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June 2014

Innes' Diary

Phazelia tanacetifolia

June 2017

During this wonderful spring and summer of 2017 the sun and warmth have just gone on and on with the briefest of rain breaks to soften the soil and water the plants and after a day in the sun writing is the last thing on one’s mind. 

And another thing, men have been distracted from normal activities because the Lions are on tour with one of the best squads in memory.The All Blacks are a fine side but surely the best of our islands can take on the best from theirs. Perhaps not win all the tests but at least make us proud of our touring players and the game we love. A previous All Black captain, Tane Norton stayed at the Palace a few years ago.

But back to this spring and summer weather. Following on from the mild winter we have had a long spell of warm, even hot, weather recently. Everything seems to be enjoying it but perhaps the roses and the wildflower meadows are blooming particularly well. We struggle a bit with roses at the Palace, they don’t really like it (and the roe deer like them too much) but we have persevered with the climbers and ramblers and they are certainly paying us back this season so far. Stunning blooms and even more stunning scent. Arose without scent is hardly worth planting.

The wild flower meadow has sprung to life again. Last autumn I just mowed it down and left the “hay” to dry and the seed heads to fall. It seems to have worked as the meadow is full again with a huge mass of red poppies at the time of writing. I have also tried another lovely wild flower, phaceliatanaceti folia, the purple tansy.  It is used as a break crop in agriculture and it’s purple blooms flower all summer and are a huge attraction for bees. I also seeded a line up the driveway to see if that works. So far it’s looking good but if we repeat it again I think a thicker row would make it stand out more. But already the bees are working hard on the flowers.

It took a bit of a battle with the directors but a new mower was purchased for the putting green, this spring, and what a difference. Green mowers are expensive pieces of kit and it’s a big outlay for just one green.But watching a large wedding party out on the green in the sun today, whooping and laughing and cheering made that purchase the right call. So many guests enjoy the green that we must keep it in good trim.

Taking down all the lime trees was a big decision. They did have root damage but the effect on the overall ambience and views were questions we all had to look at. In the end I think it has been a good choice.So much more light and a feeling of space has improved the ambience of the front grounds for all our guests to enjoy. Innes