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The merry month of May

Presentation of plaque for garden of the year 2012
Rhododendron ‘Michaels Pride’

Here we go again, planting,weeding, staking and grass cutting chaos!!

It all happens at once in the garden this time of year, and to add to the pressure we have had a pretty wet time of it lately that contributes to an increase in the growth of weeds.  Whilst juggling office admin, emails, guided tours, Health and Safety meetings, budgets and event management. It’s time to change the spring bedding for summer half hardy’s but the temperature has been so low we have to wait a bit longer. Yuccas , Dasylirions and Melaleuca have arrived from a delivery from Spain, hanging baskets are out and tender Abysinian Bananas are waiting to go out. Even though I try to wear gardening gloves my hands are as rough as a cheese grater these days. Soil, weeding, and watering drys the skin out; at least we don’t have nylon sheets anymore, remember them, remember the static !! Sorry I’m digressing.  Thank goodness I get a bus mans holiday with a day out to Chelsea flower show soon. As a committee member I get the privilage to go on the monday before the general public. Its a time to reflect on what others are growing and designing in the horticultural world. But really, I suspect, like me I am drawn in to people watching as much as anything.  As TV stars strut their stuff like Peacocks in full display and TV cameras josstle for best VIP status, I find it quite uplifting to mingle with the likes of Ringo Star or Joanna Lumley whilst peering into a bed of pink Petunias trying to be very casual about this very British occasion.

On another note we have had a fine display of Magnolias, Camellias, Azalea and now Rhododendrons. If there’s one thing that stops people dead in their tracks it is scented plants and there are some really fantasic Rhododendrons that have overpowering scent that holds and lingers in the pathway. We grow Rhododendron loderi ‘King George’ which has enormous trusses of pink flowers. Rhododendron fragrantissimum lives up to it’s species name as very sweetly fragrant being a hybrid between R.Edgeworthii and R.formosum. Another interesting yellow scented Rhododendron is ‘Michaels Pride’. Named after one of Caerhays castles head gardener’s, Charles Michael. It’s parents are R.burmanicum x R.dalhousiae.

Finally I must mention we have won the coverted historic houses association “Christies Garden of the year Award 2012” . After many years of struggle and hard work to improve the gardens plant collections and its tourism infrustructure, this is the icing on the cake to prove we are one of the best gardens in the country. We held the ceromony with over 150 influential guests coming to the unveiling of the plaque, followed by garden tours led by the garden staff, then a dash across country to Melbury House ( Home of the Hon Charlotte Townshend, owner of Abbotbury gardens) to a wonderful formal dinner and tour of the house.



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