July 19th 2020 – CANCELLED

July 19th 2020 was going to have been a very busy day for me. I had double booked myself by accident and had to be at two events simultaneously. I was only ever going to have been at one of them, but can you guess which one?

The first event was the NGS garden opening at the hospice. This is a big day for me and my fellow gardeners. It is a day that we work towards for many weeks, and is an opportunity to show the public that the hospice can be a beautiful place. It is also a way to make some money for the hospice through selling some plants and refreshments, on top of the money raised for the National Garden Scheme (and the charities that they support).

The second event was as a result of a very kind and generous birthday present from my son, Jake. Last November I turned 50 and he decided that it would be great if we could have a boys weekend away at a sporting event. He picked the British F1 at Silverstone. I have never been to a Formula One event, but love watching it on TV much to my wife’s surprise – she thinks it is an immoral sport!

As it turned out, my anxieties in deciding which event I would attend, turned out to be futile. Coronavirus meant that both events were cancelled… 😦

The British F1 was eventually rescheduled for today, but with no spectators. I will be watching on TV in 2 hours time. The garden opening was not rescheduled. So I decided that I would write a blog today, on the same day as the F1, to show what the gardens have been like in recent weeks.

They have been looking lovely recently and I feel so blessed being able to work in them. At the entrance to the hospice we have a new flower bed that is full of geraniums and marigolds that were kindly donated by Wigan Council. As you arrive at the hospice you are greeted with a riot of colour.

The crocosmia and verbena are looking particularly good this year.

And there is a pale orange monbretia that I am very fond of. I will have to split the clump up later in the year and spread them around a bit.

Around the back of the hospice, outside patient’s bedrooms, the borders have really filled out this year.

The penstemon have been very late coming out this year, possibly because of the very dry period we had in April and May. However, they are out now and looking lovely.

Another flower that seems very late this year are the astilbes. Back in May I thought that I had killed them by not giving them any water during the drought. The leaves and young flowerheads had all gone brown and dead looking by the time I noticed. I quickly watered them, prior to several weeks of rain, and have been rewarded with a stunning display of their feathery flowers.

You can also see in the photo above that I had just given the silver birch trees their annual wash (or should that be polish, seeing that they are silver birches).

We have a small rockery called the Daisy Garden or Trivedi Garden, named after a local GP who had close ties with the hospice. It is used as a memorial garden, with people placing a wooden daisy in memory of a loved one.In the rockery there are a couple of thyme plants, which I have never really paid much attention to. This year they are looking amazing.

We have had a good crop of wildflowers this year too, although the specific wildflower garden could do with a bit of work this winter to get even more colour in it next year. We have had poppies growing in the borders, as a result of poppy seeds being in the compost.

I particularly like these ones with the white in the middle.

We had quite a lot of wild orchids growing in the grass this year, something I haven’t noticed before. Most were the common purple orchid, but I was very pleased when I discovered this Bee Orchid.

Interestingly, I have had a bee orchid growing in my last garden in Wigan and at the last church that Sam worked at in Liverpool. They are so beautiful. Talking of bees, I took this photo of a bumble bee on some meadow cranesbill.

It is great to see so many bugs in the wildflower garden. This one was feeding on a wild parsnip flower.

I am constantly amazed at how stunning so many flowers are. A few days ago I took this photo of some purple loosestrife.

At some point I need to do an audit of all the wildflowers that we now have in the gardens, as I am sure that the number is slowly increasing.

I recently made a new “Hedgehog Hotel” in the wildflower garden. Sometime ago we were given some timbers that had been rescued from an old mill in Manchester. The aim was that we would make a bench out of them. However, this never happened and a colleague was going to throw them away in order to make space in one of our sheds. That’s when I came up with a plan to rescue them. It seemed a shame to throw away these timbers which must be at least 100 years old and which must have seen so much in their time. So a hedgehog hotel they have become!

Next year I must make sure that I do not have the gardens open on the same day as the F1, so that I can do both. But now it is time for me to dash and take my place infront of the TV!

I hope that you are all well and keeping safe.

Till next time… Bye! x

8 thoughts on “July 19th 2020 – CANCELLED

  1. So sorry both your events were cancelled, but I hope you enjoy the F1! The gardens look absolutely splendid. I’ve been thinking about getting some astilbe for alongside the pond, did you notice if it attracts many insects? Everything has to work mega-hard on the pollinator front in my garden because it isn’t very big. Your beetle, by the way, is I think a red soldier beetle, otherwise known as the ‘hogweed bonking beetle’ because on a warm day in spring, the hogweed often has dozens of the insects on it doing what comes naturally :-).


    • Thank you! The F1 was exceptionally boring until the last 2 laps, which more than made up for the previous 50! I’m not totally sure if the the astilbe attracted a lot of bugs. They’re still in flower so I’ll have a look when I’m next in. And thank you so much for identifying the “hogweed bonking beetle”. What a grand name!


  2. Hi Jim- always love your blog and photos, particularly helpful today as l m waiting to see the dentist!
    Much love to you and Sam, hope all’s well xx


    • Hi Jacqui, thank you for your reply. I’m glad I could be of assistance at the dentist! I’ve got an appointment on 24th Sept. I’m so relieved as a filling fell out on the day of lockdown back in March and I’ve been waiting for an appt since then! Love to you and Bob. X


  3. The gardens are gorgeous! I’m sure it’s a great blessing for the residents, those who visit, and those who work there as well. Really enjoyed your post, and I pray that next year, events can take place and travel is safe! I really miss visiting your English gardens!


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