All the planning is behind me and the praying for fine weather. The tenth annual Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail takes place this weekend.

Driftwood is one of the 15 gardens open across the two days, with nine plots in the city and six in and around Seaford. We all open from 11am to 5pm and many of us are serving refreshments and selling garden art. Why not check out all the details on the trail website and decide which you want to visit?

You can pre-book tickets online, via the website, or pay at the first garden visited. Anyone who quotes “The Argus” and hands over a hard copy of this column will get one half-price entry to the trail in exchange. This only applies to tickets purchased at garden ten, Driftwood. Tickets normally cost £8 each for Saturday and £8 for Sunday.

We’ve finally seen some summer this past week and the garden is coming alive again. All the plants that had been severely beaten down by the heavy rain are beginning to lift and flower once more.

A plant that many visitors have admired over the last few days in my garden is escallonia Pink Elle. It is a great new selection of reliable Escallonia, forming a lovely compact shrub, it produces larger than average heads of pink flowers in great abundance at the ends of the branches in summer. I’ve found it very easy to grow. It is a compact evergreen, that often repeat blooms again in early autumn. It has rich glossy green foliage which looks great all year and makes a lovely backdrop for the flowers. This recently introduced form is already winning awards and will makes a fine specimen for pots too. I have two in large containers by the side of my pond. Its naturally branching habit also makes it ideal for hedging or simply filling in gaps in beds and borders with its barrage of large pink flowers contrasting against the evergreen leaves. It will stay neat and compact at around 1.2m tall and wide, all in all, it is very easy to care for, tough and rewarding. I’ve had mine for a couple of years and been very pleased with them. I’ve got a few dahlias in the garden this year and now is a good time to give them a liquid feed and to keep them well watered. If you have shoots, especially on tall varieties, it’s a good idea to attach them to sturdy stakes as they grow to ensure the flowers can be fully appreciated. Most of mine are fairly low but that does not stop strong winds doing damage.

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