WELL, this last week has been like summer again, lovely warm days but more importantly for me at Driftwood, no strong winds. I’ve been very busy trying to cut back some areas which had really become a little dense over recent months, with my inability to garden properly earlier in the year.

I’ve got two gorgeous hardy aloes called striatula. I planted them more than ten years ago and they had become quite large and dominated either side of the central path. They are native to the mountains of South Africa, where summers are hot and dry, and winters are very cold.

It’s therefore an incredibly hardy aloe, which can be grown outside all year round in most parts of the UK. It has a sprawling, scrambling habit and may even climb if given support. Its fleshy leaves are striped different shades of green.

In summer it bears tall, dramatic flower spikes not dissimilar to those of kniphofia, and it eventually forms a branching, woody trunk. It’s perfect for growing in a dry, gravel garden, like the top area in my own garden at the back of the house, where I don’t have to worry about getting it through winter.

Mine had lots of new growth lower down the plant, so it was quite easy to cut the stems once the flower heads had gone over.

This weekend seems a very popular one for National Garden Scheme gardens in and around the city to open for pre-booked visits. The following three gardens are opening on both days, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th. First up is 70 Dale View in Hove which opens after a lot or renovation work earlier this year. Along the coast there is 33 Wivelsfield Road in Saltdean, which is opening for the very first time for the scheme then there is Tor Cottage in Tor Road in Peacehaven.

Details for all three gardens can be found at www.ngs.org.uk from the bookings section on the home page. Please note, you cannot just turn up at any garden, you must book and pay for a timeslot on line first.

There will be no refreshments or toilet facilities at any of them.

I can’t say I know a lot about dahlias, as I don’t have that many in the garden, but now is the time to ensure they have a good liquid feed and to ensure they are kept well-watered.

I’ve got three small containers with some in that I have had quite a few years, they are not too tall but if yours are growing fast, make sure you tie the shoots to sturdy stakes as they grow.

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