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Summer Heroes at Beningbrough Hall Gardens

By Liz Beaumont, National Trust Gardener at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens.

Stop and take time to look

Summer is such a busy time in the garden it’s easy to forget to stand still and take time to enjoy the beautiful plants around us. It is so important to take stock and look at what is working and what isn't, to make notes of things that will need dividing or moving in the autumn, to maybe also be brave and admit that a plant isn't right for the space and needs to be removed altogether!

Artist impression view 7 content

Sometimes an opportunity presents itself to try something different. When Covid hit we had to put plans on hold for the development of the Mediterranean Garden designed by award-winning Landscape Designer Andy Sturgeon, which meant we have a large empty border to fill. We sowed it with a wildflower seed mix which provides a beautiful display over the summer both for visitors and pollinators to enjoy!

Work on the new garden is scheduled to resume in 2023 and the wildflowers have proven so popular we’re already thinking about where we can continue sowing them in other areas of the garden to keep them as part of Beningbrough’s summer garden for years to come.

Dahlias - the heroes of late summer

As I write this, I can hear some much-needed rain falling. I often think you can spot a garden lover by their joy at nature watering the garden. It will be particularly welcomed by the dahlias which were planted out last month. At Beningbrough we bring the dahlias in each autumn once they have been blackened by the first frost and overwinter them in the polytunnel.

Each spring we pot them up into our homemade compost to give them a good start before planting out once we are (fairly) sure we won't get any more frosts! Not so long ago, dahlias fell out of fashion, but they have always been a mainstay here, especially in the south border providing late-season interest.

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The variety of colour and flower shapes they provide in late summer when other things are going over is wonderful. My favourites include the 'Honka Series' which has an orchid or star-shaped flower with narrow petals that curve inwards leaving the central disk exposed making them attractive to pollinators. 'My love' is another favourite as it has a beautiful cactus-style flower.

If you’ve not got the space to dry store them, it is possible to overwinter dahlias in the ground. Make sure you have well-drained soil and give them an extra thick layer of mulch in the autumn for added protection. If it’s a particularly wet winter, you might lose some and any that survive will be slower to shoot than those potted up in spring.

Keep on deadheading

Finally, and although nothing ground-breaking, don’t forget to keep deadheading. If you’re wandering down your garden with a brew, have some snippers in your hand to take off finished flowers and encourage new buds to form in their wake. Your plants are programmed to seed.

Summer frittata Joanne Parker content

It’s the same for some fruit and vegetables and something I love to see is the day’s harvest heading to the restaurant. In summer, the berries are included in the popular flapjack recipe and tomatoes are added to whipped feta and basil for a delicious bruschetta or in a frittata with mozzarella.

Beningbrough Hall Gardens are open all year round so plan your visit today.

You might see me deadheading and admiring the view, with a piece of summer berry flapjack in hand!

Good to know…

Free entry for National Trust and RHS members plus Yorkshire’s Great Houses, Castles and Gardens card holders.

Images © National Trust Images / Paul Harris / Joanne Parker and Andy Sturgeon Designs

Beningbrough - National Trust
Garden Attractions
Boroughbridge
Beningbrough - National Trust icon

Beningbrough - National Trust

The National Trust cared for Beningbrough, on the outskirts of Harrogate, with its eight acres of gardens, historic rooms and changing art, is a real treat to enjoy all year round. Beningbrough for garden lovers Outside, you can explore the beautifully arranged formal gardens, several herbaceous borders, less formal areas managed for wildlife as well as sweeping lawns and a kitchen walled garden. There are many perfect spots for a picnic and visitors return time...

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