Page 1

Making the most of those pumpkins

Plant the perfect apple varieties

Where to find the best autumn colour

Apple days to enjoy in the Cotswolds



In praise of

AUTUMN! PLUS: Great ornamental grasses; Planning for spring; The scents of roses; Ladybirds ‘go missing’


On A423 Southam Road, Nr. Farnborough, Banbury OX17 1EL. Tel: 01295 690479 Open Six Days a Week - Tue-Sat: 9am to 5pm Sun: 10.30am - 4.30pm

Open Bank Holiday Mondays




Walk leisurely around the plants, displayed within informal garden settings that will inspire you. Browse, or ask our friendly staff to help you choose those plants that are right for your situation.

Eat & Drink!

Relax in a quiet corner of the garden centre where you can meet a friend or simply read through your gardening books with a frothy cappuchino! Serving light snacks & refreshments, such as our famous cheese scones, cakes and cream teas.

Our speciality is specimen plants ranging from trees and shrubs, to palms and topiary. We also stock patio furniture, stoneware, enamelware, metalwork and obelisks. In our shop you will find orchids, sundry items, gifts and ideas for the discerning gardener, all gift-wrapped on request. Seasonal lines such as bedding plants, bulbs, seeds and perennials complement the range throughout the year, alongside the gardening necessities of chemicals, fertilisers, wild bird care and composts.

Grow wit h us

Come a for you nd see rself!

Quality Service Value

Ross Garden Store, The Engine Shed, Station Approach, Ashburton, Ross On Wye, Herefordshire HR9 7BW 01989 568999 OPEN DAILY

A449 M50



Up Front!

“Bittersweet October- the mellow, messy, leaf kicking perfect pause between the opposing summer and winter.”

- Carol Bishop Hipps


Autumn and Apple Day at Hill Close Gardens Autumn and Apple Day at Hill Close Gardens in Warwick, Sunday 14th October, will allow visitors to see an historic apple collection. Since 1856 apples, pears and plums were known to have been grown in the gardens as well as soft fruit. Now there are more than 60 different varieties. By the 1990s, the trees were totally overgrown with swags of ivy and brambles. Noreen Jardine, assisted by Geoff Croft and many volunteers, started a programme of clearing and restoring these trees to bring them back to growth and fruit bearing. There will be apple tasting and sales, craft stalls, bee keeping, competitions and children’s activities. Hot lunches and teas will be available plus sales of plants, produce and gifts. Open from 11am to 5pm. Admission £5 adults – children £1. Hill Close Gardens, Bread and Meat Close, Warwick, CV34 6HF.

Batsford the backdrop for garden photography courses

“October is nature’s funeral month. The month of departure is more beautiful than the month of coming. Every green thing likes to die in bright colours.”

- Henry Ward Beecher

Fungi foraging at Blenheim Palace Blenheim Palace hosts a series of autumn foraging courses in the grounds hoping to find plenty of foraging treats from the well established flora. Visitors meet at 12pm for a short introduction on what to look for and a brief of the general countryside codes, where they relate to foragers. After the talk there will be a two and a half hour tour and walk around the area, identifying the different edible and poisonous plants, fruits and mushrooms that have been found. There will be breaks along the way for some homemade refreshments. The courses run on Sunday, 21st October and Saturday, 3rd November. Blenheim Palace (back entrance), Main Road, Long Hanborough, Oxfordshire, OX29 8LA.

There’s a week of Autumn Photography Workshops in the spectacular surroundings of Batsford Arboretum from Wednesday, 24th October until Thursday 1st November. Alan Ranger, an internationally acclaimed and award winning professional photographer, will run the sessions during the spectacular autumn season on a half or one day photography workshop. The workshops are suitable for beginners and more advanced photographers, Alan will teach you the essentials of camera settings to capture those wonderful colours but also encourage your thinking in new directions with ways to interpret, enjoy and convey the many elements of autumn. Half-day workshops are £99 and run from 8am to 11.30am or 12.30pm to 4pm, full day workshops cost £150 and run from 8am to 4pm. All bookings in advance. For more details and to book visit

WILDLIFE TRAIL AT SUDELEY CASTLE OPEN FOR OCTOBER Throughout October, there’s the opportunity for visitors to follow a trail around Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe, finding out about some of the creatures that the countryside home. Autumn is the perfect opportunity to enjoy these breathtaking Gloucestershire gardens. The new wildlife trail has been developed in partnership with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and includes everything from birds and bats to hedgehogs to trees and toads. The new trail will run throughout October, including the half term holidays. Entry to the trail is free with admission tickets. Sudeley Castle & Gardens, Winchcombe, GL54 5JD.

The Winter issue of Country Gardener will be available from Saturday, 17th November


PYGMY PINETUM Garden Nursery

Spring Flowering Bulbs Garden favourites and more unusual varieties. Plant now for a wonderful Spring display. Autumn and Winter Colour Many shrubs turning stunning Autumn colours, a lovely selection of evergreens and Autumn flowering plants. Fruit and Ornamental Trees Ideal time to plant. Full range available now. Roses, Hedging and Soft Fruit Lots of varieties, bare root and potted.

Say it with Wood • Natural • Beautiful • Sustainable

Cannop Crossroads, Nr Speech House, Royal Forest of Dean, Glos. Tel: 01594 833398

Specialist Plant Centre

Grange Farm NURSERY Beautiful plants to create your own unique garden

Open 7 days a week: Summer 9am - 5.30pm, Winter 9am to Dusk, Sundays 10am - 5pm Guarlford - Malvern - WR13 6NT 07958 345833

01684 562544

Worcester Road, Tewkesbury, Glos, GL20 6EB Opening times: Mon-Sat 9am - 5.30pm, Sunday 10am - 4pm Find us on Facebook

MAKE THE MOST OF Autumn 2018 Family-owned and managed “independent” Garden Centre, catering for all your gardening needs and so much more. Stockist of a wide range of well-known gardening brands and locally sourced plants, trees and shrubs.

OR CALL 01684


Weddings, private functions, parties, funerals, corporate events, birthdays & more! BOOK NOW FOR YOUR FREE WEDDING CONSULTATION

Free & Ample Parking

01684 293103

Browns Garden Restaurant serving Breakfasts, Homecooked ‘Fresh’ Lunches, Afternoon Teas, Cakes & Treats Bookings being taken for festive lunches, parties, breakfast or afternoon tea with Father Christmas OPEN: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 10am-4pm


Creating beautiful flowers for...

Children’s Play Area

01684 299996



Mythe. A38 Worcester Rd, Tewkesbury GL20 6EB Email:


m$  $&k*( ( &


Celebrating the glory of the apple throughout the Cotswolds

Events throughout the Cotswolds over the next few weeks will be celebrating cider making and apple harvests with apple days, orchard visits and apple pressing sessions. The past 25 years has seen the blossoming of apple celebration days all over the country to the point where there’s even a campaign to make it a UK national holiday. So it’s time again to celebrate the glory of the apple in all its tastes and varieties. Gloucestershire still has areas where orchards form strong traditional elements to the landscape. There are 157-recorded Gloucestershire apple varieties of which 86 are still in existence. The popular APPLE DAY AT COGGES MANOR FARM, a one time working farm now a heritage centre near Witney, returns on Sunday, 21st October with apple treats from the orchard and walled garden. You can taste a range of varieties to find your favourites, or

Brilliant flavour of apple harvest means juicing bonanza Quality not necessarily quantity is the verdict on the 2018 apple harvest now being gathered in orchards all over the Cotswolds. This year’s apple harvest will not be a record breaking one say experts -mainly due to the exceptional summer heatwave. A spokesman at the Brogdale Apple Collections in Faversham said: �We haven’t seen growing conditions like this for many years. Prolonged sunshine at just the right time of the year is delivering brilliant flavour in apples. The June drop where the crop thins naturally as small fruit falls to the ground was heavier than usual, due to the late spring and later pollination.

bring in your own apples and find out what they are! If you’d like to take your own ready chopped apples, there will be supervised presses that you can use from 1pm to 3pm, and don’t forget to take a bottle or flask along for your own juice. Well-behaved dogs on leads welcome. Cogges Manor Farm Church Lane, Witney OX28 3LA. APPLE PRESSING TAKES PLACE AT CROOME COURT, WORCESTER on three successive days Saturday, 13th, Sunday, 14th and Monday, 15th October where there’s a wonderful chance to make use of your surplus apples and pears. Apples are also available to buy from Croome’s orchards. Pressing takes place from 11am to 3pm on each of the days. Croome Court near High Green, Worcester WR8 9DW. GLOUCESTER LIFE MUSEUM’S ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF ORCHARDS, CIDER AND ALL THINGS APPLE takes place on Saturday, 20th, October from 1am to 4pm. You can see a horse drawn apple mill and apple press in action, sample some rare breed apples and juice and enjoy live music and dancing. You can learn more about the county’s traditional orchards with the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust, learn how to look after your own apple trees and buy some local apple juice or cider to take home. Free admission to event, charges apply as usual for the galleries. Gloucester Life Museum 99-103 Westgate St, Gloucester GL1 2PG. The next few weeks will see the apple harvest reaching its peak and gardeners are again being urged not to leave apples rotting on trees or unpicked or the ground. Making apple juice is easy, fun and a very rewarding solution to the apple harvest. Devon based apple and cider presses specialists Vigo Presses are experts at helping gardeners make the most of their apples whether it is juicing, cider making or storing. Vigo are specialists in fruit processing and have a a huge body of knowledge to share as you make the most of your apple harvest. Vigo Presses, 4 Flightway, Dunkeswell, Honiton, EX14 4RD. Tel: 01404 890093



Action needed in the autumn garden It is about that time of year when we start wondering whether the winter will be fit for brass monkeys or mini monsoon weather! Whatever the long-term weather brings, mornings and evenings of autumn are upon us and garden jobs to be done are about protection and preservation. Hopefully a warm, sultry Indian summer autumn will give plants their best autumn start into winter. It’s that time of year when faced with all the cutting back, pruning, weeding and border preparation on top of jobs such as bulb planting, tree work, mulching and digging plants up to move them for winter protection, starts to feel too much!

Professional help is at hand from CS Garden Designs. Carol Smith will assess your garden and tell you exactly what needs doing and when. Have you felt dissatisfied with your garden or a border this year? The bonus with Carol is that she can also re-design the planting for areas that you have felt unhappy with, organise plant supply and labour so that next year you feel completely satisfied with your garden. Other autumn jobs to be done are to lift dahlia tubers when flowering is finished, choose bulbs for next year, split any clumps of herbaceous perennials that are too big which makes more plants, seed new lawns and bare patches, plant bare root hedging and trees, wrap up tree ferns and tender plants. or 07747788543.

Log stores provide the winter storage solution

Find us an alternative to foam say florists

Florists fight to ban f loral foam

Florists and floral artists throughout the Cotswolds are joining the call to restrict floral foam, the ubiquitous green moulded blocks used to support displays as concern mounts for its impact on the environment. Floral clubs in the area have been contacted and actively given their support to finding an alternative to what one florist called ‘an ugly block of non –biodegradable plastic underneath floral displays’. Floral foam has been widely used since the 1950’s, popular for its convenience, lightweight and ability to hold and store water. It is made of phenol formaldehyde resin, one of the earliest plastics and a main ingredient of Bakelite. Work continues on developing fully compostable foam but progress has been slow. 6

If you have ever admired those immaculate stacks of firewood, some out in open ground, others under the extended eaves of ancient farmhouses, you have probably been travelling in mainland Europe. The people of NW Europe are descended from forest tribes and in rural areas at least are still in touch with the seasons and the cycles of nature. The British in contrast consider their culture to have evolved from their sea-faring heritage though this may not fully explain the modern custom of storing firewood under a leaky tarpaulin on the lawn or fighting for space with a car in the garage! Devon Log Stores provide an ideal solution. Their standard stores will store a typical pick-up load of firewood logs, but much larger and custom or combined stores are made to order. They also enable the householder to add value to ‘green’ firewood: a summer season should reduce the moisture content to about 14 to 15 percent enabling the wood to burn hotter therefore causing less tarring of flues and chimneys. Devon Log Stores has extended its range of storage solutions to include bicycle stores, wheelie bin and recycling stores, general garden stores and any combination of the above under one roof. More importantly they can be designed and constructed to fit the particular space that a customer has available. Devon Log Stores can be contacted via; via email on or by phone on 01392 681690.

Country Gardener

FOXLEY ROAD NURSERIES Herbaceous perennials, herbs, shrubs, patio and veg plants. Hanging baskets and pots Seasonal bare root hedging, fruit trees, pansies, violas, wallflowers and bulbs National Garden Gift Vouchers 4x 60L bags of multipurpose compost - £14.50

Open: 10am - 5pm Tel No: 01386 550357

Great Comberton Road, Pensham, Nr. Pershore, Worcs WR10 3DY 01386 840373 The Timber Yard, Weston Subedge, Nr Chipping Campden, GL55 6QH


Plants & Bulbs for Autumn Containers Tel: 01666 822171

Foxley Road, Malmesbury, SN16 0JQ

Visit our well-stocked yard for timber, gates, fencing, decking, trellis, decking, pergolas and arches.

Open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, Sat 8.30-12noon

Rustic Trellis OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK




10% OFF all AQUATIC PLANTS in September TAKING ORDERS FOR Soft Fruit, Ornamental and Fruit Trees, Autumn Baskets and Bare Root Hedging

Cafe - Local Food - Gift Shop - Toy Shop - Events Craft Studios & Artisan Businesses - Free Parking Open Daily, see website for times.

01594 844841 Lydney, Forest of Dean, GL15 6BU Taurus Crafts is part of the Camphill Village Trust.

Wykeham Gardens

by Carol J Smith

End of Season Sale NOW ON

Garden Design SERVICE

Crowcroft House Farm, Leigh Sinton, Nr Malvern WR13 5ED

01684 578381 | 07976 444618

Coventry Road, Guy's Cliffe, Warwick

T: 01926 492273



Thurs - Sat 10am–5pm Sun & Bank Hols 11am–4pm

Delivery service available National Garden Gift Vouchers

Gardens of quality • • • • • • •

Garden Consultation Full Design Service Hard & Soft Landscaping Plant Supply Specialist Pruning Award-winning Show Gardens Talks, Workshops & Tuition



01905 427120 M 0774 7788543 E W T

Tray of 25 plants


PRIMROSES & POLYANTHUS Tray of 15 plants

Autuum colour IN ABUNDANCE For the latest garden news, events & advice - don't miss








£1.50 Each


SPECIAL OFFER: ERIN MULTIPURPOSE COMPOST Top Quality £5.00 each or 3 for £12



CMYK / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

CMYK / .ai



Climbers and woody plants quickly cover a pergola


secret garden - planting for privacy

Elizabeth McCorquodale looks at horticultural ways of screening your garden and keeping things private 8

Country Gardener

As a nation, we spend a lot of time in our gardens, working, playing or just sitting around and it is natural that we consider our outdoor space as an extension of our homes. Sadly it isn’t unusual for the activity of neighbours to cause a little friction with unwanted noise or activity intruding into our backyard sanctuaries. There is no doubt that the old maxim ‘good fences make good neighbours’ still rings true. Installing a pleasing and effective living screen between you and your neighbours can go a long way to maintaining a good relationship with the people next door. Good fences, in whatever form they take, may need to fulfil a variety of functions. Your priority might be to not see - or be seen by - your neighbours, or it might be muffling the noise that drifts (or thunders) over the boundary line in one direction or another. Or it might be as simple as keeping yours’ or neighbours’ pets or children confined to their own property. Hedges, fences or a combination of the two - known in the trade as ‘fedges’ – are all options to choose from. For instant screening which keeps children and small animals in or out of your property an inexpensive trellis or chainlink fence clothed with annual climbers will fix the problem. For screening unwanted sounds and sights a thick evergreen hedge is hard to beat, but if you only need to temporarily mask an unsightly view, then a quick, dense planting of annuals or speedy shrubs will do the job, and fast! Jerusalem artichokes make a wonderful wind-resistant barrier that will allow other plants to become established. Planted in three staggered rows a foot apart these hardy perennials grow into a functional and beautiful screen in just one season. They retain their leaves all the way up their eight foot stalks, then burst into bright yellow flowers in late summer. True sunflowers also make a fine, speedy barrier and with the myriad of varieties of sunflowers available it is possible to have a whole bank of sunflowers flowering at heights of three feet all the way up to 12 foot or more. The large leaves and the choice of several heights of sunflowers

means that you will achieve privacy all the way from ground level upwards. The fedge is a quick way of planting up an almost instant living barrier. It is simply a fence planted with climbing plants or fronted by fast growing shrubs or herbaceous plants that together make a beautiful and effective screen. If planted with climbers a fedge takes up far less space than a real hedge, so in small urban gardens it is an ideal way to create privacy without resorting to dull old panels. You can start with a simple chain link fence and grow your climbers on that, or you can start with a solid wooden fence for added sound insulation and then add the plants of your choice. Pyracatha, with its evergreen habit and bright winter berries is a great plant for this purpose. If you are increasing the height of a wall or existing fence by topping it with trellis, plants such as climbing roses, Clematis montana and honeysuckles will form a dense visual barrier in two or three seasons. These plants are less useful as a barrier against a full height open fence or trellis as their lower branches tend to remain bare up to about three foot in height. Evergreen clematis and honeysuckle varieties tend to be a little slower to become established, but they have the obvious advantage of offering privacy year round. Tropaeolum speciosum, the perennial nasturtium, despite its exotic appearance, is hardy and tolerant of most conditions as long as the soil is well drained. Like clematis, it likes its feet in the shade and its head in the sun. If you are planting perennial climbers there is little to be gained by planting them very close together as the plants will soon be competing with each other for space at root and branch level. Instead, plant the perennial climbers at the recommended distance and fill in the gaps with fast growing annual climbers to temporarily fill the gaps. Plants such as runner beans, morning glory and trailing nasturtiums will all scramble through chain link and weave their way through other plants without doing any harm. For an almost instant flowering visual screen there are two shrubs that are pretty hard to beat and they are

Fast growing lavatera looks fantastic in full bloom

A rose hedge can be a quick and effective covering hedge

buddleia (choose B. davidii, over the semi-weeping B. alternifolia) and tree mallow, Lavatera x clementii. While neither are particularly long-lived, both will become establish and flower generously the first year and both respond with dense bushy growth if hard pruned in early spring. Some shrub roses grow large and dense enough to make superb privacy hedges, being tall enough to make a screen and thick enough to take the edge off the sound of passing traffic or noisy neighbours. Add to this their sweet scent, speedy growth and semievergreen habit and you have a very fine hedge. Try the tall and beautiful Roserie de l’Hay with its repeat flowering magenta blooms against bright green, disease resistant leaves or go for something a little smaller with Harlow Carr. Evergreen hedges come in all shapes and sizes and offer a myriad of options to create just the right sort

Temporary and edible - a row of high summer runner beans

of privacy. If dampening the noise of your neighbours is a priority choose a species that grows tall and dense. It is surprising just how well a thick hedge can muffle sound. Eleagnus spp. have one truly outstanding feature and that is the exquisite, pervasive scent of their tiny flowers. There are many species and cultivars and most make excellent hedges but the bright and cheerful evergreen E. Limelight is one of the best. They are tolerant of a wide range of soils, they are quick to establish and they offer a modicum of security as they are slightly thorny into the bargain. Viburnum tinus is another excellent evergreen flowering hedging plant that will reach over a metre in height. It does require regular pruning and it can easily get leggy, but it has the wonderful advantage of flowering through the darkest days of winter. For a permanent evergreen hedge that is quick to establish it is hard to beat the good old laurel hedge. Its shiny leaves provide a dense thicket which dampens sound and provides an unbeatable visual barrier. It retains its leaves right to the ground is exceptionally long lasting and hardy and will thrive in just about any conditions and will forgive any mistreatment by footballs or overzealous pruning. Yew is the quintessential English hedge but it has one problem and that is that it is very, very slow to establish. If your heart is set on a yew hedge and you are looking for privacy there is no other option than to erect a fence and plant your yew saplings next to it. Once it is established it is a lovely plant that needs very little in the way of care and only requires pruning once a year to keep it looking neat and tidy.

Dense evergreen pyracantha over an open trellis 9



From planting alliums to ordering fruit trees, from planning spring bulbs to storing your squashes – there’s no sign that the garden is slowing down. Certainly the nights may be drawing in, and October will see the clocks going back and the first frosts in colder parts of the country but there’s still a busy ‘to-do’ list. Gardening time might feel curtailed by the shorter sunlight, but the days are often glorious, with the autumn colour a counterpoint to the light tipping away.

DON’T PANIC IF THE FROSTS ARRIVE EARLY If you get an early frost, cannas and dahlias will be fine in the ground for a bit, even if their tops are browned. Many people leave them in the ground and mulch heavily, and they are happy for four or five years even in cold gardens if the mulch is deep enough. Once they show signs of losing vigour, it is time to divide and re-propagate, and in these years the old tubers will be lifted, stored in just-damp compost under frost-free cover, and divided or used for cuttings come next spring.

An early start to planting

for October The earlier you plant bulbs the better

Plan now for spring colour Spring and autumn are two of the most industrious times of the year and it is well worth thinking about one when you are working in the other. Bulb planting is a good example, and now is the time to think about how to light up the garden when it wakes after hibernation. Bulbs are incredible value, for they have instant impact, but it is always better to buy few varieties and larger numbers of each. Think 10s and multiples of 10 for a generous effect in pots. Think 100s if you are planting in grass, and look into the right varieties. The earlier you plant bulbs the better, for the soil is still warm, and getting the roots established before the weather closes in will help them fight wet and rot. That said, tulips are happy to go in as late as the end of November, so leave them until last. The general rule is that bulbs should be planted at two and a half times their own depth, and if you are planting in drifts, work on the principle that if you threw them in the air, you would plant where they landed.

Time to come indoors

The next few weeks will be the time to think about bringing in any houseplants that have been outside. Acclimatise them slowly if you can. In warmer areas of the country it is worth risking half-hardy perennials until the end of October to make the most of the finale, but in frost-prone areas you will need to bring them under cover, or into the shelter of the buildings.

October is the start of the planting season, and material planted now will benefit from the months ahead to get roots in. Be wary of planting evergreens in exposed sites, however, as they are prone to drying out in winter winds. If you are prepared to water in winter, so much the better and get them in too. House plants need to be acclimatised slowly 10

Country Gardener

TURN TO ASH If you have a bonfire to get rid of all of your accumulated allotment prunings and debris, make use of the potash-rich ash. Any ash that is pure wood – no coal or smokeless fuel – is useful on the plot. When it is cool scatter it around the roots of fruit trees and bushes for great flowering and fruiting next year.

TIME FOR SOME CUTBACKS Geraniums, persicaria and the likes of achillea can be cut back hard, lifted with a fork and teased apart. Reuse only the healthiest, outer growth and discard the oldest material on to the compost heap. With warmth still in the ground, the roots will take hold before winter sets in.

Wood ash can provide a boost to soil

Time to get out the rake

To make the most of the moment let autumn foliage lie where you can. Beware of build-up on precious lawns and rake them free to prevent browning off of the grass. If you want to instil order without breaking your back, keep paths and terraces free for the contrast of order. An autumn feed to stimulate root growth is worth applying on lawns that get a lot of wear in the summer.

Looking after your squashes Pumpkin and gourds can be harvested now and moved into a dry position to prevent them from rotting. Pick windfall apples for cooking and twist those on the tree half a turn to see if they’re ripe. If so, they’ll come away with a satisfying snap. The unblemished ones can be stored in a cool shed to last into the winter months. Hoarding is a good feeling that must be locked in to our DNA, for there is nothing like providing for the future. In the warmth of a kitchen they may not last long, so keep them in a cool shed or porch and you will be eating them until spring.

Don’t let your pumpkins and squashes rot this autumn

Acid test for trimmings Pine needles and conifer hedge trimmings take much longer to break down than other leaves, and it’s not a bad idea to make them a separate bin, so that you don’t get spiked when reaching into your compost’s depths. After two or three years they will break down to an acidic leaf mould perfect for use around ericaceous plants such as blueberries, azaleas and rhododendrons.

PLUS • An application of lime can help unlock nutrients in your vegetable plot soil. Sprinkle it over bare ground now: it will have an effect on new growth in spring, but you won’t risk damaging young growth. • Dig up big old clumps of rhubarb and divide into pieces using a sharp spade, making sure that each division contains a piece of root and a shoot, then discard the old centre. • Lift gladioli corms as foliage turns brown. Break off the foliage and store in a cool and frost-free spot. In warmer areas you can get away with just covering them with thick mulch. • Plant clematis, giving them a chance to establish their roots in cool, moist soil before they are required to perform. • Sweet peas can be sown into pots to overwinter in a sheltered position or a frame.


Things to know before


Garden planning permission is not straightforward and many people get confused about what is and isn’t possible It’s the time of year when the thoughts of many gardeners turn to updating their garden- new plants, outdoor furniture, or something much more structural like a new shed, summerhouse or greenhouse. While on paper, putting up a shed might seem straightforward; you need to consider planning permission and Government rules when it comes to outdoor buildings. Outbuildings such as sheds and summerhouses can often be built without planning permission, but there are some limitations.

original house. For example, if there is a shed taking up 30 per cent of the surrounding area of the property and a kennel taking up 15per-cent, planning permission would be required to build a proposed greenhouse taking up 20 per cent of the land around the property. Extensions and conservatories are not considered part of the original house, and so are classed as taking up a portion of the surrounding area as well. There are a few more rules to consider regarding the placement of your outdoor building: • If the garden building is on designated land, it must not be at the side of your house. • If you live in a national parks protected land, the building must not be more than 10 square metres in size if placed more than twenty metres from any wall of your house. • It must not be within the boundary of a listed building.


DIMENSIONS To be constructed without planning permission, outbuildings need to adhere to some quite strict rules. Outdoor structures must: • Have only one storey • Have eaves (the bottom part of the roof) no higher than two and a half metres, with the overall maximum height being four metres for a dual pitched roof (two sides to the roof) or three metres for any other building roof • Not have a veranda or balcony (this applies to the house as well) • Not be on a raised platform higher than 300 millimetres • Not be a separate, self-contained living area

PLACEMENT Also important is the placement of your potential building. Your outbuilding must: • Be at least two metres from any boundary if more than two and a half metres tall (total) or one metre from any boundary if lower than two and a half metres. • Not be forward of the principal elevation or front wall of the original house (original house is defined as the house as it was first built or, as it stood on 1st July,1948 if it was built after). • Not take up over 50 per-cent of all land around the original house, nor is it allowed to combine with any other outside buildings to take up over 50 per-cent of all land around the 12

The regulations also affect your intended use of outdoor buildings. Working from a shed or log cabin usually doesn’t require planning permission however there are still rules to consider. Your home and garden need to: • Still be primarily used as a private residence. • Not cause a marked increase in people visiting the house or increase in traffic from visitors. • Not have deliveries which would disturb neighbours. • Not create excessive noise or smells, particularly during unreasonable hours.

WILL ANYONE BE LIVING IN YOUR GARDEN BUILDING? Some families have constructed or renovated sheds, garages and summerhouses as living spaces for their young adults. This is a convenient way for adult children to retain their privacy while staying at home, as well as to minimise inconveniences to the family, such as coming and going at late hours. This however does require planning permission, as sleeping accommodation is not covered under permitted development. If you suspect that your intended garden building might need planning permission, here’s all you need to know about applying for it.

HOW TO APPLY FOR PLANNING PERMISSION You can apply for planning permission at the Planning Portal website at by filling out a form and attaching the relevant documents. The cost may vary depending on what kind of work you would like done but the website has a fee calculator to help you work out how much to expect to pay. Waiting time for a response tends to be between eight and 13 weeks.

Country Gardener


It has been a dry summer

- so let’s do tree roots and structures again!

Mark Hinsley thinks we all need a reminder after this record breaking summer about the damage and threats tree roots offer I recently had a call from somebody concerned that a neighbour’s tree was going to cause damage to their house because its roots had lifted a slab on their patio. So, for the newbies and the forgetful, I thought I would do a quick run through how trees can affect the stability of structures.

1. Direct physical damage Imagine the base of a tree looking like the base of a wine glass. (I know you know what one looks like!). The proportions between the glass stem and its base are very similar to the proportions of a tree trunk and what we call its ‘root plate’. If the root plate makes contact with a structure, a garden wall, a retaining wall or even the wall of a house, it has the power to move it. This is because it has the whole weight of the tree behind it plus the force of nature that is cell division. Some tree species have surface roots that thicken up. If such a root contacts a lightweight structure such as a garden wall, it may still move it, and it will certainly play merry hell with surface structures such as paving and tarmac, but it should not move a house.

