by Matt Noyce, Head Gardener at Quarr Abbey

How fortunate we are to be currently experiencing such fantastic summery weather, in sharp contrast to the very wet earlier part of the year. Here’s hoping that the calming effect of the warm summer months will reinvigorate us all.

What better way to unwind than in the garden? Although that said, at Quarr Abbey there is always something to do…

Because of the cold, wet and windy start, many of us growers are well behind with our crops. It was upsetting to see the saturated ground fallow for so long. Fortunately, we have polytunnels and the glasshouse to at least get the seed sowing underway. These assets are sometimes overlooked, but they should really be valued, maintained and used to their full potential.

With wet and warm conditions comes lots of growth. The grass may seem to be growing before your eyes, so regular cutting is much more beneficial for your lawn than leaving it to get long and then hacking it back all at once. 

A sea of wildflowers

This said, in a twist of fate we have had issues with our ride-on mower and have had to let some areas grow wild. What has appeared is a beautiful sea of wildflowers. It’s amazing what lies dormant in the seed bank in the soil.

Ornamental hedges will also be putting on a growth spurt now, so a gentle trim with the shears wouldn’t go amiss, but be careful not to disturb nesting birds.

Staking tall perennials to prevent wind damage, tying-in trailing plants and vegetables, loosening tree and shrub ties and weeding regularly are all tasks to be done right now.

Continue to sow leafy crops such as salads, spinach and chard. Successional crops such as carrots can be planted in small batches so as to avoid a ‘glut’ of any one crop. If you do end up with lots of spare produce, it is worth considering making pickles, jams and chutneys.

Here in the Quarr Abbey kitchen we make our own preserves from produce grown in our walled garden. This is available in our farm shop. Produce grown in the summer months can then be enjoyed at any time of year.

There is so much to do over the next couple of months, but enjoy being outside. Always keep in mind the rewards of the summer harvest.

Pictures by Matt Noyce.