July – out and about in Shropshire

JULY 2019

The lower garden is still suffering from the June flood but, thankfully, there haven’t been many losses. Two Flowering Currants, including the fragrant yellow flowered variety definitely didn’t like their roots in water and failed to survive. Philadelphus, Escallonia, Deutzia and even a small Fig seem to be all right but we will have to research which shrubs can tolerate the change from flood to baked clay.

Clearing up the debris continued but the borders that did survive have been a joy. Three Yuccas bloomed beautifully. Crocosmia Lucifer, contrasting with deciduous Ceanothus and arching stems of Carex pendula put on an excellent show throughout the month and seems set to continue well into August.

For many years I have tried to grow Erigeron karvinskianus, a plant that I first saw adorning the walls of Walmer Castle way back in the early 70’s. Finally I seem to gave found the ideal place for it and I’m hoping that it will seed and spread on the paths and steps around the garden,

We joined granddaughter Cerys for her 18th birthday, taking her out for meals on Friday and Saturday and visiting Birmingham’s impressive little Museum of The Jewellery Quarter.

We also spent a couple of nights with her after collecting her from a late night flight after her holiday in France.

An excellent Marches Meadow Group visit to Pennerly House, courtesy of David and Janet Paignton rewarded us with Greater Butterfly orchids among other grassland flowers. It gave us the chance to meet and chat with other meadow enthusiasts although we’re still trying to find someone who can advise on our flood meadow situation.

Richard gave talks about Garden Wildlife to the Cottage Garden Society and one on The Botanist Gin at The Staffordshire Association of Garden Guilds where we were able to show many of the plants used in the gin.

Exploring Shropshire is always on our agenda and it’s good to visit new places. Boscobel House, famous for its role in harbouring Charles II after the Battle of Worcester in 1651 was an interesting place to spend an afternoon.

The oak tree where he hid is not in a very good state but there are several younger specimens nearby.

Not far from Boscobel is the Priory of St Leonard, a much quieter location popularly known as White Ladies Priory because of the habits of The Augustinian Prioresses who lived there in the 12th century.

A walk along the top of Lyth Hill gave us a different view of the Wrekin. It’s a name that I associate with my dad who used to recite Macauley’s ‘The Armada’, a poem he had learned in school and committed to memory.

‘Till streamed in crimson on the wind the Wrekin’s crest of light’

Because of that line I had heard of The Wrekin long before I knew anything about Shropshire.

We also visited Lilleshall Abbey, its sandstone ruins still standing after it was besieged and severely damaged by Parliamentarian troops in 1645. I do love the old buildings with their arches giving views of trees beyond.

More time was spent in the garden, mowing and weeding,  as we prepared to take a trip down ‘memory lane’ during the first week of August.