OVER the next few days there are a few National Garden Scheme gardens that you can pre-book and visit.

Ham Cottage in Ardingly is opening on both Saturday and Sunday with a number of timeslots. On Wednesday July 15 Wych Warren House in Forest Row is open and Knightsbridge House in Hellingly plus Kitchenham Farm in Ashburnham. The last two are open today and Tuesday the 15th.

Just go to www.ngs.org.uk to pre-book your timeslot. Some larger gardens allow you to take your own picnic too.

Back at Driftwood the wind has still been playing havoc with my garden. I’ve got quite a few lovely buddleja around the plot at the back, which tend to grow quite tall.

The butterfly heaven shrub on the left of the garden is already a couple of feet above the six foot fence, so really takes the brunt of the south west winds, which can tend to snap some of the stems. That said, the flowers are quite beautiful and are perfect magnets for both butterflies and bees and, touch wood, none broken so far.

Around the pond I have a collection of three different buddleja “buzz” plants, a mauve, a magenta and a white. They usually flower profusely from June to October and having been there for several years now are quite drought tolerant too. All three colours in the Buddleja ‘Buzz’ series are garden friendly; staying compact and flowering for a long summer period without setting seed, meaning the flowers just keep on coming without risk of rogue plants popping up all over the garden, as is normal with standard varieties.

So, if you don’t have one, they are a perfect addition to your garden or patio.

As I’ve mentioned before, this season it has been so much easier to look after the garden without the extreme pressures of opening for public days and preparing for group visits. That does not mean to say I don’t miss the visitors, I do. For me, it is the visitors who bring the garden alive. I’ve already decided that 2021 will look a little different in terms of opening but more on that later in the year.

One of the garden jobs I’ve been doing this week, in between the wind and the rain, is to remove floating blanket weed from my pond. Twirling it around a stick or garden cane seems to work quite well or I sometimes use an old kitchen strainer to scoop it out. Pile the weed up close to the pond if you can, so that any creatures can crawl back into the water safely.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk