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Outdoor living

21st June 2021

With so much in the garden coming into bloom 3 to 4 weeks later than normal, due to the unusually chilly spring, the great green outdoors is looking incredible right now. Thankfully, June has been lovely and warm, and plants such as peonies, poppies and roses are now out in all their glory; sweet peas are flowering too, with dahlias gaining in stature day by day

Words: Clare Rudd-Jones

Sweet Pea Season at Easton Walled Gardens

Admiring the sweet peas at Easton Walled Gardens

Over 50 sweet pea varieties are grown at Easton Walled Gardens, from highly scented sweet peas to heritage and antique varieties to modern types and new trials. You can go along and admire them during ‘Sweet Pea Season’, which begins on 23 June. Treat your senses to the delights of perfect, fragrant blooms in stripes, bicolours, picotee, light pastels and deep velvet tones. The beautiful blooms will put on a dazzling display for about three weeks, during which time the gardens will be open Wednesdays to Sundays, 11am–4pm. Find out more at

Tending the sweet peas at Easton Walled Gardens

Belvoir Castle Flower & Garden Show – 17 & 18 July

Don’t forget it’s the Belvoir Castle Flower & Garden Show this month – on the weekend of 17 and 18 July, 9.45am–4.30pm. In addition to the stunning setting of Belvoir Castle, there’ll be show borders to admire, talks to attend, specialist growers on hand to advise and plants to buy. A weekend of colour and inspiration for those with a love of gardening. Tickets at
It’s worth noting that a new farm shop has just opened at Belvoir’s Engine Yard and it’s open 7 days a week. More information at

Edible flowers

Get creative with edible flowers, which you can grow from seed (great fun for kids) or buy as young plants from local garden centres. It’s a wonderful way to add texture, colour and flavour to salads, to embellish homemade cakes and biscuits, and to give flavour to cordials. Decorate cakes with rose or viola petals or lavender sprigs – so pretty. Add the flowers/petals of borage, chives, courgettes, sunflowers, nasturtiums, dandelions and echinacea to salads – tasty and pleasing to the eye. Calendula, dubbed ‘poor man’s saffron’, is another very versatile plant – the flowers have a peppery taste and add a yellow tint to food (hence the nickname). For a full list of safe edible flowers, visit And remember to always wash flowers before eating them. The Herb Nursery at Thistleton in Rutland has a wonderful range of young plants with edible flowers. 


Stake tall growers

Make sure your tall-growing plants, such as lofty dahlias, have sufficient support – thinking ahead is key, so that the support is there as your plant grows into it. Try local garden centres such as The Barn near Oundle and Rutland Garden Village in Ashwell for a range of styles.


Keep repeat-flowering plants in your outdoor space looking pristine throughout the summer by deadheading. It can seem like a shame to remove a rose bloom before it’s completely falling apart naturally, but you’ll encourage new growth by doing so; with a rose, the only time not to deadhead is if you have a variety that produces hips. 

Feed the birds

If the weather’s dry and hot, remember to look out for the birdlife in your garden/outdoor space – it’s a great idea to have a bird bath for them to drink from and bathe in. We love this one (which you could also use for feed for the birds), £40, from Hilly Horton Home in Thrapston,

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