Win a luxury stay at Eastbury Hotel
Hedgehogs need our help
Autumn colour to enjoy on days out
Margery Fish’s legacy 5o years after her death
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Core blimey! Reviving cider apples
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“October is nature’s funeral month. Nature glories in death more than in life. The month of departure is more beautiful than the month of coming October more than May.” - Henry Ward Beecher “Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer OUR HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GARDENING CALENDAR and winter.” - Carol Bishop Hipps OVER THE COMING WEEKS IN CORNWALL
Award winning designer at The Poly Falmouth
Matt James is a landscape designer, senior lecturer and author who runs a landscape design practice near Falmouth. On Thursday, 26th September he is hosting a talk at The Poly Falmouth in Falmouth starting at 7.30pm. Since 2014 Matt has led the degree level garden and landscape design courses based at the Eden Project. This follows five years teaching on the renowned BA (Hons) Garden Design course at Falmouth University. Channel 4’s The City Gardener introduced Matt to the gardening public. Other television appearances include ITV’s Love Your Garden and BBC 2’s Great British Garden Revival. Adults £9, concessions £7. Tel: 01326 319 461
HARVEST CELEBRATION AT BOSAVERN There’s a Harvest Celebration Open Day on Sunday, 29th September at Bosavern Community Farm which will be a full autumn celebration including countryside craft demonstrations, singing workshops, farm tours, ‘meet the chickens’, children’s activities, charity and market stalls, and veggie food made from the vegetable harvest. Admission is free and the event starts at 12 noon. Email email@example.com Bosavern Community Farm, St Just and Land’s End.
A BRAND NEW FOOD FESTIVAL FOR TRURO A new food festival arrives in Truro over the weekend of Friday, 27th September to Sunday, 29th September. The city-wide celebration of Cornish food and drink will be centred around Lemon Quay with pop-up events and activities taking place across the city. Daytime content will include chef’s demos, a local produce market, gourmet street food stalls, a local restaurant trail, workshops and live entertainment showcasing the best in local talent. The evenings will include a beer and cider festival and live music on all three nights. The festival opens from 9am to 11pm every day. Lemon Quay, Truro.
Tresco head gardener shares Scilly secrets The Cornwall Garden Society’s 2019/2020 Lecture Series is to begin with the Tresco Story told by Mike Nelhams. His lecture begins straight after the society annual meeting at 7pm on Tuesday, 8th October, at The Alverton in Truro.
Behind the Scenes at Cotehele House Cotehele House is throwing open its doors on Sunday, 6th October for you to peek into closets and cupboards, and meet the staff and volunteers who look after the Cornish National Trust property. Extra areas of the house will be open to explore. Assistance dogs are welcome. The event runs from 11am to 4pm. There is an Autumn Market also at Cotehele on Saturday, 19th October from 11am to 4pm where you’ll find local food and crafts, with stalls selling everything from tasty Cornish pasties to modern jewellery. Both events are free, but normal admission charges apply for the venue. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cotehele/whats-on
Mike worked at Tresco Abbey Gardens on the Isles of Scilly for a year, before being asked to stay on for a further 18 months of tree work. In 1984, Mike received an invitation from the owner Robert Dorrien-Smith, to return as head gardener and he has worked there ever since. Society members free. Non-members welcome. www.cornwallgardensociety.org.uk
Newquay’s flower arrangement paradise The Bedruthan Hotel & Spa in Newquay will become a flower arrangers paradise on Thursday, October 10th when from 6.30pm there’s a special floral creation workshop. The evening is led by Kerry from Rare Creation who grows beautiful flowers in her garden in St Eval. Kerry will bring plenty of her own blooms with her, but you can take any of your own with you you’d like to learn to arrange. You will learn the basics about flower cutting and conditioning, along with flower care and preservation. The price is £45, which includes materials, tea and coffee and a choice of cake. Contact 01637 861 222 Bedruthan Hotel and Spa, B3276, Trenance.
Look out for the next Cornwall edition of Country Gardener available in local outlets from 22nd February just in time for the new 2020 season. If you are wanting more information about advertising in the Cornwall area in 2020, wherever you are in the region, please contact your local sales person. www.countrygardener.co.uk
Welcome to Cornwall
Bumper ga through rdens to visit out Cornw all
Country Gardener! We’re delighted to bring our hugely popular free gardening magazine to the gardeners of Cornwall. Every month throughout the gardening season our high quality editorial and helpful advertising will make a huge difference to your gardening. You can pick this popular and colourful specialist gardening magazine up from a growing number of outlets throughout Cornwall. For details on where you can find the magazine go to
It is published seven times a year in Cornwall and provides an inspirational mix of practical and authoritative editorial featuring some of the top writers in the West Country. It features all aspects of gardening from the pleasure of garden visits and gardening events through to gardening know how, plants and planting, eco gardening, wildlife, growing techniques and lots of local gardening news.
Gardening clubs Our Time Off section is available free to allow garden clubs to publicise their events, outings and club meetings. Just send us your details to firstname.lastname@example.org but remember to give us plenty of notice.
Gardening events, meetings and news One of the strengths of the magazine is that is has a strong local theme which is why we are always looking to cover local events -everything from gardens open and plant sales, to fetes and talks. Just send your news to email@example.com
Classified advertising It doesn’t matter if you are buying or selling – our busy classified section can come to the rescue.
Country Gardener online Our online service carries much more than we can carry in the magazine – extra features, details of gardens open and gardening events advice and updates. Go to www.countrygardener.co.uk
The next issue of Cornwall Country Gardener is available from 22nd February - just in time for the 2020 season.
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Blooming MARVELLOUS! arren by Matt Rees-W
st for deep-seated mistru I, for one, have a by dates or being told e and look ‘official’ calendar it’s time to go outsid year newsreaders that every es chang it me at the daffodils. For the way. guide that and it’s the plants from the year last d turne retain So, as the weather embracing Magnolia trees still of winter, to the in the wicked bitterness walking on a reverential place spring, I was out of the rays of the mild late ips, when hearts and minds in the eastern Mend the its favoured ground of English gardener and g a superb specimen nothin across does ned ess happe I over a garden ubiquitousn a, poking its head stellat regal olia their ish Magn ng out like dimin to its name, and breaki chalky they’re as wall. Living up to splendour. In fact, were its ever been a riot against its bare branches oppy stars – fl admired as they’ve or ks firewor the g. white blooms - like sprun and gardens all over truly had spring their and then, for me, country are filled with t plant in a elegan across a favourite exuberant blooms, Although coming simple joys, apple can be one of life’s shape and attractive stranger’s garden tous endeavour, Messel’ fortui rd the ‘Leona ri quite . green leaves it’s not always r for Magnolia. x loebne look a little harde spring, so we may need to cence. Here to infamy in the magnolia magnifi They lay their claim they join as some guaranteed heralds of spring, d by our geography, s and and as one of the though, we are blesse of England has ample ry of colours, shape the patchwork tapest spring the vibrant, life the south west in living seeing make it comes to forms that help to advantages, but when exclusive club of rare year we all love. affirming time of olias we’re in an in a be magn Devon can g’ South sprun and all g has When, exactly, ‘sprin excellence. And Cornw in the crown. a very al celebration, or jewels communal, nation particular, are the ding on e moment depen of Cornwall has taken personal and uniqu The Great Gardens k. your outloo
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A LOOK AT NEWS, EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS IN CORNWALL
Cornwall ready for apple day celebrations Itâ€™s time to celebrate the wonderful and much loved apple throughout Cornwall. From humble beginnings over 25 years ago, Apple Days have become popular events in towns, villages, National Trust properties, farms and orchards in Cornwall into Devon and throughout the southwest. The events have one thing in common, they celebrate the unique varieties of apples grown throughout the countryand how to make the most of them. Some growers are sticking to 21st October, the official â€˜Apple Dayâ€™ started in 1990 when Common Ground, a collective of growers, held a celebration in Covent Garden. Others are holding their own apple days throughout the month. The first Apple Day brought fruit back to the London market
after 16 years absence. There were 40 stalls, with fruit growers and nurseries showing and selling a wide variety of apples. There were WI ladies with chutneys, jellies and pies, a demonstration of an orchard classroom, a wildlife trust talking about managing an orchard for wildlife, bee-keepers, a cider bar and experts from Brogdale identifying apples and offering advice. There were even apple jugglers and magicians to entertain the thousands of visitors. And this first event set the pattern for what you can expect at an Apple Day event. You wonâ€™t get all of those - but you may well get jugglers and apple-bobbing, competitions for the longest peel from a single apple, a slice of apple cake or apple pie and an apple expert who will look at your fruit and give you an informed identification.
NT Trelissick: Friday 4th, Saturday 5th and Sunday, 6th October
Healeys Cornish Cider Farm Apple Day: Sunday 21st October
The specialist day on Friday at NT Trelissick near Truro provides the opportunity to meet the head gardener and get advice on your own apples, learn about beekeeping, get advise on pruning, attend talks about the uses of apples and practical demonstrations about grafting. There is also a specialist plant shop, restaurant and cafĂŠ on-site. The garden permits assistance dogs. Parks and walks open all year every day. Apple activities in the stables and courtyard. NT Trelissick, Feock, Truro TR3 6QL
The Cornish farm which is one of the countyâ€™s largest independent commercial orchards is supporting National Apple Day to highlight the importance of orchards, fields and nature. From learning about the care of 20 acres of orchards on a tractor ride or orchard walk to entertainment with apple bobbing and pressing your own apples this is a fun day out for the family. Entry is free and thereâ€™s lots of parking. Dogs are welcome on a lead. The day also sees the Cornish Apple Bobbing Championships returning for the second year with adult and childrenâ€™s categories. The event starts at 11am. Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm, Penhallow, Truro TR4 9LW
NT Cotehele Apple Festival: Saturday, 14th to Tuesday, 22nd October, 10am to 4pm One of the biggest apple celebrations in Cornwall which runs from Monday 14 th to Tuesday 22nd October is at Cotehele near Saltash where you can see the Victorian apple press working and take part in tastings, displays, guided orchards tours and childrenâ€™s activities. Apple picking takes place on Saturday, 14th and Sunday, 15th. On Tuesday, 17th and Wednesday, 18th thereâ€™ll be orchard tours with the estate gardeners. The apple pressing happens on the weekend of Saturday, 21st and Sunday, 22nd September, and this weekend youâ€™ll see â€˜cheeseâ€™ building demonstrations, â€˜welly wangingâ€™, childrenâ€™s fruit juice lab, apple display, and more in the orchard. NT Cotehele, Saltash PL12 6TA www.countrygardener.co.uk
GARDENERS’ CUTTINGS IN CORNWALL
Apple days over the border in Devon RHS ROSEMOOR APPLE DAYS SATURDAY, 5TH AND SUNDAY, 6TH OCTOBER Originally conceived by Orchards Live the Rosemoor Apple Weekend is run by the RHS as their biggest celebration of orchard fruit. If you want to find an apple variety this is your best chance. Experts will be on hand to help with identification. As well as apple displays and the opportunity to taste there are many stalls, talks and guided walks around the Rosemoor estate, cookery demonstrations and children’s activities. Adults £11.80p, children £5.90p, RHS members free. Pay on the gate. Open 10am to 4pm both days. Other apple events in Devon: SOUTH MOLTON APPLE FAIR: Sunday, 27th October, 10.30am to 1.30pm. Pannier Market, Broad St, South Molton EX36 3AB HIGH BICKINGTON APPLE DAY: Sunday, 13th October, 9.30am to 6pm. High Bickington Village Hall, Little Bickington Lane, Umberleigh EX37 9PN Main event free. KILLERTON APPLE FESTIVAL: Saturday, 12th and Sunday, 13th October. Killerton, Broadclyst, Exeter EX5 3LE
GODOPHIN SOME OF THE BEST VIEWS IN CORNWALL October is another busy month at NT Godolphin outside of Helston where you can make some wild art with fallen leaves in the Cider House, help the gardeners by collecting apples in the orchard and discover which bats call Godolphin home with the family bat trail. The estate once busy with prosperous tin mines, is now part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and is wonderful walking country, rich in archaeology, rare plants and wildlife. If you are visiting remember to take in Godolphin Hill on the south-westerly reaches of the estate. Here you get some of the best views in Cornwall looking out over St Ives Bay to the north and the famous St Michael’s Mount to the south. It’s the chance to disappear into the tranquil and mysterious woodland, where the years of mining have left an unnatural, undulating landscape. Godolphin Cross, Breage, Helston TR13 9RE
