I suppose I should be worried but I ‘m not.

Yes I know I covered them in the winter.

At great pains I lugged water there in the summer drought.

And now in their prime a summer gale has hit them amidships:

‘Am I bovvered?’ – as Catherine Tate would scoffingly ask!

 Not really, that is life!

Not so Andrea Brunsendorf:

‘I can spend five or six weeks in early summer staking my perennials and every year those wet and windy summer days confirm it was time well spent’ she says in the September issue of Gardens Illustrated.

Oh yes?

So where are we then Andrea? Some Baltic headland, where the Siberian winds come blasting at those herbaceous perennials?

No, we are in the Inner temple, London. Not the Outer Temple. The Inner Temple!

Now I have not yet had to consult a barrister in The Inner temple. And I am actually hoping it stays that way. But not because I don’t want to see Andrea’s perennials – I just don’t want to find myself tangled with the law at that or any other level.

I am sure Andrea’s perennials are magnificent. And I am equally sure that the law lords are exacting in their standards, but is this frame of mind exactly what we should be propagating –if you will excuse the pun? In a magazine I mean?

Actually, while the shout line says five or six, the article says three or four weeks so who knows. But the point is a valid one. Is this something that most of us would be up for on a large scale in our gardens? I think not. Do most of us have enough home grown pea sticks and hazel wands? And perish the thought that we should troll down to the garden centre and invest in ‘uneco’ bamboos shipped all the way from deepest China!

Is it even right? By that I mean that I have been to, and even run in the past myself, the kind of high maintenance garden, (why does the national trust spring to mind?) where you enter an almost sanctified space. It is all feeling rather still and rigid and you realized from a quick peer into the undergrowth, a furtive peer you understand, because it feels a little Peeping Tom’ish, that the lady is heavily boned within an inch of her life!

I thought guys we were actually being much more naturalistic, one might even say ‘Oudolf-esque’ in our plant selection and our methods.

What might we do which does not entail all this pfaff:

  • Well you could select plants which do not need staking. With us helianthus, leucanthemum, boltonia, asters etc never get staked and don’t flop
  • There are shorter varities of all sorts of late summer treasures, be it solidago, asters, silphiums etc.
  • You can use mesh netting enmasse – not sure what the Law Lords would make of this, but its worth a go.
  • Using the Chelsea chop as a lowering system which we have discussed before is another maintenance simplifying technique.
  • Close planting provides mutual support and negates a lot of weeding.
  • Island beds, currently unfashinable I know, make for sturdier plants.
  • I also allow plants to seed around and figure that seed grown plants on site are tougher.
  • Another thing is not to feed. Sounds harsh? I have never fed during the growing season. Andrea does it monthly. More food equals more growth. Surely that is common sense?
  • And, hang it all, have a more relaxed philosophy!

After all a little disorder gets teased into the hair of the most pampered star as she get prepped for the close up!

R

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