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Planting for the shade

Win a pair of new look Backdoor Shoes

The night shift in your garden

High summer gardening events in Cornwall

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Up Front!

“Every now and again there is a hot, high summer morning in the garden when you feel nothing can go wrong with the world” – John Cheever


High summer gardens open for Cornish Wildlife Trust There’s two high summer open garden days in aid of Cornwall Wildlife Trust over the next few weeks. Millpool Grange near Cardinham welcomes visitors on Sunday, 28th July from 2pm to 5pm. Streams cascade and pool through the garden, with banks full of azaleas and hydrangeas. There is a terraced semi-formal garden to the front of the house overlooking the stream and wooded walks down the streamside. Plant sales will be available so please take your own bag or container. Millpool, Millpool Grange, Cardinham, Bodmin, PL30 4HZ. On Sunday, August 4th the four-acre gardens at Trenarth in Constantine open for three hours from 2pm to 5pm. The gardens surround the 17th granite farmhouse with its central courtyard, and wonderful, far-reaching pastoral views. There are unusual and tender plants within the listed garden walls, vegetables, orchard, yew ‘rooms’, woodland area and quirky features such as the toilet in a telephone box. Trenarth, High Cross, Constantine, TR11 5JN.

Two top agricultural shows set to welcome garden lovers There’s a great tradition for agricultural shows throughout Cornwall in July and August and many of the shows are highly popular with gardeners with plant sales, horticultural displays and competition classes. Camelford and Launceston stage two such popular days out. The 113th Camelford Agricultural Show takes place on Wednesday, 14th August and anyone interested in horticulture is promised a great day out. The show opens at 8am and entry for adults is £10.

WILDLIFE GARDENING AT BOSAVERN Those interested in wildlife gardening have an open invitation every Monday through to September at Bosavern Community farm at St Just to join in with long term volunteer Ian who has almost 50 years experience gardening without chemicals for the benefit of pollinating insects and other wildlife. He leads his courses every Monday morning between 10am and 1pm.

Camelford Agricultural Show, Hallwill Barton, Camelford, PL32 9SF. On Thursday, 25th July the Launceston and District Agricultural Show, known in earlier days as the Launceston Horse Show takes place at Kennards House near Launceston. This highly regarded event is a mix of agriculture, crafts, local produce, displays and stands, bringing the local community together to welcome visitors to a rural area of Cornwall. The show opens from 8.30am to 6pm. Launceston and District Agricultural Show, Kennards House, Launceston, PL15 7EZ.

Summer fun in the Old Post Office garden The cottage garden at the National Trust Tintagel Old Post Office in Tintagel is a special place on any day but on Wednesday, 7th August from 11am to 4pm the garden opens up for something different. As well as potting plants, mowing lawns, trimming edges and looking after what is in the garden, Kate the gardener will be on-hand to answer your questions relating to the garden and may be able to give you tips and advice for your own green spaces. You can plant up a pot, nurture it at home then enjoy eating what has been grown Normal admission charges to the property. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tintagel-old-post-office

The September issue of Country Gardener will be available from Friday, 23rd August www.countrygardener.co.uk


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Caring for butterf lies at Cotehele

Cotehele, the Tudor House in St Dominick, near Saltash on the banks of the River Tamar is organising a free craft activity every Friday during the school holidays to help native pollinators thrive by getting visitors to make a butterfly feeder to take home. It is all part of the on-going campaign to help native pollinators. The activity runs from 11am to 3pm every Wednesday. The estate has a strong record for the conservation of butterflies. Cotehele gardens span 14 acres plus 12 acres of orchards. Once a week between April and September, the rangers at Cotehele walk round the estate and garden measuring the butterfly collection. The three mile route is divided into 14 sections or ’transects’. This year the rangers will also record butterfly populations in previously under recorded areas in the hope

Cotehele rangers are busy identifying butterflies

of finding some news species at Cotehele. The information gathered is fed into the Butterfly Conservations national monitoring scheme. So far they have recorded 14 different species of butterfly and estate there are at least another three species in the gardens. Cotehele, Saltash, St Dominic, Cornwall PL12 6TH

Three-day flower show highlight of busy RHS Rosemoor month The three-day Rosemoor Flower Show is one of the highlights of a busy August at the popular RHS Devon garden. The show Rosemoor’s new Cool runs from Friday, 16th August to Sunday, Garden from the air 18th August. The 65-acre site provides the backdrop for a summer show packed with floral displays, nursery and trade stands, gardening advice, food and live music. The highlights include the chance to explore Rosemoor’s newest garden, the Cool Garden which will be officially opened on Friday, 16th August. Designed by Jo Thompson, the new garden focuses on water, with rills and a tear-shaped pond, and demonstrates how gardens can help deal with heavy rainfall. Open from 10am to 5pm every day. The show is free with normal garden admission (RHS members go free). Early admission VIP tickets on Friday and Saturday from 9am for an additional £10 plus normal garden admission. RHS Garden Rosemoor, Torrington, EX38 8PH.

Win a stay at the famous Karma St Martins hotel on the isles of Scilly Next month’s Country Gardener will offer readers the chance to win an exclusive trip to the Scilly Isles with a stay at Karma St. Martin’s, a luxury hotel with a prime beachfront location which will include a trip to the famous Tresco Abbey gardens. Look out for the September issue of Country Gardener available from Friday, 23rd August.

Exhibition highlights Arthur Munnings’ skills Penlee House Gallery & Museum in Penzance is showing a special focus exhibition to mark 60 years since the death of the controversial artist Sir Alfred Munnings (18781959) exploring his works from the years he spent living in Cornwall. It runs through to 7th September. Munnings is best known for his equestrian paintings, his love of horses stemming from his early childhood on the border between Norfolk and Suffolk. Throughout his career he received equestrian commissions and his work was especially beloved by the English aristocracy and the Royal Family. Penlee House and Gallery, Morrab Road, Penzance TR18 4HE www.countrygardener.co.uk



Camelford show celebrates 113th year

Wildf lower walks over Churchtown Farm

Camelford Agricultural Show takes place on Wednesday, 14th August and is a traditional agricultural show for the local community and visitors alike. It’s the 113th show and it has always celebrated agricultural and rural life. There’s plenty for on show including, dog shows, vintage vehicle collections, displays of cattle, sheep and horses, sheep shearing displays, a heavy horse show and horticultural classes and displays. The show opens at 8am. Adults £10; children under 12 £4. Camelford Agricultural Show, Hallwill Barton, Camelford PL32 9SF

THE PERFECT DAY OUT AT RHS GARDEN ROSEMOOR If you’re looking for an inspirational day out for a group of friends, family or perhaps your local WI, social or gardening club, the idyllic RHS Garden Rosemoor near Torrington in North Devon ticks all the boxes. One of four – soon to be five – RHS gardens around the UK, it offers the combination

CORNWALL ADDS TO RESEARCH ON MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS Cornwall has been providing more support for the increasing view that gardening is beneficial for mental health and wellbeing. Two of Cornwall’s leading health organisations have been working together with local gardening clubs and patients to identify how quickly stressed and upset patients can recover calmness when working with plants. National studies have found that the mental health benefits of gardening are extensive. Not only can regular gardening reduce mental health problems like depression and anxiety, but it can also reduce stress and combat high blood pressure, as well as improving overall physical fitness. The Cornish research which takes the form of patients’ views during interviews established that the majority felt having a living thing to care for gave them a sense of responsibility – ‘if we don’t prune, water or otherwise care for the plant, it may die’. 6

Churchtown Farm is a community nature reserve one mile south of Saltash, owned and managed by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. On Saturday, 10th August the friends of the nature reserve are organising a special tour of the reserve aimed at identifying and discovering the wide varieties of wild flowers. The flowers thrive in the habitat of farmland which includes wetland, hay meadows, arable land and hedgerows. Meet ready to start at 10.30am at the Cecil Arms by St. Stephens Church, Churchtown Farm Nature Reserve Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 4AR. Finishes at 1pm.

of a beautiful garden setting with a year-round calendar of events. Visitors who are travelling as part of a group of ten can benefit from discounted group rates as well as options for private garden tours or special catering packages. Spread across 65 acres, in the Torridge Valley, RHS Garden Rosemoor is a hidden gem. Voted one of the best places in the country to see roses, and home to the only RHS Flower Show in the southwest, it offers an opportunity for seeing world-class horticulture. New for 2019 is a Cool Garden created by award-winning designer Jo Thompson, featuring subtle blues, whites and silver colours, all enhanced by water. The calendar of events offered includes flower shows and specialist plant weekends, Artisan Food Fairs, a Real Ale and Gin Festival and Rosemoor ‘Live’ events with theatre and live bands. A group of ten or more qualifies for discounts for travelling together. Visit www.rhs.org.uk/rosemoor or call 01805 626810. The report adds: ”For those suffering with conditions such as anxiety or paranoia, going out into a social setting can be frightening. But spending time in the garden doesn’t have the same connotations. Plants can be nurtured and cared for by anyone without passing judgement, and keeping plants healthy can improve self-esteem and confidence. “Research has found that a three to four hour session of gardening can burn as many calories as an hour at the gym.” Instead of worrying about bills, work, or the everyday stresses of life, the interviews found gardening helped focused on the task at hand – whether repotting, chopping, weeding or hoeing. “Anxiety worsens when a person focuses heavily on the past, or spends too much time worrying about the future. Being in and around the ever-changing cycle of nature helps us to appreciate the everyday and focus on the ‘now’. Gardening helps us to feel more in tune with the seasonal changes, as the garden develops with each passing week”.

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Hill Gardens


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power! by Gill Heavens

In the latest in her hugely popular series on how plants work, Gill Heavens gets to the dramatic part - the production of flowers, the reproduction organs of plants

There are various aesthetic, environmental and life affirming reasons for choosing to tend and toil in the garden. For many of us the main objective is to grow flowers. Flowers are magnificent in their variety and beauty, and to admire them is one of the simplest of life’s pleasures. Unless of course you have Elton John’s extravagant taste, making it a rather expensive pleasure! What gardener hasn’t studied a reluctant plant, willing it to form a flower bud and then watch with great interest, and a certain amount of trepidation, as it begins to swell and unfurl? Flowers provide colour and charm for us to savour and admire, but they are so much more than mere ornament for the benefit of humankind. First and foremost flowers are the reproductive organs of plants. The male portion of a flower is known as the stamen and is made up of filaments and anthers. This is where 8

the pollen grains are produced. The female structure, consisting of a sticky stigma to catch pollen, a style and an ovary, is known as the pistil. In some plants the male and female parts are housed in the same flower; these are hermaphrodites. Species that have two differently sexed flowers on the same plant are known as monocecious, literally meaning “one house”. Members of the cucumber family fall into this category. It is common practice to remove male cucumber flowers to prevent the resulting fruit becoming bitter. Dioecious species, “two houses”, have distinctly sexed plants. In order to enjoy the berries of a skimmia you must have male and female specimens in close proximity. This is further complicated by the introduction of self-pollinating varieties! The process of cross pollination, known as allogamy, ensures genetic variation. Most plants naturally avoid self-fertilisation, or autogamy, as this produces less diverse Country Gardener

offspring. Those are the mechanics, but the plant still has to transport the pollen from one plant to the ready recipient. This is achieved in two ways. The first is bribery. Plants entice pollinators to be their couriers by providing a food source in return for conveyance. Special glands called nectaries produce nectar which is both sweet and nutritious. The flowers must tempt the pollinators in and they do this in the very same way that they attract us, by utilising scent and sight. Appearance is a crucial factor. The decorative part of a flower is made up of several components. Sepals form a protective outer coat and fold back as the flower opens. Petals make up the main corolla in one or more layers. Lastly there are tepals, modified leaves with the appearance of petals. Guide lines, like runway lights, can be found at the entrance to some flowers, directing the pollinator to just

where the prize lurks. Plants are hot wired to flower at particular times. This can be stimulated by day length or temperature or a combination of both. It would be literally fruitless to put all your energy into producing pollen when there is no other plant ready to receive it, or active pollinators to distribute it. Once lured into the flower, pollen is brushed onto the body of the visitor which is subsequently transferred to the stigma of the next flower it visits. Plants have developed with specific pollinators in mind. Long tongued bees and butterflies take advantage of the deep blooms of foxgloves and aquilegia, whilst flies, wasps and beetles, sup at the shallow flowered cow parsley and geraniums. Insects are not the only pollinators; red hot pokers are visited by sunbirds in their native South Africa, and ants, hummingbirds and bats all have their roles to play. The other form of attraction is scent. Winter flowering shrubs, such as Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postil’ and Viburnum x bodnantense, often have small flowers but are highly scented. At a time when insects are few and far between a heady perfume is the perfect clarion call. Night scented flowers, such as evening primrose and honeysuckle target nocturnal moths.

“What gardener hasn’t studied a reluctant plant, willing it to form a f lower bud and then watch with interest, and trepidation, as it begins to swell and unfurl?” How flowers are arranged on a plant is varied. There are individual blooms, and multiple flowers in formations such as racemes and umbels. Composites, such as sunflowers, have a myriad of tiny individual flowers surrounded by sterile ray florets. In pre-DNA days, flowers were used by botanists as the principal method of categorising plants. Cross pollination has led to many natural hybrids and, over the millennia, new species. Plant breeders have followed this example. By careful selection of parent plants we have produced many new varieties and cultivars to grace our gardens. We have also utilised flowers in the kitchen and medicine cupboard. Balms and tinctures can be made from marigolds and arnica. Healing teas can be brewed from chamomile and hibiscus, and perfumes distilled from rose and lavender. Recently there has been a fashion for edible flowers, such as violas and nasturtiums, adding colour and flavour to salads.

Not all flower fragrances can be bottled and sold at the perfume counter of John Lewis. Plants that specifically attract flies tend to smell of rotting meat, these are the carrion or corpse flowers, including the curious Stapelia gigantea and the monstrous Amorphopallus titanum.

The most valuable of all however are the golden stamen of Crocus sativus, the saffron crocus, more expensive by weight than gold!

The second way that plants can be pollinated is by the wind.

The aptly named cruel plant, Araujia sericifera, is a case in point. When a moth inserts its proboscis into the flower it will sometimes hold onto it for several hours to ensure pollination. It does not always end well for the moth.