Heligan celebrates season with week of harvest events The Lost Gardens of Heligan celebrates the fruition of the garden and estate year with an annual Heligan Harvest Event which runs from Saturday, 5th to Sunday, 13th October. Heligan Harvest celebrates the taste of its productive and countryside heritage in an array of events, including daily talks and pop up demonstrations, harvest tasters, corn dolly making and the Heligan Harvest Display In the historic kitchen garden visitors will be encouraged to engage with Heligan’s knowledgeable gardening team and get gardening tips as well as catching in an insight into the art of onion stringing or seed collecting, in one of the gardeners’ pop up demonstrations. In the barn, hundreds of varieties of heritage fruit, vegetables and ﬂowers will be assembled. This visual feast will also incorporate the harvest from the estate, including bamboo, charcoal, wool and eggs. The barn will also be the location for a daily harvest themed demonstration or talk. A harvest trail will guide families through the landscape, revealing the connections between animals, gardens and the food created. Daily farm talks and livestock feeding will give an insight into Heligan’s collection of rare breed animals. Lost Gardens, Heligan, Pentewan, Saint Austell PL26 6EN 6
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The revival of
After decades of being in decline, the future is finally looking rosier for some of the rarest, most historic regional cider apples
Cider has a rich history in the UK, however what most gardeners now think of as cider bears little resemblance to the traditionally produced version. Cider devotees have had a hard time of it. Twenty-five years ago the drink and cider apples themselves were out of fashion with local farmers competing to sell off their orchards. Now the same farmers and many more are producing traditional varieties of the apple for a whole range of designer and top class drinks. Cider has been made in Britain for donkey’s years, even before the Romans came; apparently, we have the Celts to thank for bringing it over. By the Middle Ages, cider apples could be found all over Britain. A lot of farms had their own orchard to produce their own amount of cider with various different varieties, playing their part. There was a time when there were 360 different varieties of the cider apple, with names such as Brown Snout, Chisel Jersey and Kingston Black thriving in different regions. Each region had it’s own style of cider, with parts of Wales producing complex and bolder types compared to Devon’s rounder and sweeter style, often luscious as honey and Somerset cider being full of flavour with a pronounced acid tang. Cider declined in popularity in the early sixteenth century when beer was transformed by the new practice of adding hops, which improved taste and its longevity. It is the use of true cider apples that is the key to producing an authentic West Country cider, but a decline in the cultivation of these fruits put its continued production at risk. Cider’s popularity took production as far north as Yorkshire, but real strongholds were established in Kent, Sussex, Suffolk and of course the southwest. Right up until the 20th century cider was popular, particularly in rural communities, but the increasing mechanisation of agriculture, beginning after the First World War and more intensified after the Second World War, had a huge impact on the rural economy. 8
Orchards fell into decline, many trees were ‘grubbed up’ and replaced by more profitable crops, and presses gathered dust. As time passed, the makers of the drink died, taking with them their knowledge and skills, while drinks such as beer and lager became increasingly popular and companies started to mass manufacture their versions of ‘cider’. As a result, some of our heritage cider-apple cultivars were on the brink of extinction. Some certainly have been lost – but there is hope in the form of a resurgence of small-scale, ‘craft’ cider makers and the establishment of museum orchards to conserve heritage fruit. The main difference between cider apples and those found in gardens are the level of tannin within them. Tannin is a bitter tasting, organic substance present amongst all apples, some more than others. Cider apples contain a lot of tannin; hence they produce a distinctive, bitter flavour. Cider apples are not usually edible but are grown for the qualities of their juice and tend to be rich in tannins and sugars. A ‘museum orchard’ – a gene bank of traditional cider apples (cultivars of Malus domestica) and perry pears (Pyrus communis) – has also been created. The first of its trees were planted in 2006 around Raglan Cider Mill in Monmouthshire. Grafts are being taken and sent to cider makers across Wales. In neighbouring Gloucestershire, Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith manage more than 100 different apple cultivars in the county’s own museum orchard, which includes 20 cider apples. Among them is rare, highly prized ‘Hagloe Crab’ – a barrel of cider of which used to be exchanged for a barrel of French brandy. In Cornwall, too, a ‘Mother Orchard’ has been planted on the National Trust’s Cothele Estate near Plymouth. Traditional methods cider is a much more complex drink than just fermented apple juice. West country cider is produced using true cider apples which, because they are high in tannins, gives them their distinctive, dry, ‘scrumpy’ flavour. Most cider apples are unpleasant to eat from the tree;
Varieties which have become famous Morgan Sweet
Once the eating apple of choice in and around Bristol but now rather hard to come by, this large yellow fruity beast is delicious eaten straight from the tree. It’s also a great sweet addition to a cider blend as its juice ferments super quick. An ideal single variety cider apple for the less patient. they are much more fibrous than dessert apples, and the tannins give them an unpalatable bitterness: they are even more sour than cooking apples. Cider apples can be divided into four different categories – ‘sweets’, ‘bittersweets’, ‘sharps’ and ‘bittersharps’. Few cultivars have the ideal mix of sharpness and sweetness needed to make a quality drink. The skill of the cider maker is in blending cultivars to create that perfect mix of enough sugars to produce alcohol, some acidity to help fermentation, and some tannins for flavour. Traditional UK ciders tend to be a blend of two thirds bittersweets and one-third bittersharps. One tradition most definitely not followed by modern producers is that of adding meat, usually mutton, to aid fermentation. Hundreds of varieties of rare cider apples were planted after being donated to the National Trust to boost the genre. The Netherton Late Blower, Slack-ma-Girdle and Billy Down Pippin are among the National Cider Collection grown in Tidnor Wood orchard, Herefordshire. They were grown over 25 years by Henry May, who wanted to save old apple varieties in danger of disappearing.
Harry Masters’ Jersey A nice looking bittersweet apple, which excretes splendidly astringent juice when squeezed. Often quite large, and started in Somerset and known as ‘Port Wine’.
Kingston Black Also known as ‘Black Taunton’ and referred to as the ultimate cider apple because of the bittersweet juice it produces, which is acidically well balanced and tannin rich. It’s a pity the trees are prone to canker. The apple was first grown in orchards around the parish of Kingston St Mary just outside of Taunton.
Some were returned to the counties they grew in hundreds of years ago. Mr May has done much of the work to take cuttings from his trees, which have been grafted onto new tree roots. These were planted in a variety of gardens at Montacute House, Barrington Court and Glastonbury in Somerset, Tyntesfield near Bristol, Golden Cap in Dorset, Westbury Court Garden in Gloucestershire, Killerton in Devon and Brockhampton in Herefordshire. Mr May, a former customs and excise officer who used to collect cider duty, spent years tracking down rare species and gathering samples to grow in his orchard. He said he decided to collect cider apples having been “beguiled by their names for many years”.
Yarlington Mill Good cropping, nice flavour. First planted in Somerset and subsequently in Devon and Dorset. Will festoon your cider shed with a lovely aroma and is very high yielding. 9
How to plant
Fruit trees are probably the fastest growing area of interest for gardeners. There is so much to be said in favour of them - most are extremely easy to grow and nothing is more important than planting them properly. Tom Nancarrow who took over Adam’s Apples Fruit Tree Nursery at Payhembury near Honiton in Devon early last year explains exactly how it is done.
“Fruit trees are available from a nursery or garden centre either bare rooted or containerised.” Bare rooted trees Bare rooted trees are grown in nurseries at dense spacings in the open ground, normally for one or two years before being lifted in the late autumn after the leaves have fallen and the trees have become dormant. They can then be sold bare rooted over the winter months or potted and grown on for a year to be sold as a branched, Bare rooted - and containerised tree in the ready to plant following year. At our nursery we produce all of our trees for sale as bare rooted plants. This means that trees are available for planting from around mid-November until the end of March. The practice of heeling-in gives you plenty of flexibility when it comes to planting bare rooted trees. This simply means covering the roots of your dormant trees, traditionally in a trench outside, covering the roots with soil until the moment you are ready to plant the trees in their final location. If you have just one or two trees you can also heel them in using a large pot and use compost, sand or woodchip to completely cover the roots. Tree roots must be kept damp and cool to avoid them drying out. It is better to heel the trees in somewhere and plant out when the soil conditions are good rather than rushing to get the trees in the ground for the sake of it. Choosing your site It is important to choose the right site. No fruit tree will 10
thrive in very wet ground, nor very exposed sites. If there are rushes growing in your field, if water pools on the surface or if all the surrounding hedges are growing at 45 degree angles due to the constant wind... think again before planting fruit trees in these locations! Your planting site wants to have relatively free-draining soil. Do a pH test, you can buy one from a garden centre for a few pounds. They are easy and interesting to do and will tell you if you need to add lime to increase the pH. Fruit trees require a pH between 6 – 6.7. Digging your hole I have a suspicion that lots of trees are planted too deep and this could be one reason they do not thrive. Your planting hole wants to be square. If planting in to grass, firstly strip the turf off an area 40cm x 40cm. I place a large sheet of polythene next to the hole I am about to dig, putting the spoil on to the sheet as it comes out. It is an efficient and tidy way of putting all the soil back in to the hole around the roots. Dig your square planting hole around 25-30cm deep. Be aware not to dig too deep - the top most roots on the tree want to be just a few inches below the surface once all the soil is back in the hole. You should now have a nice square hole. Break up the bottom of the hole with a fork to have some loose ‘friable’ soil and rough up the sides to reduce any smearing effect from a spade. You will also have a pile of soil next to the hole, hopefully broken up to a nice grainular and friable consistency. Fruit trees have a graft union at around 20-30cm from the bottom of the trunk where the tree has been grafted at the nursery, it is critical this is not buried. Locate it on the tree before you plant. Planting additions At this point you can add a handful of bone meal to the soil you have dug out, and a handful of garden lime if you require it, which should be mixed in well. Bone meal offers a slow release fertiliser that aids root
An impressive line of fruit trees in winter and summer mode at Adam’s Apple Fruit Tree Devon nursery
development. Lime will raise the pH if your soil is rather acidic and will also help to make clay soils more friable. Mycorrhizal funghi are another addition you can mix in at this point, they help to increase the area of your root zone and will aid the establishment of your tree. I would only advise adding compost if your soil is very heavy clay, coming out in large clumps and not breaking up to a tilth. If this is your situation, add a small amount of compost at this stage, around 15 per-cent. The organic matter will help to break up large clods and improve the structure of your soil. But do not add more than this. Too much compost in the planting hole creates an unstable area in which the tree does not anchor itself and will topple over. It also holds too much moisture after heavy rainfall, causing potential problems with A perfect example of 40 root rot. cms square planted tree in grassed area Staking Before you plant the tree, bang in a stake. Staking is almost always beneficial. For half-standard trees on semi-vigorous rootstocks I would recommend a low stake, around 90cm, either a round five to seven cms or two and a half cms. Bang your stake in on the windward side, i.e., the side the prevailing wind blows Low staking is now the preferred option
from (southwest in this part of the world) just off the centre of the hole. It wants to be in the ground at least 45cm so there will be 45cm or so sticking out of the ground. Backfilling With the stake in, offer up your tree to the planting hole. The tree should be in the middle of the hole and around five cms from the stake, then start to back-fill. This is easier as a two-person job, one person holding the tree upright and the other backfilling with the soil. Back-fill evenly with a spade and gently tamp the tree up and down the first few times so that the soil falls nicely around the roots of the tree and fills the gaps. Once half the soil is back in, if you have used a polythene sheet you can literally pour the remaining soil back in to the hole. Firm it down with your heel – don’t jump up and down on it, but firm it so it consolidates and the tree feels securely in the ground. Use a rubber tree tie to attach the tree to the top of the stake, and not half way up, otherwise the tree will rub and get damaged as it blows in the wind. Tom Nancarrow Adam’s Apples Fruit Tree Nursery www.adamsappletrees.co.uk
“I have a suspicion that lots of trees are planted too deep and this could be one reason they do not thrive.”
