when they were ready, would take them on a guided tour of the garden - following the recommended route which he had presumably learnt from when he accompanied us around the garden. At the end of the tour he would abandon them, then, sit and wait on the car park for the next group.
When we have Garden Clubs and other Groups visiting, we always gather everyone together on the Side Lawn for a few words of introduction. Seemingly from nowhere, Sid would invariably turn up and sit wait patiently for the talking to finish - he would then join Maurice’s group or mine for the garden tour.
Whenever we had groups of photographers in, he was always the centre of attention. Never mind the flowers - most of the pictures were of Sid posing!. He only let us down once, and that was when we had some artists in the garden. One lady had a picnic lunch in a bag down by her feet and was rather disturbed to see the bag moving and Sid’s rear end protruding from it. However, we made the lady a substitute lunch, so all was well.
Isn’t it wonderful to see so many butterflies and bees this year? No honey bees, sadly, but many, many bumble bees of all shapes and sizes. Their favourite food source at the moment seems to be the Globe thistles (Echinops). Echinops are wonderful plants for the garden – they are bone hardy, not fussy about soil conditions, tolerate full sun or partial shade, are good for cutting and drying, and, although they are over six feet tall, they don’t need any staking. Perfection! If it rains the bees don’t give up, they just carry on feeding in the dry, on the undersides of the globes.
Considering it is only in its second year, our Diamond Wedding Garden, has come on amazingly well. The hydrangeas have more than doubled in size and are flowering beautifully, in shades of red, pink, white, mauve and blue. However we are not so pleased with the ‘Diamond Anniversary’ roses that we planted around the central arch. These have grown and flowered well, but, this variety, instead of dropping its petals once the flowers have gone over, (as most roses do), hangs on to them, so the effect of the pretty white flowers is ruined by all the brownish-fawn dead ones mixed in with them. Not very attractive! We shall scrap them at the end of the season and look for something else with a Diamond theme to take their place.