I don’t consider gardening to be a competitor sport but when the opportunity arises, it’s nice to see how you’re doing by getting the opinion of those in the know. So I entered the Charlton Kings In Bloom competition for the second time and it will be judged today! Sunday 19 July 2015 It’s 4pm and I am waiting for the judges to appear to inspect and critique my garden in the annual Charlton Kings in Bloom competition. My judging slot is 4.30 – 5.30pm which is the last of the two days and the 30 gardens which have entered. I hope they are not fed up and dying to go home! The weather is beautiful, warm and sunny with a light breeze, perfect for garden visiting. Officially, I am not even supposed to talk to the judges, I don’t even have to be here. They usually just turn up, walk around, take loads of photos, mark the scores on their clipboards and leave. However, I have a cunning plan, I am going to greet them and offer to give them the tour! I have spent the last two days pruning, plumping, propping and preening…….weeding, watering, mulching, deadheading, mowing and edging……weeding, weeding and weeding! It looks good…not perfect but good enough I hope. It has been so warm and dry that many of the plants I hoped would be in peak condition are already over, the delphiniums, knautia macedonica, salvia greggii and microphylla are past their best but balanced by the echinaceas, heleniums and some of the early chrysanths which are out earlier than usual.
4.50pm They have arrived…..six of them! I know three of them including a former nursery owner and a professional gardener. This is going to be difficult. Wish me luck!5.35pm They’ve gone! Phew! Actually it went very well. They loved the design and planting schemes, raved about the Agapanthus africanus lined up in front of the bungalow and looked at everything with experienced and critical eyes. They were keen on finding any rare or unusual plants and were furiously writing notes on anything they found. I suppose there are only so many petunias, begonias and pelargoniums you can take! This worked to my advantage as there are several unusual things around the garden one of them being the Leopard Lily, Belamcanda chinensis, which no-one recognised. Others were Salvia uliginosa and the beautiful but easy white Lysimachia ephemerum which got them talking and writing even more furiously.
Time for a glass of wine and a sit down. No gardening tomorrow!