Can you fill an allotent with
Tim Foster author of a new organic guide to growing fruit ‘Fruit for Life’ puts some of his theories to the test - on his allotment Allotment occupation was definitely an issue not all that long ago. It still is, but in a different way. Then, the issue was all of the unused plots and what to do with them. Some councils covered them – they invested in large sheets of black polythene until some sites looked like a patchy oil slick. Which wasn’t that far from the truth really. Another approach was to encourage neighbouring plotholders to stop complaining about the weeds and slugs by taking on extra plots. So I did. Another one and a half to be precise. Brilliant. I became a peasant baron ruling over my new kingdom. The tiniest fly in the ointment was time, specifically the lack of it. Although I was doing bits of teaching (of gardening) in a number of different places, it added up to a full time job. What was required was some creative, lateral thinking. In the absence of that I planted fruit and here was the test of Theory number 1: Growing fruit is less work (and therefore takes less time). The answer is an unqualified resounding positive – later on. Initially, of course, the plot has to be ‘dealt with’ but even here, where a fine tilth is not required; we can take some short cuts. The short cuts I took were with shears and a slasher to reduce the existing vegetation. This was followed by a version of lasagne gardening – layers of organic matter and cardboard over as much of the area and repeated as many times as possible. The fruit plants were gently inserted through the mulch. And, lo, all of that was a lot of work. But thereafter the maintenance – pruning, feeding, training, even picking – was pretty minimal certainly compared to the annual rigmarole of growing, say, a bed of leeks. A reasonable response to that comparison might be ‘You idiot, they are completely different products’, to which I’d reply that they are different but I was already growing enough leeks. But - Fruit Theory number 2: You can get by with just fruit. There are some folk who reckon a diet should be all fruit, fruitarians no less. I’m guessing that, for such a diet to 12
work well, it would involve plenty of tropical and non-home grown fruit. As an advocate (I almost wrote ‘avocado’ there) of a plant-based diet I reckon that, like many things, it works best in balance: lots of fresh, ripe fruit but also a complete range of greens, pulses, alliums, etc. Fruit Theory number 3: (almost the opposite of number 2): Fruit isn’t good for you – too much sugar. The kinds of fruit we grow are basically enlarged (bred) versions of a plant’s seed distribution system: many are flavoured ,usually sweet, to entice creatures to snaffle ‘em and spread the seed in the process. But does a plant need much more than sugar and colouring to make this work? The likely answer is ‘no’, though most fruits have additions, probably accidental or incidental, that make them exceptionally good for us. The vitamin C in blackcurrants and kiwis or the antioxidants in blueberries. There are exceptions. Apple ‘Pink Lady’, for example, is about as good for you as a sock-full of wet sand on the back of the head. And, alas, fruit juices from concentrates are not that terrific. Fruit Theory number 4: You can fill a plot with fruit and it still counts as an allotment. Apart from the rules stating that a certain percentage should be ‘cultivated’ and permanent plants might not be allowed as part of that, some councils and associations require notification of fruit planting. Any trees have to be on the most dwarfing rootstocks. I think I got away with it – the association was so pleased someone had taken on the overgrown plots they forgot to check what I was doing on them. In the end, most of the plants (including 35 varieties of apple) are below head height and there is very little encroaching or shading of neighbours’ plots. Trees and bushes are trained and pruned regularly and other non-fruit plants (flowers, comfrey, perennial vegetables) have sneaked into gaps making it a joyful, varied, wildlife-friendly, productive plot. Which brings us back to the new issue with allotment occupation and those of us with multiple plots. They want them back. Tim Foster teaches organic gardening and RHS courses at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden. ‘Fruit for Life’ is published by Eco-logic books. RRP is £16.99 but is offered direct from the publisher at www.eco-logicbooks.com for £12.99
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Country Gardener ad horizontal half page jul 2019.indd 1
cider IN THE
KITCHEN by Kate Lewis
Cider apple cake
As we roll into autumn there is an abundance of apples on their way, with many growers turning their hand to making cider, but cider is more than a drink. It is worth keeping a bottle or two in the kitchen to add depth and flavour to your cooking.
Spiced squash, apple & cider soup
Wine is often the cook’s go-to choice of alcohol, but with its inherent appley flavours cider can really enhance a variety of dishes. Cider works really well in both meat and fish dishes. Use it as a base for a sauce just as you would a wine – remove the cooked meat from the pan, pour in a good slosh of cider and reduce it down with some cream and seasoning. Chicken and cider go very well together, especially when combined with cream, mustard and herbs. The tartness of cider also cuts perfectly through game, adds sweetness to pork belly and makes a great brining liquid for ham. Cider is subtle enough to be used with fish and shellfish. Try using it in a fish stew or replace the more traditional white wine with cider in moules marinières. As we turn to heartier autumnal dishes cider makes a good addition to vegetable soups and any type of meat stew rabbit, lamb, pork, sausages – for an added fruity depth. The sweetness and fruitiness of cider also lends itself to desserts and baking, especially when used alongside apples in cakes and pies. Try poaching pears in cider and spices for a light autumnal pud. If you are not using home-made cider, aim to buy a drink that has been made from real apples and not concentrate, and of a drier variety for a flavour. Country Gardener
Cider apple cake
Cider, mustard & herb chicken
INGREDIENTS: 250g self-raising flour 100ml cider 2 tbsp cider vinegar 125g cold butter, cubed 1 large cooking apple, peeled and sliced 125g soft brown sugar Demerara sugar 125g sultanas METHOD: 1. Heat the oven to 190°C. Grease and line a 20cm, round springform cake tin. 2. Put the flour in a bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mix resembles breadcrumbs (or do this in a processor). 3. Stir in the sugar and sultanas. Combine the cider and vinegar, pour into the dry ingredients and mix lightly but thoroughly. Finally, fold in the slices of apple. 4. Spoon the cake mix into the prepared tin, smooth the top and scatter the top with demerara sugar. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before serving
(© BBC Good Food)
INGREDIENTS: Olive oil for frying 750g skinless and boneless chicken thigh, cut into large chunks 1 large onion, sliced
METHOD: 1. Heat the oil in a large, wide pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. 2. Add the onions to the pan. Cook on a medium heat for 3 -4 minutes until soft, then add the garlic and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. 3. Pour in the cider and bring to the boil. Return the chicken to the pan, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 4. Stir in the creme fraiche, mustard and parsley. Simmer for a further 5 minutes. Season and serve with rice and greens.
Spiced squash, apple & cider soup Serves 4 INGREDIENTS: Olive oil for frying 1 leek, finely sliced 1 carrot, diced 1 stick celery, diced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 25g fresh ginger, peeled & grated 1 fresh chilli, deseeded & finely chopped 1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric 1 tsp garam masala 1 medium-large squash, peeled, deseeded & diced 1 apple, peeled, cored & diced 250ml cider 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock Pumpkin seeds to garnish Salt & pepper
METHOD: 1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan. Add the leek, carrot and celery and fry on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring to stop them catching. 2. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and spices. Fry for 2 minutes. Add the squash and apple. Stir well. Pour in the cider and simmer for 2 minutes. 3. Add the stock, season and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the squash is tender. Blitz in a food processor or blender until smooth. 4. Gently reheat, checking the seasoning. Garnish with pumpkin seeds. (© Riverford)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 400ml medium dry cider 175g crème fraiche 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard Handful parsley, chopped
Mussels with cider & cream INGREDIENTS: 1kg mussels Large knob of butter 2 shallots, sliced 1 garlic clove, sliced
20g butter 250ml cider Large handful chopped parsley 200ml single cream
METHOD: 1. Prepare the mussels – wash to remove any dirt or grit. Remove any beards from the shells. If any are open tap on the work surface to see if they close. Mussels must be alive when they are cooked. They will close if they are alive. Discard any that don’t close. 2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low – medium heat. Add shallots and garlic to the pan and soften, stirring often so they don’t colour. When they are soft and translucent add the cider, let it bubble up and add the cleaned mussels. Cover with a lid, turn the heat up and cook for 3-4 minutes until they open. 3. Add the cream and the parsley, cook for another minute. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Divide between bowls, pouring any left over sauce over the mussels. Serve with crusty bread.
JOBS IN THE GARDEN
F OR OC T OBER
Autumn is officially here, in all its glory. It is also harvest time when the vegetable plot is thriving and fruit is plentiful so although there’s lots of work to do, there’s also the need to start planning for winter and yes even next spring. This may also be the first month some areas of the country experience their first frosts. Fruit and autumn veg are ready to be brought in and stored, and plants should be cut back, wrapped up or brought inside to help them survive the chilly winter temperatures.
Planting spring bulbs is the number one job Late summer into early autumn is the best time to plant many varieties of spring bulbs (a notable exception being tulips, which should go into the ground between mid and late autumn) and a trip to the garden centre should reveal a tempting selection of bulbs displayed in pick-and-mix style boxes, including daffodil, crocus, camassia, hyacinth, fritillaria, anemone and iris. However, if you are looking for rare or unusual flowers, you need to sort out a visit to a specialist nursery, but hurry. The best varieties often sell out quickly. Before buying bulbs it’s worth checking to see that they’re healthy, otherwise a promising floral spectacle may turn into a damp squib. The best bulbs will feel firm and plump with no signs of damage or premature growth.
Discard any that are soft, shrivelled, battered, pitted or mouldy. It’s slightly more difficult to assess the quality of pre-packed bulbs, but don’t be afraid to have a good feel of the contents through the bag and put it back on the shelf if any feel squishy. Bulbs are incredibly versatile and can be planted in the border, naturalised in grass or grown in pots - ideal if you have a tiny garden or even a balcony. Either grow a single variety in a pot filled with bulb fibre, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try layering different types of bulb in the same container. For maximum impact choose flowers that appear at the same time (this will take practice). If you’re naturalising in the lawn, don’t forget to put the cap of turf back on top. Some planters have markers on the side, which helps if you’ve got bulbs that need planting at a specific depth - generally, most varieties need a hole three times the size of the bulb.
Planting spring bulbs is the number one job in October
Many gardeners like the idea of growing fruit but find the business of rootstocks, pruning and pest and disease control too time consuming. Bush fruit (e.g. currants and gooseberries), offers a stress-free, rewarding entry to fruit growing. It’s also well suited to small town gardens. Late autumn is an ideal time to plant. Choose a sunny, sheltered spot. Plants tolerate a range of soils, but ensure the site is well cultivated, weed-free and does not get waterlogged. In early spring, apply a general fertiliser or fish, blood and bone at 70g per square metre. A mulch of garden compost or manure in early spring is also beneficial. Fruit is borne on a framework of main branches that is maintained from year to year, with the exception of blackcurrants, where up to a third of the oldest, unproductive stems are pruned out in winter on established bushes. 16
GET PLANTS READY FOR CHRISTMAS Prepared hyacinth bulbs can still be planted now. Use bulb fibre or general purpose compost but don’t be tempted to use ordinary soil which might contain worms. Bulbs should be close but not touching either each other or the sides of the pot. Fill with compost allowing the tips of the bulbs to show. Water, but don’t overwater, and place in a cool dark cellar, garage or somewhere similar. Check regularly, watering a little if necessary. You don’t want them to dry out. Once the shoots are a couple of inches high you can bring the pots indoors.
Give a little time to the wild f lowers
Wild flowers only need to be cut down once a year. Wait until they have finished flowering and the seed heads have ripened, adjust the lawnmower wheels onto their highest setting, remove the grass collection box and run the mover over them, or if you fancy a lot of exercise, try a scythe. Leave the cuttings on the ground for a few days to allow any seed heads to dry and for the seeds to fall. Collect up the remaining stems and put them in the compost heap.
Keep deadheading dahlias Frosts will eventually bring an end to their glories but until then do keep deadheading dahlias to give the plant the maximum chance to keep some flowers as long as possible. A quick way to tell flower bud from spent head: the spent heads are pointed in shape, the buds round.
Deadhead dahlias: the large pointed head is the spent flower head that needs to be deadheaded. The round bud below it is a flower bud.
Soft cuttings can be taken now of perennial wallflowers and salvias. Take cuttings of non flowering shoots, cutting above a bud. Remove all but the top leaves and place in a clean plastic bag until ready to trim and plant into fresh compost mixed with perlite. Cover with a plastic bag and stand in good light but out of direct sun.
KEEP TURNING THE COMPOST HEAP
Turning the compost heap is really important at this time of year. As the garden is tidied in preparation for winter, lots of material is generated for composting so don’t just load the new material on top of what has been decomposing during the summer. To encourage the whole bed to rot down quickly, turn the contents regularly to stir it up and allow in lots of air. In the colder weather, the rate of decomposition will naturally decrease, but it will soon speed up during warmer spells.
As the temperature falls and autumn arrives, so comes the chance to enjoy the wonder of colours in our spectacular gardens, woodlands, arboretums and parks Once again we will soon be in the grip of a riot of autumn colour and with it one of the most favourite times of the year for gardeners. Arboretums, parks and woodlands, footpaths and forests will be ablaze with exotic colours with native favourites including beech, alder, oak, ash, maples and cherry. It’s no surprise that autumn is so popular - harvest time and there are the rewards of hard work earlier in the year.
But above all autumn is about colour and despite the colder weather and shorter days it is these next few weeks when nature puts on its spectacular display. So with the promise of perhaps a shorter display in the weeks ahead, now is the time to start making plans to seek out the very best. We have a few places to recommend.
