Geoff Stonebanks Driftwood Garden Journal Brighton News

The past week has been a bit of a nightmare in the garden. It looked quite beautiful, having had quite a few small groups of visitors, until the torrential rain poured down over several days. Luckily we didn’t have any reservations on rainy days, but it created a huge on-time clearance for visitors last weekend. The whole plot was so wet, with taller plants hanging their heads in shame. A very early morning start, after the rain, meant it felt pretty reasonable to them, but it will take a week or more and lots of sun to bring it back to its best.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I’ll see my regular monthly slot, joining Joe Talbot on the Mid-Morning Show on BBC Sussex to talk about the gardens that open for the National Garden Scheme in July. You can hear my contribution around 1:10 p.m. If you want to get out of town this weekend, the Herstmonceux Parish Trail will be open tomorrow between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. There are four gardens, a historic windmill, and family gardens that open up. The windmill will be the place for refreshments and the sale of plants. All details on

While many gardeners are familiar with the trailing verbena we buy for hanging baskets and containers, as well as the large verbena bonariensis, many visitors to Driftwood adore the delicate lilac blossoms of a prostrate verbena that I grow in the garden of the beach. It is a compact, low-growing perennial with pretty three-branched candelabra of small, pale lilac flowers over a long flowering season, perfect for the front of borders, this delicate-looking verbena is however tough and easy to grow. I’ve had it since 2012 and it’s still going strong. It is best grown in well-drained or moist but well-drained soil in full sun with shelter.

Experts say protect with dry winter mulch in frost prone areas but I have never done this here and it got through last winter which was extremely cold.

At this time of year, it is extremely important to keep the dead heads of your plants after the flowers wither. This week has been impossible due to the humidity as the garden has to dry out completely before I can make an impact. It has to look good for our first opening for the National Garden Scheme on Tuesday June 29th.

If you haven’t booked your timed entry ticket online yet, I doubt you will be able to enter now because, I regret, there will be no entry for those who show up at the gate and at the time. From the editorial staff, only a handful of tickets are still available.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-26 10:00:00

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