The Gardener’s Diary: July 2023

Hello, I’m Georgia, one of the seven Garden Assistants at The Hidden Gardens. When the weekend comes around, we’re here to welcome visitors and make sure everything is cared for. From May throughout the summer (depending on our temperamental weather) this can mean spending an entire day just watering – from the plant sale kiosk, to the greenhouses and raised beds, and our own nursery of young plants. Having so many containers is necessary for a garden built on an old concrete tram depot, but it does mean that things dry out quickly. Because of this we try to use collected rainwater as much as possible – in other words many trips to and from the water butts. 

The wildlife that we have in the garden is one of the highlights of working here: sometimes you find unusual-looking caterpillars, eating their way through young leaves before they transform over summer. You might even find more mature versions of the same species, like the striking cinnabar moth in the Bee and Butterfly border we spotted recently. 

As a Garden Assistant, this time of year is probably the most relaxed, as all the heavy manual work has been done over winter (washing greenhouses for 2 days in a hailstorm), and the race-against-time seed sowing done in spring. On my shifts I like to explore the scented herbs you can find around the garden. I’ve been really enjoying the winter savoury growing  

in the herb bed, and was even able to take some home from the kiosk to grow in my own allotment. Most garden assistants grow in other places too! 

Wildlife news

Our recent moth survey was very successful with 10 different species recorded including this amazing Elephant hawk-moth. Moths are important pollinators but can play second fiddle to butterflies and bees. They are often only seen at night and can be less spectacularly coloured but the Elephant Hawk-moth is stunning, and a close up of any moth can reveal intricate markings. The caterpillars of this moth feeds on nectar of rosebay willowherb, a beautiful wildflower of railway embankments and wilder areas of the Gardens.