2. Physical plus indirect damage This is where retaining walls can be particularly vulnerable. The root growth of trees can put pressure on retaining walls from the inside and, because there is no resistance from the outside, cause them to deflect. Also, retaining walls are, in theory, designed to hold back a particular weight of soil. However, a growing plant is not made up from extracts from the soil it is growing in. A growing tree is incrementally increasing the weight that a retaining wall is having to support. Growing trees weigh about oneton per m³, which is added to the weight of the soil being retained. If the wall was a bit marginal to start with, this can lead to problems.

3. Indirect damage Much concern relating to subsidence is essentially an insurance problem of the insurance industry’s own making. Unfortunately, it is the nature of that industry that their problems end up being our problems! Tree related building subsidence within our area is a potential problem only if your home is founded on a clay soil. (If you are not on clay then please assume a smug expression.) If the foundations of your house are not designed to cope with the particular circumstances of your location, tree roots can take moisture out of a clay soil from beneath your foundations causing the soil to shrink slightly and the foundation in that area to drop. The result of this is usually a crack in the wall above. Tree related cracks tend to open up during hot, dry summers and close again during the winter. Generally speaking the harm done to the building is cosmetic and historically people simply ‘papered over the cracks’. Monitoring the pattern of movement over twelve months is one way to determine if the damage is being caused by a tree. The other potential, though very rare, issue is that of heave. Heave is a word banded about by the teeth-sucking purveyors of fear, although the circumstances under which it can occur are rare. Only if your house was recently built on top of a ‘pre-shrunk’ clay, so that when it swells to its proper size it has a greater volume than it had when the house was built, can heave occur. Mark Hinsley is from Arboricultural Consultants Ltd

Structural damage from tree roots remains a common sight


Bee aware campaign under way! A new campaign is raising awareness amongst gardeners of the danger of bee and wasp stings as a national survey has shown a third of people cannot recognise signs of venom allergy The danger of bee and wasp stings in the garden are at the highest level for years as the long hot spell, coupled with an early abundance of fruit in fields and gardens has had an impact on the number of wasps around. Wasps get giddy on fruit, and this is when they are most likely to sting. For some people, an allergy to the venom in a bee or wasp sting can cause a severe reaction, leading to anaphylaxis which can be fatal. A new campaign trying to raise awareness of this has been launched at National Trust Hidcote in Gloucestershire.

The facts might make surprising reading: • In the UK, insect stings are the second most frequent cause of anaphylaxis outside medical settings: bee or wasp stings caused nearly three quarters of anaphylaxis deaths between 1992 and 2001 outside of hospitals. • People who experience anaphylactic shock after one sting are 60-70 per cent more likely to show the same reaction in future. • Despite these figures, only 30 per cent of people would know what to do if they were with someone who went into anaphylactic shock from a bee or wasp sting. Garden designer, Chris Beardshaw has taken on a new role as ambassador for ‘Bee Resistant 2018’; a national campaign that runs annually to highlight the dangers of anaphylaxis caused by bee and wasp stings. The Bee Resistant campaign, now in its fourth year, partners with national charity, the Anaphylaxis Campaign to run through to wasp season in September and October. Chris launched the campaign at the iconic Hidcote Manor Garden in the Cotswolds. Widely acknowledged as one of England’s most influential gardens of the 20th Century, Hidcote was the first garden ever taken on by the National Trust. Said Chris “It is not just the flowers that bring a garden to life; it’s also the wildlife – including the birds, butterflies and bees. And for a very small minority of people, a sting from a bee or a wasp can have serious consequences – and can even be life-threatening – due to a condition called venom anaphylaxis arising from an allergic reaction to insect stings.” With bees and wasps deadly for some people, the Bee Resistant awareness campaign aims to spread the word about venom anaphylaxis. It provides information on the symptoms to look out for and the range of avoidance and treatment options available to help reduce the risk: 14

‘Bee aware’ of the symptoms: • Feeling unwell and dizzy • Rapidly spreading rash • Wheezing and a tight chest • Swelling of the airways and throat • Weakness (caused by a drop in blood pressure) • Physical collapse

‘Bee resistant’ by taking steps to reduce the risk: • Prevention – follow avoidance advice and tips • Treatment – there are a range of treatment options available on the NHS to treat anaphylaxis which include carrying adrenaline pens and specialist treatments available from hospital-based allergy clinics

‘Bee in the know’ - find out more: • In the event of a serious allergic reaction, call 999 immediately and state “anaphylaxis” • Consult your GP for further information and guidance

Speaking for the Anaphylaxis Campaign, CEO Lynne Regent said: “Bee and wasp stings can be a painful nuisance for people working or relaxing outside during the summer months. Sometimes, reactions to venom in the sting can become much more severe – and a small number of people may develop anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. In these cases, symptoms occur very quickly as venom enters the blood stream rapidly. We want to raise awareness, so people know about the risks and what to do to help reduce these. If you experience a severe reaction to a bee or wasp sting, it’s important that you are taken to A&E and afterwards visit your GP as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. These can include adrenaline auto-injectors and specialist treatments that are available from allergy clinics which may be appropriate in some cases.” If you are at risk of insect venom anaphylaxis and would like more information and support call the Anaphylaxis Campaign’s national helpline on 01252 542029, contact or visit

Country Gardener


compost! A new campaign, launched at the ideal time to start composting, is encouraging smaller households to create their own mini compost A new autumn campaign is under way to encourage homeowners to create their own mini compost. The campaign, which follows on from a Government report about the growing pressure on UK landfill sites, is aimed at smaller households who haven’t in the past thought about composting waste material. Although it’s easy to start a compost heap at any point throughout the year, late summer to early winter is the peak time for composting. The campaign highlights the best techniques for constructing a successful compost pile, including how to balance nutrients and the ingredients you should always leave out. Compost is a collection of organic waste made up of food and plants that decomposes over several months before finally turning into ‘humus’ – an extremely nutrient-rich soil. In addition to helping to eliminate landfill waste, this soil can also be used as an organic fertiliser for your garden. A spokesperson for the Organics Recycling Organization said: “Composting is a great option for families who find that they have more food waste than they know what to do with – plus it’s great for the environment and is one of the most powerful nutrients you can feed your garden with. “It’s actually possible to do it both indoors and outdoors but opting to compost indoors is a little trickier and will require a little more maintenance. “Although it’s easy to start a compost heap at any point throughout the year, this early to mid autumn period is perfect as there’s lots of end of season garden waste which can be the basis for composting. “Generally speaking, you only really need three things to start – water, browns and greens. “Browns refers to tree matter which includes things like dead leaves and twigs, and greens covers grass clippings, food waste and coffee grounds – but you shouldn’t ever put any meat, dairy or bread in your compost as they’ll rot and attract pests. “It’s also worth noting that finished compost should only be used as an additive in your garden, and not as the sole soil source.” The ten point plan is:

1. Container

Select a container for your compost and place it in a grassy, relatively shady part of your garden. You should make sure that the container doesn’t have a bottom – the compost heap should be directly touching the ground– and that it’s the right size for you and your family. You want to make sure it fits everything you need to dispose of, but it shouldn’t be too big either.

2. Base

Pile a few inches of branches and twigs at the bottom to help aerate the pile. Air flow is critical to stop your compost getting too wet and therefore smelly.

3. Balance

To have the most success composting, you want an equal balance of nitrogen, carbon, water and air. Nitrogen will be found in the green materials you use, and carbons in the brown matter.

4. Preparation

A general rule is the smaller the matter the quicker it will break up so chop or break up any big chunks of matter before putting them in the container.

5. Ingredients

Some of the best ingredients for a successful compost heap include: dried leaves; grass clippings; manure; fruit; vegetables; peelings; coffee grounds; tea leaves; old wine; used pet bedding (from omnivores only – rabbits and hamsters etc.); dry cat or dog food; dust from sweeping and vacuuming; old herbs and spices; shredded newspaper; receipts; hair (human and pet); and wine corks.

6. Avoid

Avoid meat, dairy and bread which will rot and attract pests, as well as any high processed foods as they take longer to break down.

7. Work new waste into your heap

If you are going to be adding new scraps quite regularly, it’s a good idea to bury them under the pile that’s already starting to break down instead of just throwing them on top.

8. Aerate

Around once a week, you should use a spade or shovel to mix the materials around and aerate the pile slightly. It is essential but can be hard work.

9. Water

When you notice the pile is getting a little too dry, you should use water to moisten it slightly. It will soon become apparent if the pile is too dry and not decomposing.

10. Ready to use

Your compost should be ready to use after a few months. You will know when it turns a dark brown colour, develops an earthy smell and is warm to the touch, which is a result of all the microbes living inside.


Bringing back the

scent of roses

The smell of many roses has been bred out of them as growers develop plants to be disease resistant but it is hoped new research might be able to restore the old fashioned fragrances Most of us feel the urge to smell roses when we see them, but few know what is responsible for this enchanting scent. The proliferation of fake rose scents and modern breeding has displaced the smell of roses in many people’s minds. So what exactly gives roses their distinct smell and why so have many modern roses lost their fragrance? The first thing to note is that rose scent varies with the time of day. Unsurprisingly, the early morning is when scents are strongest, with the most powerful scents produced by the first blooms of summer. Time is another factor -the rate at which different compounds evaporate; for example, clove evaporates more slowly than citrus, thus smelling something for the first and second time could be a different experience. We should always remember that plants were not designed for us by nature, but rather for pollinating insects. These scents are released when roses are ready to be pollinated, this often means that half-open flowers have a stronger scent. Around 20 per cent of all roses don’t smell of anything. Historically all roses had an odour, but after the introduction of the almost scentless China Rose and the larger Tea Rose, both from China in the 19th-century smell was slowly bred out from some roses. Hybrid roses are resistant to disease to varying degrees, better suited to a wider range of climates, and have flowers that last longer when cut or have longer stems for display. They also bloom more frequently during the year than old roses, have flowers with more petals and tend to have a greater variety of colours – pinks and yellows and white were not available before. But all of those improvements came at a cost – with smell mostly being bred out. At the moment the only roses that still have their smell are garden roses. Some of them are old roses, but there are a few modern varieties that were designed with the smell in mind. The study into the chemistry of rose scents has found a new biochemical pathway in the petals of the plants which produces a sweet-smelling fragrance that could be


re-introduced into rose varieties that have lost their smell. Scientists have identified an enzyme known as RhNUDX1 which plays a key role in producing the sweet fragrance of roses, which they suggest could be re-introduced into modern varieties that have lost their scent as a result of intensive breeding for better colour and shape. But humans can capture those insect-luring scents and turn them into people-luring perfumes. The Damask Rose is one of the most important flowers in perfumery, and perfumers submerge them in chemicals like benzene to dissolve the plant matter while leaving aromatic chemicals intact. Rose colour is strongly correlated with the rose smell. Generally, roses with the best scents have darker colours, more petals, and thick or velvety petals. Red and pink roses often smell like what we think of as a ‘rose’. White and yellows often smell of violets, nasturtium, and lemon. Intense yellow and orange roses often smell of fruits, nasturtium, violets, and clove. Real rose oil is quite expensive as in order to produce one one kilogramme 10 tonnes of petals will be needed. This means that majority of perfumes are produced with synthetic alternatives to make production profitable. Breeding roses with smell isn’t easy as there is no guarantee that two fragrant parent roses will produce a scented offspring. David Austin Roses does not mind the challenge and produced countless garden varieties and some cut industry breeds with captivating fragrances. The creation of scent is a balancing act: plants must generate enough smell to induce insects to fertilise their flowers, but not so much that they waste energy and carbon. • One in five roses don’t have any scent at all. • Rose perfume is at its most intense early in the morning. • Half open roses will have the strongest smell and the flower performs its pollinating act. • It’s thought that the scent of a rose dissipates as the blooms age. Rose essential oil, also known as attar, is made from the Damask Rose (Rosa damascene) or the Cabbage Rose (Rosa centifolia).

Country Gardener

Preparing your garden


Gardeners are again being urged to spend the first weeks of October giving their gardens some urgent attention to prepare for autumn and the colder months. We are very lucky in the South West that when preparing the garden for winter we do not have to put the garden totally ‘to bed’ as many others. Often plants in mild winters will continue to grow well into December. Although a good tidy up in the garden will make it look smart and neat, often wildlife, especially birds appreciate it if we leave seed heads on plants for them to eat during the winter and indeed some plants, even when dormant, look spectacular. The soil at this time of the year is still warm so finish off planting evergreens such as conifers. It is also the perfect time to get soil prepared for planting deciduous trees and shrubs. Dig in lots of organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. In permanent borders, weed and top dress between the plants with any type of mulch. This can be compost, bark or any organic material that will suppress the weeds and keep the moisture in the ground. If you have a ‘dry’ garden you could use a gravel mulch. Do rake up leaves from the lawn and borders and compost them. Leaves make one of the best composts (leaf mould). If you don’t have enough leaves, ask your neighbours for theirs, compost them in a separate heap and you will be rewarded next year with a brown golden material suitable for digging into the ground or top dressing borders. Plant bulbs for a spring display. By the time spring comes around you will have forgotten about them and will be so surprised when they flower and brighten up the garden in spring. Plant bulbs then cover the ground around them with a layer of gravel or grit. This stops them digging them up. Eventually the grit will disappear into the soil but just top it up as needed. Grass areas need a bit of care at this time of the year if you

It won’t be too long now before winter comes in with a rattle, so the moment of ‘putting the garden to bed’ is coming. The metaphorical tucking in moment approaches.

want them to look their best next year. Rake off leaves from the lawn. Keep cutting if needed but raise the blades so you do not scalp the grass. Lawn roots like the soil to be free draining so aerate your lawn either with a machine or, if you have a small lawn, with a garden fork pushed in as far as you can. You can fill in the holes with a gritty compost to aid drainage.


Net the pond If you’re fortunate enough to have a pond, cover it with a net. Forget and you’ll be fishing out soggy plants all winter.

Clean and clear Just as you would spring clean your house, don’t forget to autumn clean your garden. Cut back plants and clear out the shed and greenhouse before you store everything for winter. It is also a good time to pressure wash the patio or scrub down the decking. This will stop excessive dirt and grime build up occurring over the wet winter months.

Protect your pots Store both your empty and in-use pots correctly over the winter months. Insulate with either hay, cardboard or bubble wrap and make sure you raise all in-use pots off the ground to prevent them from getting waterlogged during rainy weather.

Protect your plants The first frost of the year can arrive without any warning and can kill your favourite foliage. If you have any plants you know are susceptible to cold weather, get them in the greenhouse or in your conservatory.