These are the ones to blame for our seasonal hay fever, caused by an allergic reaction to the pollen laden air. As it is not necessary to attract pollinators they don’t need to produce showy flowers or delicious scents. All they need to do is to ensure their flower spikes are held high enough for the breeze to catch them, to both distribute their pollen and receive the same from another. Yew trees can be seen to produce clouds of pollen from their tiny cones at the merest gust.

Bee pollination

The wind as an aid to pollination

Although often a thing of great beauty, the flower’s main role is as a “come hither” to pollinators. And their urge to procreate is relentless. Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postil’

Once pollination has taken place the pollen tunnels its way down into the ovule where fertilisation occurs with the female egg cell. Then the ovum begins to swell, the fruit begins to form... www.countrygardener.co.uk

Vibernum xbodnantese 9

The gourmet basil garden

Thai Basil

Elizabeth McCorquodale urges you to grow your own basil, give it a little respect, plenty of sunshine and your culinary options will start to thrive It hasn’t taken long for basil to become an essential ingredient in British cuisine. Twenty years ago the staples of the British herb garden and spice rack were the old favourites thyme, sage, rosemary and parsley. These days basil figures high on the list of most popular herbs and it ranks near the top of the list in supermarket fresh herb sales – however it still lags behind as a herb garden favourite and it is rare to find basil plants in nurseries or garden centres.

if they are given a little respect. To keep them happy indoors set them in a very bright spot and never let them get chilled by cold temperatures or draughts. Rather than giving your plant a severe haircut with scissors, harvest the leaves by pinching out the growing tips of each stem just above a joint. For every growing tip you pinch out, two new stems will grow. With this in mind, and if you use a lot of basil, three plants on a windowsill should supply you with basil for many, many months.

The one place you can always find it is the supermarket, but these plants are grown as perishables, to be bought, sheared off and discarded. Attempts to keep supermarket basil going for longer than a couple of weeks often end in disappointment and this adds to the impression that basil is tricky to grow. Supermarket basil can indeed be difficult to keep going on the kitchen counter or windowsill, but when you consider how it is planted - densely sown in a small pot, transported in a dark lorry and held in a refrigerated stock room - it isn’t at all surprising. Basil won’t tolerate being wet or cold. It will, however, shrug off the occasional drying out - a good soak for an hour and the wilted plant will pick up and recover with no lasting ill effects. In short, basil will live happily for months on end 10

Country Gardener

Basil loves the heat

Basil in hanging planter

Most garden centres steer clear of basil as the losses are too great to make stocking it worthwhile, so there are only two basil varieties that are routinely available as plants in the UK – Genovese basil (aka sweet basil) and, rarely, Greek basil, and these are largely confined to supermarket shelves and specialist nurseries. There are, however, a delicious, tempting array of other varieties that are readily available

as seeds and they are easy to start off and easy to grow. Most of the tastiest varieties and cultivars belong to the species Ocimum basilicum. Several varieties have hints of the flavours of other plants and most of these are varieties of the common Sweet or Genovese basil. Cinnamon basil (O. basilicum ‘Cinnamon’), several varieties of lemon basil including O. b. Mrs. Burn’s Lemon, lime basil (O. b. Lime) and liquorice basil (O.b.Liquorice) all belong to this group, as do the purple leaved varieties such as O.b. Purpurenscens and O. b. Purple Ruffles. Even the large leaved ‘lettuce leaved’ basil O.b.Crispum belongs to this group despite it’s very different appearance, while at the other end of the scale O.b. Minimum has tiny leaves and grows in a dense bush.

Sadly, African Blue is sterile and is unable to set seed . Plants are always in great demand, so if you come across a specimen in a specialist nursery it is well worth snapping up. Once you have found a plant it is easy to grow and easy to propagate from softwood cuttings. As with all basils, it is frost tender and will need to be lifted and stored inside over winter, with those softwood cuttings providing extra insurance for repeating the show the following year. Given a spot on a sunny windowsill or in a sheltered, nourishing, sunny spot in the garden all the basils will repay you with colour and flavour for months on end. Basil will even flourish under LED lights indoors. As with so many other annuals, if given a consistently warm, bright spot, and regular pinching out of

This last one is the variety that goes by the common name of Greek basil or Globe basil. It’s tiny leaves are highly flavoured and very aromatic. All of the varieties display subtle differences in their flavours, but are particularly different in their appearance. The purple basils are particularly pleasing as a contrast plant in a potager or edible flower garden and they add a lovely splash of colour to salads. The often delicate differences in the flavours of some of these varieties - the lemons and limes, for instance - are best appreciated when they are used as flavourings in drinks and salads. Lemon and lime basils make wonderful additions to a fruit cup and have become an essential ingredient in many cocktails, and liquorice basil is perfect as a garnish in eastern dishes or wherever the flavour of anise is welcome. Some of the very prettiest, and perhaps the most worthwhile basils to grow if space is at a premium, are the spicy varieties such as Thai basil, Siam Queen, Horapha Rue and Lavender Spires. These varieties stand out in the flower and herb gardens, but are at their very best in pots where their leaves and beautiful flowers can be fully appreciated. Once you have experimented with all the different flavours and flowers of the truly edible basils, it will be difficult to resist the delight of the African Blue or Camphor basil. This is a real stunner in the garden and what it loses in flavour, it gains enormously in beauty. African Blue is larger than most other varieties, growing to a generous 75 cm height, with its purple-blue spires reaching a further 10cm above that. This giant among the basils is a perennial and can be grown in a generous pot which is sunk in the ground through the summer and then lifted and overwintered indoors.

the growing tips and removal of any flowers, basil will continue to be productive for much longer than it’s natural one year life cycle. The trick to encouraging it to keep on putting its energy into producing a constant supply of new leaves is to prevent it from flowering and setting seed. If however, you are growing some of the varieties that are grown for their flowers, allowing stems to grow on to maturity is essential, even if it is only at the end of the season. Basil is native to India and North Africa and this is reflected in its need for warmth. In warmer climates many species of basil are perennials but in the UK they will be cut down by the gentlest of frosts. To grow a gourmet basil bed outside, start seedlings off indoors and transplant them outside when the soil is properly warm in the spring and if you are feeling particularly generous give the young plants a little shelter in the form of a cloche. Toward the end of the season, before even a hint of the first frost, dig up your favourites and transplant them into pots to overwinter indoors where they will keep on providing you with colour and flavour long into the winter months. www.countrygardener.co.uk

Images left to right: Transplanting supermarket basil; Greek basil; basil pesto





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There’s lots of pruning, deadheading and harvesting to be done in August, so if you’re off on your holidays make sure you get some help for your garden or plan ahead. Of course take time to enjoy the garden but gardeners never stop and it may be high summer but it’s also time to start preparing for the autumn vegetable patch and start to sow flowers for next spring.

Time for more broad beans?

Deadhead as much as you can A key task for the month is to deadhead to try and keep all the colour blooming in the garden. You will be able to keep roses going with daily heading and that has to be a bonus. Sweet peas, pelargoniums and cosmos will keep blooming if you deadhead them very regularly, thwarting any signs of a midsummer fade. When you go out watering take a bucket with you and get used to throwing in tired blooms.

It is possible to get a second crop of broad beans especially if the summer is good. In late July and early August, when the broad bean plant has finished, cut down the stem close to the ground about 15 cms near a growing point and give it a feed. On a good year it will re grow and produce a second, lighter smaller crop, but perfectly acceptable producing fresh broad beans in late summer/early autumn. It doesn’t cost you anything and with decent weather extends the season considerable.

WASP ALERT Wasps are a nuisance only late in summer when their queen stops rewarding them with sugary treats so they set out to find other sources, usually picnic-based. The rest of the year they are brilliant predators of garden pests. But if they are becoming too troublesome you can try a wasp trap from trapawasp.co.uk to draw them away from your picnic.

ITS CRUNCH TIME FOR CARING FOR YOUR TOMATOES August is often a critical time to make sure your tomato harvest is the best it can be. Damp weather can see blight appear and too often neglected tomato plants are allowed to waste their energy by producing masses of unnecessary leaves. On going tomato care is really important as the plants start to fruit. Even after pinching out the growing points to stop the tomato growing any taller, as tomatoes grow vigorously if allowed, you will need to keep on pinching out all top growth. The plant will keep growing, keep pinching out and removing leaves so all energy goes to the fruit. This is also the most important time for regular watering and feeding to ensure a good crop of sweet tasting tomatoes. Without the right amount of water and feeding, there will be tomatoes, but of poor quality. www.countrygardener.co.uk


Mint cuttings for the winter Take root cuttings of mint to keep you in indoor mint through the winter. Tip out of their pots and pull away a length of the thick white root that is snaking around the edge. Snip lengths a couple of inches long then lay them across the surface of a pot of compost, covered with a little of the same. Water and grow on a sunny cool windowsill.


Keep lavender at its best

Summer-flowering meadows can be cut now that knapweed, devil’s bit scabious, selfheal, lady’s smock and others have flowered and set seed. You need to plan for next spring’s show so cut everything down to cut to a height of around three inches. Leave what you’ve cut for a couple of days to dry and drop any seed, then rake up hay and remove it. Low fertility is key to success, so never mulch with grass clippings.

Give lavender plants a light trim all over as soon as the flowers are past. This is important to keep the plant heavy and not too woody. Like all silver leaved, Mediterranean shrublets they hate to be pruned back into dead wood, so you need to keep them trim and neat with an annual going over. Use shears and take off just an inch or so of this year’s growth, to stimulate bushing out from below.

Dry out onions properly If there is a decent dry spell, onions and shallots can be left on the ground to dry. It is important that before you put onions into storage they are bone dry. If they are even a little damp they will rot very quickly. The greenhouse is idea for drying them off as you can leave them on slatted shelving which is perfect for the job. Onions and garlic will store for 12 months in the right dry environment so it is important to get they really dry.

There’s still planting to be done Plant foxgloves, sweet rocket, sweet williams and pernennials so the roots have time to establish themselves and put on lots of growth before the autumn. Plant out your leeks and brassicas and you can also squeeze in a final sowing of spinach and chard in the first couple of weeks of August. Sow salad leaves under cover, or out in the open if in warmer parts of the UK. Another problem to keep an eye out for is blossom end rot on your tomatoes. This is first spotted on the fruit itself, as a brown or black spot that grows in size and gradually becomes sunken and flat. The risk of blossom end rot can be prevented by frequent watering – the disease being caused by the plants not receiving a sufficient quantity of calcium. Do a last sowing of beetroot – a patch of a purple variety such as ‘Boltardy’, a stripy pink and white, such as ‘Candy Stripe’, and an orange such as ‘Burpee’s Golden’. 14


• Watering is key. Keep on top of this daily, making sure you water in the morning or late afternoonevening to prevent the heat evaporating all the water before it reaches the plant roots. • Continue mowing but reduce frequency and raise blades if the weather is hot and dry. Keep watering new lawns; established lawns will soon recover when it rains. • Now is the time to look at your borders and note any gaps/congestion that you’ll want to rectify later in the season when everything has gone over, ahead of next year. • Order spring flowering blubs. Stock of popular varieties may not be available later in the season. You can start planting bulbs such as narcissi, alliums and hyacinths from September. Order autumn stock of perennials to get them settled before the winter.

Country Gardener

August gardening



Our gardening queries from Country Gardener readers this month range from an old favourite in how to deal with tomato blight to drying herbs and getting plum trees to produce fruit. I would like to enter my dahlias into a competition this year. It is the first time I’ve done this and I need to understand more about disbudding and ensuring I get fewer, but better show class blooms. More and more dahlia growers end up wanting to see what it would be like to grow a very large specimen bloom, worthy as you say perhaps of entering a competition. There is a method of making the flower heads grow considerably larger than normal called ‘disbudding’. Disbudding is the process of removing surplus buds on the stem of the plant as they appear. If you were to leave the plant and not disbud, no harm would come to it. In fact, you will end up with many flowers on a single stem, but they would be small compared to a disbudded, single stemmed dahlia. It is not uncommon for three or four buds to appear on a dahlia stem. Disbudding works by channeling the plant’s energy into making the one, single bloom, hence it will grow to become very big. This process does not affect the colour of the resultant flower either, meaning that disbudding can be an excellent way of producing a very impressive focal point in the garden when the dahlia comes into bloom. To disbud a dahlia, care must be taken to not damage the main bud that you wish to keep. As flower buds start to develop in July and August, just disbud by taking out the smaller buds below the central flower on a stem. It is very easy to inadvertently snap off the bud you had intended to nurture, so pinch very lightly. Pinch off the side buds cleanly where their stalk reaches the main stem of the plant, this will normally be butting up to a leaf.

Helen Duigan, Poole

I have a very prolific lavender hedge and will again try and dry some for the winter. My attempts have not been very successful so far and I often get mouldy, rotten dry stems which soon disintegrate.

Melissa Kirk, Bath

Lavender is one of the most rewarding herbs you can grow but getting perfectly dried lavender needs care and attention. Deciding when to begin harvesting the flowers needs to be given some thought. The weather conditions and humidity will play a role as to when you may begin harvesting lavender for drying. If you have had dry weather for a few days go ahead and start cutting flowers. Morning or evening is fine as long as it’s dry. Remember when you prune lavender bushes always leave some green leafy growth. It won’t regrow from woody stems so if plants become woody and straggly you should replace them. It may be that your problem in terms of drying lavender is trying to dry the herb in too large a bunch. The best results are often achieved in smaller bunches when especially in the early days of drying air can get into the middle and dry evenly. Also don’t dry in direct sunshine which will dry the flowers too quickly and they may start dropping. Hanging the bunches upside down for drying which will allow for air to reach all sides and to prevent the flower tops from curling over. You can use an old coat hanger and clothes pegs to hang several bunches. Place your drying lavender flowers in a cool dry spot, away from sunlight and check on their progress every few days.

My wife and I have a regular discussion about how often the hedges in our garden - box and hawthorn - need cutting to make sure they stay healthy and don’t get too big. It isn’t something we seem to be able to agree on. Whatever hedge you grow the principles of keeping it in trim are largely the same. A hedge that has reached its desired full size effectively just needs all of this year’s growth cutting off. Otherwise logically it will just get bigger and bigger. If however your hedge is still growing to its full height and width just shorten side-shoots to about a third to encourage bushier growth and leave the top until it has got as high as you need it. This is just a basic rule however and there are variations to the answer depending how often different hedge species need cutting back.

