The International Steam Pages


Oh, to be in England..., the Mitcheldean Garden 2017
Where did that Summer Go?

This page is part of a series of garden blogs from 2017. Click here for the index.


Having got our our own garden more or less sorted, we planned to look at some other people's  rather larger gardens and so we have done, but I never got round to taking pictures, similarly a bevy of stately homes and similar residences. I did take a lot of pictures of traction engines and their ilk and I did get some nice video as they strutted themselves. In fact we have been on the road every weekend for the best part of two months. Before that happened we threw open the garden to all comers, it was a two day event and on the second day, long before anyone arrived I went on the roof, the back looked as perfect as the weather.

The roses were great but to be honest the rest was 'just tidy OK' in our eyes, as the spring flowers had finished and the summer flowers were yet to show in quantity. However, for our 'customers', it obviously came as a bit of a surprise because, normally, you can't see much more than the roses from the street. Except of course, by the middle of August when all the tubs are going flat out and the dahlias are just starting:

The lilies are at their best in July and these are invariably a private pleasure:

I always try to show a 'new' set of plants, these unsung heroes are the dark dahlias lining the vegetable patch with contrasting African marigolds, an excellent pairing.

This year I'm also starring the honeysuckle next to the garage which has revelled in being lifted some two foot (600mm) by the construction of the new wall. Left to its own devices it would overwhelm the adjacent dahlias.

The dahlias have been extraordinarily good but it's a shame that my filing system and the precocious nature of the purple and white variety meant that the display wasn't always balanced. This year our fuchsias everywhere have shot up but not flowered as profusely as usual, the ones here swamped the African marigolds and hid the dahlias. 

It's also been a strange year for the roses. Having got off to a flying start and bloomed beautifully, by early July the hot dry spell caught them out. Most dropped their leaves and not all have recovered as I write this in early September. The asters, salvias and begonias are going well but the roses are 'resting'.

I had noticed that our rhododendrons large and small seemed to have larger buds than usual at this time of year and now some are flowering 8 months early... It's a welcome splash of colour but i'm not sure what will happen next May/June.

I will conclude with a group of dahlias, not at their peak but beautifully lit by the afternoon sun with storm clouds behind.

No two summers are ever alike and 2018 is bound to throw a few surprises. I have a big birthday coming and have plans to travel out and celebrate which probably means less ambitious plantings of annuals...


Rob and Yuehong Dickinson

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