Clear away garden items Don’t forget to pack away any garden items that may get damaged by the cold weather. If your furniture or BBQ won’t fit in the shed, make sure they’re covered up properly.



good for the soul

Two new pieces of research confirm the importance of our gardens to both short term stress levels and longer term health benefits Have you visited many gardens this year? If so, has it helped your stress levels and lifted your soul? For those who have been out and about this summer visiting private gardens or getting involved in the NGS Gardens Open Scheme it is more than likely it has been good for your health. The National Garden Scheme has released research as part of the charity’s latest campaign, ‘Open the garden gate to wellbeing,’ which reveals visiting a private garden is good for the soul – with over 85per-cent of the charity’s supporters reporting that being in a National Garden Scheme garden has a positive impact on their mental wellbeing and feeling happier after visiting than before. Despite almost all having their own garden, two thirds of people in the research say visiting a National Garden Scheme garden can be a calming experience and an enjoyable way to spend time with loved ones. Around half say it aids creativity and gives you that feel-good factor because you’re donating to charity and three quarters say it helps you learn about plants, flowers and gardening. Emily Hodge, who, as a health psychology specialist, coach and therapist, supports people’s health and wellbeing, said: “With our worlds often full to the brim, whether from families, work or commitments, it’s important to take care of our mental wellbeing. Garden visiting is great because it actually offers many ways to do this in one activity. Taking time out, being outside, connecting with nature and other people, being present and mindful, and learning about the space you’re in, are all part of visiting a garden - and are recommended ways to build resilience, re-charge your batteries and feel happier.” As part of the National Garden Scheme’s commitment to gardens and health, the charity commissioned the King’s Fund to produce a report in 2016, when it also began an annual funding programme for projects which promote the health benefits of gardens and gardening. In 2018, the National Garden Scheme gave £296,000 of the total £3.1 million charitable donations to gardens and healthrelated projects. Find a garden by visiting 18

Research has again revealed how gardening and garden visits can provide short and long term health benefits

...and carers say gardening has a real calming effect More than two thirds of unpaid carers are managing their stress levels by gardening, according to a new survey by the UKs largest charity for unpaid carers. A quarter of carers surveyed also said they had specifically taken up gardening because of their unpaid caring role, giving them much needed downtime. The therapeutic qualities of spending time in the great outdoors, visiting gardens and gardening, have long been known. Unpaid carers who look after their gardens said they found that it helps to reduce their stress levels and has a calming effect, with respondents reporting it was a form of therapy, for the social aspect and by sharing their love of plants and gardens. Julia, 65, from, Devon who cares for her husband, said: “My garden is where I can be myself, away from the carer role. Through being a carer these last few years, my love of gardening has expanded one hundred per-cent. I don’t often go out now, just locally to post a letter or to the local shop, so my garden is a place I go to. “Being able to just pop out into the garden to plant a few new plants or deadhead blooms, or pull a few weeds is such a release from the demands of the role. It brings me such deep joy to smell a rose and scented petunias. We sit out in the garden in the early evening, after all the day’s needs have been met. My husband loves to watch the birds on the bird table and being surrounded by a variety of plants and small trees, it gives such a lovely peaceful energy.” To visit a garden or to find out more about the NGS caring scheme visit

Country Gardener

What happened to


this summer?

Hot humid conditions as we’ve enjoyed this summer normally mean the arrival of ladybirds in their thousands but this time something different seems to have happened! At the end of a summer which left the country basking in a prolonged heatwave, gardeners have been left with a very specific question. What happened to all the ladybirds during the summer of 2018? The famous summer of 1976 was the most recent year temperatures reached close to this summer. And with recordbreaking highs, that year also saw swarms of ladybirds take over villages, cities and towns. The British Entomological and Natural History Society estimated a total of 23.65 billion of them on southern and eastern coasts. This summer however they have been noticeable by their absence - especially in gardens. The ladybird is one of the few insects that we welcome in our gardens. It does not sting (although occasionally it can make you itch). It does not drone menacingly about our heads as we try to doze off in the deckchair. We cherish it chiefly because of its cute appearance and what it likes to feast on: aphids, pesky blackflies and greenflies that can quickly ruin a vegetable crop.

‘Although most of us are familiar with the red ladybird with seven black spots, there are in fact 47 species of the insect to be found in Britain; most of them native, not all red, and some with up to 30 spots’ Experts confirm this is a lean year for our favourite insect, and the blame for the dearth falls upon the usual suspects: the weather, the squeeze on the countryside and the incursion of invasive alien species. It seems perverse, as the tropical heat returned, to cite low temperatures, but we need to look back to the miserable weeks of early spring that led up to the recent record highs. This year’s crop of ladybirds was conceived and hatched last summer, when there was little warmth or sunshine to

encourage mating. Most species overwinter outdoors as larvae, clinging to the base of shrubs and trees, and must have suffered dreadfully during that early cold snap before Christmas. In the spring, when the larvae mutate into their adult form, they were greeted with cold and rain. The bad weather also delayed the appearance of the aphids, so those ladybirds that did make it into adulthood went hungry, failing to locate the 60-a-day that is their minimum requirement. Dr Helen Roy, of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxfordshire, and a leading ladybird authority, says it has been an exceptionally bad year for them. By the time the aphids appeared on the scene in serious quantities, some weeks later than usual, many ladybirds had already perished. And what of the aliens varieties? Although most of us are familiar with the red ladybird with seven black spots, there are in fact 47 species of the insect to be found in Britain; most of them native, not all red, and some with up to 30 spots. Harlequin “ladybug” (the American term is less elegant than ours but more accurate etymologically) was introduced into the United States in 1988 as an environmentally friendly means of pest control. It quickly spread to mainland Europe and then to our shores, where it now not only competes with the seven-spot for available food, but has been known to cannibalise our smaller native species. There is of course wide concern that it just isn’t the ladybird which is in decline but other members of the insect population. One alarming aspect is the realisation that drops in insect numbers overall are occurring in nature reserves – in other words, in areas where the landscape was highly protected and should be the most friendly of habitats for insects. Conditions elsewhere were likely to be a lot worse, the scientists warned. “Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on earth but there has been some kind of horrific decline,” Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University, said. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological armageddon. If we lose the insects, then everything is going to collapse.” Historically, there have been peaks and troughs in our ladybird population, the peaks often coming in years following a glut of aphids.


Radishes –



Elizabeth McCorquodale enthuses about one of the most underrated of garden vegetables - and one worthy of more of your time and attention. Radishes are probably one of the most underrated of common vegetables, even to the extent that we tend not to consider them as vegetables at all and this is probably because they are so extraordinarily quick and easy to grow. They shouldn’t, though, simply be taken at face value because, even without taking into account the more unusual varieties, the humble commonor-garden radish has far more to offer than just a bit of crunch on the side of a salad plate. To start with radishes make great shoots and sprouts. The sprouted seeds - where you eat both the seed and the tiny shoots that appear after being soaked and rinsed in fresh water for a few days - are ready for eating in less than a week, Radishes grow quickly but soon toughen up straight out of the 20

Country Gardener

sprouting jar. Next consider the green leafy shoots of radish, grown like cress on a shallow layer of soil and which take only 10 days from sowing to produce the first cut of the fiery little leaves. It takes only slightly longer to grow this cool weather crop outside in a bed of loose soil some varieties mature in just over 3 weeks. Like all root crops, they prefer not to have to battle their way through a rocky or compacted soil and they will repay any pampering with a speedy crop of crisp and tender roots. Radishes grow quickly but they soon toughen up, so sow little and often, or sow several different varieties each with different maturing times so that your harvest is extended. You could try sowing the small and delicate ‘Cherry Belle’, the golf-ball sized ‘Vienna’, the elongated roots of ‘China Rose’, and top it off ‘Mooli’ one of the varieties that grow into real whoppers that take much longer to mature. They can even be stored for winter use! There are several wildly different radish species and varieties and most of these will never appear on supermarket shelves.

Some varieties mature after three weeks so sow little and often

The most common of the exotics is the heritage daikon radish, with it’s long white root and mild flavour and the tougher, fiery hot black or Spanish radish which looses most of its heat when cooked. Although they are rarely seen in supermarkets they are very easy to grow, though they take considerably longer to mature than the smaller varieties. The largest daikons can easily grow to 30 to 45 cm long, and are harvested in late summer or autumn from a spring sowing. There are dozens of varieties to choose from. The versatility of this family doesn’t end there. You can, of course, harvest the leaves of all radish varieties all through the season, if, that is, you can avoid the attentions of the tiny flea beetle. This pest is the cause of the small holes that so often mar the appearance of radish leaves. Flea beetles can be outwitted by the simple application of a layer of fine horticultural fleece laid loosely over the bed. With this protection the leaves, which resemble mustard plants both in appearance and in flavour, will remain fit for harvesting. These leaves add a lovely heat to salads and are a delight added into dishes wherever you would add shredded kale or cabbage. To make the most of your radish crop sow the seeds close together and thin the seedlings as they grow to use in salads and sandwiches, leaving the remaining plants to grow fat and plump. These speedy growers are an ideal candidate for succession planting – each time you pull up some roots, pop a few seeds in the vacant soil. You can grow radishes all year round, from winter windowsills to spring varieties of salad

types to the long-season growers that last in the garden well into the colder months. With all the different manifestations of this little vegetable there is one that really stands out as something different and at first glance it hardly appears to be a radish at all. The rat-tail radish is grown not for its root (though you can eat it) or even its leaves, but for its seed pods. Like all the brassicas, the flowers of radishes mature into long chillishaped pods, and the rat-tailed radish pods are deliciousfiery hot, crisp and crunchy. When sowing the rat tailed radish forget completely its crunchy fast growing relations and instead plant it as a long season crop about 18 inches apart in rich well cultivated soil. Provide a framework to support the plant as it grows as it can reach upwards of three feet over the season. The pods should be harvested when they are about the thickness of a French bean, before they become fibrous, and then can be served in any dish where you would enjoy chillies or served up with a dip as a crudité. The flavour is like a cross between mustard and horseradish and the appearance is very attractive, both in the garden as it is growing, and once harvested, on the plate. If you want to get an idea of their flavour, sow your common radishes as usual and harvest these as you need them, but leave a couple at the end of the row to fully mature and flower so you can try the crunchy seed pods to eat in stir-fries and salads. The radish family not only come in all these wonderful shapes and sizes but also with very different levels of heat. French breakfast is mild and crispy while Icicle - predictably a long white skinned variety - is fiery hot when fresh. How hot a radish is not only depends on which variety you plant but on the prevailing weather conditions. The heat increases as the temperature rises and conditions become drier, while cool, damp weather results in milder flavours. The delicious heat of radishes differs from that of chillies or pepper in that it is clean and easily quenched by a sip of water. Unfortunately this also means that the heat is rapidly mellowed by cooking. Radishes have always been a great introduction to gardening for children, but to really enthuse them, ensure that the harvested product is well worth the eating. Start by sowing seeds to be grown as shoots or microgreens in a saucer placed on a windowsill and at the same time plant some more to mature into roots. China rose is a great dual purpose variety. To retain the bite try adding your radishes to the pan just before serving to ensure you retain both the crunch and the heat. They are delicious and crisp and a great substitute for water chestnuts in Asian dishes. They are a very versatile vegetable. A real glut of radishes can even be pickled, just like cucumbers - simply soak your cleaned, trimmed radishes in brine overnight, then pack them into sterilised jars and fill the jars with a hot gingered and spiced pickling vinegar. Delicious!


Autumn s riot of ’ colour is on its way It is a joy every year. Once again we will soon be in the grip of a riot of autumn colour. Gardens and arboretums, parks and woodlands, footpaths and forests will hopefully shortly be ablaze with exotic colours with native favourites including beech, alder, oak, ash, field maple and cherry. It’s no surprise that autumn remains one of the most popular time of year with gardeners and garden lovers. It’s 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. For gardeners it is also the time to plan for autumn colour in the future and it is the perfect time to be buying and planting trees and shrubs. This year for the first time in many years, there are some real questions about the quality of autumn colours we’ll be able

As the temperature falls, so comes the chance to enjoy the wonder of autumn colours in our spectacular gardens, woodlands, arboretums and parks

to enjoy. So it is perhaps even more important to plan early and get out and see as much as possible of the displays. The summer heatwave could have a knock on effect for the autumn foliage. The excessively dry and warm summer months have left trees unable to build up the necessary reservoir of sugars to trigger a change in colour of their leaves. It is these sugars that allow the leaves of certain trees to morph into a stunning autumnal display of red or gold. But this year, autumn leaves will be brown and brittle as the deciduous trees are accustomed to more temperate and moist conditions, scientists have warned. 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 to see- and the best to buy for your own garden’s colour.

Barthelemy & Co - the Japanese maples specialists

Unique planter ideal for autumn colour Stone Illusions make a unique type of garden planter made in the heart of Somerset. They are a great asset for both small and large gardens, adding a height to the garden in any aspect. The stone can be planted for perfect autumn colour, with plants such as cotoneaster, small leaved ivy’s and, of course, any prostrate fuchsia with gorgeous autumnal colours. The tops of the stones can be unscrewed from the bases making them easier to move around as and when a garden redesign is required. When full, the heads weigh about 30 kilos. Tel: 07707208328

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 of Japanese maples to choose from and expert staff are on hand to help select the right variety and to offer advice about caring for the trees in future. 40,000 plants are grafted at Barthelemy & Co each year, 25,000 of them maples 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.

Stone Illusions A completely unique type of garden planter, designed to emulate a traditional staddle stone. The planter is made of polymer, is strong, durable and 100% frost proof.

Perfect for your autumn garden. 22


07707208328 Country Gardener


Old Court Nurseries & The Picton Garden One of the finest gardens in Britain From November the garden, tea rooms and shop open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11am - 3pm Buckland Monachorum, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7LQ 01822 854769

The Michaelmas Daisy Specialists since 1906 112 years of knowledge, passion and plants

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.

JAPANESE MAPLES Acer palmatum varieties We produce and grow the largest selection available in the UK. Plants are pot grown and suitable for garden, patio or bonsai.

Send SAE for descriptive catalogue. Visitors welcome Mon-Sat 9am-1pm & 2pm-4.30pm

OPENING TIMES: Everyday 11am-5pm September - 20th October Closed 20th October - May 2019. Mail order catalogue available on request

Barthelemy & Co (DCG), 262 Wimborne Rd West, Stapehill, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 2DZ

Tel: 01202 874283

Tel: 01684 540416 Old Court Nurseries, Walwyn Road, Colwall WR13 6QE


Soak up the spectacular colour...



Quality Trees and Shrubs Amenity trees from whip to standard, fruit (including heritage apples) and hedging. Conifers and broadleaves. Range of choice shrubs. Advisory/design service.

at Batsford this autumn. Browse our selection of gifts and garden goodies and treat yourself to a home-baked lunch or afternoon tea in our café. A perfect day out for all the family - dog friendly too!