Andrew Collis, Barnstaple

Box for instance should be cut twice –once in June and then again in September. Coniferous hedges again need twice a year attention in May and then again in August, pruning any later is inked to brown patches appearing. Ilex (holly) only needs a once a year cut as does yew and lavender. Hawthorn with its often-ferocious growth spurts needs cutting back every June and September. Check any hedge for nesting birds before clipping, as it is an offence to disturb them. The main nesting season is between March and August. www.countrygardener.co.uk


All my tomatoes grown in a raise bed got blight in less than 48 hours. Should I destroy the plants and what can I do about the soil in the raised beds? Can I sterilise and grow other vegetables and most important of all please what can I do to avoid getting blights in the future? Tomato blights is a very common disease when the weather is damp especially from June onwards so there’s a warning sign here this year after the weather we had over most of June this year. It is caused by the same pathogen that’s responsible for potato blight. Outdoor tomatoes are more prone it than greenhouse tomatoes. Normally blight is seen in the south west spreading rapidly from airborne spores originating in gardens, allotments and particularly adjacent to commercial potato crops Currently there are no chemicals that amateur gardeners can use to treat blight so cultural methods have to be used. Infested plant material should be removed as fast as possible, Ideally burn it but it can go into a green waste collection bin. You don’t need to sterilise the soil –just turn it over to a depth of more than 18 inches and you’ll be fine. More gardeners who are fed up with the threat and often reality of blight are turning to blight resistant varieties which are not guaranteed to take the problem away but are certainly worth trying.

Bryan Potter, Cullompton


Plum tree problems range from age-related issues to disease and even pest issues. Extreme cold during flowering will cause the blooms to drop too early the cold weather during April seems to have hit some fruit crops Low temperatures before blooms open will also kill the flowers. Without flowers, you will have no fruit. Insects that chew the terminal ends, shoots and flowers will also cause no fruit on plum trees. One of the most common causes of plum tree problems is the lack of a co-pollinator. Plums are not self-fruitful and need another of the same species nearby for pollen transfer. This is done with bees, moths and other pollinator’s help. Pruning at the wrong time and too late in the spring removes the buds necessary for flower and then fruit. There are steps you can take to prevent the problem. Keep weeds and grass away from the base of a tree. Provide good irrigation and especially on young trees fertilisers high in phosphorus will help with blooming and fruiting. Bone meal is a great source of phosphorus at the base of trees. Also remember heavy bearing trees may not produce fruit the next year. The plant’s reserves are depleted and you will just have to wait a year for it to rally. Fixing plum trees with no fruit sometimes just requires patience and good stewardship.

My greenhouse cucumbers are growing to about three inches long and then shrivelling and dying quite dramatically. The leaves turn a mottled light green and white. I can’t see any obvious problem with them.

P hilip Davison, Petersfield

It may be the problem is red spider mites, a garden pest that affects a wide variety of plants, which most commonly affect azaleas and camellias but can also have a deadly affect on cucumbers. A plant that is infested by too many red spider mites will start to look unhealthy and will have a dusty appearance to the undersides of their leaves. Close inspection will reveal that the dust is actually moving and is in fact the spider mites. The plant may also have some webbing on the underside or on the branches of plant. You cannot easily make out the details of red spider mites with the naked eye but a simple magnifying glass can make the details more visible. A red spider mite will be all red. You can also use organic sprays to safely eliminate red spider mite but the best way to eliminate them is to make sure you don’t get them in the first place. Work to keep plants healthy and the areas around the plants free of debris and dust to keep red spider mites away. Also, make sure plants have enough water. The water will help keep the red spider mites away as they prefer very dry environments.

The leaves at the base of my grape vine are turning yellow. Is there anything I can do and is this the start of a more serious problem? The leaves at the base of your vine will be the oldest and will be the first to change colour and shed in the autumn. However this is all a bit too early for this to be happening and it should raise some alarm bells. For the time being and it might be an idea to give the vine some extra care to make sure there is nothing slowing down the development of the grapes. Apply a control release general fertiliser and mulch with a deep layer of well rotten manure to give the whole plant a bit of a pep up.

Annie Dillon, Cheltenham


Country Gardener

SUMMER HOLIDAY IDEAS for days out for gardening lovers If you are looking for a holiday day out with a gardening theme then we’ve some ideas for day trips for those gardeners who want to take a break from their own gardens It is holiday time and for those who plan to stay at home it’s the chance to enjoy some garden themed days out. August is a great time for agricultural shows, days which the west country is famous for as all round family days out. And gardens will be still be full of colour and beauty and the high summer days offer the chance to travel that bit further afield to see a garden, plan a trip to a horticultural show, visit one of the many NGS gardens open this month or linger later on a particular visit.

It’s theatre time at Hartland Abbey During the children’s holidays the lawn at Hartland Abbey will be bursting with fun and theatre! It makes a family day out to combine the house with its fascinating interiors, the gardens and their winding paths to explore, the walk to the beach and the huge thuja plicata to climb on. For those wishing peace and quiet, Hartland Abbey has many relaxing corners in the gardens. A new, exhibit ‘A Victorian Honeymoon’ will be on display adjacent to the popular ‘Filming on the Hartland Abbey Estate since 1934’ exhibition. The tea room will be producing homemade lunches and cream teas. Theatre productions are ‘Ali Baba’ on Wednesday, 31st July, ‘The Legend of King Arthur’ on Friday, 2nd August, 'Gangsta Granny’ on Monday, 5th August, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ on Thursday, 15th August, and ‘Frankenstein’ on Thursday, 22nd August. There will be a barbecue and Pimms Bar at the events. Hartland Abbey, Hartland, Nr. Bideford, N. Devon EX39 6DT. Call 01237441496/234 or www.hartlandabbey.com

Friars Court combines history with horticultural beauty

Friars Court, located in rural West Oxfordshire, is an imposing 17th century farmhouse with three acres of gardens enclosed within the remaining arms of a 16th century moat. Level walks guide visitors past formal and informal borders, some of which are divided into ‘garden rooms’, a lily pond and 50-foot living willow tunnel. The grounds extend beyond the moat and include a woodland walk. A small museum displays the history of the Friars Court and the Willmer family who have lived in the house for over 100 years. The gardens are open every Tuesday and Thursday in July and August, from 2.00pm - 6.00pm, admission £4 adults, under 14’s free. Homemade cakes and cream teas available. Private garden tours on request. Friars Court, Clanfield OX18 2SU Call 01367 810206 or visit www.friarscourt.com

Dahlias provide August highlight at Cadhay Dahlias promise to be the highlight this August at Cadhay House in Ottery St Mary. Some years ago Paul Kiddle had one of the Cadhay House allotments where he grew a prize-winning collection of dahlia collarettes. When he retired he donated a lot of his collection to the house. Since then the head gardener has developed the collection further, growing many from seed, and it promises to be a kaleidoscope of colour and a fitting tribute to Paul who has since died. Visitors can see the collection and the vast array of lilies. The gardens are open every Friday afternoon from 2pm until 5pm. See cadhay.org.uk for further details. Cadhay House and Gardens, Ottery St Mary, EX11 1QT.

Melplash Agricultural Show - a celebration of rural life The Melplash show on Thursday, August 22nd brings together the best of West Dorset to celebrate all aspects of farming and rural life by the sea. There is an exciting timetable of attractions for the family to enjoy including this year’s main attraction - the freestyle motocross rider Jamie Squibb and his team. Local farmers will be competing in the livestock classes while other members of the local community will be vying for prizes in the handicraft, home produce and horticulture classes. There are over 400 exhibitors and trade stands offering a wide range of products and produce. Entry is free to children 16 years and under. On the day £17 for adults or in advance £15. Advance tickets can be bought at www.melplashshow.co.uk the show is open from 8am to 6pm. Melplash Show, West Bay, Bridport. DT6 4EG.

GILLINGHAM AND SHAFTESBURY SHOW A MECCA FOR GARDENERS Gillingham & Shaftesbury Agricultural Show takes place on Wednesday, 14th August and with 73 of the 200 classes devoted to fruit, vegetables and flowers, the horticultural marquee is a mecca for gardening enthusiasts. The fragrance and atmosphere is very special. Entries are staged on the morning before show day and judged that afternoon, so that the marquee is open for visitors all day at this traditional one-day agricultural show. Gillingham & Shaftesbury Agricultural Show, Turnpike Showground, Motcombe SP7 9PL. For schedules call 01747823955 or email enquiries@gillshaftshow.co.uk




Cotswold Garden Flowers will offer inspiring ideas for your garden

Boscrege, a breath of Cornish fresh air

Visitors can enjoy many new and traditional garden favourites in the borders at Cotswold Garden Flowers at Badsey near Evesham. It’s a chance to review your own borders and think about adding some new plants, for example phlox, with their magic scent, come in many colours. It’s best to choose the varieties that are looking good ‘in situ’ in the garden. Campanulas or bell-flowers come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colours including blue. You can use these to add some height and colour to your border. Contrast these with day lilies available in various colours including yellow and orange. For whites and creams why not consider leucanthemums or shasta daisy, another traditional plant but now available in new varieties. Cotswold Garden Flowers Sands Lane, Badsey, Evesham, WR11 7EZ. Tel: 01386 833849 Email: info@cgf.net Website: www.cgf.net

Arlington Court and The National Trust Carriage Museum

flowers for the house. An abundance of wildlife is avaialble to discover including two species of bat roosting in the cellars, an ancient heronry and a bird hide, to view nature at its best. The Carriage Museum in the stables has a vehicle for every occasion from cradle to grave. Currently on loan from the Houses of Parliament is the Speaker’s State Coach, a glorious, gilded carriage with over 300 years of history. Arlington Court – National Trust, Arlington, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 4LP. Tel: 01271 850296 arlingtoncourt@nationaltrust.org.uk

Boscrege Caravan and Camping Park in Cornwall is a peaceful and picturesque park, set at the foot of Tregonning Hill amongst Cornish lanes in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The park, open all year through, is situated close to the wonderful Cornwall coast and only a few minutes drive to Praa Sands, one of Britain's best beaches. So if you are looking to take a holiday in Cornwall in a self-catering caravan, camping, or even purchasing your own holiday home then contact Boscrege Caravan and Camping Park. New this year is an exciting development of twin lodges available to buy with a 20-year site licence. Boscrege Caravan Park, Boscrege, Ashton, Cornwall. TR13 9TG. Tel: 01736 762231 www.caravanparkcornwall.com

Arlington Court is an unexpected jewel on the edge of Exmoor, a complete family estate held by the Chichester family for over five hundred years. The collection consists of treasures for all tastes, from model ships to shells, collected over several generations. There is a formal Victorian garden with conservatory rebuilt in 2012, planted with exotic species and walled garden providing produce for the tea room and



Small, peaceful and picturesque site open all year round Luxury holiday homes and lodges for sale and hire Used static caravans for sale offsite


the best of agriculture by the sea

01736 762231


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Country Gardener

Children 16 and under Go FREE www.melplashshow.co.uk

Hartland Abbey & Gardens Enjoy a day out and outdoor theatre in the beautiful Hartland Abbey valley Visit this fascinating, historic house, in the same family for generations, with its stunning architecture, collections and exhibitions. Beautiful walled and woodland gardens leading to the beach. * Dogs welcome * Holiday Cottages * * Light lunches & cream teas * * Hartland Quay 1 mile * Outdoor Theatre * House, Gardens and Café: open until 29th September, Sunday to Thursday 11am - 5pm (House 2pm - last adm. 4pm)

For all information and events see www.hartlandabbey.com Hartland, Nr. Bideford EX39 6DT 01237441496/234


AGRICULTURAL SHOW ‘The Show where town & country meet’

Wednesday 14th August 2019 8.30am - 6.30pm Attractions include: Events & Displays in Three Rings Over 500 trade stand including 14 tractor dealers Competitive classes for Dairy & Beef Cattle, Sheep, Poultry, Grain & Fodder. K.C. Dog Show Huge Horticulture, Home-Handicraft Marquee including Fruit & Veg, Flowers & Floral Decoration, Photography, Honey, Cookery, Handicraft, Wine & Cordial - With many classes especially for children Held at the Turnpike Showground SP7 9PL 2 miles north of Shaftesbury - Free Car Parks Tickets (pre-show prices in brackets) Adult £16 (£14) Child (5-16yrs) £4 (£3) Family ticket (2 adults + 3 Children) £39 (£33)

Disabled facilities - Dogs on leads HOUSE, GARDENS & TEAROOM Open every Friday 2pm - 5.30pm until 27th September Also late May & August Bank Holiday weekend - Saturday, Sunday & Monday

HOUSE & GARDENS: adult £8, child £3 (last guided tour 4pm) GARDENS: adult £4, child £1, season ticket £12pp Member of Historic Houses

CADHAY, OTTERY ST. MARY, DEVON, EX11 1QT 01404 813511 www.cadhay.org.uk

CALL: 01747 823955 EMAIL: enquiries@gillshaftshow.co.uk WEB: www.gillshaftshow.co.uk FACEBOOK: GillandShaftshow

Cotswold Garden Flowers Easy and unusual perennials for the flower garden Delightful gardens to inspire you Plant and garden advice Mail order and online ordering available, or pop along and visit us at the nurser y

Groups welcome by appointment Open 7 days a week from 1st March to 30th September Weekends 10am - 5.30pm, Weekdays 9am to 5.30pm

Sands Lane, Badsey, Evesham, WR11 7EZ 01386 833849 info@cgf.net w w w.cgf.net www.countrygardener.co.uk


The steps towards PERFECT TOMATOES Too many gardeners are not brutal enough and waste their final crop by letting greenery take over, and forgetting to care for the crop in the vital few weeks before harvest Growing tomatoes can be a tricky business. We have no idea if we’ll have a sweltering summer like last year or if rain will come and encourage blight. Or perhaps we’ll have an Indian summer to nudge what you thought would never get there into perfect ripeness. You may think its all in the lap of the gods but there are things you can do to take a few steps to improve your chances of a perfect crop. At this critical time of the season don’t let all the strength and goodness go into growing lots of greenery. It is easily done and it is amazing just how quickly tomato plants can transform from poor week looking plants to overgrown top heavy and leaf heavy ’monsters’. So be brutal and focus on the fruit. Snip away the large heavy leaves which can cover up the flourishing fruit- they can put a brake on your crop. Remove any yellowing leaves as you go along, and as the fruit starts to ripen you can start to remove the lower leaves of cordon plants to speed up the process, as they take up valuable nutrients as it makes it way up the plant. Generally don’t let the plant grow more than five or six feet. The simple rule to follow is cut off the top of plants, certainly of outdoor ones, when six trusses of fruit set - this helps to focus the plant’s energies. Even at this stage of the season every week or so from when flowering starts, give your plant a seaweed or comfrey feed the developing fruit will love the potassium. Your plants will need support to grow strongly - use canes 20

for tall varieties and/or netting for bushes. You may need to re stake as the final weeks go past and the fruit expands Watering can be critical in terms of the quality of your final fruit Water the soil, not the plant - tomato leaves and stems hate getting wet. Water little and often - it encourages steady growth and helps to avoid split fruit. You can try and sink a pipe vertically into the ground when you plant out. Tomatoes have two sets of roots: some at the surface that feed and lower ones that drink in water. The pipe gets the water down to where it counts quickly. Tomatoes are riskier grown outside rather than in a greenhouse or polytunnel - if you’re thinking of chancing it then go for cherry tomatoes which ripen more quickly outside than others. Grow your tomatoes in a location that has as much direct sun and shelter from winds as you can. Bring any tomatoes that are still shy of ripeness at the end of the summer indoors and put a banana with them - the ethylene given off by the banana helps them ripen. Pick leaves off around the tomatoes when they’ve reached full size but have yet to start changing colour - this gets the sun to the fruit, increases airflow, and minimises disease. The most important thing is to grow some and take your time around harvest. A perfectly ripe home-grown tomato, eaten sun-warm from the bush, really is unrecognisable from the ones you buy in the shops.

