the oast garden in july

Follow Sarah Raven through the Oast Garden at Perch Hill in July – bold and brilliant and alive with colour.

I'm in the Oast Garden and it's the middle of July and I'm really happy with it at the moment. The whole point of this garden is that it's meant to be bold and brilliant and strong colour with really very little or no white. Occasionally white self-seeds in here and we have to take it out, but the whole idea is purples, crimsons, mahoganies, bright pinks, acid greens and silvers. And I sort of feel it's really doing it at the moment.

So the eryngium, 'Miss Willmott's Ghost', which is a biennial and self-seeds here, you can see it self-seeds because it's right by the path and so it's finding shingly bits that are just like a beach, because of course it's a sea thistle and that's exactly where it's happy. That is where it will self-sow. And once it's brown we just get one stem and just shake it over the beds and then it just keeps self-generating. So that's a fantastic plant.

Another really fabulous plant is this, which is the Phlox 'Blue Paradise' and I've had a stem of that by my bed for two weeks now and it smelt absolutely delicious. And it looks wonderful, this intense sort of bluey-purpley colour, I love it.

And the pots here have been a great success too. This is the blue clary, Salvia viridis 'Blue' and we've mixed it this year with these tagetes, which is called 'Linnaeus', in this beautiful rich velvet mahogany crimson. That's a great combination and that should keep you going looking good until at least the end of September. We can then maybe take out the salvia but the tagetes will go on even longer because it's a half-hardy annual, the salvia is a hardy annual.

And then there are other lovely combinations like Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty' and that's about to be with this beautiful dahlia called 'Bishop of Canterbury', I think that's not open but it will be in about a week or so. And then the lovely clematis on the metal frame there is 'Madame Julia Correvon' and that's lovely with the eccremocarpus, the annual climber growing up through it. It is sometimes perennial, the eccremocarpus, but it depends how sheltered you are.

And then I'm very, very happy with this beautiful lily which is called 'Red Flavour' and it's got the crocosmia foliage behind it, but that again has been looking good already for about three weeks - very statuesque - it's just opening in flower now and it should keep going. I love the shape of it, it's not scented, it's an asiatic hybrid lily, but I don't care because it's got such really big presence in the garden and it fits so well with the colour scheme.

And then, of course, the agapanthus pots which we have lining the path here. This is the little one called 'Navy Blue' (or 'Midnight Star') and, I mean, I say little, it's just got smaller heads and I like that, it makes it more delicate. And these have been in pots now for five or six years here and don't do anything to them. Maybe this winter I will literally just divide the clump in two, put it in a new pot and then not disturb it. But as I'm sure you all know, the thing about agapanthus is that they love their roots not being disturbed and they love being very crowded in their pots, that's when they flower best.

So there you have the Oast Garden in July, which is looking good now and I really hope it'll carry on looking good until at least October - November with all the dahlias which are just coming into flower.

related articles

you might like