Thornhayes Nursery, Dulford, Open 8am-4pm Mon to Fri also 9am-1pm Sat Cullompton, Devon EX15 2DF Tel: 01884 266746

LUKESLAND GARDENS Visit for details on our forthcoming events BATSFORD ARBORETUM AND GARDEN CENTRE Batsford, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 9AD. Tel: 01386 701441 E: BatsfordArboretum


Autuum colour IN ABUNDANCE For the latest garden news, events & advice - don't miss COUNTRY GARDENER

Fine Autumn Colour Pools & Waterfalls

Home-made soups & cakes Sundays and Wednesdays 11am – 5pm 7th October - 11th November

Harford Ivybridge PL21 0JF Tel 01752 691749



Garden House dazzles with its displays

AUTUMN HIGHLIGHTS AT BISHOP’S PALACE , WELLS Autumn days are one of the year’s highlights at the 14 acre Bishop’s Palace Gardens in Wells. Two years ago the gardens were acknowledged by the Royal Horticultural Society by being made a ‘Partner Garden’- a status awarded to gardens of exceptional quality and design.

Visitors to The Garden House in autumn are always dazzled by colour. The famous Acer Glade becomes the garden highlight. It’s impossible to stroll through it or look down to the little Japanese bridge without stopping to take sensational photos. The leaves on the trees turn colour through myriad shades of red, orange and yellow before creating a carpet of colour on the grassy slopes. It’s not all about the acers though. The walled garden borders are full of planting that give bright colour right through to the first frosts and of course as the garden is nestled in a Dartmoor valley, borrowed autumnal landscapes make a perfect backdrop to the mature trees all around the garden. The Garden House will be open throughout the winter. From November, the garden, tearooms and Potting Shed shop will be open 11am to 3pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. See website and social media for details. The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum, Yelverton PL20 7LQ. 01822 854769

FIVE PER CENT OFF FOR COUNTRY GARDENER READERS TO BUY AUTUMN COLOUR Autumn and winter is prime planting time for trees and hedging and autumn colour in the future as the dormant plants can be moved to their new home with minimal disturbance to their growth. Using bare-rooted stock is both more cost effective and easier to plant than pot grown stock. If you are looking to plant a hedge, screen, woodland or specimen tree contact Perrie Hale Nursery for advice. They are a family business known for quality UK grown stocks of hedging plants, shrubs, broadleaf & conifer trees, soft fruit bushes and wildflower seed. They are offering readers of the Country Gardener magazine a five per cent discount when ordering online or over the phone quoting the code ‘CG5’ (offer ends 21st December). Contact them by telephone 01404 43344 or email: or their online shop 24

The new garden sculpture trail “Human Nature’ started in mid September and runs through to 25th November. The trail is made up of ten striking pieces of art located through the Inner Gardens of the Palace. The trail is open from 10am to 4pm daily. One of the highlights of the autumn is a series of Heritage Skills workshops introducing traditional artisan crafts rom letter carving to embroidery. One of the most popular parts of the garden is the community garden and contemporary garden of reflection. The Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Somerset BA5 2PD.

Autumn colours 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 from 11am to 5pm from Sunday, 7th October to Sunday, 11th 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 fiery autumn tints in the pools of the Addicombe Brook. The Howell family, who run Lukesland, serve up seasonal soups and cakes in the tearoom. Children enter free and can enjoy a fun trail around the grounds, exploring the secret paths and bridges in this woodland valley. Dogs are welcome on a lead. For more details about Lukesland phone 01752 691749 or go to or

Country Gardener




Catch the daisies at their best at Old Court Nurseries Home to the Plant Heritage National Collection of autumn flowering asters and related genre better known as Michaelmas daisies is the Picton Garden. This small garden can be found at Old Court Nurseries and during early October both the garden and nursery are alive with colour, not just the shades of purple, pink and blue from the daisies but also the golds, oranges, and burgandy of autumnal foliage. The wide range of unusual trees and shrubs create the perfect backdrop for the autumn herbaceous show. To catch the daisies at their peak a visit before Wednesday 10th October is a must, after this the clouds of small flowered asters take over offering a gentler cooler display with much of the interest coming from the more woody areas. Tel: 01684 540416

The Castle Drogo garden 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 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, Devon EX6 6PB. Tel: 01647 433306

PREPARE TO BE INSPIRED AT THORNHAYES NURSERY Customers keep visiting the well-known Thornhayes Nursery in Cullompton, Devon because they say it is a ‘proper’ nursery. It is full of high quality stock and staff offering sound advice based on years of experience. There is an arboretum and orchards to wander for inspiration. The stock ranges from 15 inches to 15 feet, fruit, amenity and ornamental trees, shrubs and hedging in an extensive range field and container grown. So if you want help in planning and planting one tree, an avenue, a shrub bed or an orchard, it’s the place to visit. Take along stout footwear and allow a couple of hours- you will be inspired. Thornhayes Nursery, St Andrews Wood, Dulford, Cullompton, Devon EX15 2DF. Tel: 01884 266746 26

Bodenham Arboretum Worcestershire’s hidden garden Often described as Worcestershire’s hidden garden, Bodenham Arboretum and Farm is an oasis of plantations, pools and avenues beautifully landscaped including over 3000 species of trees and shrubs from all over the world. Many rare and ornamental trees can be seen in flower or fruit at all times of the year; their autumn colours are a special beauty. Walks will take you through a patchwork quilt of pools, plantations, dells and glades which provide habitats for flora, fauna, insect life and numerous species of resident and migrating birds. The award winning Visitor Centre serves their own Herefordshire beef, lamb and pork, plus a variety of homemade cakes. Bodenham Arboretum, Bodenham Lane, Kidderminster DY11 5TB. Tel: 01562 852444

Autumn colour spectacular at Batsford Arboretum

Batsford Arboretum is famed for its magnificent autumn colour as the maples and cherries take over as the stars of the show! Enjoy 56 acres of magical walks as the arboretum changes from green to 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. Stock up on spring flowering bulbs, browse the plant 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 Country Gardener

Add some colour to Add some colourthis to your weekend your weekend this autumn at Castle autumn at Gibside Drogo Go crunching through fallen leaves and discover Garden, estate, cafe anda forest teeming with wildlife and autumn colours, with walking routes for open all ages and everyday. abilities. shop Call 01647 433306 for details When you visit, donate, volunteer or join the National Trust, your

©support National Trust The places National helps us to look2017. after special <in the region> <like property Y and Proeprty Z> in for ever, for everyone. Trust is X, anproperty independent registered charity, number 205846. © National Trust 2016. The National Trust is an independent © National Trust registered charity, number Photography Photography ©205846. National Trust #nationaltrust Images. #nationaltrust Images.

Autumn at Bodenham Arboretum Northcote Hill, Honiton, Devon, EX14 9TH Tel: 01404 43344 Growers and suppliers of native trees, shrubs and hedging for: • Native, Formal & Evergreen Hedges • Screening • Woodland • Amenity • Wood Fuel • Gardens Now stocking wildflower seed and soft fruit bushes Call us for friendly and expert advice for species selection, planting & tree protection. We can also provide a planting & maintenance service.

Over 5 miles of wonderful woodland walks, Spectacular Autumn colour, working farm, Fabulous food - carvery - home reared produce. Free Entrance to Restaurant, Shop & Plant Sales, Admission Fee for Arboretum Open every day in Oct & Dec (except Christmas Day & Boxing Day) Open Wed - Sun in November 11.00am - 5.00pm

5% READER DISCOUNT online or call quoting CG5 by 21/12/2018


Bodenham Arboretum, Wolverley, Kidderminster, Worcs DY11 5TB

Tel: 01562 852444

Autumn Days Out at The Bishop's Palace • • • • • •

14 acres of RHS partner gardens See the Wells that give the City its name New Garden Sculpture Trail begins 15th Sept Daily Guided Tours & Horticultural Tours Heritage Skills Workshops begin September Community Garden & Contemporary Garden of Reflection • Cafe & Shop- Annual Membership available

T 01749 988111 ext.200



Give your plants, trees and shrubs the best possible start Rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi is produced by PlantWorks who have a range of RHS endorsed Empathy products. Empathy is about making a choice to garden with minimal use of chemicals whilst maximising plant growth and health. Empathy products are biological, they will benefit your plants not just over a few months but through their lifetime and are designed to treat the soil as well as the plant. Empathy supports the RHS mission of ‘Sharing the best in Gardening’. All rootgrow products are suitable for bare root or containerised trees and shrubs. A sprinkle of rootgrow used at planting time will provide a lifetime of benefits.

ABBOTSBURY GARDENS READY TO BE LIT UP AGAIN FOR AUTUMN Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens light up again for autumn when the Enchanted Illuminations switch on to bathe the plants and pathways in a wonderful array of colour. From Thursday, 18th October to Tuesday, 23rd October and again on Sunday, 28th October, from dusk until 8.30pm, there’s the opportunity to see the gardens lit up. It’s a magical sight and to complete your evening, the Colonial Restaurant and kitchen will be serving meals and snacks until 8pm. For Halloween, Family Fright Nights from Wednesday, 24th October to Saturday, 27th October provide spooky fun for all ages – dressing up is encouraged! Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Buller’s Way, Abbotsbury, near Weymouth, Dorset. DT3 4LA Tel: 01305 871130 or 871387

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens Thursday 18 to Sunday 28 October ILLUMINATIONS


Gardens open at 10am

Lights on dusk to 8.30pm

Free Admission to Season Ticket holders Romantic candle lit pathways Colonial Restaurant and gift shop open

For further information visit 28

+Fright y Famil

Country Gardener


Come & join

n! in all the fu

6 & Sat 27 Oct 2 i Fr 5, 2 rs u Th 4, 2 Wed unt discoonuline 20% kets booked for tic


As the leaves begin to turn, nuts, berries on hedgerows and in woods are ripening. It is the best time of the year to be out and about foraging SWEET CHESTNUT Identification: Large tree, growing up to 30 metres. Long, pointed, oval leaves. Husk covered with very sharp spines. Nuts two or more to a husk. Found in parkland or woodland. • Not to be confused with the horse chestnut (conker) tree which is toxic. The sweet chestnut is covered by many long, fine bristles and contains more than one nut; the horse chestnut has a few stumpy spines and only ever contains one nut. • Must be at least part-cooked to remove the skin. Shouldn’t be eaten raw. • Used with great success in both sweet and savoury dishes. Traditionally eaten at Christmas roasted in the fire. • It’s high starch content means it can be turned into highly versatile flour – sometimes known as the ‘bread tree’. • Takes around 40 years for a new tree to produce nuts. The trees can live for 500 years or more SLOES/BLACKTHORN Identification: Shrub or small tree, up to four metres. Oval, toothed leaves, big thorns. Found in scrub, hedgerows and edges of woodland. • The ancestor of all plums. Characteristically a beautiful dusty blue – guarded by long spikes (blackthorns). Use gloves when picking. • The first frost softens the skins and helps to reduce the juices. Pick early and freeze at home. • Most often used for making sloe gin or crab apple and sloe jelly due to its strong flavour. • Very astringent, not to be eaten raw. HAZELNUT Identification: small tree/shrub. Usually multiple stems. Large, roundish leaves with pointed end and jaggedy edges. Straight, greybrown stems. Nuts start pale green, becoming brown with age. Found in hedgerows and woodlands across the UK. • Were seen as such an important foodstuff before WW1 that schoolchildren were given 14th September off school to go nutting with their families.

• Cobnuts and filberts are both cultivated forms of hazelnuts. • The fully ripe nut is brown and fall easily from the tree. Usually need to pick them off the trees as the ones on the ground tend to get infested pretty quickly • Ripe hazelnuts will keep for several months • Many nuts are empty on opening, and many, if not most, will have been taken by squirrels! • Use ground in pastry cases, in biscuits, salads, cakes and stuffings. ROWAN BERRIES Identification: Small tree. Blossom in umbrella bunches, with an unpleasant smell, often confused with elderflowers but the rowan’s panicles are tighter. Bright orangered berries. Found on hilly, mountainous, woodland and heathland areas. Often planted in suburban areas for decoration. • Poisonous when eaten raw but worth picking to make rowan jelly – a beautiful dark orange colour with a sharp and slightly bitter marmalade flavour. • The best way to pick is to snip the clusters whole from the tree, then strip from the stalks at home. • In folklore it is said to have connections with the magical world; one of its folk names is ‘witchwood’. • Rowan berries are a good source of vitamins C and A.


• Make sure you do not damage natural habitats. • Do not trespass. • Leave plenty behind for wildlife. • Only pick from an area with a good supply. • Never pull a plant up by its roots. • Take a good field guide (Food for Free by Richard Mabey is recommended) with you and ensure you can positively identify what you forage, do not consume any plant you are not sure of.



about pumpkins

by Kate Lewis

Fun to grow and harvest, it is about time we started to embrace the possibilities of this sensational fruit in the kitchen Hallowe’en lanterns, pumpkin pie, spiced pumpkin lattes…. these colourful and curvaceous fruit evoke the coming of autumn like no other. Unfortunately few of us do little more with pumpkins than carve them to ward off the ghouls on All Hallows Eve. Unlike our American cousins, here in the UK we have not yet embraced the many uses of pumpkins in the kitchen. But if you are lucky enough to have a few growing in the vegetable garden it is worth using the delicious flesh instead of throwing it away after carving your lantern. Pumpkins originated in Central America more than 7,500 years ago and are believed to be one of the first crops grown for human consumption in that part of the world. They are a fruit belonging to the curcurbitaceae, the gourd family which includes melons, cucumbers and courgettes, and grow well in our mild climate.