Country Gardener


tomatoes Words and pictures by Kate Lewis

There is nothing like the taste and quality of the home-grown fruit. If you are growing tomatoes again this summer this is the year to really make the most of them We all know the importance of buying seasonal food when it comes to flavour, environmental concerns and the need to support local producers. Yet more than 75 per cent of tomatoes eaten in the UK are imported. But those of us who are lucky enough to grow tomatoes at home know only too well that these summer gems are seasonal fruits and are best eaten fresh and from the vine. Tomatoes have a relatively long season in the UK with the height of the harvest from June to August and it is in these months that you are most likely to end up with a glut. Thankfully it is possible to preserve the magic of summer all year round by preserving them in various guises.

HARVESTING AND STORAGE Leave the fruit on the vine for as long as possible. A ripe tomato will be firm but with a tiny bit of give, very red (if a red variety, yellow if a yellow variety etc) and even in colour. When harvesting try to leave the calyx (the green sepals attaching the fruit to the vine) intact. If the fruit falls off the vine before they are ripe put them in a paper bag and store in a cool, dark place. Tomatoes don’t take well to being kept in the fridge, the cold affecting both their texture and flavour. Instead store them in a cool larder. Freezing is a good option to keep the taste of summer throughout the winter months. Some people freeze tomatoes whole in freezer bags but they are more likely to be used if you freeze them in the form that they will be used – try cubes, slices or sauces. Freezing in cubes is a good option for cooking at a later date. For best results skin the tomatoes, www.countrygardener.co.uk

cut into small cubes and strain. Spread out on a baking sheet and freeze. When frozen pack into airtight freezer bags and label. Frozen sliced are a very useful standby for topping gratins and pasta bakes.

IN THE KITCHEN When picked in high summer and straight off the vine, perhaps the best way to enjoy tomatoes is the simplest way – sliced, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Add some basil leaves and mozzarella and you have the most famous of Italian antipasti– caprese salad. Large quantities of tomatoes can be used up in a delicious roasted sauce that can later be used in curries, stews, chillies, soups and lasagnes. There is no need to be precise with quantities – simply toss tomatoes with thyme, olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper in a roasting tin and roast at 200 °C/gas 6 until bubbling and soft. Press through a sieve to collect the sweet pulp.

Health benefits of tomatoes

• Tomatoes contain lycopene which gives them their red colour. Research suggests that lycopene can reduce cholesterol and cardiovascular disease and is good for eye health. • Contain high levels of vitamins and antioxidants. They contain high levels of vitamin C and also vitamin E and vitamin K. • Research suggests that tomatoes prepared with olive oil offer greater health benefits • There is evidence to suggest that the high levels of beta-carotene and antioxidants can help to prevent cancer. 21

Oven roasted tomatoes

Tomato, chickpea & spinach curry

Serves 6 INGREDIENTS: 4 – 6 bunches cherry tomatoes 1 whole bulb garlic, cut in half 6 bay leaves 200ml olive oil Crusty bread warmed, to serve METHOD: 1. Heat the oven to 150°C/fan 130°C/ gas 2. 2. Put the tomatoes and garlic in a baking dish, tuck in the bay leaves, and season well. Pour over the olive oil and cover with foil. 3. Bake for 1½ hours, then serve warm with crusty bread.

Serves 6 INGREDIENTS: 1 onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, chopped 3cm piece root ginger, grated 6 ripe tomatoes ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp turmeric Pinch chilli flakes 1 tsp yeast extract (e.g Marmite)

METHOD: 1. Put the onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes in a food processor or blender and whizz to a purée. 2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the spices, fry for a few secs and add purée and yeast extract. Bubble together for two minutes, then add lentils and coconut cream. 3. Cook until the lentils are tender, then add the broccoli and cook for four mins. 4. Stir in the chickpeas and spinach, squeeze over lemon and swirl through the sesame seeds and cashew nuts. Serve with brown rice.

Cherry tomato tart (See pic at top of page opposite) Serves 6 INGREDIENTS: 1 pack fresh ready-rolled puff pastry 3 tbsp olive oil 2 large onions, halved and finely sliced 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

100g gruyère, grated 50g Grana Padano, grated (alternatively use parmesan) 300g cherry tomatoes, halved Handful torm basil leaves Handful black pitted olives, halved

METHOD: 1. Roll the pastry to the thickness of a 20p coin. Score a two cm border from the edge. Place on a baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge. 2. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the onions and a good pinch of salt. Gently fry for 20-30 minutes, until soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Cool and mix in the mustard and cheeses. 3. Heat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Bake the tart shell for 15 minutes then take out and cool. 4. Spread the cheesy onions over the base of the tart. Sit the tomatoes on top in a single layer, cut-side up, and season. Keep the filling within the scored border of the pastry. Put the tart back in the oven for another 15 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and the tomatoes are slightly golden. 5. Sprinkle the basil and olives on top and serve slightly warm. 22

4 tbsp red lentils 6 tbsp coconut cream 1 broccoli head, broken into small florets 400g can chickpeas, drained 100g bag baby spinach leaves 1 lemon, halved 1 tbsp toasted sesame seed 1 tbsp chopped cashew nuts

Country Gardener

Tomato salsa INGREDIENTS: 6 medium tomatoes, peeled & finely chopped ½ red onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 2 jalapeno or green chillies, finely chopped 1 – 2 limes, juiced 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Small bunch coriander, roughly chopped (stalks and leaves) Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper METHOD: 1. Mix all ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 2. Refrigerate until needed.

Crugsillick Manor, Truro

GARDEN Visits THE BEST GARDENS TO VISIT compiled by Heather Rose

Here’s a wide selection of gardens opening for charity during August in the areas covered by Country Gardener, with everything from a sunken garden in a former stone quarry in Dorset, to a large Cornish garden with exotic flowering trees and shrubs, walled kitchen garden and hot border, from a plantsman’s garden on the Somerset Levels, to an old vicarage garden in Devon that has a brook with a waterfall flowing past a summerhouse. We advise checking before starting out wherever possible as circumstances can force closure in private gardens. www.ngs.org.uk

CRUGSILLICK MANOR Ruan High Lanes, Truro, Cornwall, TR2 5LJ A two-acre garden, substantially relandscaped and planted. A wooded bank drops down to a walled kitchen garden and hot garden beside the 17th/18th century house; there are sweeping yew hedges, lawns and broad mixed borders; exotic flowering trees and shrubs surround a large pond on the lower terrace. Open for the NGS on Sunday 25th August, 11am-5.30pm. Admission £5, children free. For more details contact Dr Alison Agnew & Mr Brian Yule on 01872 501972 or email alisonagnew@icloud.com

We’re introducing a key to facilities on offer at the gardens: Refreshments available Plants usually for sale Wheelchair access to much of garden Partial wheelchair access

Unsuitable for wheelchairs Dogs on short leads Visitors welcome by arrangement Coaches welcome consult owners

SQUAB HALL FARM Harbury Lane, Bishops Tachbrook, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV33 9QB Located on a working farm and sitting alongside a re-developed farmhouse, a garden which reflects the owners’ unique creativity and over 40 years of loving attention and natural evolution. Marilyn’s Gallery provides a unique opportunity to view photographic artwork of Marilyn Monroe. Open for the NGS on Saturday 31st August, 11am-4.30pm. Admission £5, children free. For more details contact email bec@squab.co.uk

WOODLANDS FARM Rushley Lane, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, GL54 5JE A one and a half acre garden with generously sized garden rooms, and borders with colourful, harmonious planting schemes. A tall hornbeam hedge creates a dramatic vista to a stone monolith and long contemporary pond; new prairie style border and cottage borders. Open for the NGS on Sunday 11th August, 10am-4pm. Admission £7, children free. For more details contact Mrs Morag Dobbin on 01242 604261 or email mdobbin@btinternet.com www.countrygardener.co.uk



THE OLD VICARAGE West Anstey, South Molton, Devon, EX36 3PE A croquet lawn leads to a multi-level garden overlooking three large ponds with winding paths, climbing roses and overviews. A brook with waterfall flows through the garden past the summerhouse. A benched deck overhangs first pond; large collection of hydrangeas. Open for the NGS on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th August, 12-5pm. Admission £5, children free. For more details contact Tuck & Juliet Moss on 01398 341604 or email julietm@onetel.com

SPRINGFIELD HOUSE Seaton Road, Colyford, Devon, EX24 6QW A one-acre garden featuring numerous beds full of colour, vegetable garden, fruit cage and orchard with ducks and chickens and a new large formal pond. Wonderful views over the River Axe and bird sanctuary. Open for the NGS on Saturday 24th August, 10.30am5pm. Admission £4, children free. For more details contact Wendy Pountney on 01297 552481 or email pountneys@talktalk.net

BABBS FARM Westhill Lane, Bason Bridge, Highbridge, Somerset, TA9 4RF Three-quarters of an acre plantsman’s garden on the Somerset Levels, created out of fields surrounding the old farmhouse. Trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials planted in big flowing borders. Various ponds (formal and informal), box garden, patio area and conservatory. Open for the NGS on Sunday 25th and Bank Holiday Monday 26th August, 2pm-5pm. Admission £5, children free. For more details contact Sue & Richard O’Brien on 01278 793244 or visit www.babbsfarm.co.uk

FERNHILL Whiteball, Wellington, Somerset, TA21 0LU A delightful garden of nearly two acres with a myriad of unusual plants and features. Intriguing paths leading through English roses and banks of hydrangeas. Scenic views stretching up to the Blackdowns and its famous monument. Truly a Hide and Seek garden for all ages. Open for the NGS on Sunday 18th August, 2pm-5pm. Admission £4, children free. For more details contact Peter Bowler on 01823 672423 or email muldoni@hotmail.co.uk www.sampfordarundel.org.uk/fernhill 24

Country Gardener

THE HOLLOW 25 Newton Road, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 2EA Wander around this dramatic sunken garden, formerly a stone quarry. Stone terraces with unusual shrubs and grasses form a harmonious pattern of colour and foliage attracting butterflies and bees. Pieces of medieval London Bridge lurk in the walls and steps have elegant handrails. Open for the NGS on Wednesday 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th August, 2pm-5.30pm. Admission £3 children free. For more details contact Stuart & Suzanne Nutbeem on 01929 423662 or email gdnsuzanne@gmail.com

HILLTOP Woodville, Stour Provost, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 5LY A gorgeous riot of colour and scent, the old thatched cottage barely visible amongst the flowers. Unusual annuals and perennials grow alongside the traditional and familiar, attracting abundant wildlife – and there’s a gothic garden loo. Open for the NGS on Sunday 4th, 11th & 18th August, 2pm-6pm. Admission £3, children free. For more details visit www.hilltopgarden.co.uk

OLD CAMPS Newbury Road, Headley, Thatcham, Hampshire, RG19 8LG A breath-taking garden set over an acre, with panoramic views of Watership Down. Traditional herbaceous borders through desert/ prairie planting, an enchanted knot garden, potager to exuberant subtropical schemes; featuring bananas, cannas, hedychiums and more. Open for the NGS on Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th August, 10am-5pm. Admission £6.50, children free. For more details contact Mr & Mrs Adam & Heidi Vetere on 07720 449702 or email gardens@oldcamps.co.uk www.oldcamps.co.uk

THE HOMESTEAD Northney Road, Hayling Island, Hampshire, PO11 0NF A garden of just over one acre surrounded by working farmland with views to Butser Hill and boats in Chichester Harbour. Trees, shrubs, colourful herbaceous borders and a small walled garden with herbs, vegetables and trained fruit trees, large pond and woodland walk with shade-loving plants. Open for the NGS on Sunday 11th August, 2pm-5.30pm. Admission £4, children free. For more details contact Stan & Mary Pike on 02392 464888 or email jhomestead@aol.com www.homesteadhayling.co.uk www.countrygardener.co.uk



Kissing under your home grown mistletoe!