Spectacular delights of Castle Drogo The gardens at Castle Drogo and Teign Gorge are one of the most spectacular places in October as they start to come alive with the colours of autumn. In the gorge whether you are after a gentle stroll to take in the views or a peaceful walk to explore the ancient woodlands of Fingle Woods you'll find there's a walk to suit everyone. Hidden behind immaculate yew hedges stands a unique Lutyens designed terraced formal garden. There’s plenty to see from the spectacular autumn colour of the Persian ironwood trees to the quaint Bunty House complete with its own miniature garden. Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton, EX6 6PB.
Japanese maples provide autumnal backdrop at Picton Garden October starts with the National Collection of Autumn flowering asters at their peak in The Picton Garden in Malvern. As the month moves on the Japanese maples and other shrubs begin to create a bright autumnal backdrop for the soft pastels of the late flowering Michaelmas daisies. A walk in this one and a half acre garden provides plenty of inspiration for keeping the season going in your own patch and the adjoining Old Court nurseries stocks much of what you see. Old Court Nurseries & Picton Garden, Walwyn Road, Malvern, WR13 6QE. Tel: 01684 540416 www.autumnasters.co.uk 18
Fine autumn colour and warming soups at Lukesland Gardens Tucked away on the southern edge of Dartmoor, just north of Ivybridge, Lukesland is a wonderful place to enjoy autumn colour. This year’s autumn openings are on Sundays and Wednesdays 11am to 5pm from 6th October to 17th November. The shelterbelt of beeches, planted by the Victorians to protect this 24-acre garden from Dartmoor winds, turns a glorious gold, while more exotic species such as acers, cornus, enkianthus and ginkgo reflect their autumn tints in the pools of the Addicombe Brook. The Howell family, who run Lukesland, serve up seasonal soups and cakes in the tearoom. And children, who have free entry, can enjoy a fun trail around the grounds, exploring the many secret paths and bridges. Dogs welcome on a lead. For more details about Lukesland phone 01752 691749 or go to www.lukesland.co.uk or www.facebook.com/lukeslandgardens
© National Trust 2019 . Registered charity, No. 205846. © National Trust Images \Rebecca Glover.
Space to explore made at Castle Drogo Visit Castle Drogo to explore miles of walks in the Teign Gorge this autumn
Soak up the spectacular colour... at Batsford this autumn. Browse our selection of plants and gifts and treat yourself to a home-baked lunch or afternoon tea in our café. A perfect day out for all the family – including the dog!
These are the places that make us. nationaltrust.org.uk/castle-drogo
LUKESLAND GARDENS Fine Autumn Colour Pools & Waterfalls
Home-made soups & cakes Sundays and Wednesdays 11am – 5pm 6th October - 17th November
Harford Ivybridge PL21 0JF Tel 01752 691749
Visit www.batsarb.co.uk for details on our forthcoming events
Autuum colour IN ABUNDANCE For the latest garden news, events & advice - don't miss COUNTRY GARDENER
BATSFORD ARBORETUM AND GARDEN CENTRE Batsford, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 9AD. Tel: 01386 701441 E: email@example.com www.batsarb.co.uk BatsfordArboretum
A Boutique Luxury Hotel, Spa and Seasons Restaurant
Escape to the country
THE EASTBURY HOTEL Long Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3BY Tel: 01935 813131 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.theeastburyhotel.co.uk
Warm autumn welcome at lively Sherborne hotel Just a few short steps from the historic Abbey town of Sherborne, The Eastbury Hotel is a boutique Georgian period listed townhouse with the hotel set within a spectacular walled garden. It is a warm, happy, welcoming hotel infused with a homely, personal touch and exceptional service. Originally designed as an 18th century Georgian gentleman’s residence, The Eastbury rooms are imbued with immense warmth and character and offer a real home from home. Menus reflect the changing seasons and Executive Chef Matthew Street and his team gather together the freshest and finest ingredients to create a tantalising variety of traditional dishes each with their own innovative twist. The Eastbury recently won Gold at the Taste of the West 2019/20 Awards for Hotel and Restaurant. Email: email@example.com Tel: 01935 813 131 www.theeastburyhotel.co.uk
AUTUMN COLOUR SPECTACULAR AT BATSFORD ARBORETUM Home to one of the largest private collections of trees and shrubs in the country, Batsford Arboretum is famed for putting on a show-stopping display of autumn colour, thanks to the magnificent collection of Japanese maples, sorbus, euonymus and cherries. Enjoy 56 acres of magical walks amongst a kaleidoscope of reds, pinks and golds. Wander along the paths beside streams and waterfalls, enjoy spectacular views across the Cotswold countryside and discover beautiful statues hidden in shady glades. Browse the garden centre and gift shop and treat yourself to lunch or afternoon tea at the garden terrace café. Open daily, dogs welcome on a short lead. Batsford Arboretum & Garden Centre, Batsford, Moreton-in-Marsh, Glos. GL56 9AD. Tel 01386 701441 www.batsarb.co.uk
Old Court Nurseries & The Picton Garden The Michaelmas Daisy Specialists since 1906 GET INSPIRED FOR AUTUMN IN THE PICTON GARDEN
Come along and enjoy exploring this 1.5 acre Plantsmans garden known for it's autumn herbaceous displays. Now is the perfect time to get that inspiration to extend the season in your own patch, and the ideal plants might be waiting for you in our specialist nursery.
Open 11am - 5pm, every day September until 20th October. Closed 20th October - May 2020. Garden admission £3.50. Groups welcome by appointment. Mail order catalogue available on request
Tel: 01684 540416 www.autumnasters.co.uk Old Court Nurseries, Walwyn Road, Colwall WR13 6QE 20
Ginko a survivor of a great race of plants which once dominated the earth
Ginko greatness Mark Hinsley visits an Isle of Wight garden with a difference - an RHS partner garden where he discovers a giant of a tree On a semi-working return to my homelands on the Isle of Wight recently I decided to finally take a look at the Model Village in Godshill. I had been aware of it for ever, but never ventured in before, arrogantly turning my nose up at a ‘Grockle Trap’! “Waiter! Bring me my humble pie!” I don’t know; perhaps I am going soft in my old age; but what a treasure of a place! And not only that – an interesting feat of arboricultural management to boot. Around the scaled down model buildings are scaled down model trees; but they are not models, they are outdoor bonsai trees growing in the ground. The Model Village is an RHS Partner Garden and has a huge collection of conifers and trees that includes a large collection of niwaki or cloud pruned specimens. The whole collection contains about 3,000 trees and shrubs. The chosen range of trees have been individually sculpted for maximum effect to best fit in with the scale of the models. Some of the ‘little’ trees are as much as 40 years old. However, that is not all. In the middle of all this minatureness, standing on a bit of a knoll, no doubt a proud The Model Village in Godshill remnant of the on the Isle of Wight rectory garden that once stood on this site, was a very impressive gingko. Ginkgo is a good tree if you want to have a ‘what is native?’ argument with one of those xenophobic organisations that think we should only plant native plants. You see, 125 million years ago, gingko was native to much of the northern hemisphere. It is the sole survivor of a great race of plants which once dominated the earth. There are a lot of dinosaur fossils on the Isle of Wight that are contemporary with the gingko. The gingko has done better than the creatures that used to eat it. In modern times the gingko is native to the Chekiang province of China, although the name comes from Japan, where the tree has long been cultivated around Buddhist temples. There are gingkos in Japan that are reputed to be over 1000 years old, taken there from China during the Sung dynasty in the 10th century.
This tree moving palaver, eh? You can’t get away from it! It was in Japan in 1690 that the gingko was first seen by a European. His name was Dr Engelbert Kaempfer and he was physician to the governor of the Dutch East India Company’s Deshima trading post. At that time Japan was still a closed country and Kaempfer’s movements were severely restricted; he was made to take oaths, sealed in his own blood, that he would not fraternise with the Japanese people. At great personal risk, Kaempfer collected specimens of the new and wonderful plants he came across on his few trips into the interior. On his return to Europe in 1712 he wrote a book of his experiences. In it, among others, were the first ever descriptions of the gingko, the Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi) and several of the flowering cherries and magnolias that are so popular in our gardens today. Eventually a gingko was brought to Holland from Nagasaki aboard a Dutch East India Company ship and there are records of one growing in the botanic gardens at Utrecht in the 1730s. The first gingko recorded in England was at the Mile End nursery of James Gordon in 1754. Only after the War of Independence did a gingko reach America from England in 1798. I wouldn’t be surprised if the gingko at Godshill dated from the latter part of the 1700s. Mark Hinsley is from Arboriculture Consultants Ltd. www.treeadvice.info
Join Country Gardener on 2020 garden holidays of a lifetime
Monet and Versailles tour in June and Yorkshire gardens in July launch our own specialist holidays Country Gardener magazine has joined forces with Floral Tours, the Bath based garden holiday specialists to launch affordable tailor made package holidays for passionate gardeners. We are delighted to announce two really special garden tours for 2020 which have original itineraries and great value - with some fun thrown in. Both tours include a professional tour manager.
Country Gardener Monet and Versailles Tour 2020 Two dates – 11th to 15th June & 9th to 13th September five days and four nights by Executive Coach, flight option available. 4★ Hotel on a B&B basis FROM £679 PP Evening meal options are available.
Your itinerary DAY 1 - Travel To include a visit on route. DAY 2 - Versailles Palace and Gardens From the seat of power to the Museum of the History of France. The Château de Versailles, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years, is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful. DAY 3 - Monet’s Garden Monet settled in Giverny in 1883. He untiringly transformed an abandoned domain into a floral masterpiece, to be the inspiration for many of his greatest works of art. Monet was not only a painter of his own garden but also an artist whose painting trips took him away for lengthy periods of time. 22
However, he was never far from his garden. Through constant correspondence, he kept a close eye on his family and his flowers. Frequent visits from his friends and admirers made Giverny the centre of his existence. The Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris. Musée Marmottan Monet features a collection of over three hundred Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin, Paul Signac and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. DAY 4 - Bagatelle gardens plus free time in Paris for extra excursions Parc le Bagatelle is on the western outskirts of Paris in the Bois de Boulogne Quarter. It is one of the four gardens which together make up the botanic gardens of Paris. The others are the Parc Floral de Paris, l’Arboretum de l’Ecole Du Breuil and the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil. The park and chateau were built in just 64 days following a bet between Marie-Antoinette and the Count of Artois. The park was designed in an Anglo-Chinese style which was very fashionable at the time. In 1905 the gardens were redeveloped and collections of horticultural plants were introduced in order to raise public awareness of these plants. Rose gardens were planted and the Roserie de Bagatelle established with a collection which now has 10,000 rose plants including 1,200 different species, and is home to an annual international competition for new roses. DAY 5 - Departure and travel
Country Gardener Yorkshire Tour 2020 15th to 19th July 2020 five days four nights by Executive Coach. 4★ Hotel on a half board basis FROM £497 PP
Evening meal options are available. A reduction for National Trust and RHS members.
Gardens to see on the Yorkshire Tour
Floral Tours Floral Tours is the only Group Tour Operator that works solely in the floral and horticultural sector providing tours and programmes at attractive prices . Floral Tours is owned and run by Pat Cooke from offices in Bath where she combines her love of the horticultural industry with her passion for flowers and horticulture. Pat is an active member of two Flower Clubs and one large gardening Club in her area. Teresa Perrett is part of the Floral Tours team and between her and Pat they have 18 years’ experience as specialists in tailoring floral and horticultural tours bringing both the logistics and inspiration to the table for a successful tour. Country Gardeners is delighted to work alongside them as they have a passion for listening to customers and their needs to help build the programme to grab the interest and enthusiasm of holidaymakers.
