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Meet Daisy Wright from Dirleton Castle – HES

August 2nd 2018

With the sun beating down, the gardens at Dirleton are the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle and be amongst the flowers.

As we hurtle towards August, we’ve taken a look June at Dirleton Castle, when it was hot, but not as hot as July! Personally, I never like to grumble about the sun as living in the UK is like living on a knife edge in summer. Blink and you’ll miss it, so bring it on I say! The walled gardens are especially warm during these sunny days, so I take it as a good excuse to observe them from a nice shady spot whilst taking a breather. I wouldn’t want to miss anything of course, so I must ‘observe’ frequently….

All these beds and I can’t have a lie-down?

The first week of June was spent planting out bedding plants into the 17 flower beds that comprise our formal gardens. The plug plants have been growing over the past few months waiting for their chance to shine in the gardens. The beds were planned to house a selection of begonias, busy Lizzies, geraniums, dahlias and some taller fuschia and marguerites for the larger beds.

To make our lives a little easier, both Mark and I started the beds by planting around the edges and working our way back and forth in a grid of sorts. The larger beds were divided by string so as to not lose ourselves and end up planting an uneven jumbled mess. Under the watchful eye of ‘Sensei’ Mark, I tried to complete my beds with the same precision and pace that he displays. Unfortunately, my efforts at this stage are futile. My year of experience just does not stack up to his 22! One day Mark……

   

As if the herbaceous border isn’t busy enough already.

As well as getting all the bedding plants out we have also been filling in the small patches in the herbaceous border and putting out the few remaining plants that didn’t fit into the formal gardens and were not kept as reserves for when the foxes dig them up! Our sunflowers have been found spots along the wall and have been tied to stakes to aid their growth, we eagerly await the bright flowers that will stand tall and gift us with unquestionable happiness. Cosmos, marguerites and leftover begonias and geraniums have also been placed around the border and I quickly realise that no matter how much I check on their progress and will them to grow, they will indeed mature in their own sweet time. This will make our rewards ever greater when they eventually grace us with beautiful plumes.

After maturing in the greenhouse, the hanging baskets have finally been placed outside and they are looking amazing. The best yet in fact… or so Mark claims! As they were beefing up in the greenhouse we took off the flowers to encourage fuller growth as we wanted them to take over the basket itself, encasing it with lovely verbenas, petunias and sweet smelling bidens. Now they take pride of place at the entrance and at the gazebo fluttering in the breeze and enticing visitors.

Packed to the rafters!

The border is looking amazing at this time of year. The plants that adorn this masterpiece are full of colour, plump with plumage and fat with growth. Weeding becomes an orchestrated mission of determination and self-sacrifice! It also gets a little warm in there on these sunny days. Our roses are captivating as they stand tall and proud. They were cut back quite hard last winter but have established themselves with vigour. It doesn’t matter how many roses I see, I am always in awe of their simple and elegant beauty. With a variety of colours, they complement the border with a stylish magnificence.

   

The sweet peas are also doing exceptionally well. They have thankfully almost reached the top of the ugly wire structure and are just about ready to be left alone to flower to their hearts content. We will take one more load of flowers off before being left to their own devices.

With some magnificent colour in the borders, it takes time to wander around and take it all in. Lupins and Larkspur (Delphinium) are both towering over their shorter comrades and delighting us with their bold colours. Lupins with their unusual pod-like flowers and delphiniums with their two-tone like delicate flowers. The latter being sold here at Dirleton. Even our foxgloves impress us with their spotty stark white plumes.

    

The blue Himalayan poppies (Meconopsis grandis) get so many compliments at this time of year, brightening up the shrub border with their unusual blue flowers. These are Marks pride and joy and he would constantly tell me before they were out that he couldn’t wait to see them and now being here he observes them regularly with a wistful smile on his face.

Aquilegias are also fluttering around the border with a plethora of various colours. With their curious divider flower heads and contrasting colours, these are beautifully eye-catching plants that welcome visitors along the paths.

Seeds for life

After a month of plants being on sale, seeds are now accompanying their elder counterparts. Plant your very own monkey puzzle tree and various other plants in your garden and enjoy the rewards as much as we do here.

Our very own Scottish flameflower

Tropaeolum speciosum is a delicate and rather pretty plant that even though is native to Chile, thrives in the Scottish climate. With the roots being kept cool in the shade, this wonderful beauty with its clover-like leaves and fiery red flowers will intrigue us with its display as it creeps up through the yew hedge. Every year its arrival is eagerly anticipated and the reward never ceases to amaze. We will be gifted with this prize throughout the summer and with some appropriately placed benches nearby, why not take a load off and enjoy what nature has to offer in this tranquil corner.