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HERE WE GO AGAIN!

Posted by sheiladearing on 22 Jul 2010 at 03:43 PM

We have spent the last few months planting areas across the garden this year not only for seasonal display in the form of tender perennials and annuals but also to replace the vast amount of plants we lost in the garden this winter. At first the task seemed not only heartbreaking but unachievable, but with a dedicated band of gardeners and a nursery that has produced a range of plants suitable to use as replacements, I feel we have achieved our goal.  Not many visitors would realise how hard our garden was really hit last winter: - it had to be with night temperatures of minus 15°C.

So our nursery now needs replenishing to ensure that we have plants available for planting next spring. We always, at this time of year, propagate any plants that are not hardy enough to get through the winter outside, for example cuphea, helichysum and heliotropium; borderline candidates who just might not make it e.g Penstemon, artemisia and fuchsia and those plants that after about three years in our clay soil start to become tired, for example sages, lavenders and santolinas.

Propagation lists are produced, cutting material is collected and we set to work, so hopefully all our cuttings are rooted and potted safe on our nursery ready for displays for 2011. Most are rooted in a mix of peat free potting compost and super coarse perlite, or directly into peat-free jiffy 7s these are small expanding pre-formed plugs that swell up when soaked in water and are instantly ready to insert a prepared cutting. We use a liquid rooting hormone – synergol to give us a helping hand and then give them bottom heat and mist or a cover of propagation film to hopefully get quick results.

             

Taking cuttings of Pandorea jasminoides

Alongside this we have our spring bedding to think about so that anyone visiting the garden around Easter will be welcomed by a riot of colour on entering the garden, not to everyone’s taste I’m afraid, but life just wouldn’t be the same without it! Wallflowers, polyanthus and forget-me-nots interplanted with tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinths.

Spring bedding outside the Visitor's Centre

Last week we sowed the wallflowers and myosotis and yesterday we had our delivery of 2000 polyanthus plugs from our supplier, now potted up with the help of Ashley and Dan who are here from college and school to get some valuable experience.

 

Polyanthus plugs planted up in pots

We also sow foxgloves, sweet williams and sweet rocket – all biennials (sow this year, flower the next) which we use in the cottage/herb and fruit and vegetable garden. This year the sweet Williams looked a picture in their long straight rows in the fruit and vegetable garden; an old fashioned flower which is excellent for cutting with its rich warm colours and velvety sheen.

 

 Sweet williams in the Fruit and Vegetable garden

The Digitalis in the cottage garden produce those tall spikes of elegant yet homely flowers that just look as if they may have self seeded – just what you want for that natural jumbled cottage garden effect; D.‘Pam’s Choice’ is a must for any garden.

So yes, its busy times ahead, let’s hope for a mild winter and if you want to see behind the scenes, try one of our nursery walks next spring and see just what we manage to produce!

Helen Round

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