Scampston Hall - Walled Garden at Scampston The Walled Garden at Scampston is a stunningly beautiful contemporary garden, quite unlike any other. Designed by the renowned Dutch plantsman, Piet Oudolf, and featuring modern, perennial meadow planting alongside more traditional areas, the garden has been open to the public as a tourist attraction since 2004. Already acclaimed as one off Yorkshire’s finest gardens. Many of the plants that you will find in the garden can also be bought on site including those interesting and unusual plants that are particular to Scampston Walled Garden. Harlow Carr Spend time exploring the seasonal beauty of Harlow Carr. Among the many highlights are burgeoning colour in the Main Borders, vibrant primulas along the Streamside, and dazzling rhododendrons in the How to book Woodland Garden. Call Floral Tours on 01225913106 or Markenfield Hall email firstname.lastname@example.org and Historically worth a visit while in Yorkshire. Markenfield is amongst you will receive a booking form to a small number of mediaeval houses that, to this day, could still be complete. Remember to quote recognised by their original builder, because they are so unaltered. Country Gardener. FT_CountryGardener_126x84mm_Sep19.qxp_Layout 1 11/09/2019 The story of Markenfield is one of the saddest and most romantic in English history. Deeply intertwined with the fortunes of nearby Fountains Abbey, this great house was one of the most important centres of the Rising of the North in 1569, which sadly was to be its tragic downfall. Beningbrough Hall and Gardens Right people, right place, right time There are over eight acres of formal gardens to explore, Specialising in tailor-made floral and horticultural tours relax among the flowers or maybe compare the size of your vegetables. They include a two-acre working walled We can take Tours include garden with a large fruit collection, several herbaceous • Floral Tours are working in borders, a newly installed and planted pergola and less you to some partnership with The Country formal areas managed for wildlife. Gardener to offer readers two fabulous tailored tours for 2020: Newby Hall and Gardens The Monet and Versailles horticultural Experience and The Delights With 25 acres of award-winning gardens including of Yorkshire. If you would like destinations to join us on these tours please one of Europe’s largest double herbaceous borders, an call Pat at Floral Tours. enchanting woodland walk and a miniature railway. • Monet’s Garden – France Best in Apr–Nov Stillingfleet Lodge • Keukenhof – Holland 21 Mar–10 May 2020 Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens and Nurseries is a delightful • Beervelde Garden Days – Belgium 8–10 May 2020, late 18th Century farmhouse surrounded by a series 9–11 Oct 2020 of contrasting gardens with a specialist plant nursery. • Les Journées des Plantes – Chantilly, France 15–17 May Each of the gardens are packed with texture and foliage, 2020, 9–11 Oct 2020 densely planted for ease of maintenance based on • UK Garden Tours and Events cottage garden principles. York Gate n 3 The only UK group travel operator that specialises purely York Gate is a one-acre garden tucked away behind in horticultural and floral tours the ancient church in Adel, on the northern outskirts n 3 Top quality at a great price of Leeds. Created by the Spencer family during the n 3 Over 24 years’ experience second half of the twentieth century, and bequeathed focused on the ‘floriculture’ sector to Perennial in 1994, it is a garden of immense style and craftsmanship, widely recognised as one of the most Contact us or visit the website for more details innovative small gardens of the period. tel +44 (0)1225 913106 email email@example.com www.floraltours.co.uk
Our batch of gardening queries from readers from the Country Gardener postbag has quite understandably an autumn feel about them
I have a new garden to try and fill for next spring and summer. I’ve been told that taking root cuttings is the way to go but I’ve also read it is a difficult process? It is true there are many advantages of taking and propagating root cuttings. Taking root cuttings couldn’t be easier and it’s the ideal way to increase your stock of perennials, such as phlox, rhus, mint, Japanese anemones and more. Herbaceous and woody plants benefit in particular from this system. Root cuttings are used to propagate plants that naturally produce suckers (new shoots) from their roots. This technique has several advantages: • Root cuttings require no special aftercare • Large numbers of new plants can be generated from each parent plant • The plants derived from root cuttings are relatively large and vigorous. • Plants from root cuttings are free of foliar pests and pathogens that might affect their parents, such as stem and leaf nematodes. Root cuttings are best taken in mid-to-late autumn or early winter when plants are dormant. Choose vigorous clumps to propagate. Lift the plant when dormant and wash the roots. Select young, vigorous roots, about the thickness of a pencil, and cut them off close to the crown.
Taking roots is both simple and can generate a lot of fresh plants
Remove no more than one-third of the root system from the parent plant, and replant the parent plant as soon as possible. Discard the thin root end and remove any fibrous lateral roots. Cut each root into two inch lengths making a horizontal cut at the upper end and an angled cut at the lower end. Fill pots with cuttings compost, such as equal parts peat substitute and gritty sand or perlite. Insert the cuttings about two inches apart so that the horizontal cut surface at the top of the root is just below the surface of the compost and top dress with a layer of grit. Water the compost lightly and place the pots in a cold frame. In the following spring, pot up individually when the cuttings show signs of growth and are well rooted. Grow plants on and plant out the following year.
My grandfather always used to grease his fruit trees during November and he said it was a failsafe way of protecting the fruit for next spring. Is this still something gardeners are advised to do?
Ann P later, Instow
Fruit tree grease bands or just applying grease to a tree trunk are pesticide-free ways of keeping winter moth caterpillars away from your pear and apple trees in the spring. You use fruit tree grease for insect control. The ‘bracelets’ of grease on the trunk create an impassable barrier A simple grease band will protect fruit that stops the wingless females from climbing up the tree trunks to lay trees from winter moth caterpillars their eggs. Insects use fruit trees as a place to lay their eggs as well as get some lunch. They can damage your precious fruit trees in the process. Applying fruit tree grease or fruit tree grease bands is one way to stop this kind of insect damage without spraying pesticides in the garden. You can buy fruit tree grease bands, also known as gel bands at garden centres. Simply place them around the trunk about 18 inches above the ground. If the bark of the tree is not smooth, grease bands might not work well, since the bugs can crawl under the bands through the fissures and continue creeping up the trunk. In that case, think about applying fruit tree grease to the trunk-add it in a ring around the trunk about 18 inches above the soil. A ring of grease stops bugs in their tracks. You’ll want to start applying fruit tree grease at the end of October. The moths that want to lay eggs in the fruit trees typically arrive in November before the coldest weather hits. You want the protective bands in place before they get to the garden. 24
I have some birch trees at the bottom of the garden which this year seems to be struggling and look as if they need some help. They are lovely young trees and I am wondering what if anything I can do to help them?
John Rosen, Chippenham
Birch trees are so popular but they can have problems. They have notoriously shallow root systems and are therefore sensitive to both heat and drought. They need moist soil Birch trees can be problematical and respond really well to mulching so this is where you might start. They also need training to grow with a main trunk and pruning some lower branches can reduce specific defects. It is also a tree which is susceptible to boring insects and spraying with an organic insect spray in the autumn and spring might also help. The bark of many birches naturally peel, refreshing the surface. Where conditions are damp and shady, algae may appears. This can be gently removed by first wetting the algae, leaving a few minutes to soften and wiping it away gently. You can also peel off bark that is naturally beginning to come away revealing the more brightly coloured layers beneath but do not strip any bark which is firmly in place.
Twist gently and let the apple fall into your hand
Is there an idiot-proof way of deciding when to pick apples? Yes there is, although the right time to pick will certainly vary from year to year but there are obvious ways to tell when to start picking. If healthy looking apples start falling off the tree it is usually about the time. Apples can be harvested in stages and could need three pickings to get the whole crop at optimum ripeness. Tasting is another good way to assess and always pick on a dry day, as moist fruit will spoil quickly in store
Mick Freeman, Dawlish
Iâ€™ve now got some space in the vegetable plot and garlic seems to be one option but Iâ€™m finding it difficult to decide whether I should be planting in the autumn and let them overwinter or wait until the spring Autumn is without doubt the best time to plant garlic but remember to buy bulbs from nurseries or garden centres not from supermarkets. Horticultural bought garlic will be disease free and supermarket garlic is usually from overseas Garlic is better planted in the and needs hotter, sunnier conditions. autumn and left to overwinter Choose a sunny site and soil that is well drained. Incorporating bulky compost into the soil before planting will increase fertility and nutrient levels as well as improve the soil texture to make it more well draining but at the same time adequately moisture-retentive. Garlic does not thrive in acid soils so adding lime is advisable to raise the pH and create a more alkaline soil. Consider growing under black polythene, which suppresses emerging weeds. Removing weeds by hoeing later in the season may damage the bulb heads near the surface of the soil. Adding bulky manure prior to planting improves the moisture-holding capacity of the soil which reduces the need to water. At planting give an initial good watering to the crop. Over the winter do not water and in the spring start to increase watering gradually, but aim water solely to the soil reducing water splashing onto the foliage. Garlic leaves are susceptible to fungal diseases which favours wet leaves. When the foliage starts to die down and wither in spring, stop watering altogether. Harvest from early summer to mid-summer when you notice the leaves yellowing and withering.
Alan Tempaum, Exeter
NOW is the time to get PLANTING Autumn is nature’s planting time! Wit h the soil warm from summer and moist from autumn rain it is the perfect time to get trees and shrubs in the ground Planting new trees and shrubs is not a difficult job, but one to get right, if you want your new plants to have the best start in life. Timing is all-important together with root health, weather, soil conditions and aftercare. Planting is ideal over the next few weeks. The soil should still be dry and warm. New plants will need less watering and have the chance to get established before the worst of winter sets in. Bare-root and rootballed trees and shrubs are only available in autumn and winter. They should be planted immediately, but if this is not possible, then they can be heeled in (temporary planting in the soil to prevent the roots drying out) until planting is possible. Remember plants will not grow where soil contains too little air or where soil moisture is either excessive or insufficient. Pre-planting soil preparation should aim to improve these conditions so loosen the soil to a depth equivalent to the
Barthelemy & Co
height of the rootball and over a wide area to eliminate compaction and improve drainage. Improve soil structure on heavy or sandy soils by incorporating organic matter. It is not beneficial to apply fertiliser at planting time. However, on poor soils sprinkling an inoculant of mycorrhizal fungi (e.g. Rootgrow) over and in contact with the roots, may help trees and shrubs establish. If soils are waterlogged over winter consider trees better suited to wet soil, install drainage, or plant on a slight mound, about 25-30cm (10in-1ft) high and one metre (39in) in diameter. Northcote Hill, Honiton, Devon, EX14 9TH Tel: 01404 43344 'Growing in Devon since 1957' Growers & suppliers of native & ornamental trees, shrubs & hedging for: • Native, Formal & Evergreen Hedges • Screening • Woodland • Amenity • Wood Fuel • Gardens Now stocking a large range of ornamental trees & top fruit Call us for friendly and expert advice for species selection, planting & tree protection. We can also provide a planting & maintenance service.
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Send SAE for descriptive catalogue. Visitors welcome Mon-Sat 9am-1pm & 2pm-4.30pm Barthelemy & Co (DCG), 262 Wimborne Rd West, Stapehill, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 2DZ
Tel: 01202 874283 email@example.com www.barthelemymaples.co.uk 26
Barthelemy & Co – true Japanese maples specialists If you love the autumn colour of Japanese maples, then you’ll love Barthelemy & Co near Wimborne in Dorset. Established by a French nurseryman almost a century ago, the Skinner family now specialise in propagating and growing Acer palmatum – or Japanese maples. The ten acre nursery at Stapehill has a huge collection to choose from and staff are on hand to help select the right variety and to offer advice about caring for the trees. Over 100,000 acer palmatums are raised annually at Barthelemy & Co, 15,000 to 20,000 of these are grafted named varieties and, as one of the largest specialist growers of their kind, you can be sure of a great product and excellent service. Barthelemy & Co, 262 Wimborne Road West, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 2DZ. Tel: 01202 874283 www.barthelemymaples.co.uk
Now is the time to order bare root fruit trees Adam's Apples nursery in East Devon grows the largest range of fruit trees in the west country. This includes over 200 apple varieties, plums, gage, pears, cherries, damson, quince and medlar, all on a range of root stocks. They also sell bare rooted soft fruit plants. Adam’s Apples are award winning cider makers too, and grow and sell some of the best traditional cider apple trees from Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Herefordshire.
All of our trees and bushes are sold bare rooted, available from late autumn through to spring. Bare rooted trees are cheaper to purchase and easier to transport than potted trees and are the quickest way for trees to establish and thrive. They are always happy to offer advice and recommendations for your garden, small holding, farm or or community orchard. Trees delivered throughout the UK. Adam's Apples, Egremont Barn, Payhembury, Honiton. EX14 3JA. Tel: 07870576330 / 01404 841166 firstname.lastname@example.org www.adamsappletrees.co.uk
Rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi a planting essential Many gardeners find using rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi an essential starting point to success when planting. You can treat any size of plant with rootgrow, from mixing a couple of teaspoons into the compost of a seed tray to a treating a whole planting project. The mycorrhizal fungi in rootgrow will quickly colonise new plants enabling them to explore a much greater volume of soil in search of nutrients and water resulting in faster establishment and greater yields. The empathy range of seaweed stimulants and fertilisers work in harmony with the mycorrhizal fungi, helping to nurture and feed the life in our soils and subsequently the plants themselves. www.rootgrow.co.uk
Country Gardener reader discount for bare rooted stock Autumn and winter is prime planting time for trees and hedging as the dormant plants can be moved to their new home with minimal disturbance to their growth. Perrie Hale Nursery offer bare-rooted stock for woodland and hedgerow planting. They have recently taken on many of the plants that were part of the previous Thornhayes
Nursery range and now offer a large selection of ornamental trees and top fruit. They are a long standing family business known for its quality UK grown stocks of hedging plants, shrubs, broadleaf and conifer trees, top fruit and soft fruit. They are offering Country Gardener readers a five per-cent discount when ordering online or over the phone quoting the code ‘CG5’ by 30/11/2019. Contact them on 01404 43344 or email email@example.com or their online shop www.perriehale.co.uk
n o i t i t e C omp
WIN A LUXURY STAY FOR TWO IN NEW
VICTORIAN THEMED GARDEN ROOMS The Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne has five magical themed rooms in a wonderful garden setting and you can be one of the first to stay in them - and enjoy a spa treatment The Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne is becoming one of the most talked about hotels in the West Country. It is just six minutes walk away from Sherborne Abbey and has spectacular gardens which will appeal to all garden lovers. To celebrate the opening of the five new luxury Victorian Potting Shed themed garden rooms at The Eastbury Hotel we are offering one lucky Country Gardener reader the chance to win a one night stay for two people in a Potting Shed Suite plus a massage each at the spa worth a total of £445. The unique Victorian Potting Sheds show off eco friendly moss and sedum roofs with flowers. Whilst externally resembling a traditional Victorian Garden Potting Shed, internally they boast luxurious bedroom accommodation with en- suite wet room facilities and private terraces with fire pit. Perfect for long last summer evenings and cosy winter warmers. All five are dog friendly ideal for you and your four legged companions. With fully opening tri-fold doors and large roof light these rooms are light spacious and airy and are hidden away within the lovely Dorset garden. Professional manners come first at this wonderful hotel, but a layer of warmth is delivered during informal chats about how to make the most of Dorset whatever the weather.