In the garden Watching these beautiful fruit, and other winter squashes, grow from seed is very rewarding. There are a huge range of varieties to choose from, and it is worth trying a few varieties to explore the differences in colour, shape, size and flavour. Once planted out in the garden pumpkin plants need regular watering – every day during summer, and benefit from extra feeding with liquid fertiliser. As they grow it can be helpful to raise them, on wood or brick, to prevent rotting. Remove any leaves shading the fruit to enable plenty of light onto the fruit to help it ripen. The fruit should be left on the vine for as long as possible but not beyond the first frost. Flavour can be lost if harvested early. There are several ways to tell if it is ready to pick. Firstly, the colour. While the shade depends on the variety it will normally be a deep orange. Turn any green patches towards the sun while still on the vine to help the overall colour. The skin should be thick and tough, and sound hollow when tapped. Finally, check the vines. When the fruit is ready to harvest they will begin to dry and stop growing, leaving the stem hard and with cracks. 30

When it comes to harvesting always use a sharp knife to cut the fruit with a long stem from the vine. Don’t be tempted to carry it by the stem as this can damage the fruit. After harvesting pumpkins need a short spell of warmth to ‘cure’ them before storing. This toughening of the skin prolongs their lifespan, and it is this thick skin which differs them from the soft-skinned summer squashes. Place a board under the ripening fruit to prevent rot and deter bugs. Store somewhere warm – outside or inside – for around ten days, then transfer to a cool, dry and airy place for storage. Check every few days and cut away any soft or bad bits of flesh. In these conditions the fruit should last at least six months. Once cut they should be kept unwrapped in the fridge and used within a week. Freezing pumpkin is an alternative storage method if you have a glut but don’t have room for storage. Cut the fruit into small dice, cook until tender, and freeze in labelled freezer bags. Take great care when cutting into the fruit, particularly if it has a smooth, slippery skin. Cut a slice from the base and stand it firm on a chopping board. Peel by cutting downwards towards the board. Save the skin for making veg stock. Alternatively cut in half first then rest cut side down to peel. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and set aside to make a delicious and healthy snack, or salad garnish – wash, dry and spread on a baking sheet. Toss in olive oil and add spices, honey or maple syrup or dried herbs. Roast at 160°C for 1015 minutes.

In the kitchen When it comes to cooking with pumpkins it is worth avoiding the big specimens more suited for carving, these are often watery and stringy. Smaller fruits, however, are perfect for a range of dishes in the kitchen. The density and colour of the flesh is an indicator of the quality of the fruit – a darker pumpkin or squash with a thick skin will have much more flavour than a pale, easy-to-cut specimen.

Country Gardener

Roasting is one of the most flavoursome methods of cooking pumpkin. Cut the flesh into large wedges, lay on a baking tray, toss with oil and seasoning. Roast at 200°C for 30-40 minutes until tender and coloured. Delicious added to risotto and pasta dishes, or in a salad with grains or pulses. The roasted fruit can also be mashed, seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg, mixed with cream or butter and served in place of mashed potato. Perfect with an autumnal roast. The skin can also be kept on when roasting – for example if serving large wedges drizzled with yoghurt, tahini dressing or hummus as a starter. Don’t be tempted to roast the entire fruit however, it will explode! Baking the pumpkin flesh makes a delicious base for a variety of sweet treats. Think pumpkin pie flavoured with cardamom, or heaps of pumpkin pancakes drizzled with maple syrup for a special breakfast.

THAI P UMP KIN SOUP INGREDIENTS: • 1.5kg pumpkin or squash, peeled or roughly chopped • 4 tsp sunflower oil • 1 onion, sliced • 1 tbsp grated ginger • 1 stick lemongrass, bashed • 3-4 tbsp Thai red curry paste • 400ml can coconut milk • 850ml vegetable stock • Lime juice to season • 1 sliced red chilli, to serve

Many baked recipes call for the flesh to be grated into the batter before baking – much like a carrot or courgette cake. This produces a wonderful orange crumb, perfect for an autumnal afternoon tea. In Southeast Asia and North African pumpkins and squashes are regularly used as a meat substitute – try combining with chickpeas, tomatoes and spices for a hearty Moroccan vegetarian supper, or with coconut, ginger and lemongrass in a Thai-style soup or curry. Serving the soup, stew or curry in the scooped-out pumpkin shell is a fun way to present your dish. Pumpkin fries make a healthy alternative to potato fries as a supper side dish – cut into thin batons, soak for 30 mins, coat with cornflour and spread on a baking tray tossed with olive oil, paprika and garlic. Bake at 180°C for 10-15 mins until crisp, turning halfway through. When cooked sprinkle with parmesan.

P UMP KIN AND RAISIN TEA LOAF INGREDIENTS: • 200g light muscovado sugar • 4 large eggs, separated • 200g finely grated raw squash or pumpkin flesh • 1 lemon, juice & zest

METHOD: 1. Preheat oven to 180°C/gas 6. 2. Toss the pumpkin/squash in a roasting tin with half the oil and seasoning. Roast for 30 mins until golden and tender. 3. Meanwhile put the remaining oil in a pan with the onion, ginger and lemongrass. Gently cook for 8-10 mins until soft. Stir in the curry paste and cook for 1 min. Add the roasted pumpkin, stock and all but 3 tbsp of the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. 4. Fish out the lemongrass and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Whizz until smooth with a hand blender or a large blender in batches. 5. Return to the pan to heat through, seasoning with salt, pepper, lime juice and sugar if needed. 6. Serve drizzled with the remaining coconut milk and scattered with chill, if using. (Copyright: BBC Good Food)

• 100g raisins • 100g ground almonds • 200g self-raising flour • Pinch of salt • 1 tsp ground cinnamon • Generous grating of fresh nutmeg

METHOD: 1. Preheat oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Line a 20 x 10cm loaf tin with baking parchment. 2. Using an electric whisk beat together the sugar and egg yolks for 2 – 3 minutes until pale and creamy. 3. Lightly stir in the pumpkin, lemon zest and juice, raisins and almonds. 4. Combine the flour, salt and spices. Fold in to the pumpkin mix. 5. Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Stir a heaped tablespoon of the egg white into the batter to loosen, then gently fold in the rest. 6. Tip into the prepared tin and level the top. Bake for about an hour, until a skewer comes out clean. 7. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. (Copyright: Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)



but its Christmas gift time Are you looking for a Christmas gift for green-fingered friend or family member? It’s perhaps time to be a little more creative Christmas isn’t too far away now and for those who want to provide a friend or family member with a gardening themed present its perhaps time to be a bit more creative. Increasingly popular are garden centre gift token (in units of £10 so they can be spent bit by bit) that you can buy over the counter or online at Gift tokens from specialist plant suppliers are another option with many well-known nurseries offering their own exclusive vouchers. The Horticultural Trades Association runs two gifting schemes; the National Garden Gift Voucher and National Garden Gift Card. The schemes drive around two million visits to garden centres and retail nurseries every year, and leaves millions of gardeners delighted. Vouchers are a fantastic gift for keen gardeners as they put choice of what to do in the garden entirely in the hands of the recipient. This makes the scheme probably the UK’s biggest, most popular, and longest running promotion of gardening. The vouchers are accepted at around 1,600 leading gardening outlets across the UK. National Trust gift cards are a perfect gift for friends and family at Christmas loved ones. From exploring over 500 special places, to relaxing in a holiday cottage or at one of our Lake District campsites, to enjoying a spot of lunch or a shopping trip, there are lots of ways for them to be used. And then there are subscriptions to garden-related

Backdoorshoes there’s nothing more practical Backdoorshoes have introduced more designs to their already vast range of waterproof, lightweight garden clogs this year all of which make ideal and very practical presents. A revamped Cats style and also a beautiful Daisy designed option. Something for everyone! Prices start from £25 including free standard delivery. Sizes available from UK 3-14. There are a range of flip flops featuring their unique prints to include Poppies, Meadow, Grass and Camo. However, as the weather is changing an ideal gift for Christmas would be a pair of stylish Chelsea ‘Jumpy’ Boots. They are waterproof and easy to clean. Fantastic designs featuring coloured soles make these a fashionable versatile gift that can be worn to work or out for an evening. The company’s whole range is marketed as proud to be British designed. For the full range visit or call 01202 232257 32

organisations and publications: a year’s membership of the Royal Horticultural Society, which includes a regular magazine, costs £61 and makes a great and thoughtful gifts. RHS vouchers can be used in RHS gift shops, plant centres and through mail order. Which? Gardening, a respected magazine published by the Consumer Association and based on independent research provides great advice to gardeners and again annual subscription is a thoughtful present. Here’s a couple of exclusive ideas for you.

A CHRISTMAS GIFT WHICH COULD END WITH A LUXURY HOME If you are looking for a Christmas present with a difference then the chance to win a £3 million home for just a £25 raffle ticket could be one of the more creative presents you can give. Mark and Sharon Beresford decided to launch their ‘Win a Mega home competition’ after a series of sales fell through and two years on the property market. They launched a raffle competition with a £25 per ticket entry. Located in picturesque Avon Castle near Ringwood, in an acre of land, the property is a multiple award-winning Huf Haus, built off site in Germany and constructed of wood and glass. Mark added “I’m pretty sure the property market at this level will remain flat for three years because of economic uncertainty, and there are a lot of properties over £2 million and not the buyers to buy them. Now people have to practically give your house away so I thought I’d give everyone a chance with a ticket for £25.” for tickets

Everyone needs a pair of

Backdoorshoes® are lightweight, waterproof, durable and ideal for slipping on when you need to go outside. We are delighted to launch our waterproof, stylish, versatile Chelsea Boots available in many different colours. With over 30 backdoorshoes designs we are sure there will be something for everyone on your list this year!

To see our full range visit

Country Gardener


Stipa gigantea - a Chelsea Show favourite


GRASSES! Matt Rees-Warren, head gardener at Kilver Court, plots the rise to fame and glory of wonderful grasses which can adorn your garden and which no designer can now afford to do be without If there’s one group of plants that has undergone the most fundamental shifts in perceptions it would have to be the grasses. No-one would have predicted their journey from the suburban lawn ‘Pampas grass’ era to their achingly hip minimalism of the 21st century. No designer worthy of some of the fancier national gardening magazine front covers dares not include at least some grasses in their schemes. Oh how times have changed! I guess the revival began with the ‘New perennial’ movement and their desire to re-create flowing species-rich meadows or prairies they saw in the wild. This then in turn filters down into our imaginations and out into our gardens. Or did it? It is in no way a true indication of the tastes and styles of the English country gardens of the South West, but I, as a gardener of many years in many gardens, Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy still haven’t metal’ - impeccably slender 34

come across all that much use of the many and varied species available. And that availability may be the point as I don’t see them for sale around these parts very often either. I think that could be down to a lack of knowledge of what they can do rather than a trepidation towards change, so lets have look what’s out there. The most dramatic and eye-catching are, obviously, the taller varieties and in general the ones we tend to see and use are the Miscanthus, Calamagrostis and Stipa. Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ has become a popular favourite and I think that’s down to its needle like flowers and strong, upright habit. Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’ has a much more airy, delicate flower, while Calamagrostis brachytricha has puffy, billowy flowers like rabbits’ tails. (Sometimes a name can make-or-break a plant’s popularity although I love the verbal gymnastics of saying ca-la-magros-tis. Its common name is Korean feather grass, which sounds like the start of a Keats poem and far more mellifluous, catchy and memorable to me). The Miscanthus – Chinese silver grass – offer a similar theme of height and drama with a few subtle but important differences. Miscanthus sinensis ‘Ferner Osten’ has a ruby tint to the flowers, while M. ‘Gracillimus’ puffs itself out in such a fashion that it’s used as a hedge. (It’s best to keep it as an internal one though or you’ll be getting a good look at your neighbours in the spring!) Then there’s M. ‘Zebrinus’ - with its

Country Gardener

funky zebra striped foliage - and M. ‘Silberfeder’, both of which have a lovely habit of corkscrew twists to their flowers. Honourable mentions must also go to both Stipa gigantea - a Chelsea favourite and maybe a little over-used but adored for its lacy see-through flowers. And Molinia arundinacea or purple moor grass - a typically overlooked British native, every bit as fine and elegant as the Calamagrostis or Miscanthus. When you come to the smaller species, variety increases and you begin to notice more of the favourites that have been used in British gardens for decades. So I will indulge you in just a few of my very own particular favourites. Stipa tenuissima is common but a plant being common can sometimes mean it’s become a national treasure for all the right reasons, and this plant is certainly that. Its flaxen, horsehair flowers never fail to please and it’s practically impossible to not find it an appealing partner – like a fine bordeaux it will go with anything. I’ve also taken a shine to the Panicums or American switchgrass. In particular Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy metal’, which has the most impeccably slender, upright habit of cool glaucous foliage, topped off with a dusting of very fine starburst flowers. Superb. Hakenchloa is as ubiquitous as tree ferns in inner city, post modern planting schemes, which makes me want to hate it eternally but it can enliven darken corners if planted en masse. I also like the bravery of planting Carex buchananii – a plant that looks permanently dead or the personification of a sedge bog in the Scottish highlands in a particularly harsh winter – but rewards the courageous with a shimmering bronze against the wall of green in summer. I think the Pennisetums are fun and I’m a sucker for purple foliage so Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ is a winner in my book. And the Stipa arundinacea (re-named to yet more unpronounceable gibberish) is a favourite for similar reasons as its red hue foliage has an undeniable charm. All these grasses are pretty tough and you’d have to go a long way to kill them but they do hate drying out. Your best bet is to always err on the wetter side when considering where to plant them and water liberally in their first year in any prolonged dry spells. It’s also a rather obvious point to make but make sure to not cut them down until spring as their burnished, pale bronze foliage is one of the true delights of the garden in winter. If they are fairly sheltered and not weighted with snow then it’s their structure as well as their colour that will hold the composition together through the fallow months. One of the great examples of the use of grasses ornamentally can be seen at the Oudolf field at Hauser and Wirth’s art centre at Durslade Farm in Bruton, Somerset. Piet Oudolf has long a been a proponent of the value of grasses and how to combine them with good structure retentive perennials and his field has become immensely popular, and the fact that it’s free is wonderfully refreshing. If I was being a little mischievous however, I would hasten to add that it isn’t actually to my taste and I find prairie style plantings a bit one dimensional and lacking in contrast. But, really who am I? Go see it for yourself and you’ll be no poorer for it.

From the top: Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’; Calamagrostis brachytricha; Calamagrostis Karl Foerster; Carex buchananii; Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’.



Country Gardener

A regular look at queries and problems sent into Country Gardener from readers looking for practical help and advice over a range of gardening problems and opportunities


Sadly I haven’t seen a hedgehog in my garden for well over 12 months. There was a time a few years ago when, especially late in the day there would be three or four of them wandering around and a joy to see. What is happening to them? Many gardeners have been asking this question and it is timely as there has this month been new research into our hedgehog population. The first systematic survey of rural hedgehog populations in England and Wales used footprint-tracking tunnels to measure the presence or absence of hedgehogs. The research surveyed 261 rural sites covering all habitat types. Hedgehog sightings have Ben Williams, primary author of the research paper, explains: “We found that dropped again this year although hedgehogs were generally widely distributed, they were actually found at a worryingly low number of sites. Perhaps more importantly a large proportion of the country is potentially unsuitable for both hedgehogs to live in. One explanation could be the reduced availability of earthworms which hedgehogs need to feed on to survive. This could be as a result of agricultural intensification and climate change.” Ben further elaborates: “The results also indicate that hedgehogs may be using areas of human habitation as a sort of “refuge habitat”. Residential gardens potentially offer a number of advantages for hedgehogs and enable them to escape some of the problems associated with the rural landscape. Therefore, houses, villages and towns bordering more rural landscapes are important areas for hedgehogs and may become increasingly so if we continue to see the rate of declines we are currently witnessing in rural Britain.”

