Storm Ellen, shine and plenty more breeze bring more challenges at NGS garden Ferns Lodge


The last blog spoke to lack of rain and plenty of grass which had forsaken its normal green coat for a fetching shade of pale yellow. Of course Radio 4 is never wrong and at last the rains did come. First refreshing drizzle, then proper rain and finally stair rods of the stuff that got to the driest parts of the garden and brought relief to plants and trees that were looking very sad. Gardening amid the stair rods I was reminded that there truly is no such thing as a waterproof gardening coat!


And after the rains, Storm Ellen rocked up. I’ve always thought it an admirable name, but possibly not suitable for a storm that ripped all the sweet peas down, created masses of treefall (for which Ghillie is very grateful) and tore the leaves from the pumpkins. The Autumn equinox come early..


Some of the deciduous trees in the big garden are distressed and have dropped their leaves, bringing us the fall in August. Even the mighty Monterey Pines have dropped masses of pines and are discoloured.


One amongst their number who shuffled off this mortal coil some years ago, but which remains providing amazing habitat for bugs, beetles, ants and I am afraid wasps too; had to be semi-felled by Dan the tree man as he started to wave around alarmingly ahead of Eileen.


For all that, beneath the tree fall, leaves and debris, the garden at Ferns Lodge is still looking lovely, with masses of Agapanthus both white and blue in flower, salvias of all description, fantastic hydrangeas and this year we have had our first harvest of figs… Not quite a glut – we managed 2 but its super exciting and we look forward to more next year.

Our other challenge remains the deer, or at least one doe, who has figured out how to open my neighbour’s electric gates to come into the big garden for a feed. So far she has demolished a rather nice cherry tree that we planted last year, the green beans, tomatoes (don’t believe anyone who tells you they don’t eat them) as well and taking some lovely climbing roses back to the roots. She is even partial to acers. The big garden new planting is coping with her forays for food and destruction but it is dispiriting.

As we hurtle towards autumn, we are getting a sneak preview of those autumn colours but there is still plenty of summer left to enjoy whilst we clear up the debris, and battle with the moles who are still avoiding Simon’s traps and digging plenty of mounds. Now is the time to look forward to the wonderful change of season that makes gardening here as elsewhere, such a special thing and thoroughly worth doing.