Fond Farewells

Reading time 7 minutes


If it were not for the soft patter of rain on the skylight above my desk, I might hear a pin drop. My house guests have gone home, tired and happy, to their own beds and their own familiar routines. The sound of my niece shouting “No Dan!” and “Silly Uncle Dan!” is still ringing in my ears, preventing me from being plunged further into melancholy silence. Unrehearsed of her favourite role-playing games I was constantly getting things wrong and spent most of the week in the dog-house. I do not make a very good baby, hospital patient or post office customer; not in Martha’s world at least. Perhaps I will redeem myself at Christmas, given some practice: my Father Christmas is Oscar-winning. Being content with one’s own company is a virtue, but it can take a while to readjust after a week of noise, bustle, laughter and jolity.

I’ve absorbed myself in tidying up so that I can spend either Saturday or Sunday in the garden. The way the weather has been this week, I wouldn’t like to predict which will be the better day. After a period of hot, dry weather, followed by warmth and rain, everything is growing like topsy: I rather like it that way. I have a lot of potting up and on to do, and the greenhouse needs ridding of a rampant Eccremocarpus scaber I grew from seed and stupidly offered free rein. If I had to describe the scent of this pretty climber when cut or torn I would have to liken it to a teenage boy’s sweaty gym socks. If I clear a little at a time it will reduce the nausea.


Romneya coulteri, the Californian tree poppy, one of my all time favourite flowers


Normally I would be building up to opening the garden for the National Garden Scheme. Having taken a year off, I feel much more relaxed and able to plan for the long-term rather than one weekend of glory. The quest to have everything in its prime and standing to attention is enjoyable but stressful and I have not missed the pressure or the preparation one iota. Keen as mustard, Mrs Double-Barrelled, my NGS coordinator, has already been in touch to check I will take part next year, which I fully intend to. What I will miss most is the people, who are always so kind and interested.

In the meantime, I had the opportunity to get over to The Salutation in Sandwich this week to see what Steve Edney and his team have been up to. Here is a garden that is always evolving and begs to be visited time and time again. Steve has a penchant for dahlias and plectranthus in particular, increasing his collection of both, season after season. He’s created a new area called The Jungle in which both plants feature heavily.



I first pictured the garden’s new layout in a post I wrote in March, when beds had been freshly divided and paths covered in wood chippings. Then it was an empty, open space, oozing promise and opportunities. The joy of exotics is that they grow fast, transforming bare borders into a bounty of foliage and flowers in the space of a few months. The Salutation boasts fertile, silty soil, bolstered by careful improvement over many years. Despite the floods of December 2013, when the garden was inundated by sea water, the planting has recovered brilliantly, and The Jungle has been transformed from bare earth to bold brilliance in just a couple of months.



Many of the plants will peak later in the year: September is a great month for dahlias and the bananas won’t stop growing until they are prepared for winter. I love the colours and textures exotics bring to a garden and am reminded that I should try again with cleome, which I’ve always struggled with, and to grow amaranthus next year. Those trailing flowers are to die for.



If you are interested, and I seriously suggest you should be, then Steve’s own garden at Sweetbriar, Ash, near Sandwich is open for the National Gardens Scheme on August 6th, September 10th and October 8th 2017. Click here for more details. To find out more about the gardens at The Salutation, click here or read some of my previous posts. TFG.

The Salutation, Sandwich (Part 1)

The Salutation, Sandwich (Part 2)

Return to the Salutation

Saluting the Salutation






Categories: Flowers, Foliage, Kentish Gardens, Large Gardens, Perennials, Planting Design, Plants, Tropical Gardens

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

Greetings Garden Lover! Welcome to my blog. Plants are my passion and this is my way of sharing that joyful emotion with the world. You'll find over 1000 posts here featuring everything from abutilons to zinnias. If you've enjoyed what you've read, please leave a comment and consider subscribing using the yellow 'Follow' button in the bottom, right-hand corner of your screen. You will receive an email every time I post something new.

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12 comments On "Fond Farewells"

  1. Thanks for showing us the Salutation Jungle photos. They are breathtaking. Nice work, it must have stopped you in your tracks. Enjoy your peaceful time in your garden.
    Thanks again.

  2. Amazing transformation at The Salutation!

    I hope you can get into your garden this weekend to fill the void.. I watched Gardener’s World for the first time in ages last night and the forecast is for too much of the damp stuff.

  3. Oh my goodness! What a stunning presentation. Love Love Love – thanks so much for sharing, wish I could achieve this.

  4. Judy at NewEnglandGarden is so right Dan, Martha Moo will be grown and flown before you know it. Whilst you berate yourself with tongue in cheek of course, its these lovely times, playing at post offices and hospital patients that are the best and most innocent of childhood times and become the most treasured of memories. However bad a patient you were, in years to come Martha will remember them and when they are voiced they will still bring a smile to your eyes and hers. Who needs mobile phones, laptops or the tv for entertainment when you have the imagination and joy of a little one, along with a house full of laughter, hugs a plenty and copious amounts of shared love. The best things in life certainly are free.

  5. That Californian tree poppy is breath-taking. White cosmos pierce my heart, however common they are, and this beautiful flower reminds me of them. Thank you for sharing !

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