Wow! July was a hot one.  We saw temperatures in excess of 30 oC which made gardening very hard work.  Thankfully, we have the beautiful lake at Furzey Gardens which is surrounded by shady trees and luscious plants.  It looked especially beautiful this month as it was completely covered in beautiful water lilies.  They have such stunning flowers which traditionally symbolise pleasure and peace.  I certainly find those things down by the lake.  This month, a giant water lily held in Kew’s Botanic Gardens was revealed as a species new to science, and now holds the record for the largest in the world.  While our water lilies cannot compete in size, they certainly have the most exquisite flowers.

With the intense summer heat, our grass has gone brown, but we kept the water flowing to the plants (including the giant pumpkins) with our sprinklers and watering cans.  It was very hot work carrying the watering cans up and down the hill but I got a lovely cold drink from the tearooms and sat in the shade of our wisteria arch.  While I was sitting quietly, I saw my second field mouse of the month, a huge dragonfly, and a squirrel which darted up a tree.  There is something very special about sitting quietly in a garden and waiting for the wildlife to emerge.

Beautiful waterlilies and watering the plants during the hot weather

Our Hydrangeas flowered this month, with large globes of flowers in colours ranging from the softest white to vivid purples.  They always remind me of when, as a child, I would pick a large flower head and walk around my Grandma’s garden with a net curtain on my head, pretending that I was a bride.  Hydrangeas are really interesting as acidic soils tend to produce blooms which are blue or purple, while alkaline soils usually results in pink or red flowers.  Contrasting beautifully this month, were the vivid orange flowers of the Crocosmia and Daylilies.

The Cottage garden was bursting with a kaleidoscope of colour and hundreds of happy bees.  The beds were full of sweet peas, cornflowers, sunflowers, dahlias, poppies, daisies, and cosmos – alongside vegetables such as lettuce, runner beans and cabbages.  The “Not Just a Garden” exhibition ran in the cottage alongside the blooms – an installation by the artist Anna Cady, celebrating the last hundred years of Furzey Gardens.

Kaleidoscope of colour in cottage garden and serene flowers of hydrangea

I was delighted to be invited to the launch of a new book, “Thatchers Square”, which celebrates the life of Simon Sinkinson, who very sadly died last year.  The book is available to buy from our tearooms and I would highly recommend it.  Simon was the Master Thatcher at Furzey for many years and was responsible for the numerous thatched buildings and magical fairy doors found in the Gardens today.  It was wonderful to meet with so many lovely people to celebrate Simon’s life and legacy.  He was especially remembered for his vivid imagination and unique, whimsical creativity.

Simon Sinkinson, Master Thatcher book launch

Tim Selwood (the founder of the gardens, who established our therapeutic community for people with learning disabilities) and Head Gardener, Pete White, stood on the stage built by Simon, to celebrate his work. Tim spoke of the special peace that can be found at Furzey Gardens, and perfectly encapsulated the magic and spirit of this extraordinary place.  The unique community brings people together with the aim of including and celebrating everyone, to achieve the brightest possible future.  I wholeheartedly agree that Furzey Gardens is a truly special and deeply spiritual place.  You really can feel the legacy of love and care running through every part of it.  I hope that you will visit us soon to experience the magic for yourself.

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