Last autumn I clearly didn’t know what I was doing when I pruned my summer cultivating raspberries and the effect this summer has been pretty dramatic. What is the secret when it comes to pruning them? Summer fruiting raspberries give fruit on canes, which are in their second year of growth. So every winter you need to cut out all the second year canes, which have already fruited, and leave all the first year ones, which are still to fruit. Telling the difference between the two is easy once you’ve got your eye in: second year canes are branched and first year canes are not. There’s often a colour difference too, the second year ones being paler than the first years, but not always. The branching is the clear difference you can always rely on. When you’ve taken out all the second year canes, have a look round and take out any very small ones, which are obviously going to come to nothing. Likewise any canes which are crossing each other, where they will rub each other and let in pest and diseases. If the remaining canes are very dense, thin them out till the average distance between them is about nine inches. Decide how tall you want the canes to be and cut off any which are taller than that. Most gardeners trim down to about chest height. 36

Second year canes will have a lighter colour than the first ones

Usually only one or two need shortening. Always cut back to just above a bud. Raspberries spread by suckering. That is, new canes come up from the roots. As the roots spread, some of them will come up outside your designated raspberry bed. You may want to dig out the suckers if they’re invading a productive vegetable bed or other valued area. But every few years it’s a good idea to let them have their head and move to new ground. This helps to keep them free, or at least tolerant, of virus diseases, and if you let them wander slowly round the garden you can get away without buying new stock every dozen years.

Country Gardener

Again after this summer I have small mountains of plastic pots which try as I do, I can’t reycyle. Is anyone close to coming up with some environmentally friendlier alternatives? The simple answer is yes there is a lot going on to trying to help gardeners raise plants plastic free. Biodegradable wood fibre or coir pots are on the market for growing seeds and softwood cuttings. They naturally decompose in the soil. Durable pots made from bamboo fibre or rice husks with natural binders can last for several years and will Coir pots are to be found more often in selected garden stores compost once they do start to degrade. Coir pellets, which swell when soaked in water, avoid pots altogether. Some nurseries and garden centres already sell plants in coir pots and it is worth asking as there are some real signs finally the industry is working hard at finding plastic alternatives. When it comes to recycling your plastic pots it is worth checking again with your local authority and some are now committed to allowing plant pots at recyling depots.

I would like to introduce some lighting into my two-acre garden. It seems the right time to do it as the nights draw in this autumn. However I have to say I rarely see stylish garden lighting. It is often garish and too bright. Outdoor lighting is becoming increasingly popular and can transform how your garden looks at night, creating different moods and a more welcoming atmosphere. It need not be expensive or complex, simple solar powered lighting can for instance create a path or highlight steps and path edges. Alternatively 75 watt, 12 volt uplighting can be used to highlight architectural features such as the trunk of a specimen tree, porch or even summerhouse. Garden lighting can also be timed to switch on when you are away allowing you to improve security.

My compost bin this summer has become really smelly and in fact quite offensive. I am about to give up on it but are there any quick remedies? Luckily there is a quick solution. Stinky smells are a good indicator that your compost pile is too wet and has gone anaerobic. A number of factors can cause this condition- lack of aeration, too much water, or an imbalance of carbon to nitrogen. Without air, the material becomes stagnant and rancid and won’t be of any use to you in the autumn or winter. It may be hard work but Lack of air will make what you need to do your compost stinky is turn your pile on a regular basis, say once a week, and add some fast-decomposing, deciduous sawdust or fine carbon material like chimney ash. It won’t recover immediately but within a few weeks the smell will start to disappear and your compost will change to a more pliable texture which will attract the much needed worms and micro-organisms.

Lighting in the garden need not be expensive or complex

So here’s some guidelines to avoid the garish look you worry about. • Don’t try to illuminate too much-it is more expensive and looses the drama of highlighting specific features. • Avoid hard lighting which is too brightopt for the more softer effects. • Be careful with direction make sure in seating areas make sure lighting does not create glare or shines into people’s eyes • Minimise the effect on wildlife by positioning and aiming lights low and turning them off when not in use. 37

Planning your orchard

for a longer season

Picking apples from your own tree is one of life’s simple pleasures and choosing the right varieties can prolong the pleasure says Tom Nancarrow from Honiton based Adam’s Apples The home-grown British apple season can be a long one if a few judicious choices are made when choosing your varieties. We can categorise the seasons into roughly three periods; early, mid and late and this allows you to plan your orchard in a sensible manner for harvesting. The ‘early’ apples will come ripe in late July and early August and it is a treat to be eating fresh apples at this time of year. A well-known early dessert apple is Beauty of Bath, a Victorian variety once harvested in the orchards of Somerset and transported for sale in London. It evokes fond memories for many people and it has one of the best fruity aromas. A bowl full of Beauty of Bath apples will fill a room with a heady apple scent. One of its misgivings however, is that Beauty of Bath apples, like most early-season apples, will not store for any length of time. In fact, most of the very earliest have to be eaten straight off the tree. It is worth remembering this fact when planning an orchard. If you have large numbers of early-season varieties there will be a short Kidd’s Orange Red, Tidicombe Seedling apple and Invincible Pear window of ripening and 38

Country Gardener

Laxton’s Fortune apple

picking before they all ‘go over’. And as there are only so many apples one can eat in a day (a boundary I have been know to push to its limits) you best have a plan for all those apples! One sensible way to grow some of the early varieties is to train them as cordons. This allows you to have just the right amount of apples you can eat fresh (well-grown cordons can yield up to 10kg on an MM106 rootstock) without wasting the large amounts of fruit you might get from a free-standing tree. Do check that any trees chosen for cordons are spur-bearers. Juicing is obviously an efficient way to process large quantities of apples that will not store for long. The variety Discovery, usually ready for eating by mid/late August in the South West, makes a beautiful pink juice and is perhaps the best-known of the early dessert apples. As the summer holidays come to an end we enter the ‘second-early’ phase of ripening. Most of these varieties will store for a week or so if kept in a polythene bag in the fridge, but for the most part they are still at their very best when eaten straight from the tree. As we go in to late September/October we enter the ‘mid-season’ period. There are some fantastic varieties ready for harvesting at this time of year and these will happily store for several weeks in the right conditions. Head

Collecting cider apples, Escot Park, East Devon All images: Tom Nancarrow

Apples for the Epicurean: Early Season Baker’s Delicious A little-known early season dessert apple, originating from Wales, it is ready for eating by mid/late August. It is a fantastic variety. Being of Welsh heritage it is more than happy growing in the wetter climes of the west country - it bears lovely crisp, sweet/sharp apples, similar in type to a Braeburn. If kept in a fridge they will store for a couple of weeks.

Laxton’s Epicure A personal favourite, this early season eating apple is a winner. It is a lovely sweet apple with notes of pear. It crops abundantly and makes a good choice for the garden.

Grenadier An early season cooking apple, widely grown in the 19th century and a superb choice for those that want apple pies in August. It cooks down to a lovely sweet puree with no need for added sugar. An easy tree to grow and gives good regular crops. Baker’s Delicious apple - a little known early season dessert apple

to a local apple day and hopefully you can taste something new. In terms of planning your orchard, it makes sense to have a good selection of mid-season varieties, and again juicing is an excellent way to process surpluses. Finally it is time for the late-season apples. Late season apples really come in to their own if picked late October/early November and stored in a cool, dry place for a few weeks. This allows their aromatic flavours to develop complexities that eclipse the cheap thrills of the early-season varieties! If you have the space, it is certainly worth growing several trees of late-season varieties as these will keep you in apples right through until the spring. Again, a fridge is ideal but failing that some large polythene bags with a few holes in, kept in a cool and shady room or outbuilding is the best way to keep your apples in to the new year. If you need more help or advice get in touch with Tom Nancarrow at Adam’s Apples who will be able to advise on varieties and how you could plan your orchard. Adam’s Apples, Egremont Barn, Payhembury, Honiton, Devon EX14 3JA. Tel: 01404 841166 Mobile: 07870576330

Mid Season Ribston Pippin A fantastic eating apple, much like a Cox’s Orange Pippin in taste, it is widely agreed to be a parent of Cox, but is far more diseaseresistant and will grow happily in the west country.

English Codling A great cooking apple that makes a delicious sweet puree. It makes a good alternative to Bramley, which of course holds the crown for the most popular cooking apple, and with good reason, but if you are looking for something different, then this very old English cooking apple is an excellent and regular cropper and makes a great spreading orchard tree.

Late Season Ashmead’s Kernel The old adage of saving the best ‘til last is certainly appropriate for Ashmead’s Kernel. Whilst perhaps not winning any beauty contests, this russeted eating apple reigns supreme in terms of flavour. It will keep for several months if kept at low temperatures, when its sweet aromatic pear drop flavour continues to develop. Added to this , it’s natural disease-resistance makes it a must for any discerning orchard owner.

Cornish Aromatic Another late eating apple, this variety has a delicious spiciness and rich sweetness when ripe in late autumn. It keeps well and is an unusual but handsome apple. It has dry, rough skin so might not appeal to everyone - one for the apple connoisseur.


CLASSIF IED Accommodation Cornwall, near St Just. Chalet, sleeps 4, heated indoor pool, open all year – near gardens/coast, golfing nearby. Prices from £300 pw. 01736 788718 Bosworlas near Sennen/St Just, Cornwall. Cosy Cottage, rural views, Sleeps 2-4 01736 788709 Lazydaze Holiday Chalet. Nestled Between The Quantocks, Exmoor & Blue Anchor Bay. 5 Miles From Minehead. Sleeps 3. Private Enclosed Garden. Dogs Welcome. Phone Jan For Brochure & Details On 01984 641321 Glorious North Devon. Only 9 cosy caravans on peaceful farm. Wonderful walks in woods & meadows. Easy reach sea, moors & lovely days out. £125395pw. Discount couples. Nice pets welcome. 01769 540366

Accommodation Holiday Cottages 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 Self-catering cottages in countryside near Lyme Regis. Japanese food available. 01297 489589 Lanlivery near Eden and other Cornish Gardens lovely woodland lodge 2/4 people 01726 430489 Cornwall. Village location between Truro and Falmouth. Fully equipped renovated cottage. Peaceful garden. Off road parking. Ideal for 2 adults. No children/animals. Good public transport. Good pub and shop. Easy reach of Heligan and Eden. 01279 876751

Padstow house. 4 + baby, gardens, parking, Wi-Fi, Camel trail (bike storage), beaches 07887 813495

Accommodation with Beautiful Gardens North Devon near Clovelly. 3 delightful cottages situated in 12 acres of idyllic countryside. Sleeps 2-4. 1 Wheelchair friendly. Prices from £190 p.w. Brochure: 01237 431324 www.

Penrice Castle Gower 16 holiday cottages on an 18th century Estate on the Gower Peninsula with beautiful Grade I listed historic park and gardens. Tel: 01792 391212

Carmarthen Bay South Wales Seafront chalet situated on estuary. Sleeps up to 6. Seaview. Well Behaved Dogs Welcome. Open from 1st March - 31st Dec. For brochure Tel: 01269 862191

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

Pinnock Wood Shepherd Hut A Bespoke Craftsman Built Shepherds Hut situated on a working livestock farm in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Ideally located for visiting all Cotswold Towns and Villages. Excellent walking Tel: 01242 604189 40

Three Cotswold Barn Conversions Sleeps 4-10 people. Visit England Four Stars In between Upton House, Hidcote and Chastleton or Karen on 01608 684240

Country Gardener

Near Stratford-upon-Avon Lovely self-catering cottage in peaceful location: Large garden, Sleeps 2. Perfect for famous gardens, NT properties & Cotswolds. Tel: 01789 740360

Advertise here... Call on 01278 671037 for details, or email:

CLASSIF IED Antiques International Dealer requires records (all types) old gramophones, phonographs, music boxes, radios, valves, telephones, early sewing machines, typewriters, calculators, tin toys, scientific instruments etc. Parts also wanted. Top cash price paid 07774 103139

Bed & Breakfast Somerset 5* Restaurant with Rooms. Close to many NT Gardens, Houses and Dorset Coast. Sculpture by the lakes in Dorset. Pet Friendly www. 01935 423902

Cards & Prints A range of over 200 greetings cards and prints from the flower paintings of


We sell to both individuals and trade. No order too small. Contact us for your free 2018 catalogue Mill House Fine Art Publishing, Bellflower Gallery, Market Place, Colyton, Devon EX24 6JS

• New Season’s Roses • Mail Order • Free Catalogue • Garden Centre 01953 454707 NR17 1AY

Fruit Trees

Adam’s Apples

Yenstone Walling Dry Stone Walling and Landscaping Patrick Houchen - DSWA member. Tel: 01963 371123

Garden Tools/Sundries

Apple trees from £8.50 Over 100 varieties Dessert, juicing, cider & cookers to suit your farm, garden or smallholding



Many other fruit trees & bushes. Discounts for wholesale, community projects & schools. Advice given.


Tel: 07870 576 330 / 01404 841166

Garden Furniture

See me at the Cothay Christmas Fair 8th Dec

UKs leading supplier of Teak Furniture for the Garden

Tel. 01297 553100

Home Services


burncoose nurseries Plants by Mail Order Nurseries • Landscaping Woodland Gardens

The UK’s largest specialist Mail Order supplier of trees, shrubs herbaceous plants including many rare varieties exclusive to Burncoose. Burncoose Nurseries, Gwennap, Redruth, Cornwall TR16 6BJ Tel: 01209 860316 • email:


Tel: 01256 809 640 sales




Tel: 01243 375535

Garden Services Request NEW & FREE 2019 catalogue on 01376 570 000 or

Wisteria Pruning, Improvement, Oxfordshire, surrounding area. Richard Barrett 01865 452334

Polytunnels from £399 available to view by appointment 01363 84948


CLASSIF IED Specialist Garden Products Log cabins


01935 891195

Thornhayes nursery

Wholesale Nursery

Devon’s specialist tree grower for a wide range of ornamental, fruit, hedging trees and a selection of choice shrubs.

Tel 01404 41150

Looking for young, hardy garden plants to grow or plant?


Courses, expert advice, arboretum, display fruit garden.

Tel: 01884 266746


Trimplant Nursery, Combe Raleigh, Honiton, Devon

Garden Offices

Ex-display buildings for sale | Anything to order

Advertise here...

