LAST weekend saw the annual Macmillan Garden trail take place along the coast from Brighton to Seaford. Since launching the event back in 2012, we have never had two consecutive dry days for the trail.

And 2021 was no exception, Saturday threatened to be wet but turned out to be quite pleasant and Sunday was very damp indeed. At time of writing not all gardens have confirmed their takings so I’ll advise you all next week. Thank you so much to all my readers who turned out and especially those who came to Driftwood and said how they enjoyed reading this column.

One of my favourite plants in the beach garden, looking especially good this week, is the lovely erigeron karvinskianus or Mexican Fleabane. It produces masses of daisy-like flowers with a hint of pink. They are perfect for softening some steps with curtains of daisies, plus you can create a lovely tumbling outside table centre. Erigeron flowers for months self-sowing into all the nooks and crannies. I love it as it is such a brilliant value plant which, in my humble opinion, no garden should be without.

It will self-seed and spread with its roots making it perfect for walls and paths. If you don’t have any, I would invest in some for your plot. Tomorrow, August 1, sees my final public day opening for the National Garden Scheme. I’ve decided that, from 2022, I will open for them by arrangement only. There may well be a few tickets still left to pre-book on the scheme’s website, so take a look and maybe I’ll see you tomorrow. Yet again, this week has seen me trying to remedy the damage inflicted on my plants by the bouts of heavy rain we have been experiencing. I chose to plant lots of white summer annuals around the pond and the white flowers are so easily damaged and turn into a brown mush with the impact of the rain. The only solution is to make sure you cut them off before the whole plant starts to disintegrate and go mouldy. They all need some sustained sunshine to bring them back to life.

I have a few more private bookings in the diary in the run up to the garden closing for 2021 on August 12. I have seen a real increase in the number of visitors who have seen the garden by arrangement this year and it has worked really well showing smaller groups of people around. I think it has set the mould for future years as if has been much less stressful for me than previous year with larger numbers.

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