The summer parterre at Gaiety Hollow is blooming away as we head into the middle of August. This being my first summer here, I’ve learned a few lessons that I thought I would share. Lucky for me this has been a pretty mild summer compared to some of the last ones. The increased humidity has led to a few issues with common fungal diseases. I treat powdery mildew by using micronized sulfur dust in a spray solution with an added drop of dish soap which helps the solution adhere to the leaves. Sulfur leaves a thin powdery yellow film, so one must pick his/her battles between treating unsightly mildew and the sulfur residue. A positive with sulfur is that it is much less toxic than many commonly available garden fungicides.
One lesson learned is how hot and dry the edges of the parterre garden become. The porous bricks not only suck moisture from the planting beds, but also gather heat throughout the day, radiating it at night. This makes it difficult for cooler-loving edging plants like Bellis Daisies to last all summer. I assume Lord and Schryver would have lifted these plants and placed them in a shady spot in the Reserve Garden for the summer, planting them back out again when the cool weather returned in the fall. We are hoping that restoration of the Reserve Garden this fall will allow us to make that area a more usable space much like it was when the ladies were gardening here.