To enter simply answer the question below and email your answer and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org before 14th October.
What is the executive chef’s name at the Eastbury Hotel?
And if you can’t wait to see whether you have won call the Eastbury Hotel on 01935813131 to book your stay or visit www.theeastburyhotel.co.uk Terms and conditions: The prize is valid for six months and subject to availability. For full terms and conditions see the hotel Facebook page Leveller Live.
INTO LIFE Now is the time to plan your colour combinations and plant your bulbs if you want beautiful spring displays next year. It is the easiest way to fill your garden with bold and beautiful colour Bulbs are among the most anticipated flowers — their appearance signals a new garden season and the return of colour to the bleak late-winter landscape. But before you start planting a smattering of tulips here and a bag of daffodils there, consider what effect you want, what colours you choose, where you want different bursts of colour in your garden and how you can disguise the bulbs’ dying foliage that is necessary for the following year’s blooms. COLOUR IS THE STARTING POINT Interior designers often work with a colour palette - a selection of colours chosen to give a room or a home a particular look, mood or style. This technique is equally effective in gardens and landscapes. One option is to choose a single colour scheme such as pink, white or purple. The effect is simple and always has a big impact. You can also build your design around a pair of colours such as pink and white, red and yellow or orange and purple. Another approach is to use a colour wheel to choose a harmony of several related colours such as pink, lavender and burgundy or yellow, orange and red. THINK OF HOW TO STAGGER BULBS BLOOMING From early-blooming crocuses to late-blooming tulips and alliums, the spring bulb season can stretch for as long as eight to ten weeks. When 30
choosing your bulbs, be sure to include a few from each bloom time: early, midseason and late season. This way you’ll have flowers in bloom for as long as possible. Spring-blooming bulbs look best when the plantings are generous and the bulbs are grouped together. Small bulbs such as Scilla siberica or Chionodoxa should be planted in groups of at least 25 bulbs. Tulips look best in groups of at least a dozen bulbs. Daffodils and alliums can be planted in threes, though groups of seven or nine look even better. When choosing bulbs for a naturalised planting, look for species and varieties that will multiply readily without becoming invasive. Also look for a location where you can live with the relaxed look of dying bulb foliage once the flowers are gone. Excellent choices include small bulbs like crocus, snowdrops and scilla for lawns; grape hyacinth, species tulips and ‘Tete-a-tete’ dwarf daffodils for rock gardens; and larger daffodils and checkered lily (Fritillaria meleagris) for fields and woodland settings. REPEAT SHAPES AND COLOURS Landscapes are more pleasing and cohesive when the same plant or grouping of plants appears in multiple locations. Our eyes connect these similar shapes or colours into one scene rather than a collection of separate elements. In a formal
setting, plant in squares, rectangles or circles. For a more natural or informal look, use ovals, triangles, kidney shapes or a free-form shape that fits the location. PLANT ANNUAL AND PERENNIAL BULBS Many spring bulbs, including daffodils, Scilla, Chionodoxa, alliums and Muscari, can be considered perennials, as they will return and bloom again every spring. In fact, most of these hardy bulbs will naturalise and multiply over time. Tulips and hyacinths are often treated as annuals because they usually put on their best show the first spring after planting. In the right growing conditions (full sun, well drained soil, hot dry summers), some tulips, such as Darwin hybrids, will re-bloom for several years. To ensure the most dramatic spring display, treat these bulbs as annuals and plant a fresh batch every autumn. SHOP FOR LARGE, HIGH-QUALITY BULBS Size matters when it comes to bulbs! The most reliable way to achieve professional-looking planting schemes is to choose the highest quality, top-size spring bulbs. Not only will you get bigger, better and stronger plants, but the blooms will go above and beyond all your expectations in terms of colour and longevity. Also remember that bulbs are perishable, so it’s important to purchase the freshest bulbs possible and store them in a cool place until planting time. BUY IN BULK Tulips should always be planted en masse: you need to think in hundreds. The tulip is the fanfare that greets the beginning of summer and, as such, should be loud and unashamed. There are so many fabulous tulips that it’s tricky to choose from the scores of different combinations that will work well together. In this case the
To p t ips
1. Don’t just plan t your bulbs in w ithout a plan. Sele favourite varietie ct s from catalogues or online. Before buy, print or cut ou you t the images. Mar k each one with th flowering times, th ei en play around w ith the pictures, m r them to contrast ixing in colour, shape an d scale. 2. Combine tulip s, alliums or daffo dils, making sure they flower at th that e sa opposite effect an me time, or deliberately go for the d put together gr oups after another to gi ve you weeks of pe which flower one rformance. 3. Try a simple co ntrast between tw o colours – purple orange, crimson an and d gold, coral and crea family of colours, similar, but with en m – or select a ough contrast be them (or one of th tween em) to make the group sing.
juxtaposition of deep purple Tulipa ‘Paul Scherer’, vibrant orange (and scented) Tulipa ‘Ballerina’ and the cool, soothing Tulipa ‘Spring Green’ gives just the right touch of restrained glamour. Three kinds are probably enough. CHIRPY ALLIUMS As the tulips begin to fade away, the alliums take over. Here’s three options for different sorts of alliums. Firstly, Allium altissimum, which has to be about the tallest of the lot: its sturdy stems are about 1.5m high and support flower spheres 10cm in diameter. If you have trouble finding a supplier, Allium ‘Gladiator’ is fine as an alternative. Beneath them will be plummy red Allium atropurpureum and Allium nigrum, which is white with a greenish tinge. Alliums die beautifully, which is always an advantage: their flowers fade to skeletal husks dotted with seeds as black and shiny as the eyes of a field mouse.
How to plant your spring bulbs • Position one bulb in each hole, unless the bulbs are small varieties, such as Muscari, crocus or dwarf iris, in which case you can plant a few bulbs in each planting hole. • Cover bulbs with soil and leave over winter. The soil is usually cool and moist enough during autumn to mean that the bulbs don’t require watering in, although if it’s particularly dry you can water them just once to begin with to help get them started. • After flowering, the blooms and foliage should be allowed to die back fully before being removed. This helps the bulbs to gather energy for the next year’s display. • Plant spring-flowering bulbs in autumn from September to late November. • Most spring-flowering bulb varieties will thrive in full sun or partial shade. • Plant in a hole which is twice as deep as the bulb is high. • If the bulb has a pointed side, position with the point facing upwards. Corms like anemones can be planted any way up. www.countrygardener.co.uk
Now that makes
by Elizabeth McCorquodale
awakening feelings den, tickling the memory into life and gar the to ion ens dim ra ext an gs Scent brin e is elsewhere. catches our attention when our gaz of well-being and happiness. Scent There are numerous scent families among plants, from the heady, heavy perfume of jasmine to the fresh, fruity scent of roses such as ‘The Ingenious Mr. Fairchild’, from the comfortable grandmotherly aroma of lavender to the ubiquitous rose scent of so many perfumes. That this scent is often harvested not from rose blossoms but from the leaves of the scented geranium ‘Attar of Roses’ only deepens the mystery of the scented garden. A beautiful, satisfying garden is made up of many elements including colour, height and form, movement and sound and of course the frequently overlooked scent. Scent is an element that is often included by accident or considered deliberately only in relation to one or two plants. It isn’t uncommon for gardeners to include one or two plants in Lavender - the classic garden scent their gardens that remind them of another time or place and you often hear someone exclaim,’ I love the scent of lavender. I must have some lavender in my garden.’ The potential of scent, though, can be much greater than a single familiar plant. The whole garden can be lifted and enlivened by setting out to include scented plants. Rose scented geranium Incorporating night-scented plants 32
into the border under a window will bring the night time garden into the house after dark when it would otherwise be forgotten. Scented leaves growing beside a path at just the right height encourages the pleasure of touching and feeling with the extra reward of a sudden delightful release of perfume. If you were to choose mint or lemon verbena, lemon balm or other herbs your taste buds will also be stimulated. A deep close inhalation of a crushed leaf can offer pleasure that is similar to a satisfying flavour on your tongue. A hidden, unexpected perfume is intriguing and can arouse a curiosity in our surroundings that would otherwise lie dormant. A carefully chosen plant that might not be visually stunning can be incorporated for its scent alone. The arch over my garden path is draped with a vigorous, beautiful but scentless passionflower which is dotted with buds and flowers for most of the growing season. Stunning as it is in its own right, this tangled mass of leaves and flowers is nevertheless brought to real life by the wild honeysuckle that has chosen to weave its way among the confusion of wiry stems and complicated blossoms, offering its heady, unexpected perfume from fairly unimpressive clusters of cream honeysuckle flowers that are mostly hidden from view. The scent is delightful, but even more so because it is so unexpected. Scent is the secret weapon of winter flowering plants. There are so few pollinating insects on patrol during the cold months that plants
need to employ all their resources to attract insects to their blossoms, and because of this, when you grow winter scented plants you are getting, not only the scent but also the pleasure of the foraging invertebrates as well. Mahonias, with their highly scented clusters of yellow winter flowers, release their perfume freely and attract winter foraging insects in droves. There are mahonias of all shapes and sizes with some species even offer edible berries as a bonus. For anyone with a reasonably sheltered spot near a door or gateway there are few species of winter flowering plants that offer as much perfume impact as Daphne species. There are evergreen varieties and deciduous ones too but both offer delightful, heavily perfumed flowers right in the depths of winter. My favourite winter scented plant is the ubiquitous Viburnum fragrans and its crosses, the best of which is V. bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’ which has highly scented pretty pink flowers all through the winter. As an extra delight for the winter garden try growing primulas inside in an unheated porch or an often-visited winter greenhouse. Scents linger in the memory and one of my most enduring is the intoxicating pleasure of walking into the cool winter greenhouse where I trained when I began my studies 35 years ago. Primulas, though highly scented, are usually overlooked for fragrance as they are too close to the ground to be noticed, but grown above waist height on a bright, cool windowsill or on a greenhouse bench, a generous collection of primulas will surprise and delight you with their intoxicating fragrance. For the curious gardener it is fun to play with scents that remind us of other plants. The gorgeous creamy froth of the almond scented flowers of Filipendula ulmaria are a delight and the new flowers can be used, in the manner of elderflowers, to make a delicious marzipan flavoured gin. Chocolate mint and chocolate cosmos wear their names with honour, though chocolate mint has the advantage of not only smelling of cocoa, but tasting of it as well. A few leaves steeped in a cup of boiling water really does taste like minty hot chocolate. Among the mint family you can choose from lemon and lime, strawberry, eau de cologne, apple, spearmint and ginger, as well as countless other scents and flavours. Try growing a selection of mints, of flavoured basils and of other herbs next to pathways and benches so that they can be appreciated every day. There are a number of night scented flowers that bear a perfume powerful enough to attract animals in the dark. Nicotiana sylvestris, the flowering tobacco, with it’s pure white tubular bells hanging proud above the foliage, is perfect for the back of the border near a window where
its scent can be appreciated. Hesperis matronalis, or sweet rocket, really earns its keep, not just for its heady evening fragrance but also for the abundance of white or violetblue flowers that stand out in the fading light. Matthiola longipetala, or night scented stocks, need no further explanation, while herbaceous phlox and many dianthus species show off their strongest fragrance on warm summer evenings. Climbing plants are ideal to choose to add scent to the garden as they are so easy to place around windows and doors and over arches and garden seating where they are sure to be appreciated. The rich scent of the evergreen Trachelospermum jasminoide, and the delicious fruity fragrance of the honeysuckles, Lonicera periclymenum and L. hallyana, the spicy scent of true jasmine and the rosy scent of Wisteria floribunda are just a few of the plants that will quickly clothe an arch or trellis, while, of course, there is always the abundance of rambling or climbing rose cultivars to chose from as well. Lilac hedge - stunning and powerfully scented If there is truly nowhere else to squeeze more plants into the garden there is always the perimeter, the hedge. It is hard to beat the long flowering rose ‘Harlow Carr’ as a medium sized semievergreen hedge, though deciduous Scented rose hedge; a traditional but lilacs go a long wonderful scent in the garden way for visual and olfactory impact. Though their flowering season is limited, the effect while they are in full flower is heady and magnificent. Far less showy, but equally scented are the various Elaeagnus species who hide their tiny powerfully scented flowers away among their attractive leaves. There are numerous opportunities to introduce more fragrance into our outdoor spaces. www.countrygardener.co.uk
need our help
Hedgehogs have in the past been voted as Britain’s National Animal Species and are the friend of gardeners but now more than ever before we need to give them some assistance Hedgehogs were once common and much loved. They still are very much a gardener’s friend as they feed on animals including species regarded as pests such as slugs, caterpillars and more. But populations have fallen dramatically in recent years but this is all part of a longer decline, their numbers plummeted from an estimated 36 million in the 1950’s to just 1.5million in1995 and since then have fallen five per cent each year. Tens of thousands of hedgehogs are killed by road traffic each year. The loss of hedgerows, declines in prey populations and habitat fragmentation are just a few of the reasons for the drop in numbers Wildlife experts believe the threat of extinction in the near future is unlikely despite some scaremongering, but the rate of decline has wider implications for the state of the UK’s ecosystems because hedgehogs, like butterflies, are seen as an ‘indicator’ species for the health of the natural world. The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), a charity which has been running counts of hedgehogs for over a decade and compiled the figures, believes there are now fewer than a million hedgehogs left in the UK. A spokesman told Country Gardener: “They’re quite generalist, and feed on soil invertebrates, and they’re not very fussy in habitat requirements, so if there is a big decline in hedgehogs, it raises concerns about the quality of the environment generally”. He said that the loss of hedgehogs mattered. “The hedgehog is the most important creature on the planet, because you can get nose to nose with it. With a hedgehog you can get really close, and make a connection. It is an animal with so many delightful stories, and people can make an attachment to it, and risk falling in love. To quote Stephen Jay Gould: ‘We will not fight to save what we do not love.’”