Diane Howe explains how she is now the proud owner of her own home grown mistletoe bush, successfully propagated a few years ago wit h a little research and perhaps a lot of good fortune Every year I chase around trying to find mistletoe a few days before Christmas. My parents loved it to be a part of their festive decorations and I and my sister have kept up the tradition but every year it seems to be getting more difficult to find and more expensive. A couple of years ago I read how easy it was to grow your own and guess what, so it is and I wonder why I didn’t try it before. We’ve a big-ish garden with enough trees to try it out. I thought I would just share the experience as while I am not an expert at least I feel I know what to do. First and obviously mistletoe is a parasitic plant which needs another tree to live on. This means it absorbs everything it needs from the branches of its host tree, but unlike most parasites, mistletoe doesn’t kill the host plant. It may weaken the host, but the two plants can live in happy harmony as long as you keep it under control. I spent a few anxious weeks worrying that in order to create one plant I was about to destroy another but apparently that is not likely. So as the saying goes – first choose your tree. Apple is a common host tree but lime and poplar also work well. Mistletoe needs lots of sunlight to get going so I was advised try to find a tree that gets plenty of light throughout the day. Then obviously you need a mistletoe berry for the seeds you will implant. We opted in the end for an old apple tree which was in the garden when we bought the house 15 years ago. You then must choose a branch on your host tree that is at least 10cm thick and very high up, so it gets lots of light. Make a shallow slice in the branch to lift up the bark. Remove the mistletoe seed from the berry and place it underneath the bark flap. Keep the cut as small as possible to avoid getting an infection in the wood. Sow several seeds as only one in ten will germinate. Wrap the flap with sacking or hessian to seal it and protect the seed from being eaten by birds. Then wait... and wait and watch and wait some more. We (as in my husband and I) struck lucky. One of the seeds had produced a shoot which then over the following months flourished. It is now five years later an ‘appendage’ to the 26

tree about a metre tall and I sometime feel a bit of remorse that I have saddled this apple tree with what might be an unwanted host, but still. The species I’ve grown is the one most common to England Viscum album and commonly grows on apple, limes, sycamore, hybrid black poplar, and rarely on common oak trees. I spent some time researching all this so your readers might like to know that birds, usually blackbirds or thrushes, can propagate mistletoe, eating the sticky white berries and depositing the seeds on a new host. A great many people have tried to propagate mistletoe, by collecting their own seed and planting it on a suitable host tree with little or no success. No doubt there is something, either in the birds digestive system, or the fertiliser from their droppings, that triggers germination.

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant which needs another tree to live on

But I did something right as it worked first time. Incidentally, the name mistletoe is thought to come from the Missel Thrush, or Mistle Thrush, now not so common as it once was. The mistletoe plant has been around for a very long time. The ancient Greeks believed it had mystical powers. The Druids held any mistletoe which grew on oaks with a special reverence, separating it from the tree in a ceremony using a golden knife. They believed it had great powers to protect them from evil, as well as miraculously having great creative powers. Perhaps the belief of the powers of mistletoe was so deep seated in our ancestors, that we still retain a little of that today, without knowing why. We still believe it brings good luck and happiness. And anyway what harm can it do? With a bit of luck like me, you’ll be kissing under your home grown mistletoe next Christmas!

Country Gardener

Illustration: holly@hellopaperclip.co.uk


Welcome to Country Gardener’s annual guide to gardening speakers and lecturers offering their services to gardening clubs societies and organizations.

We have full details of each speaker including a synopsis of their areas of expertise and the subject matter of their talks and lectures.

Our guide which has proved to be so popular with readers is aimed at providing ideas and options for the thousands of garden clubs across our readership area as they look for speakers to entertain their clubs. This year’s guide includes a number of new speakers.

If you come across speakers who have not been listed in this guide please let them know about it so we can include them in a later edition or update our information online.

It provides new options, new ideas and possibilities as you plan your meetings. £A Price band £0-50

£D Price band variable

£B Price band £51-100


£C Price band £100+ £C


Price band expenses only Slide presentations included



Langport B

We hope this Country Gardener specialist service helps you to find the right speaker on the right subject for your garden club or society perhaps offering someone different for your meetings over the next 12 months.

q 01458 250666 E susannah.applegate@btinternet.com

1. Peonies and Irises - As a commercial grower of Peonies and Irises, my talks include practical advice about propagation and husbandry of Peonies and Irises to optimise the flowering potential of these lovely plants. Talks include a slide presentation of flower types and cultural operations lasting about 45 minutes, followed by a practical “Hands-On” demonstration of how best to plant and care for Peonies and Irises to achieve years of rewarding flowers from a single plant.

2. Plant to Plate - Is an illustrated talk of the work within the UK Fresh Produce Industry to supply Farm Assured food to Farmers Markets and Supermarkets. Challenges of the future such as Food Security to provide for a huge increase in World Population Growth, Climate Change and Efficient Management of Water are also identified. A selection of Seasonal, UK grown produce may be available for sale following the talk. Susannah Applegate of Hurst Brook Plants, as featured on Gardeners’ World, has been growing Peonies and Irises since the 20th century and delivers an informative and entertaining talk with testimonials available from gardening and horticultural societies.



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Radius covered up to 50 miles

Plants or items for sale


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BARBOUR, ROSS Old Court Nurseries, Walwyn Road, Colwall, WR13 6QE q 07896 309494 E oldcourtgdc@btinternet.com Ħ www.autumnasters.co.uk

Looking forward to Winter Bulbs for the unusual Gardening for tomorrow Flummuxed by Ferns? Succulent Success – The not so prickly customers

BEASLEY, KAREN Little Acre, Dyers Lane, Iron Acton, Bristol BS37 9XW q 07816 530270 E karen.beasley1@icloud.com

1. Planting up of seasonal containers - baskets and general landscape advice for small and large gardens.

2. Garden QA - With quiz to include the

competition and container/basket prize. Completed many local talks for WI, Probus and Mothers Union groups. Feedback is always very positive and delegates always enjoy.






q 07763 348148 E ben@adventurousplants.co.uk Ħ www.adventurousplants.co.uk

1. 2. 3. 4.

The fascinating world of Aroids UK Subtropical Gardening Plants of the Canary Isles Wildlife Friendly Gardening

Please visit website for more titles and info.



CARL WOODMANS WORLD 1 BroomHill Cottage, Broom Hill, Huntley GL19 3HA q 01452 830 258 E woodmansworld@live.co.uk

1. Trugmaking by a miserable old trugger - I think that’s what the wife called me

2. Besoms and Gypsy Flowers 3. Bees and their products 27



CHEEK, ROY 35 Wembdon Rise, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 7PN



q 01278 451814 / 07788593674 E rvcheek@btinternet.com

2. Irresistible garden plants for butterflies - e.g. Bringing them winging in with just five new plants.

3. Insectivorous plants - Discover new hardy year round attractive ones for the garden or the windowsill.

Treetops, 11 Stony Riding, Chalford Hill, Stroud, Glos, GL6 8ED


1. Wildflowers of the Cotswolds Remedies, myths and legends 2. Gardening for butterflies and moths 3. The fascinating story of Britain’s wild orchids

FITZGERALD, ROSEMARY Beggars Roost, Lilstock, Bridgwater, Somerset TA5 1SU


q 01453 882127 E sue-smith@11treetops.co.uk

1. Chelsea Flower Show - Creating 20

very different exhibits from bronze to gold.


q 01278 741519 E ro@lilstock.eclipse.co.uk

Talks on how wild and garden plants interact. Lovely slides from UK, Ireland, and countries including Morocco, Iceland, Sweden and south-west China. Contact me to discuss ideas!

4. Plan your garden holiday..? - Choose from 50 destinations from Cornwall to Costa Rica.

5. Holly & Ivy - Entertaining Winter Talk. Many other talks, ask for details. Widely experienced and qualified, Roy progressed from Gardener to Director of parks and gardens around Britain. As senior lecturer and curator of gardens in Somerset he amassed ten thousand different plants, ten national collections and created new hybrids, diverse gardens and gold medal exhibits at Chelsea. Now Chairman of an RHS trials forum, international tour leader, judge, advisor, designer and writer.



COX, MYRA q 01278 784110 / 07896 351693 E coxmyra20032000@yahoo.co.uk

1. Transforming a bunch of flowers while explaining the work and my life as a Cinnamon Trust Volunteer 2. Reminiscing with Flowers and/or Vintage Memorabilia 3. Christmas Cracker fun with Flowers



DOWN, FELICITY Former owner of Cleeve Nursery q 07739 977431 E downtoearthfd@gmail.com Ħ www.down-to-earth.co.uk

1. Encourage wildlife to your garden. 2. Fill those pots! 3. Plan it, plant it. Informative talks to inspire both the beginner and the experienced gardener.






CROUCH, KATHERINE 2 Pound Cottages, Donyatt, Ilminster, Somerset TA19 0RT q 07594 574150 / 01460 53284 E crouchee@aol.com Ħ www.katherinecrouch.com

1. New tricks for old gardeners 2. First time at Chelsea - and winning Gold! 3. Winning BBC Gardener of the Decade 4. Plants That Should be Better Known 28



q 01590 610292 E alan@bowercotgardendesign.co.uk

FLINTHAM, BECCA 39 Regents Park, Exeter, Devon, EX1 2NY q 07717 846814 / 01392 437792 E becca.redkite@gmail.com Ħ www.rowanleaf.co.uk

1. Wildlife Gardening - Attracting beneficial wildlife to your garden

2. Water, Water Everywhere - Ponds, bog gardens and water-wise gardening

3. Food For Free - A guide to foraging for wild foods


30 Belmore Lane, Lymington, Hants SO41 3NJ B

FOLLIS, JANE 3 Prospect Cottages, Ditcheat, Somerset BA4 6PW q 01749 860850 E jane@janefollis.com Ħ www.janefollis.com

1. Primulas & Auriculas 2. Gardening with native plants 3. The shady garden

1. A Year in my Garden - Offers

Other talks available.

2. Introduction to Garden Design

insight into a designer’s palette of plants with sales of more unusual varieties.

- Offers tips and ideas to help design a space with before and after images and loads of useful information.

4. Roses grow on you flower demonstration




FISHER, SUE Yelverton, Devon, PL20 7BY



q 01822 841895 / 0781 775 7446 E suefisher@talktalk.net Ħ www.suefishergardens.co.uk

Sue offers a range of talks in Powerpoint form, fully illustrated with her own photographs. Topics include container gardening, wildlife, growing edibles, small gardens and climate change: please see website for more details or contact for further information. Practical demonstrations also available which are ideal for events such as garden shows.

Country Gardener

The Speakers List is our comprehensive annual guide to gardening and gardening speakers and lecturers. If you would like to be part of our hugely popular Speakers List next year contact Ava Bench on 01278 786139 or email ava@countrygardener.co.uk

£A Price band £0-50

£D Price band variable

£B Price band £51-100


£C Price band £100+ £C




Price band expenses only Slide presentations included

GARRATT, JONATHAN FRSA Jolliffe’s Cottage, Stour Row, Shaftesbury, SP7 0QW

q 01747 858697 E jonathangarratt82@gmail.com Ħ www.studiopottery.co.uk

1. “Back to Nature? Some of us never left.” (My own story, current work) 2. Breaking the Rules. Container gardening with a twist. 3. Sensory gardens. 4. A history of the flowerpot. 5. Landscapes. 6. Sculpture in gardens and green spaces.




Radius covered up to 50 miles

Plants or items for sale


Radius covered up to 100 miles

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11 Quarry Cottages, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 9UR


q 01935 472771 E thedancingmaster@outlook.com

1. Six centuries of English dance: from Geoffrey Chaucer to Jane Austen. Can cover whole period or

focus on one historical era; always illustrated with literary references, live music and some audience participation.

2. Why Music in Prison

£B www


Jonathan has 35 years experience of making woodfired terracotta pots and has come to know a wide variety of “players” in the gardening scene.

HINSLEY, MARK ARBORICULTURAL CONSULTANT Office F11, 10 Whittle Road, Ferndown, Dorset, BH21 7RU


HUTCHISON, ADRIAN 2 Westwell Lane, Theale, Wedmore, Somerset, BS28 4SW


q 01934 712729 or 07779 072292 E adrian@nzzone.net

1. Weeds and their Control (including identification) 2. Wild Flowers in the Dolomites 3. Plants for Shade (in conjunction with Long Acre Plants) 4. Plant poisons and potions 5. Wild flowers in a land of fallen Giants 6. Pests and diseases A qualified Horticulturalist formerly involved in weed research and has led walks in the Dolomites. Please telephone or e-mail for details.

q 01202 876177 E enquiries@treeadvice.info Ħ www.treeadvice.info

1. The Churchyard Yew 2. Trees in your Garden 3. Trees and the Law Please contact us to discuss requirements.


HAIG, GAVIN FRCS The Castle Lodge, Castle Street, Bampton, Devon, EX16 9NS



HOFFNUNG, MARGIE Netherfields, Frog Lane, North Nibley, Glos GL11 6DJ

q 01398 332419 E gavinhaig@googlemail.com

q 07876 196074 E margiehoffnung@gmail.com

1. Creating a Wildlife Garden 2. The Healing Garden 3. Celebration of Devon/Somerset Wildlife 4. Trials and tribulations of being a Surgeon

1. Rosemary Verey 1918-2001 - Her


Practised as Surgeon and Doctor with a passion for attracting wildlife to our gardens. Developed award-winning Wildlife Garden at Tiverton Hospital. £A


HAZELL, GILL 17 Valley View, Clutton Bristol BS39 5SN q 01761 452036 E clutton.glads@btinternet.com

1. 2. 3. 4.

Growing and Showing Sweet Peas Classic, Rare and Unusual Bulbs So you think you know Gladiolus! Illustrated On-Screen Flower and Vegetable Quizzes

Other talks in relation to the above can be tailored to suit your society.

Contribution & Legacy to C20 gardening

2. Garden Visiting - a very British Tradition - A lighthearted look at the many different aspects of why we visit gardens

3. Blaise Castle - A Stranger at Blaise – the development of the park & landscape with particular reference to Humphry Repton




HOPE, NICOLA 4 AVON ROAD, MALMESBURY, WILTSHIRE, SN16 0DL q 07711285447 E info@nicolahope.co.uk Ħ www.nicolahope.co.uk

1. Organic Gardening ~ happy plants, happy minds 2. Tales from the Potting Shed ~ where gardening magic begins! An organically trained gardener, Nicola has over two decades of experience working in prestigious public and private gardens. She is passionate about organic gardening.





