Tuesday, 12 August 2008

When Iris eyes are smiling

7.57am today: 'There is a severe weather warning for southern England this morning as heavy rain spreads across from the west.' Great, I thought, as I sat in a traffic jam on the A1 heading down to Brocket Hall at Welwyn in Hertfordshire, windscreen wipers doing ten to the dozen. Miraculously, the rain stopped as I finally drove onto the Brocket estate and even a glimpse of blue sky winked at me as I parked my car. Today we'd planned to divide the irises on the main parterre garden outside the Hall. They are stunning a sight in May, but after two years are clumping up thick and fast and need to be divided to ensure the display keeps on for future years, plus I wanted to use some more iris in other areas on the estate. I wasn't long before Ed, Gardening Supervisor, was digging out huge clumps of iris and plonkling them down in front of me to cut up. Weatherwise, the rain kept out of our way for a few hours and we enjoyed the blustery but sunny day. August? 'It feels more like the end of September,' said Ed.

David Howard is looking rather sultry in my garden at home. Well, the dahlia named after him is. He's nudged in to being one of my favourite dahlias along with 'Murdoch' and the Bishop, of course. There's something about the late summer sun that really brings out the colours of these intense dahlias and they just demand to be stopped and stared at. Great places to see dahlia displays until the first frosts get them (hopefully, November) is at Ayletts Nursery at London Colney near St Albans, Hertfordshire and Anglesey Abbey at Lode, Cambridgeshire. Take a notebook and pencil with you to jot down your favourites!

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