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
Make square six inches by six inches ‘hog holes’ in the base of your solid garden boundaries. This links your plot to the wider landscape, helping to reverse habit fragmentation. Provide log piles, leaf piles, compost piles or bespoke hedgehog ‘hibernation houses and place these in quiet corners for hedgehogs to use when they are inactive – and don’t be too tidy.
Hedgehogs need drinking bowls of clean fresh water and during longer periods without rain can get desperate for water. At this time of ‘hog holes’ the year leave some windfallen fruit on the ground. Hedgehogs are carnivores but don’t turn their noses up at fruit. Avoid using pesticides Hedgehog hotel in your garden. Hedgehogs have a varied diet and feed on slugs, worms, snails, caterpillars and various insects. Pesticides and slug pellets are often used to tackle some of these garden pests. This not only reduces the food available to hedgehogs but can also seriously affect a hedgehog’s health and ability to breed so don’t use these in your garden. Take care on the roads at night. Most active at night and attracted to the heat of the road, hedgehogs may need to cross several times on their nightly foray for food. Whilst curing into a ball is an effective technique against predators it doesn’t work against cars! Extra food for hedgehogs is especially important in the autumn, as they need to fatten up to sustain themselves during hibernation. You can buy specific hedgehog food but never put out bread or milk as hedgehogs cannot digest lactose.
Natural air fresheners IN YOUR HOME
In the autumn and winter months we crave for the scents of the gardens and new research suggests it would be healthier to opt for a better use of plants as natural air fresheners A lot of households depend on artificial air fresheners for their homes. However, since many contain chemicals that can be dangerous to your health, it’s time to switch to natural air fresheners like lavender or mint. While the amount of chemicals used in these air freshening products are said to be regulated, research show says that they still emit and generate potentially hazardous toxins. According to one study, even those that are labelled as ‘green’ or ‘organic’ aren’t always safe. Households that are exposed to artificial air fresheners are subject to a range of adverse health effects like asthma attacks, migraines, and earache. But there is a solution for this. The simple trick is to replace them with fragrant foliage that you can grow on your own. There are many indoor plants that can emit a flowery aroma and make your entire home smell pleasant. By switching from artificial fresheners to scented plants, your house can smell just as fresh without the risk of breathing harmful toxins. While there are a wide variety of fragrant plants to choose from, we have picked out the best ones that suit any taste. Here are the five best-smelling plants that you can use as natural air fresheners:
1. Scented geranium
With a wide range of scents to choose from, such as apple, lemon, or strawberry, homeowners might get confused with getting an air freshener instead of a plant. Well, that’s because geraniums come in different kinds, with unique scents to choose from. That leaves you with endless options when deciding which one to take care of inside your home. These scented plants are available in seven scents, mainly rose, lemon, mint, fruit and nut, spice, pungent and oak. Geraniums have small flowers, but some are so tiny that you barely even notice them. It’s best to water these potted geraniums once
every four weeks to keep it healthy and alive indoors.
Lavender is one of the most popular fragrances from a plant, and it’s widely used as a medicine because of its soothing scent. The relaxing smell that the lavender emits is believed to have a calming effect; it’s even used to help people fall asleep. Although it’s a popular ingredient, its effects are still yet to be proven. Nonetheless, growing a lavender inside your home is still an excellent choice. Make sure to keep it by the window as it requires a high level of sunlight to survive.
3. Mint plant
If you’re not a fan of traditional flowery plants, the mint plant might be your best bet. Its fresh smell is a great alternative to artificial air fresheners. The two most popular varieties are peppermint and spearmint, which both emit delicate yet soothing aromas. However, mint is quite a highmaintenance plant as it requires to be watered at least three to four times a week.
This plant is a regular ingredient in many popular perfumes, and you might have even sprayed it on yourself at some point in your life. The strong yet sweet aroma of the gardenia will keep your household smelling fresh for months. To keep it healthy, make sure to expose it in regular light and water it once a week.
5. Citrus plant
Obviously, this plant emits a citrusy smell such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit. But if you want this plant to survive inside your home, it will require a high level of maintenance. For indoor planting, the citrus plant needs at least eight hours of sunlight per day, with one soaking every week. If you do not meet the requirement of the citrus plant, problems can develop, and it won’t be able to emit the sweet, zingy smell. www.countrygardener.co.uk
We must cherish the
simple flowers by Vivienne Lewis
It is 50 years ago since the death of the gardener and writer Margery Fish, but her work is as important today, in the cottage-style garden she created at East Lambrook Manor in Somerset and in her wise and helpful books Like many of us, Margery Fish came to gardening somewhat late in life. She was a top secretary in London, working for a Fleet Street editor, whom she went on to marry. By the late 1930s sensing that war could be on the horizon they Margery Fish - she liked mixed borders with shrubs, bulbs and wanted to move out annuals to fill up spaces of London. They found a dilapidated manor house in deepest Somerset with a wilderness for a garden. The story of how they transformed East Lambrook Manor and the rubbish-filled area around it, is told in We Made a Garden, first published in 1956, by which time Walter Fish had died and Margery was in charge of a garden that became famous and still attracts visitors from not only all over this country but from other parts of the world. We Made a Garden is available in libraries and has been reprinted many times, the latest in 2016. For anyone new to gardening, or has moved to a house that badly needs the garden to be developed, Margery’s writing is still inspirational. 36
It’s the story of a couple who had very different approaches to gardening, something that will resonate with many readers. Walter Fish wanted bold coloured dahlias whereas Margery loved primroses, hellebores and double daisies, little cottage garden plants. The work of the garden divided itself unconsciously, Margery tells us. “Walter took over the care of the grass, paths, walls and hedges and left the flowers (and most of his clearing up) to me”, she wrote. He was also a fair-weather gardener who wanted a glorious summer show of colour and was uninterested in the quiet season of winter, she says; she wanted to extend the season and grew to love the early spring plants – snowdrops, aconites, primroses and hellebores. Her advice on cut hellebores for the house is to slit the stems up to the first leaves, then they will last a long time. “If dejected when first picked they soon revive if put in hot water up to their necks.” Her books are full of advice like this. Left to her own devices she made the garden her own, and although they had made a good solid structure of terraces, walls and hedges, even here she changed things such as paving the paths which had at first been gravelled. She liked mixed borders, with shrubs, bulbs, foliage plants and annuals to fill up spaces, which was quite unusual then and was ‘deplored’ by her husband, but she explained that she wanted always to have something in bloom. Nowadays this is a very usual part of gardening, but Margery was ahead of many other gardeners of her time, when you think of old style formal rose beds or summer borders only filled with annuals. She admired white borders and white gardens such as Vita Sackville-West’s garden at Sissinghurst, also gold and silver borders “but for most of us white and silver and gold must be woven into the tapestry of just one garden.”
Valerie Finnis’ (Later Lady Montagu Douglas Scott) National Gallery Portrait of Margery Fish
That’s the thing about Margery. She speaks to us down the years as an ordinary gardener (which of course she wasn’t) and it makes us think that we could manage a garden like hers, as she goes for plants that give good value over a long period, flowering for a long period and lasting overall for several years. “We all know that line about ‘looking nice last week’ or ‘in two or three weeks’, but the garden of our ideals should no need apologies, it should look lovely and inviting every day of the year,” she wrote. That sounds unattainable, but many gardeners have been able to prove her right, as visitors can see in present day private gardens that open for charity, and are so often described as giving all year round colour. In other books including An All the Year Garden published in 1958, and A Flower For Every Day, published in 1965, Margery Fish persevered with her campaign to get gardeners to make their gardens attractive all year, with structure, evergreens and the plants that do well in the cold.
She loved to get well wrapped up and discover the little flowers that she had planted – the aconites, the snowdrops, hellebores, heathers, ground cover such as Lamium maculatum in white and salmon pink which “is good all the year round”, set off by shrubs including a Magnolia grandiflora and a Chaenomeles that hugs a wall, and the red foliage of a Euphorbia sikkimensis, and silver birches. Margery promoted old cottage garden flowers that might easily have been lost to modern gardeners, often asking for a cutting or small plant from over the wall of a villager’s garden. Not all have survived though, and we only have her books to remind us of them. There is also the nostalgia in her writing, revelling in a slower pace of rural life, although the world was changing by the time she was writing in the 1950s and 1960s. An elderly countrywoman, she was enjoying a quiet time with her beloved plants in a peaceful garden but one that she would open and was attracting many visitors, some of whom were lucky enough to go to her lectures and read her books. Margery Fish told readers that “there are many good things to enjoy in a December garden” and that spring flowers open early in a cottage garden as they have the protection of walls, hedges and the other plants growing nearby. “We must cherish the simple flowers that brightened our cottage gardens for so many years.” East Lambrook Manor Gardens East Lambrook, South Petherton, Somerset TA13 5HH. Opens Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am-5pm until 31st October. Contact on 01460 240328. The cafe and the adjacent plant nursery are open when the gardens are open. www.eastlambrook.com
East Lambrook Manor - the Somerset legacy of ‘an elderly countrywoman’
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Creekside Cottages, Near Falmouth, Cornwall Waters-edge, Rural & Village Cottages Sleeping 2-8. Peaceful & Comfortable. Available year round. Dogs Welcome. Open Fires. Call us on 01326 375972 for our colour brochure www.creeksidecottages.co.uk Wye Valley/Forest of Dean. Fully equipped 4-star single storey cottage. Two bedrooms both en-suite. Central heating/bedlinen provided. Rural retreat with shops/pubs one mile. Short breaks available. Warm welcome. Tel: 01594 833259 www.cowshedcottage.co.uk Self-catering cottages in countryside near Lyme Regis. Japanese food available. www.hellbarn.co.uk Tel: 01297 489589
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COMPILED BY KATE LEW IS DIARY EVENTS FROM CLUBS AND ORGANISATIONS AROUND CORNWALL
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 email@example.com 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.