JAMES, ADRIAN Langdale, Church Street, Offenham, Evesham, Worcs. WR11 8RW q 01386 424880 / 07535 537137 E ajames@waitrose.com Ħ www.adrianjames.org.uk

1. Gardens of Paradise. The history,

design & symbolism of Persian style gardens.

2. Three West Country Gardens 3. Through The Garden Gate Please see website or contact me for a complete list of garden talks. Travel radius over 50 miles is by special arrangement. £B




Elder Farm, Greenham, Wellington, Somerset, TA21 0JY q 01823 674386 E helen@elderfarm.co.uk Ħ www.elderfarm.co.uk

1. Hedgerow Medicine - Learn how to 2. 3.

recognise common plants and make useful medicines. Kitchen remedies - Find out the amazing properties of some of the herbs and spices in your kitchen. Medicinal Herb Farmer - Learn about my off grid 5 acre small holding and my work as a Medical Herbalist.

Covers Devon and Somerset. 29




Whitehall Farmhouse, Sevenhampton, Cheltenham, Glos, GL54 5TL


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q 01242 820772 / 07711 021034 E victoria@wfplants.co.uk Ħ www.wfplants.co.uk

Practical Propagation Getting the Most from your Garden Vegetable Gardening Wildlife Gardening

My talks are based on practical experience and observation. I am also a beekeeper.



MIGNOTTE, NATHALIE 1 Stanley Cottages, Blaisdon Longhope, Gloucestershire GL17 0AL




Meadow Cottage, 42 Rivar Road, Shalbourne, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 3RL q 07740 636455 / 01672 871265 E l.philipps@btinternet.com

1. Down to Earth - Learning to look after

and love your soil – from testing to feeding!

2. Green Manures, Catch Crops and Cover Crops - What’s the difference and what are the benefits?

3. The Art and Science of Compost making - The gardener’s friend!

Gardens of Versailles Islamic Gardens Medieval Gardens Landscapes of Vietnam and Cambodia 5. Seasonal Colours in the Garden 6. Le jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh - NEW. Please contact me for more information on travel charges and a full listing of my talks which are all based on personal experience and travel.


2. Plant Heritage Others by request. Mike & Edna are long time members of Plant Heritage and are widely travelled with long involvement in RHS Shows. The garden is open for groups.



Old Court Nurseries & The Picton Garden, Walwyn Road, Colwall WR13 6QE


q 01684 540416 E oldcourtnurseries@btinternet.com

1. Daisy Days - Michaelmas daisies the rise, fall and renaissance

2. A Plantaholics Paradise 3. It’s not time for bed yet -

Rethinking autumn in the English Garden




RENDELL, PAUL The Coach House, Tramlines, Okehampton, Devon EX20 1EH q 01837 54727 E paul.dartmoor@virgin.net Ħ www.paulrendelldartmoor.co.uk

1. Devon’s Water Wildlife 2. Wild Plants Of Devon 3. The Secret Wildlife On Dartmoor The speaker can offer over 40 talks about history, wildlife and landscapes of Devon and Cornwall. All talks are illustrated and last about one hour.

q 01404 822118 E feebers@btinternet.com

1. Feebers Garden



SQUIRES, MIKE & EDNA 1 Feebers Cottage, Westwood, Broadclyst, Devon, EX5 3DQ


q 077 66 197 129 E nmignotte@aol.com

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STAPLEY, CHRISTINA 38 Wenhill Heights, Calne, Wilts, SN11 0JZ q 01249 821087 E christina.stapley@tiscali.co.uk Ħ www.heartsease-herb-books.com

1. Herbs in the Kitchen Garden 2. Herbs to Aid the Gardener 3. Wild Plants of the Scilly Isles



STEPHENS, HARVEY Windsor Great Park q 07824362135 E Prof_Gardener@outlook.com t @prof_gardener

1. The Gardens of Windsor Great Park: A personal presentation looking behind the scenes of the Savill Garden. 2. The Great Gardens of Russia 3. Barking up the wrong tree 4. Plants worthy of Garden Merit



PAKENHAM, CAROLINE The Old Manor, Rudge, FROME, Somerset BA11 2QG q 01373 830312 E carriepakenham@gmail.com

1. The cultivation and uses of unusual herbs 2. Getting ready for winter Money from the talks is donated to the Wessex Therapy Center for Multiple Sclerosis. I always bring a large variety of herbs for sale and demonstration plus my book Making Jellied Preserves and the jellies. 30




SHELDRICK, CAROLINE Middle Path, Keble Road, France Lynch, Stroud GL6 8LN q 01453 884092 E cjsheldrick@gmail.com Ħ www.carolinesheldrickmedicalherbalist.co.uk

1. Medicinal Garden Plants 2. Flowers in Healing 3. Hedgerow Pharmacy Caroline is a qualified medical herbalist in practice in rural Gloucestershire.

Country Gardener

5. The Wonders of Chile’s National Parks Harvey is an award winning garden manager with a wealth of International experiences. He trained at Kew and is a Chairman and panel member of various RHS plant trials. He is currently Deputy Keeper of the gardens within Windsor Great Park and played his part in selecting and cutting material for two Royal Weddings. Informative, enthusiastic presentations accompanied by quality slides.

£A Price band £0-50

£D Price band variable

£B Price band £51-100


£C Price band £100+ £C

Price band expenses only Slide presentations included


q 07546874083 E andrew@atpgardening.co.uk Ħ www.atpgardening.co.uk


Radius covered up to 100 miles

Radius covered 0-25 miles


Radius covered 100+ miles

Contact Ava Bench on 01278 786139 or email ava@countrygardener.co.uk



White Fan Talks, ‘Starshine’, 15 Half Moon Court, Buckfastleigh, Devon TQ11 0GA


1. 300 years Tribute to Gilbert White, 1720-2020 2. Gardening with Jane Austen Both talks have powerpoint presentations. Long journeys can only be undertaken in the summer months, from April till October.

UNDERHILL, TERRY MHORT Fairlight, Mill Cross, Rattery, South Brent, TQ10 9LA q 01364 72314 E terry@terry-underhill.co.uk Ħ www.terry-underhill.co.uk

Mountains to the Garden Mediterranean Garden Plants Autumn Colour Being a TV Gardener

USHER, DAVID 10 Rowbarton Close, Taunton, Somerset, TA2 7DQ

1. Gertrude Jekyll - Her Plants & Designs. 2. The Restoration of Hestercombe Gardens 3. Bedding Plants for your Gardens 4. Care and management of trees & shrubs 5. The history of our gardens 6. The answer lies in the soil 7. Herbaceous Plants David, a professional gardener for over 40 years, was Head Gardener at Hestercombe for 18 years. He is interested in all aspects of ornamental gardening and has given talks to a wide variety of groups. Contact him for a brochure about his talks.

WILSON, JEREMY 17 Seymour Drive, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 8PY


q 07964 824673 E info@garden-together.co.uk

1. Camellias 2. The Scented Garden 3. Blood, Sweat and TEA Ex Head Gardener of private estates and now specialist camellia grower of over 250 varieties.



WRAY, NICK Curator, University of Bristol Botanic Garden q 01179 629220 E n.wray@blueyonder.co.uk

q 01823 278037 E dave.usher@hotmail.com

q 01364 644028 / 07792517145

1. 2. 3. 4.

Plants or items for sale

Why not advertise your speaker services in our Classifieds section?



Radius covered up to 50 miles

Can’t wait until next years Speakers List?





1. Off the beaten track, hidden gems 2. Glorious gardens, a gardeners choice 3. Art of Topiary & Ornamental Hedges 4. Stumperies, ferns & shady friends




TOLMAN, ANDREW Minehead, Somerset



Fully illustrated lectures by well known speaker including:

1. The development of the new University of Bristol Botanic Garden 2. Flora of the Western Cape of South Africa 3. Evolution of Flowers 4. Garden plants and their pollinators 5. The gardens and landscapes of Sicily 6. Darwin the botanist and his travels aboard the Beagle

Many other talks. Highly qualified, wide experience including TV, Radio and Magazines. See website for more titles.

The Speakers List is our comprehensive annual guide to gardening and gardening speakers and lecturers. If you would like to be part of our hugely popular Speakers List next year contact Ava Bench on 01278 786139 or email ava@countrygardener.co.uk




WESTONBIRT, THE NATIONAL ARBORETUM Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8QS q 0300 067 4873 E lyndsay.ball@forestryengland.uk Ħ www.forestryengland.uk/westonbirt/groups

Bring Westonbirt to you with ‘The Wonders of Westonbirt’ talk, covering the seasons, events and future direction at the beautiful National Arboretum, presented by knowledgeable volunteer speakers.




WYNNE-JONES, DAVINA Herbs for Healing, Barnsley Herb Garden, Near Cirencester, Glos GL7 5EE q 07773 687493 E davina@herbsforhealing.net

1. Herbs for Healing - practical uses of plants for good health 2. Herb Gardens, historic and modern. 3. The influence of my mother, Rosemary Verey, on me and others. 31



ADD VALUE TO MY HOME? Country Gardener reader Ian Bradley has been finding out how much he can boost the value of his property by investing time and effort into his garden In case my wife or members of my family read this, I am not planning to sell my Dorset home and up and move on. But a couple of my colleagues have finally sold their properties this year after a stressful time and it seems the advice they were given when it comes to the importance the state of their garden has when it comes to what price they might achieve, could surprise some people. It certainly did me and got me thinking about those times when the conversation turns to what our property might be worth. I am always optimistic by the way and my wife annoyingly, I am sure, nearer the mark with a £50,000 lower figure. So spending time with these guys and listening to them endlessly trying to think of ways of adding value has got me into some research into the ‘garden factor ‘ and I’d be delighted to share it with the readers of your excellent magazine. Gardens, it seems from the advice handed out by the estate agents involved in the transaction of the houses owned by my workmates, are a huge selling point for potential buyers. A wellmaintained garden is seen as an extra ‘room’ for your property, boosting its value by up to 20 per-cent or an impressive £60,000 based on the current UK average house price. The trick is to make subtle changes which won’t divide opinion and help house-hunters see the potential of your garden. I am told if you need to spruce up your garden for a viewing quickly and cheaply, it’s the small details that count. Make sure the lawn is mowed, the washing line is down, any wooden surfaces have a fresh lick of paint or stain and any weeds are pulled up. If your garden looks cared for, it’ll be much more attractive to buyers who will be able to see its potential. That seems pretty obvious but none of it would apply to anyone looking at my garden at the moment strewn with toys, goalposts washing lines and unweeded borders. 32

If your garden is overly wide or long, it seems you need to break it down into distinct areas, helping buyers see for themselves how they can use and enjoy it. One ‘hot topic’ is privacy and security. Even if your home is overlooked by other houses or gardens, you need to invest in simple steps to block prying eyes. A wooden or bamboo screen or trellis closes close any gaps where foliage or trees may be missing, which climbers such as wisteria, clematis and ivy can wrap themselves around over time to create a “green border”. This adds privacy and makes it harder for intruders to get into your garden too. You can also make your garden feel more secure by installing outdoor lighting features, particularly ones which are motion sensitive. Then there’s true gardening themes –like creating different ‘rooms’ in the garden, keeping a good amount of lawn alongside a decked or paved area for relaxing and entertaining, flower bed borders and a growing area with raised beds or a greenhouse. If your property doesn’t have a garage (mine does thank you very much!) buyers may be put off when thinking about where to store their garden tools, lawn mower, barbeques and summer furniture. A shed is the best option, tucked away in a corner away from your entertaining space. If you already have one, make sure it looks cared for with no broken windows and a fresh lick of paint. If you’re tight for space, there’s always bench seating with a hinged lid, which can double up as a storage box for smaller tools and soft furnishings. While a swimming pool or even hot tub might come to mind if you had to pick a “wow” item for your garden, in reality, it’s not possible for many of us and I don’t like them anyway! You probably don’t want to over-invest in garden features which you can’t take with you, so cheaper things like a fire pit, bird bath, pergola, or an olive or bay tree entice viewers without such a high price tag. So there it is. This weekend I am getting to work -adding £60,000 to the value of my home –or perhaps less. It will be worth it. I think.

Country Gardener


fruitless This is the time of year when some gardeners look and see no fruit on their fruit trees which makes for a disappointing harvest to say the least. What is likely to have gone wrong? If your fruit trees are proving to be mystifyingly unproductive this year – whether it’s a case of no flowers, flowers but no fruits, or only tiny fruits – then it’s time to for a little detective work. The problem is normally one of just five reasons. LACK OF POLLINATION The prime suspect in most cases is a lack of pollination. This can happen for a number of reasons, the most common being a lack of insect activity. Bees and other pollinators are reluctant to go on the prowl for nectar when the weather is windy, rainy or cold. During bad weather insects are more likely to be active within a sheltered garden than an exposed one. If you’re able to provide screening – for instance by planting a hedge – then this is worth trying. Most fruit trees need a ‘pollination buddy’ to set fruit successfully, so make sure your tree has a compatible partner-in-crime nearby. It goes without saying that avoiding the use of pesticides will greatly improve your trees’ chances of successful pollination. SOIL CONDITIONS Fruit trees tend to be tolerant of most soil conditions so, while it’s tempting to give them a boost of fertiliser to encourage a bumper crop, this often has the opposite effect. Quick-release fertiliser can result in weak, soft growth that is produced at the expense of flowers and fruits, and that can prove attractive to opportunistic pests. Homemade compost, or manure from a trusted source are the best options for building soil fertility. They release nutrients at a steady rate and improve soil structure, promoting good, honest growth and fruiting. You can cloak the soil surface around your trees with compost or manure at any time, but the best time to do this is in spring or autumn.

