Summer means the Mill Gardens are in full flow. The ornamental plantings provide a spectacular display of colour and it is prime harvesting time as our vegetable plot and soft fruits are proving highly productive this year, providing lots of fresh produce for our Riverside Café. As the cereal crops are starting to ripen, it is already time to think about harvesting time and at the end of the summer it is time to cut our Mill Meadow to ensure a diverse display of wild flowers next year.


During the summer the garden is a riot of colour – cornflowers, day lilies, betony, giant hyssop and the rusty foxgloves are all in flower. These are providing a spectacular and ever-changing display throughout the summer in our Mill Gardens. Amongst the perennial flowers, the feathery flower spikelets of the tufted hair grass appear like clouds and will provide a real feature well into the autumn. Planted to attract beneficial insects and pollinators, the borders are teeming with butterflies and bees, who especially like our ornamental oregano.

For additional interest, many annual plants have been added to the permanent borders. As it is the year of the sunflower we have planted a range of different sunflowers, which look quite impressive amongst the sweetcorn. Our cut flower patch showcases a great selection of flowers which can be grown to provide both interest in the garden as well as in a vase inside and is a source of cut flowers to adorn our Riverside Café.


The cereal crops are ripening throughout the summer and are ready to harvest during July and August. Providing a spectacular display in their prime, they will have to give way in late summer to next year’s crop and overwintering green manures, which ensure that our soil stays healthy.

Potatoes, turnips and shallots have already been harvested and the onions look massive at the moment, promising us a bumper crop in August. These will be followed by winter crops like leeks and winter spinach, with spring cabbages being planted in autumn, providing us with a continuous supply of fresh produce.


Summer means harvest time! The productive area of the garden is providing us with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables at this time of the year. On a daily basis we are now harvesting soft fruits like strawberries, currants, gooseberries, loganberries and tayberries, which find their way into our home-made ice cream and other delicious desserts in the Riverside Café. The chefs are also busy finding new and interesting recipes for all the vegetables we are providing them with. Earlier in the season there were peas, mange tout and broad beans, while there is an abundant supply of courgettes, French and climbing beans going forward. And that is not to forget the plentiful supply of lettuces and herbs we are producing!


This is a busy time in a gardener’s calendar and the list could be endless, but here are some important things we will be doing in the Mill Gardens this summer:

  • Harvesting an abundance of lovely fruits and vegetables on a daily basis to provide the Riverside Café with fresh produce and to ensure our plants stay productive.
  • Dead-heading repeat flowering perennials to ensure continuous flowering.
  • Ordering of spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, crocuses and tulips which are to be planted in the autumn.
  • Watering! Particularly containers, productive plants and new plantings. We use river water, but grey recycled water or stored rainwater is ideal.
  • Hedge cutting will start towards the end of August once bird nesting season is over.


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