Creating a Splash



At 8.30 this morning I had the pleasure of showing Margie, Helen and Sarah from our fantastic local gift shop around the garden at The Watch House. Being a retailer myself I appreciate that weekends are not always available for doing as one pleases: customers must come first. We arranged a pre-opening tour and the weather was absolutely perfect for it; still and cool, with not a cloud in the sky. We enjoyed large mugs of strong Assam tea served from an outsized Russian teapot which is impossible to carry in one hand. We talked about history, plants and books: I could not think of a nicer way to start my day.


Persicaria virginiana ‘Painter’s Palette’ with Aeonium 'Poldark', The Watch House, September 2016


My charming visitors described the garden as ‘an inspiration’, which I took as a compliment. Having been away all week I could only see everything that wasn’t right, so it was lovely to get feedback from people who were either too oblivious or too kind to mention it.

Occasionally in the space of a week certain plants will go berserk whilst others decide to sulk. Oddly it’s the dahlias that seem to be on the dejected side at the moment. A few have started to succumb to red spider mite whilst other have a mysterious leaf-curling disease. At this time of year I find it’s better to let these things run their course rather than fight against them, removing only the most disfigured leaves: the tubers will produce perfectly healthy foliage again next season. Meanwhile Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’, below left, which has failed to conjure up any of the promised dark leaves, has been taking steroids. On Monday it was shorter than the aeonium growing next to it and by Saturday the aeonium was almost invisible. I put this down to daily watering the week we were on holiday which has clearly promoted a growth spurt. The problem is that everything else now looks a bit puny in comparison.


Colocasia esculenta, The Watch House, September 2016


We have received no proper rain for several weeks and the plants in the raised bed are parched. I rarely bother to get the hose out but when drought-tolerant plants start to wilt it’s time to take action. It was a pleasure to watch the water droplets sparkle like diamonds as they cascaded from the spray gun onto dry, thirsty foliage. Watering in the sunshine, although strictly not to be recommended, is a treat for all the senses. I can’t share the complete experience with you, but here’s something for your eyes and ears to enjoy:



Within a few moments everything had perked up marvellously, just as it does in the tropics. The removal of the climbers at the back of the border last weekend has already allowed a lot more light in and I can see bronze and burgundy foliage colours becoming stronger by the day. The irony is that whenever I resort to using a hose it promptly rains. The downpours that have been promised have not materialised and instead there’s a thin hesitant mizzle in the air. Useful only for coaxing the slugs and snails out, hopeless for creating a splash.

Wishing  you a wonderful weekend in your garden. TFG.


watering and Dahlia "Magenta Star", The Watch House, September 2016