BAD PRUNING Pruning is often regarded with some trepidation, but a few judicious cuts can really invigorate a struggling tree. Over-pruning stimulates lots of lush new growth at the expense of fruits. The key is to only cut out what are known as the ‘3Ds ‘– diseased, dying and dead wood – plus any crossing branches or branches that point inwards. PEST ATTACKS There may be no fruit thanks to diseases and insects. Those that attack leaves may just make them unsightly, but may weaken the tree over time. Those that attack the fruit may make them inedible. Those that attack the blossoms prevent fruit from even forming. ONE GOOD YEAR, ONE BAD YEAR Some trees, often apples, are ‘biennial bearing’-- they bear heavily one year and little the next. This tendency varies with variety. Since flower buds for one year actually are formed during the previous summer, an especially heavy crop one year can lessen the flowers (and so fruit) the following year. If a fruit tree seems to be bearing biennially, try early and heavy thinning of fruit during the summer they are producing the most. During early summer remove all but one fruit per cluster. Fruit trees may also not bear when too young. The time between planting and bearing will vary with the tree type, variety, and rootstock. Trees grafted onto dwarfing rootstocks generally will begin bearing one or two years earlier than those on standard rootstocks. Apples may take two to five years to bear fruit from planting, sour cherries three to five years, sweet cherries five to seven years, and four to six years for pears and plums.




learn from the trees?

What can we

Mark Hinsley considers a few of the lessons we can learn from trees about how to survive and succeed on this planet without making it uninhabitable According to scientists, the first of the genus Homo appeared on planet earth about 2.8 million years ago, whilst the first trees evolved about 360 million years ago. So, for about 357 million years, the planet had trees but no people. For most of the last 360 million years one could also argue that, on land, the most dominant and most successful organism was the tree. Only in the last few thousand years have humans reached a position of technology and population whereby the tree is dominated by them. When we think of our co-inhabitants of this planet, we tend to think of other animals rather than plants. We are concerned about elephants, gorillas, rhinos and whales. But even these creatures are ‘Johnny-come-latelies’ compared to the trees. The planet that Homo sapiens ‘inherited’ from the trees was a healthy, lush, fruitful place. It abounded with life and lived in balance with itself. In short – as the dominant organism and therefore the de facto custodians of the planet, the trees did a pretty amazing job. They managed the soil, they managed the passage of water through the system and in so doing they prevented drought and they prevented floods. They managed air quality and air temperature and they created an incredible variety of habitats for their fellow plants and creatures. As far as I am aware the trees never caused the extinction of a single species - although they would have liked to get rid of that pesky grass! So, what can we learn from the trees? They live within their means – if a tree is growing in a lush, sheltered, well-watered valley with a deep fertile soil it will grow fast and large. The same species growing in a restricted pocket of soil on the exposed face of a stony hillside, with 34

restricted access to water, will grow small and slowly. Both will develop to the extent that their environment allows and no more – they do not behave in a reckless manner – they don’t take out loans that they can’t pay back! They are ruthless with any part of the organism that costs them more than it makes – the mechanisms by which they do this are not part of this little article, but, if a twig or branch costs the tree more in stored energy to grow new leaves than it will get back in new photosynthesised energy from those leaves, it shuts it down. The trees have not read Beatrix Potter and therefore have not forgotten that ‘Mother Nature’ is not a fluffy benevolent presence but a harsh set of rules that are brutal on the weak. They recycle everything – any part of the tree that is redundant, including ultimately most of the timber inside the trunk, will end up being decayed by fungi and released back into the soil to be used again. In the end the whole tree will be so decayed and recycled for the next generation – absolutely nothing is wasted. They adapt to their environment – if a tree lives in a part of the world that experiences short days and low light levels for part of the year, it will have a dormant period, in some cases involving the discarding of all its now inefficient leaves, rather than run through the low period at a loss. In areas where the days are even, such as near the equator, they grow all year round. These are, I think, just a few of the lessons we can learn from the trees about how to succeed on this planet without ultimately rendering it uninhabitable. Mark Hinsley is from Arboriculture Consultants Ltd. www.treeadvice.info

Country Gardener

Blooming lovely

ROADSIDES Over the next few years the summer view as you travel down roads throughout the southwest could look a lot more floral. A long-running campaign encouraging councils to let neatlymown grass verges become mini meadows where wildflowers and wildlife can flourish appears to be building up a head of steam. And areas of the southwest are leading the way. Since 2013, Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity has been telling local authorities the move could help them save money and boost their green credentials. Several have taken the message on board and this summer for the first time flower meadows have started to appear on roadsides. Plantlife’s campaign highlights the fact that over 700 species of wild flower grow on the UK’s road verges – nearly 45 percent of our total flora. And where wild flowers lead, wildlife follows with a multitude of bees, butterflies, birds and bugs. All enjoyed by 23 million road commuters. However, road verges are under considerable pressure. Priorities for safety and access, alongside budget constraints, a desire for ‘neatness’ and difficulties with the collection of litter and grass clippings all mean that enhancing their wildlife value is often low on the list. Plantlife wants flowers to be allowed to flower so pollinators can work their magic and seeds can ripen and fall to the ground. In this way, the floral display will become better and better every year. Plantlife started this campaign in 2013 in response to protests from the public horrified by wild flowers being mown down. A few roadside nature reserves is not enough. They want to transform the entire network. There are nearly 500,000 kilometres of rural road verge in the UK. This is equal to half of the remaining flower-rich grasslands and meadows: their potential is enormous.

A magnificent wildflower display can be seen along the A38 in Devon thanks to a scheme to increase biodiversity and help provide wildlife habitats

Highways England is also committed to a national biodiversity plan which is supported by a £30 million investment programme over five years. The plan recognises road verges and adjoining land can be managed to provide areas of wildlife habitat, relatively free from human access. These road verges can also be used to connect fragmented areas of habitats, enabling plant and animal populations to move and interact, and so become stronger and more resilient. The wild flower scheme on the A38 was started last year when seeds from over 20 variety of flowers, including cornflowers, oxeye daisies, yellow rattle and poppies were sown over five hectares of roadside verge between Ashburton and Ivybridge, adding to the ten hectares that have recently been created along the A38 and A30 in Devon and Cornwall. Highways England senior ecologist Leonardo Gubert said: “This is the third wild flower scheme we have delivered in the south west and we’re delighted it’s proving so successful. “The scheme will add to the diverse mosaic of habitats along the A38 and will support a number of pollinators and other invertebrates, including five rare species of beetles and a whole host of other wildlife we recorded at the site before the work was undertaken. “We’re already looking forward to carrying out a full survey next year to see just how many benefits have been brought to our verges and we’re proud to be delivering such an important programme on roadside land. “We are also planning more wild flower areas and a number of schemes are being designed for verges on the M5 and M4 in the future. Plantlife said a “cut less, cut later” approach by councils and highways authorities could significantly improve the health of the UK’s verges. It said: “We want flowers to be allowed to flower so pollinators can work their magic and seeds can ripen and fall to the ground. In this way, the floral display will become better and better every year.”

Wildflower glory off the A38 in Devon



The night shift

Your garden at night has a very different cast list to the daytime inhabited and busy with bats, moths, hedgehogs, toads and more Bats are a sign of a green and healthy environment

There’s little that can beat sitting out in the garden on a late summer evening as the sun goes down. The birds fall quiet the temperature drops and its time to go indoors. As the daylight in the garden dies it is time for wildlife to take over. It’s a very different cast from the birds, butterflies and bees which dominate the daytime world but none the less captivating and thrilling. It is another life, another world which for the most part goes unseen if not unheard. Night is the time for mammals of all shapes and sizes to be out and about with foxes and badgers now on the prowl. And if all these hunters are out at night, then it must be the time for finding a meal. The after dark menu is rich and varied, with all sorts of

small and tasty creatures for the bigger animals to find. Take the bats for example. Their diet is a crunchy protein mix of moths, flies and beetles, plucked out of the sky. It is astonishing to think they do this by effectively shouting at a very high pitch and then listening for the tiniest of echoes bouncing off their insect prey. For other predators it’s time to root around on the garden floor where they can find worms, beetles and woodlice. For these creepy crawlies, darkness makes it harder for the predators to see them, but the real reason many come out at night, is because they would not be able to cope with the rays of the sun. So it is no wonder your vegetable patch comes under attack from sun shunning slugs and snails. That’s where a wildlife friendly garden comes to the rescue. Hedgehogs enjoy a slug or two as do frogs and toads.


Moths at night 36

You can of course get a much better view of what’s going on in your garden at night with night vision technology. Night vision binoculars - These boost the faintest light signals and project them as green images. They do not have the same magnification levels of ordinary binoculars as their job is to intensify images. They typically cost £200 or more. Red Torches - Most wildlife will run a mile from bright white light so you could try a torch with a red filter or even tape red cellotape to the front. Night cameras - You can strap a box camera to a tree or post near where you suspect interesting wildlife. The movement of larger animals triggers the camera. Prices range from £100.

Country Gardener

grounds or foraging habitats to find food and commuting habitats to travel between roosts and foraging habitats. These habitats are vital for bats, which is why the Bat Conservation Trust is working to make more of the landscape bat friendly and is appealing to gardeners to make their gardens more bat friendly. From July onwards, female bats form maternity colonies and give birth to a single pup which will be able to fly after around four weeks. In autumn, males defend their territories and attempt to attract mates using ‘song flights’, a series of singing social calls around their roost. Bat Conservation Trust www.bats.org.uk

TOADS AND FROGS We tend to think of toads and frogs as pond creatures but during the summer they are effectively land animals, hiding under cover by day and venturing out at night when you are not looking. By dawn they will be back under cover. They devour moths, mosquitoes, slugs, grasshoppers, dragonflies and flies but are a prey for geese and foxes. Natterjack toad

BATS Bats are in full swing come summer, and insect-rich gardens are their hunting grounds. They are one of the first to fill the night sky, often clearly visible in the fading night. These small and fascinating creatures often live in close proximity to us, using our gardens as an important source of food, water and shelter. As their natural habitats become scarcer, our gardens are playing a more important role in securing a future for bats. Bats are a sign of a green and healthy environment, so creating a garden that’s good for bats will also be good for people. All UK bat species eat insects, so they look for places with lots of insects to hunt. The more eco-friendly your garden the more likely you are to attract bats.

MOTHS Moths are the most common of the nocturnal insects that visit your garden. Moths are often neglected or ignored in favour of their cousins, the butterflies, when considering which insects we want to encourage into our gardens. However, with around 2,500 species in the UK, moths can be extremely diverse and interesting. Moths are hugely important for the food chain and can provide pollination services, but there is increasing evidence that Britain’s moths are in decline. The good side of moths is that they are nocturnal pollinators, and some plants are adapted for nocturnal pollination. Squashes are such a plant. Moths appear to complement the work of bees and can carry pollen over greater distances, as they don’t have the same ties to a particular part of the landscape. So again it’s very worthwhile encouraging them into your garden.

Bats use a variety of landscapes or habitats throughout the year as they feed, roost and travel. They use hunting

WHO’S EATING WHO IN THE FOOD CHAIN AT NIGHT • Hedgehogs eat slugs, worms and insects. • Foxes eat mice, grass snakes, birds, eggs, worms, fruit and berries. • Frogs eat moths, mosquitoes, slugs, grasshoppers, dragonflies and flies • Slugs eat fresh and decomposing vegetation. Hedgehogs enjoy eating slugs, worms and other insects



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Bed & Breakfast

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Backdoorshoes® have won themselves a second to none reputation amongst gardeners for their colourful range of slip on gardening clogs and flip-flops. What makes the whole range stand out is their colourful, decorated and unique patterns that include everything from chilies to dogs to sunflowers, poppies and vegetables. It’s a range which has become very popular and in demand with gardeners. In our August competition we have 20 pairs of Backdoorshoes® colourful range of flip-flops to win. The women’s and men’s flip flops are a perfect accessory for any outfit. Sizes are available from 3-13 each pair features a cool pattern to make sure your footwear is looking great. Choose any pattern from the unique range including meadow, poppy, grass, tree camo and more! Sole made from a rubber/eva compound for maximum comfort and the bespoke colour strap is made from a soft compound rubber. Backdoorshoes® are well known for the huge range of slip on gardening clogs perfect for those that love the outdoors. Lightweight, stylish and practical, our waterproof garden shoes are available in all popular sizes for men, women and even the kids. They may look strange

To enter just answer the following question... Who came up the concept of Backdoorshoes? Put your answer on a postcard and sent to: Backdoorshoes Competition, Country Gardener Magazine, Mount House, Halse, Taunton, Somerset TA4 3AD. Closing date for entries is Friday, 30th August. The competition winners will be announced in the next available edition of Country Gardener.

at first, but you’ll be amazed at the comfort and practicality of thier gardening footwear. Easy to put on and take off, Backdoorshoes® waterproof outdoor clogs are designed to keep your feet dry whilst removing the hassle of repeatedly tying and untying laces. Not only will these garden shoes stop your socks from getting soggy, their unique foam construction makes them washable and reusable for years at a time. The company is British, its story is fun and the shoes are certainly light, comfortable to work in. Stephen Avery had the idea: he needed a pair of shoes to get down the garden without putting on wellington boots or getting his indoor footwear dirty. A medical friend offered him some white theatre clogs to try out… Stephen decided to funk them up and transformed them into the fun shoes that they are today, using computer-generated images. In the beginning there were only five designs now there’s a huge range with more on the way.

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Our hugely popular Time Off section is a regular free opportunity for gardening clubs, associations, societies and organisations to publicise their events to Country Gardener readers. Here’s a selection of gardening events to look out for during the next few weeks throughout Cornwall. If you are a garden club or association looking to promote an event then please send us details at least eight weeks before publication and we will publicise it free of charge. Make sure you let us know where the event is being held, the date and include a contact telephone number. We are always keen to support events and we will be glad to publicise talks, meetings and shows held during the year where clubs want to attract a wider audience, but we do not have space for club outings or parties. It is much easier for us if garden clubs could send us their diary for the year for events to be included in the relevant issue of the magazine. Please send to Country Gardener Magazines, Mount House, Halse, Taunton TA4 3AD or by email to timeoff@countrygardener.co.uk We take great care to ensure that details are correct at the time of going to press but we advise readers to check wherever possible before starting out on a journey as circumstances can force last minute changes. All NGS open gardens can be found on www.ngs.org.uk or in the local NGS booklet available at many outlets.



