This past week has been a bit of a nightmare in the garden. It was looking pretty magnificent, having had quite a few small groups of visitors, until the torrential rain came over several days. Fortunately, we had no bookings on the wet days, but it created a massive clear up in time for visitors last weekend. The whole plot was just so wet, with taller plants hanging their heads in shame. A very early morning start, after the rain, meant it looked pretty reasonable for them but it will take a week or more and lots of sunshine to bring it back to its best.

Tomorrow, Sunday, sees my regular monthly slot, joining Joe Talbot on the Mid-Morning Show on BBC Sussex to talk about gardens that open for the National Garden Scheme in July. You can hear my contribution about 1.10pm. If you want to get out of the city this weekend, the Herstmonceux Parish Trail will be open tomorrow between midday and 5pm. There are four gardens, a historic windmill and allotments opening. The windmill will be the venue for refreshments and plant sale. Full details at

While many gardeners will be familiar with the trailing verbena we buy for hanging baskets and containers, also the tall, verbena bonariensis, many of the visitors to Driftwood love the delicate lilac flowers of a prostrate verbena which I have growing in the beach garden. It is a compact, low-growing perennial with attractive, three-branched candelabras of small pale lilac flowers over a long blooming season, perfect for the front of borders, this delicate looking verbena is however tough and easy to grow. I’ve had it since 2012 and it is still going strong. It is best grown in well-drained, or moist but well-drained, soil in full sun with shelter.

The experts say protect with a dry winter mulch in frost-prone areas but I’ve never done that here and it got through last winter which was extremely cold.

This time of the year it is extremely important to keep up with dead-heading your plants once the flowers fade. This week has been impossible due to the wet, as the garden needs to thoroughly dry out before I can make any impact it. It needs to look good for our first opening for the National Garden Scheme on Tuesday, June 29.

If you have not already booked your timed entry ticket online, I doubt you will get in now as, I regret, there will be no entry to those who just turn up at the gate and at time of writing, only a handful of tickets are still available.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at