SEP TEMBER 18th STICKER GARDEN GROUP ‘SCOTTISH GARDENS VISITED’ – JOHN SIRKETT Details on 01726 812352 24th ST AGNES GARDENING GROUP ‘CREATING PINSLA GARDEN’ – CLAIRE WOODBINE Details on 01872 552436 26th THE POLY, FALMOUTH ‘HOW TO PLANT A GARDEN’ MATT JAMES Details and booking 01326 319461
29th BOSAVERN COMMUNITY FARM, ST JUST & LAND’S END HARVEST CELEBRATION DAY Details on shelley.nuth@ bosaverncommunityfarm.org.uk
15th MENHENIOT GARDEN CLUB ‘TRADE SECRETS’ - NICK BACON Menheniot Parish Hall 7pm
OC T OBER 8th CORNWALL GARDEN SOCIETY AGM AND LECTURE BY MIKE NELHAMS - ‘TRESCO STORY’ Details on 01872 270854 10th COTHELE HOUSE, NR SALTASH BEHIND THE SCENES AT COTEHELE HOUSE Details on 01579 351346 press 0
16th STICKER GARDEN GROUP ‘WILD FLOWERS OF ROMANIA’ – TIM ELLIS Details on 01726 812352 22nd ST AGNES GARDENING GROUP ‘BEES & BEE-KEEPING’ – HENRY KENDALL Details on 01872 552436
Dorset ISSUE NO 162
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Send them into us by email, giving us 10 weeks notice of the event to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to: Mount House, Halse, Taunton, TA4 3AD. Your event can also be listed on: www.countrygardener.co.uk Sign up to add your events today
• HIGH DORSET, APE SERVING E WHITE of ON LANDSC nIRE & WILTSHIR HAMPSH CTORS home grow WITCHAMPT • NO CONTRA , organic and o.uk owgardens.c ….juicy, tasty 840082 www.w
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FREE How toGfeed your lawn, 2018 SPRIN hyacinth delights, growing chard, April gardens to visit
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Please send us your diary for the year we’d love to include your talks and shows
Autumn love and care for
your lawn The next few weeks are a great time to give your lawn a pick-me-up to ensure that it is in the best possible shape to survive the winter
Autumn is a critical time for looking after your lawn. The recent rain has meant that lawns are still growing so it’s an ideal time to give them a pick-me-up to revitalise them and to ensure they are fit enough to get through winter. Whatever the weather the chance are your lawn has weeds, damaged areas caused by everything from over wear to moles and needs some help.
with drainage, resulting in the spread of moss or water lying in puddles on the surface. Improve by plunging a garden fork into the lawn as far as it will go and repeat at 10cm intervals. Fill the air channels with a ready mixed sandy top dressing bought from the garden centre, working it into the holes with a broom.
To finish off, perk up tired lawns by giving them a feed. Use an autumn lawn fertiliser, which is high in phosphates and potash. This will help strong roots to develop, which will produce healthy leaves and able to cope with whatever winter throws at it. Grass leaves may grow much more slowly as the weather turns cooler but the grass roots and rhizomes continue to grow quickly. Rhizomes are the horizontal plant stems that lie just beneath the soil’s surface; they produce the blades of grass above and the roots below. Fertiliser now delivers essential nutrients for the grass to grow deep roots. Do not be tempted to use a spring feed instead - this is high in nitrogen and will result in soft, sappy growth that is easily damaged by cold weather.
If your lawn is spongy then it is likely you have a problem with moss. This plant will quickly spread in damp or shaded areas and will overwhelm grass so it needs tackling to keep in check. Remove from the lawn by spreading granules or soaking the problem area with a liquid moss killer applied from a watering can and leave until it turns black (usually within two weeks). The dead moss can be removed by raking vigorously with a spring tined garden rake. Large bare patches of soil that are left behind after the moss has been removed should be resown with lawn seed. Although moss killer works quickly, it is a short-term fix and it pays to tackle the causes of moss. To do this, remove overhanging branches that shade the lawn or allow more light through by raising the canopy of trees. If the lawn suffers from compaction or poor drainage it will need aerating.
DEALING WITH CLAY SOILS If gardening on heavy clay or if standing water is a problem, consider hollow tining the lawn every three to four years. This extracts plugs of soil from the lawn. Sweep up the plugs, then rake a top-dressing into the holes.
REMOVING THATCH Grass clippings, moss, weeds and other debris can form a thick mat above the surface of the soil. Known as thatch, this material prevents the lawn from breathing properly, stops rain from penetrating effectively and encourages lawn diseases to prosper. To remove from the soil, scratch the surface vigorously with a spring tined rake, working your way across the lawn. When scarifying a smaller area, use a spring-tined rake. Avoid scarifying too deeply, which can damage the turf. Add the material that is removed to your compost heap. After raking (also known as scarifying) grasses will respond by producing more side shoots. Large lawns can be tackled with a powered raking machine, available from machinery hire stores.
IMPROVE DRAINAGE Lawns that have been subjected to heavy traffic over the summer could be compacted, which will lead to problems
DO’S AND DON’TS THIS AUTUMN ON YOUR LAWN • Do make sure you cover all the lawn with autumn feed and don’t miss out patches. • Do be diligent on removing all the leaves – they will leave a worn patch otherwise. • Do aerate your lawn thoroughly helping to get fresh oxygen to the roots and stop compacting. • Don’t be tempted to use a spring feed in autumn – it will damage your lawn. • Don’t be tempted to cut your lawn too severely leaving little time for growth. • Don’t scarify too deeply and damage the roots.
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. Youâ€™ll find those highlighted in green advertising in this issue. For amendments to details or deliveries call Pat Eade on 01594 543790 email email@example.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 Lower Kennegy Nurseries, TR20 9AR St Austell St Austell Garden Centre PL25 3RJ Lost Gardens of Heligan PL26 6EN Tourist Information Centre PL25 4RS St Columb Major Trenowth Nurseries TR9 6EW Wynnstay Country Store TR9 6JB St Mawes Roseland Visitor Centre TR2 5AG St Neot Carnglaze Caverns, PL14 6HQ St Tudy Cedar Croft Plants PL30 3PH Saltash Cotehele House NT PL12 6TA Tamar View Nurseries PL12 6PH
Tartendown Nurseries, PL12 5AF Torpoint Antony Woodland Garden, PL11 2QA Truro Bosvigo Gardens, TR1 3NH Goonhavern Garden Centre TR4 9QQ Grahams Garden Machinery TR2 4HD Roseland Plant Centre TR2 5JR Tourist Information Centre TR1 2QQ Trewithen Gardens, TR2 4DD Wadebridge Trelawney Garden Centre PL27 6JA Wynnstay Country Store PL27 6HB
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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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.
NOW is the
time to plant
If you are thinking of planting a hedge this autumn take time out to look at the fantastic choices available to select what it right for your garden
Images from top to bottom: Mixed flowering hedges; Japanese blueberry; native hedge ivy; Blackthorn; Bay laurel
Autumn is the perfect time to think about planting a new hedge or even thickening up gaps in an existing one. Hedging is easy to plant and much cheaper than a fence especially if you choose bare-root plants delivered during the winter when the plants are dormant. CHOOSING A HEDGE Fast growing hedges If you are looking to get a hedge which really establishes itself quickly then remember there’s a far greater choice than just leylandii. One of the most popular choices for privacy hedging, the cherry laurel is extremely fast growing. Also known as common laurel, this evergreen species thrives in shadier conditions as well as in direct sunlight. Growth wise, you can expect about 60cm per year in average conditions. Valued among the Ancient Greeks, another option is the bay laurel which had strong associations with the god Apollo - and its leaves were even fashioned into wreaths for the victors of an early incarnation of the Olympic Games. Attractive and aromatic, today laurus nobilis is prized as a fast growing privacy hedge. Evergreen hedges Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar) and Thuja ‘Brabant’ are fast-growing conifers that create an evergreen hedge. Thuja are extremely hardy and will tolerate strong winds. They grow in most soils (except for water-logged soils). They both tend to be a bit bushier than leylandii in the pot or as a rootballed hedging plant (one dug straight from the ground) but they are slightly slower growing than leylandii so are generally cost a little bit more for the equivalent height plant. Thujas have aromatic, fruity foliage when brushed against. Keep them trimmed once a year to the height and width you need and they will form a fantastic field or garden hedge. Photinia Red Robin is a popular, fast-growing, evergreen hedging plant that makes an attractive garden hedge if it is pruned twice a year. It has bright red, young leaves in early spring and, if it is trimmed in late spring or early summer, it will produce more red shoots in summer. Native hedges Native hedges are quite simply hedges that have developed in an area naturally over thousands of years and which
continue to thrive locally. This has been achieved and sustained without any human intervention. There are many extremely popular hedges that are native to us such as box, beech, yew and hornbeam. Planting one of these species ensures that your hedging is acclimatised to local weather conditions and means that less favourable soils will be tolerated. Edible hedges include blackthorn (sloe gin) hazel (nuts) crab apple (crab apple jelly) and elder (elderflower wine and elderberry cordial). Flowering hedges There are a lot of viburnums on the market and many grow well as flowering hedges. Most produce clusters of white or delicate pink flowers in early spring. Look for types such as Koreanspice viburnum (V. carlesii), which offer fragrant flowers, or for varieties that develop red or black berries. Snowball viburnum (V. opulus ‘Roseum’), grows eight feet tall. The variety ‘Nanum’ stays under three feet tall. Ninebark is a native shrub which requires little care to thrive. Grown primarily for its colourful foliage, which may be gold, coppery red, or deep purple in addition to medium green, ninebark stands up well to heat and drought. • Don’t plant out if your soil is too wet • Prepare the ground by digging in organic matter • Plant them to the depth they were originally planted in the winter • Mulch to a depth of 3cms to prevent weeds • Keep your plants well watered and feed them for the first couple of years • Protect the plants from pests- deer and rabbits in particular can be damaging to your plants and keep the area as weed free as possible
Nerines - the f loral fireworks Nerine bowdenii is a brilliant pink, autumn flowering bulb, which will flower for years once it has settled into your garden If ever there was plant to signify the joys of early autumn, it is surely the spectacular, breath taking nerine. Nerine bowdenii is a wonderful plant, especially on a dull autumn day. With its tall scapes, terminated by a loose umbel of five to 10 trumpet-shaped, shocking-pink flowers, it must surely be the most exotic autumn-flowering bulb. Each flower has six narrow perianths with flamboyant wavy edges, which in certain lights appear to have been sprinkled with gold. And their faint musky scent carries on the autumn breeze. Grown as a block or a thick row, Nerine bowdenii is a lively addition to an autumn border. It flowers outdoors from September to early November, depending on temperature and site, with stems up to 20 inches tall .The flowers are long-lasting in the garden and keep going when cut for indoor decoration. The straplike leaves emerge after flowering and survive the winter undamaged. The genus nerine, is named after the sea nymphs of Greek mythology, belongs to the amaryllis family of herbaceous perennials, as do daffodils and snowdrops. Their native home is, in fact, South Africa, especially the Drakensberg Mountains. There are about 30 species, but only a couple are reliably hardy outdoors in the Britain — N. bowdenii and N. undulata. The former can withstand freezing temperatures, as low as -15C. N. bowdenii bulbs were first brought to Britain from South Africa by Cornish Bowden in 1903, hence the name. Nerine bowdenii is a floral firework — a welcome flash of colour as the temperature drops and the days get shorter — that will brighten any garden.
GROW ING T IP S
The bulbs are quite large and elongated. When buying bulbs, ensure that you get true, hardy N. bowdenii. Choose a sunny, 46
well-drained spot such as the base of a south-facing wall. Nerines thrive in hot summers but struggle in cold, wet winters. Plant to a depth of two inches to protect from frost damage. Once planted, try not to disturb them - they like to grow in a dense clump. Bulbs should be planted in autumn or early winter. Give them a good mulch to protect from frost in the first year until they are fully established. In the wild, nerines grow in very poor soil. Plants grown in richer soil grow bigger with more leaves, but at the expense of flowers. After planting, the bulbs should grow some strap shaped leaves until mid summer, and then they will die down. If we have a wet summer they may remain green. In September or October flower spikes will emerge and bloom without the foliage. Avoid planting next to narcissus (daffodils).
IN P O TS AND CONTAINERS
Nerines do well in pots permanently. Plant so the tip of the bulbs show above the compost surface. Bring them inside when in flower for brilliant and long-lasting houseplants, moving them outside again when they’ve gone over. In cold areas, mulch clumps when they’ve finished flowering for winter protection. If you think the flowers are getting less, year on year, feed in the summer with a potash-rich fertiliser. If there are no blooms in the first autumn, don’t worry. Nerines are notoriously temperamental when they have been moved or replanted. They will flower the following year. After many years the bulbs will become congested. Do not divide them as they flower much better when grown like this.
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The October 2019 issue of Cornwall Country Gardener Magazine