"The Atholl Palace is one of my favourite places where each year we meet up with good friends and have fun. It's the perfect place to stay in a perfect setting with lovely people looking after us. What more could a person want?"
We had to wait long into July before the sun eventually shone but on Saturday 23rd July the heat finally came. Temperatures well into the 20’s lasted for most of the week and, my, were they welcome.
Despite the inclement summer, so far, the perennials have put on a good show. Yellow loosestrife is a fairly common plant but it does offer a bright splash of colour in the border under almost any conditions. It is also a valuable cut flower, lasting well inside the hotel. Eremurus, the foxtail lily, has also done well this year. I suspect its ideal conditions might be more woodland than border but the various clumps are flowering well. Various forms of campanula are also in good form this season, blues and whites adding a splash of colour in various sizes and guises. Anthemis E.C.Buxton, a lovely pale yellow, is magnificent this year which is odd for a perennial which is supposed to be short lived. Ours have been in the border for nigh on 8yrs now and have never been better. Shasta daisies, Inula hookerii,phlox and malva...they are all in full bloom amongst many other species.
In the vegetable garden, where the poor summer has caused some failures, the early potatoes are ready. Sharpe's Express and Red Duke of York, both lovely,flowery tatties. Peas have also done very well to make up for the French beans which have failed and the chefs are getting plenty of herbs,daily, for the kitchens.
The hanging baskets have narrowly escaped disaster. My idea had been to mass plant the “front-of-hotel baskets” solely with purple lobelia to create a dramatic splash of single colour. Unfortunately this year has proved disastrous for lobelia and the baskets looked...well, awful. Help was at hand however in the form of a student we had for a week, Tina Duncan. Tina went off to the nursery, came back with a selection of fill-ins and confidently planted up the sad looking baskets. A few weeks on and they are eye-catching and colourful. Thanks Tina!
At this time of year people, generally, talk all about colour in the garden and can ignore or miss the other delights. Grasses with evocative names abound at the edge of gardens, on roadside verges and woodland rides. Yorkshire fog, Cocksfoot, Timothy,Wild Oat grass and Soft Grass are all wonderfully named and with full seed-heads at this time they can be spectacularly beautiful especially in low sunlight or backlit. Innes
Innes finished in 04:41:34 and came 1987 out of 4117 who completed the race. A fabulous achievement!
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