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by Anne Chambers
What a glorious end to May. Chelsea Flower Show brought the sunshine and heat in abundance and now for the Jubilee weekend it has reverted to endless rain and cold.
We didn’t go to Chelsea itself but watched rather too much coverage on the television, particularly of celebrities being interviewed. On the Monday night of Chelsea we had a lovely invitation from the New York Botanic Garden to have dinner in London with their patrons and many of the finest gardeners of this country. We were thrilled to be there in such a distinguished crowd and I had the good fortune to ask Roy Lancaster if he knew where to get a good Schitzophragma integrifolium for the Wilson garden in Chipping Campden. He said he had collected seed two or three years ago from the same mountain from which Wilson had originally collected seed, and that we could have one of his plants. Result !
The garden has burst out with the heat and at long last the banksiae rose and wisteria are full out having been in bud for about four weeks. The tree paeonies have never flowered better and have been much admired by visitors. The borders are filling and the roses beginning to flower. I am thrilled that my rose La Follette, a tender rose that thrives in the South of France has flowered for the first time. It is a stunning with enormous pink/apricot flowers but a big climber and is starting to cover the roof of the old garage.
The abutilons which seed themselves freely in the lower garden are full out and combined with lilac hesperis look great. The lower garden is at its best in May with the crinodendron and Philadelphus delavayii Nyman’s form stealing the show.
We have replaced the tulips in the large pots with summer displays and in fact have dug up all the tulips throughout the garden as I find they do not return with any vigour the following year, unlike the alliums and lilies which have all appeared. I am engaged in a war against the ghastly lily beetle and I manage to kill three or four daily. As a result the lilies are looking healthy and well. It is the time for planting out the tender salvias, very useful to fill any gaps. Dahlias also help to add bulk in the yellow border as well as in the red border.
Ebrington, our local village, has had eight stone seats made to mark the parish boundaries for the Diamond Jubilee. We had the great unveiling yesterday by the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Dame Janet Trotter followed by a wonderful tea in the village hall. There was a large turn out and feel it is a fitting tribute to the Queen who has been such a tower of strength and solid as a rock over the past sixty years.