WEST HILL BLOG No 39 West Hill needs more rain!

In my 30 + years of working in Horticulture, 2018 has perhaps been one of the most challenging yet. 

Cast yourself back to the winter, the East from the Beast; several weeks of minus temperatures, 3 lots of snow, arctic winds & frozen ground then followed by a very wet April. 

Summer arrived in May with unseasonable hot temperatures, wall to wall sunshine & increased humidity. Lovely for holidaying in, but challenging to garden in, particularly when trying to establish a newly planted garden. 
After considerable soil preparation (endless digging & weeding), planting started in earnest in May, & while incorporating compost to improve moisture retention, the hot days stressed the plants, so growth was marginal.

Then came the rabbits, perhaps because the dry conditions had evaporated moisture from the grass lands, rabbits turned their attention to the plants; digging them up, nibbling the flowers & foliage. Chicken wire was the answer, although not the most attractive of material, it has kept the majority of plants safe.

That said ... I couldn't protect every plant & those plants that are 'normally' immune to rabbit attack, I left off from protecting. More fool me; Persicaria's, Sanguisorba's, Buddlia's & even ornamental grasses were attacked.

 Even an ornamental grass was dug up!


A very unhappy Persicaria
Rauri constructing rabbit guards using chicken wire

Plants better protected by Rauri's guards

Writing this in Mid July, this Gardener is now relieved temperatures have now dipped, & plants are responding well.

Hydranger in the Jungle Garden

Next Blog looks at what else is in flower at West Hill