20th July - 1st September LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN HELIGAN SUMMER BUZZ Daily, 10am to 4pm Details on www.heligan.com



6th LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN HISTORICAL GARDEN TOUR 10.30am £6.50, price includes a hot drink Details on 01726 845100

30th LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN HISTORICAL GARDEN TOUR 10.30am £6.50, price includes a hot drink Details on 01726 845100

13th LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN HISTORICAL GARDEN TOUR 10.30am £6.50, price includes a hot drink Details on 01726 845100 14th TREVILLA, MARSHGATE CAMELFORD CAMELFORD AGRICULTURAL SHOW Opens 8am Details on 07483 964125 or visit www.camelfordshow.co.uk 24th-26th THE CORNISH DAHLIA SOCIETY AT THE LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN 39TH ANNUAL SHOW Opens 10am Details on cornishdahlia@gmail.com

11th TREGONY TREGONY HEAVY HORSE SHOW & COUNTRY FAYRE Opens 10am Details on 07717006935

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THE ‘obedient’ PLANT Growing ‘Obedient’ plants in the garden adds a bright, spiky flower to the late summer and autumn flowerbed, as well as being something rather different Very few plants do as they are told. If you want a climber to grow 15 feet up a tree it will grow 20 feet over your next-door neighbour’s fence! If you want a plant to attract lots of wildlife to your garden it will act like a magnet to all the local cats. Many plants behave and do just the job you intended them to, but there is one plant in particular that is obedient by name and obedient by nature. Because of its obedient habit, it’s a fun plant for children’s gardens. Flowers of the obedient plant make long lasting cut flowers and are becoming increasing popular in floral displays. Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana) got its common name because you can bend the individual flowers in any direction you like - a nice feature for floral displays. Unfortunately, obedient plant is not so obedient in the garden, where it can spread quite aggressively by rhizomes. Newer varieties, like ‘Miss Manners’, are being bred to remain in well-behaved clumps. Obedient Plant has another common name,’ False Dragonhead’, which came about because of the flowers’ resemblance to snapdragons. So how many plants do you know that can perform a special magic trick? It’s a trick that involves the flowers. When you take the flower of any other plant between your thumb and forefinger and gently try and move it around the flower spike the flower will do one of two things. It will either snap off, or it will spring back to its original position. Physostegia virgiana however has flowers that stay in the new position when you let them go! Hence the common name.

Varieties to ask for

If you are a keen gardener and study plants and flowers in any detail, handling them on a daily basis you will find this completely strange and weird. So how does the plant do it? The individual flower stalks, or to be more scientific the pedicels, are completely malleable. This allows the flower to be moved in any direction without snapping off. The plant needs to be grown in fertile, moist soil in full sun or partial shade. It also needs to be cut back in winter or early spring before any new growth starts and is ideal for the front of borders. Physostegia virginiana can be found growing wild in Eastern North America. It grows where the soil is reliably moist, for example on river banks or in waterlogged meadows. It therefore needs similar conditions when cultivated in the garden environment, although given these conditions the ‘obedient’ bit seems to go out of the window because it will thrive in such conditions and indeed become quite invasive. Physostegia virginiana is fully hardy. The extraordinary flowers are about three cms long and emerge throughout summer and into early autumn, so it is flowering now in many gardens, although it is hard to say how many gardeners actually know about the ‘magic’ bit. The flowers vary in colour, from white to pink to purple; they are lipped and hooded. They are also good for cutting, so stick them in a vase indoors. The leaves are toothed, lance-shaped and bright green.

Obedient plants are

also known as ‘Fa

lse Dragonhead’

Physostegia virginiana ‘Miss Manners’ - The name tells you this variety doesn’t spread. White flowers. 18-24 inches tall. Physostegia virginiana ‘Pink Bouquet’ - Profuse bloomer with soft pink flowers. Two to three feet tall. Physostegia virginiana ‘Summer Glow’ - A tall grower with deeper lavender-pink flowers. Three feet tall. Physostegia virginiana ‘Variegata’ - White edges on leaves make this variety interesting all season. Pink flowers. 18-24 inches tall. Physostegia virginiana ‘Vivid’ - Forms short, dense clumps. Bright purple-pink flowers. Two feet tall. www.countrygardener.co.uk www.countrygardener.co.uk

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Stockists of Country Gardener Cornwall Country Gardener is available free of charge throughout the area at the outlets listed below where we have included postcodes to make it easier for you to find them. You’ll find those highlighted in green advertising in this issue. For amendments to details or deliveries call Pat Eade on 01594 543790 email pateade8@gmail.com. Bodmin Bodmin Plant & Herb Nursery PL30 5JU Pencarrow House & Gardens PL30 3AG Pinsla Garden & Nursery PL30 4AY Tourist Information Centre PL31 2DQ Bude Homeleigh Garden Centre EX23 9NR Tourist Information Centre EX23 8LE Callington Rising Sun Nurseries PL17 8JD Camborne Kehelland Horticultural Centre TR14 0DD Mole Valley Farmers TR14 0NB Warnes Plants TR14 0PB Chacewater Truro Tractors TR4 8LY Falmouth Falmouth Garden Centre TR11 5BH Tourist Information Centre TR11 3DF Gweek The Old Withy Garden Nursery TR12 6BE Helston Cross Common Nursery TR12 7PD Gear Farm Shop TR12 6DE Trevena Cross Nurseries TR13 9PY Wynnstay Agriculture TR13 0LW

Heweswater Pengelly Plant Centre PL26 7JG Innis Downs Treseders Nursery PL26 8RU Lanner Penventon Nursery TR16 6AS Launceston South West Garden Machinery PL15 9HS Liskeard Goldenbank Nursery Garden Centre PL14 3PB Ken-Caro Garden, PL14 5RF Moyclare Cornish Gardens, PL14 4EH Tourist Information Centre PL14 3JE Lostwithiel Community Centre PL22 OHA Mawnan Smith Budock Vean Hotel TR11 5LG Glendurgan Gardens NT TR11 5JZ Trebah Garden Trust TR11 5JZ Newquay Newquay Garden Centre, TR8 4LG Tourist Information Centre TR7 1BD Padstow Padstow Farm Shop PL28 8HJ Par Marsh Villa Gardens PL24 2LU Penzance Tourist Information Centre TR18 2NF Trewidden Garden, TR20 8TT Port Isaac Longcross Hotel PL29 3TF

Redruth Portreath Garden Machinery TR16 4QL Rosudgeon NEW Lower Kennegy Nurseries, TR20 9AR

Saltash Cotehele House NT PL12 6TA Tamar View Nurseries PL12 6PH Tartendown Nurseries, PL12 5AF Torpoint Antony Woodland Garden, PL11 2QA St Austell Truro St Austell Garden Centre Bosvigo Gardens, TR1 3NH PL25 3RJ Goonhavern Garden Centre Lost Gardens of Heligan PL26 6EN TR4 9QQ Tourist Information Centre Grahams Garden Machinery PL25 4RS TR2 4HD St Columb Major Roseland Plant Centre TR2 5JR Trenowth Nurseries Tourist Information Centre TR9 6EW TR1 2QQ Wynnstay Country Store TR9 6JB Trewithen Gardens, TR2 4DD St Mawes Wadebridge Roseland Visitor Centre TR2 5AG Trelawney Garden Centre PL27 6JA St Neot Wynnstay Country Store Carnglaze Caverns, PL27 6HB PL14 6HQ St Tudy Cedar Croft Plants PL30 3PH

Do you know the perfect place to stock Country Gardener magazine? The magazine has a devoted and enthusiastic readership who regularly pick up the latest issue from stockists. If you have any suggestions or would be interested, just email our Distribution Manager Pat Eade at pateade8@gmail.com

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The Country Gardener magazines are distributed FREE at Nurseries, garden centres, National Trust Properties, open gardens, garden machinery specialists, country stores and farm shops in each county. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or made available in any form, without the written permission of the copyright holder and Publisher, application for which should be made to the Publisher. Unsolicited material: do not send or submit your only version of manuscripts and/or photographs/transparencies to us as these cannot be returned to you. While every care is taken to ensure that material submitted is priced accurately and completely, we cannot be responsible or liable for any loss or damage suffered. Views and/or opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of Country Gardener or the Publisher.


Country Gardener

Arum lilies

to adore

Arum lilies make striking architectural plants with large, glossy foliage which, in late spring and early summer, is joined by large, white, hood-shaped flowers.

The white arum lily is a thing of great beauty. They are known and loved for their magnificent flowers in perennial borders or simply as a houseplant. Always a favourite with florists they have now become more established in the garden where they tolerate a wide range of growing conditions including boggy soils. Their fleshy, arrow-shaped leaves and flowers can grow up to three feet and the plant is quite fast growing if provided with the right conditions. Less well known is the fact there are six species in its genus. The most common and hardiest one is Zantedeschia aethiopica with its white flowers. You will also find yellow, peach, pink or red varieties. The more compact mini calla lily bulbs (‘Little Gem’, ‘Perle von Stuttgart’) are more suitable for smaller flowerbeds and containers. Zantedeschia ,known also as calla lilies, are native to South Africa. They will bear narrow, lance or funnel shaped flowers in the most fantastic array of colours and are particularly effective when grown in groups within a border, or planted in pots and spread out on the patio. There are a wide range of varieties, in sizes ranging from 40cm to 90cm and a dazzling array of colours to choose from. Their exotic looking flowers look particularly striking in cut flower arrangements, giving your bouquets an exciting tropical look. And, if overwintered in a sheltered spot, the tubers can produce a great display for many years. There are many distinctions between the different varieties of lilies but one of the most noteworthy is that some are considered as hardy and some are considered tender. In theory, with our climate in the UK, all the varieties would survive a mild-normal winter. Planting them is an easy process – they like moist, welldrained soil and not to be planted too deep and allow the tops of the tubers to be at ground level. Where possible plant them in a sunnier location as, being from native to Africa, they will really appreciate it. Grow in humus rich soil, in full sun access. Plant the tubers shallow, so top of tubers are slightly exposed. They can be cultivated indoors in loam based potting compost in full

light. Water freely and apply a balanced fertilizer every two weeks until the flowers have faded. One of the added bonuses of planting them in your garden or in patio pots is the absolutely stunning cut flowers they can produce. Each tuber will produce a number of stems as it flowers. Calla lilies don’t require regular pruning, but you should deadhead the flowers as they wilt. Removing parts of the plant should not kill it. Cut them back at the soil level and dispose of any plant debris, and they’ll come back in the spring. Three varieties to try:

Zantedeschia aethiopica (Calla Lily)

Hardy Zantedeschia aethiopica is a wonderful, well known outdoor flowering variety. It looks superb grown in groups within the flowerbed and border, or equally as effective planted and grown on the patio in pots or containers. Calla Lily aethiopica will produce gorgeous summer white flowers from late May through to June, coupled with waxy green foliage.

Zantedeschia Lipstick (Calla Lily)

This variety presents gentle cream spadices, surrounded by contrasting vivid pink spathes which fade to spring green at the floral chamber; where the magnificent flower head is held up by succulent tube-like stems. Broad, wavy foliage in a spring green adorn the base. Flowers from May to October.

Zantedeschia Cantor

(Calla Lily) A very popular variety for contemporary flower arrangements, exotic Calla Lily (Zantedeschia) Cantor boasts the deepest purple of anylily, almost black. Gorgeous waxy spathes in deep aubergine-burgundy surround a matching spadix, giving a mysterious, unusual look.



Stars of

THE SHADE Shady areas in the garden are too often neglected. Almost all of us have an area of full shade in the garden. Far from being a problem, deep shade provides a wonderful opportunity to grow a huge and diverse range of plants that relish it. Found under evergreen trees and hedges, and at the base of north-facing walls, fences and buildings, deep shade can be brightened by plants with different foliage colours, shapes and textures.

A shady spot in the garden can be difficult for plants as it creates a cooler, darker environment but there are so many plants which will love those conditions

This all depends on what’s casting the shade and which aspect your garden has. The ‘aspect’ is the direction your garden faces – north, south, east or west. This affects which areas get plenty of sun and which ones are in shadow for all or part of the day. HERE ARE SOME CHOICES OF PLANTS WHICH WILL BRING COLOUR AND STYLE TO THOSE SHADY AREAS:

Many people imagine that the only way to tackle a shady patch is to turn it into a foliage garden filled with box, ivies or ferns. But too many dark greens can make a shady area in the garden look gloomy.

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae has lime-green spring flowers and glossy, evergreen foliage, giving this plant a long season of interest. It is the perfect plant for dark areas of dry shade. It is very easy to grow and brings colour into the garden from early June through to October.

Instead, step back and use those areas for background structure and texture, then bring the area alive by making use of pale, pastel colours. White, cream, pale yellow, lilac, light mauve and pale pink show up best in these darker area of the garden.

Dryopteris wallichiana is a strong evergreen fern which is very much at home in the damp shady corners of a garden and will survive the hardest of winters. The subtle bronze of new fronds in spring turn dark green in summer and then flowers in June and July.

There are of course various degrees of shade in any garden and this affects what you can plant. Light shade means slight shade for all or most of the day; partial shade means plants are in sun for some of the day; dappled shade is blotchy shade created when the sun filters through overhead foliage.

Milium effusum ‘Aureum’ is a soft, leafy woodland grass well suited to growing in deep shade, and the golden foliage and sprays of tiny flowers provide a bright splash of summer sunshine.

For shady places with dry or damp soil it pays to be selective – some plants thrive in these conditions. You can even find plants that suit really difficult situations such as shady watersides or areas under large trees whose roots suck all the moisture out of the ground in summer. If you have borders of moist but well-drained and humus-rich soil in light shade, you can grow choice woodland plants which need exactly these conditions. It’s vital to understand what kind of shade you have, so you can choose the right plants. Are you dealing with dry shade or damp shade? And what degree of shade have you got?


The shuttlecock fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris, is a particularly attractive fern, bearing large, pale green, lacy fronds. It’s an excellent foliage plant for moist, dappled shade and works particularly well when planted in groups. Oakleaf hydrangeas provide large, dense clusters of flowers which last all season, even through autumn and winter to provide lots of interest and texture. They come in a variety of sizes ranging from a few feet tall to eight feet tall. Left to right: Euphorbia amygdaloides; Dryopteris wallichiana; Milium effusum ‘Aureum’; Matteuccia struthiopteris; Oakleaf Hydrangeas

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Cornwall Country Gardener August 2019  

The August 2019 issue of Cornwall Country Gardener Magazine

Cornwall Country Gardener August 2019  

The August 2019 issue of Cornwall Country Gardener Magazine