Specialist Nurseries & Plants Forton Nursery Top quality Perennials,Shrubs and Trees. Located in Forton village, near Chard TA20 4HD Tel 01460 239569 fortonnursery@ Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

...from just £2 per word

Wanted/For Sale

Discover the Diversity of Hardy Geraniums! We stock up to 200 varieties throughout the year

Free printed catalogue & emailed guide available upon request.

Mail order

Call Gary: 01684 770 733 UK and or 07500

600 205


DORSET WATER LILY COMPANY The Uk’s largest selection of established pot grown water lilies for public and landscape supply.

Wanted Old Radio Valves And Audio Valves. Tel: 07557 792091


Enjoy more of the Country Gardener experience by visiting our website

Mushroom Compost, Farm Yard Manure, Horse Manure, Top Soil, Wood Chip Mulch, Wood Chip, Compost and Chicken Manure. ALL £1.50 PER BAG PLUS DELIVERY

For more information or advice call Nick on 01404 891684 / 07860 459745

Facebook “f ” Logo

More news & events, plus exclusive features can be found online

CMYK / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

CMYK / .ai

Many free and paid advertising opportunities

Speciality hardy marginals and moisture loving bogside.

Catalogue available or visit us MON/ FRI or SAT 9 - 4pm, Yeovil Road, Halstock BA22 9RR

Consultation/Design & Landscape Service Tel: 01935 891668

Are you part of a garden club or society?

Growers of many plants suitable for coastal areas including hedging plants All propagated and grown in Devon Established suppliers to landscape designers 42


It’s free! Country Gardener

Please send us your diary for the year - we’d love to include your talks and shows Send them into us by email giving us 10 weeks notice of the event: or by post to: Mount House, Halse, Taunton, TA4 3AD. Your event can also be listed on: Sign up to add your events today

Seven plants that should be

‘left to the experts’

New research has revealed a list of flowers plants and vegetables which it seems are causing too many problems for gardeners to grow New research amongst gardeners in the southwest has revealed a list of flowers, vegetables and plants that we all seem to have the most difficult time growing and keeping alive. Cauliflowers, orchids and melons have been named as some of the most difficult plants to grow and look after. Surprisingly onions appear on the list as vegetables which often disappoint when it comes to cropping. And despite being some of the most common vegetables to feature in gardens and allotments, celery and onions can be difficult grow due to a very high quality as they can suffer from diseases and growing problems. Venus Flytraps and wasabi are extremely finicky as they require very a particular set of environmental factors for growth, with Flytraps even required to be ‘fed’ live insects from time to time.



Although one of the most popular houseplants in the UK, orchids are notoriously fragile. They need to sit in a room with temperatures between 15 and 30°C and like full morning sun, but shade for the rest of the day. The leaves should be light green (when they are too dark this means the plant isn’t getting enough sun) and you should allow the soil to dry completely between watering.



Cauliflower are notoriously difficult to grow as they need a long growing season – plus they don’t the weather to be too hot or too cold. You should sow the seeds early enough to have them mature by the time of the hot temperatures of summer, but late enough so that it’s not too cold. Most plants must also be blanched, or have the stalks bent so that the outer leaves come up and over the top of the head, covering it. The leaves must be tied and kept this way until the head has matured.


Venus Flytrap

The roots of the sophisticated Venus Flytrap are extremely sensitive, so you should only use distilled water or rain water to hydrate it. The plant needs to have proper drainage and special soil or else they will die in

regular potting soil – most people use sphagnum moss with an equal amount of sand. They love to sit in lots of sun and you shouldn’t give Venus Flytraps – or indeed any carnivorous plants – any fertiliser. Remember, if you’re keeping the Flytrap indoors, you will have to feed them insects such as mealworms or crickets.





The ideal celery stalk is crunchy and the taste is delightfully intense, but this combination can be difficult to master when growing your own. Celery requires a lot of moisture, so it should be planted in a soil mixture that can hold water well. This is the first hurdle that novice gardeners tend to fall at – as many may not be used to such regular and consistent watering. The plant also has a long growing season of around 120 to 180 days from seed to harvest, and requires cooler temperatures. Many gardeners plant onions and end up disappointed with the final results. Onions are particularly sensitive to the amount of daylight they receive and so picking the right type of onion in relation to where they’re going to be planted is essential. Different varieties require shorter days (about 12 hours per day) but there are others that might require up to 16 hours of daylight. Regular watering is essential.



Widely regarded as one of the most difficult plants to grow in the world, wasabi is prone to disease when planted and can take just over a year to mature. Too much humidity or the wrong nutrient composition can wipe out an entire crop of fussy wasabi, and it’s grown unlike any other plant. It needs lots and lots of water, but it can’t be submerged like a water-lily.



Most melons grow on sprawling, space-hogging vines which is why many gardeners shy away from growing them in the first place. Many may find that they can grow hardly any fruits, and even the ones that do sprout taste bland or bitter. For the best chance of success, keep your soil mulched and watered to prevent stressing your melon plants, and try to prevent extreme temperature swings as much as possible.




Here’s a selection of gardening events to look out for during the next few weeks throughout the Cotswolds. Send us details of your event at least ten 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 keen to support garden club events and we will be glad to publicise talks 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. We suggest that garden clubs 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 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 or in the local NGS booklet available at many outlets.





Country Gardener






Stockists of Country Gardener Cotswolds 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. For amendments to details or deliveries call Pat Eade on 01594 543790 email Alcester The Hiller Garden, B49 5PD Bentham Primrose Vale Farm Shop, GL51 4UA Berkeley Kitts Green Nurseries, GL13 9PW Birdwood The Fairview Gardener, GL2 8AR Bisley The Green Shop, GL6 7BX Bloxham Bloxham Nursery, OX15 5EE Bourton-on-the-Hill Bourton House Gardens, GL56 9AE Bristol Henleaze Garden Shop, BS9 4NB Broadway Snowshill Manor NT, WR12 7JU Buscot Buscot Park NT, SN7 8BU Charlecote Charlecote Garden Store, CV35 9ER Charlecote Park NT, CV35 9ER Cheltenham Blooms Garden Centre, GL50 4SJ Cheltenham Garden Machinery, GL50 3HU Dundry Nursery & Garden Centre, GL51 6SL Shurdington Nurseries, GL51 4TX Valley Roundabout Nurseries, GL51 6SJ Chipping Campden Hidcote Manor Garden NT, GL55 6LR Tourist Information Centre, GL55 6HB Chipping Norton Applegarth Nurseries, OX7 5SY Cirencester Cerney House Gardens, GL7 7BX Dobbies Garden World, GL7 6EU Coleford Pygmy Pinetum Garden Nursery, GL16 7EQ Cotheridge Laylocks Garden Centre, WR6 5LP Dyrham Dyrham Park NT, SN14 8HY

Evesham Castle Gardens Farm Shop & Nursery, WR11 7RN Chadbury Farm Shop, WR11 4TD Cotswold Garden Flowers, WR11 7EZ Ellenden Farm Shop, WR11 8LU Evesham Garden Centre, WR11 4TP Goll’s Nursery & Aquatics, WR11 8SN The Plant Centre @ Knowle Hill, WR11 7EN Faringdon Rogers Gardenstone, SN7 7PQ Farnborough Farnborough Garden Centre, OX17 1EL Gloucester Brockworth Garden Centre, GL3 4PU Highfield Garden World, GL2 7PB Norton Garden Centre, GL2 9PU Gotherington Gotherington Nurseries, GL52 9QY Hanbury Arkle Plants & Shrubs, Hanbury, B60 4BU Hanbury Hall NT, WR9 7EA Hartlebury Whitlenge Gardens & Nursery, DY10 4HD Highworth Highworth Hardware, SN6 7AG Holt Heath Bromfields Farm Shop & Garden Store, WR6 6NF Huntley Forest Products, GL19 3EY Iron Acton Iron Acton Garden Centre, BS37 9XA Kidderminster Bodenham Arboretum, DY11 5TB Hodgehill Garden Centre, DY10 3NR Lechlade Lechlade Garden Centre, GL7 3DP Ledbury Newent Plant Centre @ Little Verzons Farm, HR8 2PZ Longhope TJ Hart @ Harts Barn, GL17 0QD

Staunton Staunton Garden Centre, GL19 3QA Stourport-on-Severn Cooks Garden Centre, DY13 9PB Stratford-upon-Avon Fibrex Nurseries, CV37 8XP Garden Images, CV37 6QB Stratford Garden Centre, CV37 8LW Stroud Made in Stroud, GL5 1AA Tourist Information Centre, GL5 1AE Swindon Greatfield Garden Centre, SN4 8EQ John Toomer Garden Centre, SN5 3LD Margaret Fox Floral Art, WR14 1GL Manor Garden Centre, SN2 2QJ Tourist Information Centre, Walfins Garden & Leisure, WR14 2AA SN4 8EQ Mickleton Tetbury Tops Plants, GL55 6PT Tourist Information Centre, Miserden GL8 8JG The Nursery at Miserden, GL6 7JA Tewkesbury Moreton-in-Marsh Hoo House Nursery, GL20 7DA Batsford Arboretum, GL56 9AD Tewkesbury Garden Centre, Fossweway Garden Centre, GL20 6EB GL56 0DS Thornbury Nailsworth Thornbury Garden Shop, BS35 2AQ Nailsworth Garden Machinery, Thornbury Library, BS35 2AA GL5 5EX Toddington Tourist Information Centre, Toddington Garden Centre, GL6 0DU GL54 5DT Newent Upton Upon Severn Roses Country Fayre, GL18 1DL Clive’s Fruit Farm, WR8 0SA 3 Shires Garden Centre, GL18 1DL Warmington Three Choirs Vineyard, GL18 1LS National Herb Centre, OX17 1DF Trioscape Plant Centre, GL18 1HQ Warwick Ombersley Hintons Nursery, CV34 5FJ The Farm Shop @ Ombersley, Westbury on Severn WR9 0HJ Westbury Court Garden NT, Pershore GL14 1PD Alpine Garden Society, WR10 3JP Weston Subedge Four Acres Nursery, WR10 3DY Hartwell & Co, GL55 6QH Pershore College Plant Centre, Worcester WR10 3JP Three Springs Nursery, WR10 3BX Spetchley Park Gardens, WR5 1RS Worcester Garden Centre, Pucklechurch WR3 7SW St Aldam’s Nursery, BS16 9PY Wotton-under-Edge Ross-on-Wye Eastwood Garden Plant Centre, Ross Garden Store, HR9 7BW GL12 8DA Rushwick Tortworth Court Farm Shop, Roots of Rushwick, WR2 5TD GL12 8HF Standish The Lavender Garden, GL8 8YF Barn Nursery, GL10 3DL

Lower Slaughter The Old Mill, GL54 2HX Lydney Coinros Gardeners’ Nursery, GL15 6BU Malmesbury Foxley Road Nurseries, SN16 0JQ Malmesbury Garden Centre, SN16 9JL Malvern Grange Farm Nursery, WR13 6NT NEW The Bran Tub, WR14 4QY

Country Gardener Magazine Editorial Publisher & Editor: Alan Lewis Tel: 01823 431767

Distribution Pat Eade Tel: 01594 543790

Time Off: Kate Lewis

Advertising Sales Cath Pettyfer - Devon & Dorset Corina Reay - Cotswolds Tel: 01837 82660 Tel: 01823 410098

Ava Bench - Hampshire, Somerset & Classified Tel: 01278 671037

Accounts Sam Bartholomew Tel: 01823 430639

Design & Production Aidan Gill Gemma Stringer

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


Country Gardener Made from sustainably harvested locally grown timber, these log stores are sturdily and attractively designed, yet light enough to be easily moved. Also wheelie bin/recycling storage and cycle stores. Available in a range of sizes suited for the courtyard/patio or larger garden.

For further details call Nick on 01392 681690

Make the most of your fruit! Press it Steam it

o Dry it o Bo�le it o Make cider o Orchard care

tel: 01404 890093





• Maximum 14 people per group


• Local garden guides and guided garden visits included • Six nights in 4 or 5 star hotels, two per tour • British Airways flights included Special offers may apply - full details on our website

Visits: Poggio Torselli, Villa Vignamaggio, Villa Geggiano, Villa Grabau, Villa Reale 2019: 19 May, 9 Jun, 8 Sep From £2,650 per person

Visits: Villa Babbianello, Villa Carlotta, Villa Monastero, Isola Bella, Isola Madre 2019: 14 May, 4 Jun, 25 Jun, 3 Sep From £2,630 per person

AMALFI COAST, CAPRI & ISCHIA Visits: Villa Rufolo, Villa San Michele Axel Munthe, La Mortella 2019: 9 May, 23 May, 13 Jun, 12 Sep From £2,650 per person







Visits: Villa d’Este, Lante, Ninfa, Landriana, Castel Gandolfo 2019: 22 May, 12 Jun, 26 Jun, 11 Sep From £2,590 per person


Founded 1989

Please call us 01392 441275

Country Gardener ad horizontal half page sept 2018.indd 1

07/09/2018 13:19:30


Herefordshireâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Most Inspirational Plant Centre

Newent Plant Centre @ The Nest, Little Verzons, Ledbury

Autumn.... the very Best Time for Planting Trees and Shrubs

The soil is still warm and moist so plant roots establish quickly - ready for new shoots and leaves to burst into growth next spring. Ornamental Trees - we have a huge range of top quality locally grown Trees - Flowering Cherries, Fabulous Malus, Betula & Sorbus. Plus unusual varieties like Liquidambar, Liriodendron, Davidia, Halesia etc Fruit Trees and Fruit Bushes - Best planted before the end of the year! - Apples, Pears, Plums, Cherries, Damsons. Raspberries, Currants, Gooseberries etc Shrubs for Autumn & Winter Colour - Hamamelis, Viburnums, Skimmia etc Spring Flowering Bulbs - great for the Garden or Patio Pots - Narcissus, Tulips, Alliums, Crocus, Hyacinths Heucheras - we have the biggest selection in the South West !!! Stunning foliage colours, Easy to Grow, Ideal for Pots!

Friendly advice always available from Mark and his team


Verzons Hotel HEREFORD


Trumpet Inn


Newent Plant Centre @ The Nest


Find us @ just 3 miles west of Ledbury on the A438

Open 7 Days a week Newent Plant Centre @ The Nest, Little Verzons, Hereford Road, Ledbury. HR8 2PZ Tel: 01531 670121 Email: RHS Gold Medalists

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Cotswolds Country Gardener Autumn 2018  

The Autumn 2018 issue of Cotswolds Country Gardener Magazine

Cotswolds Country Gardener Autumn 2018  

The Autumn 2018 issue of Cotswolds Country Gardener Magazine