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Issue No 157 September 2017


AUTUMN P LANT ING VEGETABLES Great gardens to visit in September


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The right way to pick and store fruit Dealing with the autumn glut

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How to enjoy this year’s harvest...


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Country Gardener

Up Front!

‘September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt, evoking orange-f lowers, swallows, and regret.’ - Alexander Theroux


Forde Abbey hosts new harvest garden festival A new harvest themed garden festival at Forde Abbey is set to become one of the highlights of the autumn. The two day Toby Buckland Harvest Garden Festival takes place in the Autumn festival host Toby Buckland spectacular grounds of Forde Abbey on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th of September. The theme of the festival is ‘autumn harvest’, aiming to give gardeners a wealth of plants and information to take back into their own plot. The new show has attracted over 180 exhibitors including some of the country’s top nurseries. As well as celebrating the fruits of the season, there’s a free programme of garden demonstrations in the Abbey’s Kitchen Garden and talks from host Toby Buckland and TV gardeners, Christine Walkden and Charlie Dimmock. Covering a range of what-to-do now topics, experts will show how to do essential autumn jobs from homemade preserves to fermenting vegetables; from making everything for jam to gin and using natural dyes in the garden. Toby Buckland added ”It’s very informal – demo’s are free and no booking is needed, just turn up. I’m delighted to bring the garden festival to Forde Abbey, the gardens are stunning in autumn, with their aster-filled herbaceous borders, beautiful trees and abundant kitchen garden”. Forde Abbey, Chard, Somerset TA20 4LU. Online tickets at £10 are available from Full preview of Toby Buckland Garden Harvest Festival - page 18.

Gardening theme at Dorset County Show There’s another strong gardening theme at this year’s Dorset County Show with plenty of nurseries and garden exhibitors. There are also four dedicated equine rings as

well as show jumping and classes. The show has been running for 176 years! It gets underway at the Dorchester Showground from Saturday, 2nd September and Sunday ,3rd September.Gates open at 8.30am and ticket are £17 on the gate-£14 online. Dorchester Showground, DT2 7SD



24a Western Avenue, Branksome Park, Poole, Dorset BH13 7AN Winner of Poole’s best large garden award, less than a mile from the sea but protected from salt laden winds by Scots and maritime pines, this secluded garden offers enormous variety with rose, Mediterranean courtyard and woodland gardens, herbaceous borders, lush foliage and vibrant flowers give year-round colour and interest enhanced by sculpture and topiary. Open for the National Gardens Scheme: Sunday 3rd September, 2pm-5.30pm. Admission £4, children free. Home-made teas. Home-made jams and chutneys for sale. Wheelchair access to ¾ garden. Dogs allowed.

P lant fair returns to Athelampton

There’s a popular plant fair on Sunday 17th September held in the picturesque grounds of Athelhampton House. More than 20 independent nurseries and specialist growers will be offering a wide range of plants as well as local craft and produce stalls all in a beautiful setting. The event is organised by Plant Heritage Dorset Group. There’s light refreshment and full dining facilities available. 10am - 3pm. Admission is £5.00 and includes access to the grounds and gardens. Plant Heritage Members and Friends of Athelhampton House - admission free. Free parking Athelhampton House, Near Puddletown, Dorset DT2 7LG.


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Stewarts Christchurch Garden Centre, Lyndhurst Road, Somerford, Christchurch BH23 4SA Tel: 01425 272244

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Stewarts Broomhill Garden Centre, God’s Blessing Lane, Broomhill, Holt, Nr Wimborne BH21 7DF Tel: 01202 882462 Stewarts Abbey Garden Centre, Mill Lane, Titchfield, Fareham, PO15 5RB Tel: 01329 842225

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MAPPERTON HOUSE HOSTS 15TH AUTUMN FAIR Mapperton House is a glorious Dorset sandstone manor in the heart of Hardy country, home to the Earl and Countess of Sandwich. The house and grounds hosts its 15th Autumn Garden Fair on Sunday 17th September and it looks set to be another popular event for plant and garden lovers. There will be 30 stands, ranging from regulars Glenholme Herbs and Snape Stakes, to newer exhibitors like Foxplants with their range of salvias. Also on sale will be traditional garden favourites, recently introduced varieties and a stunning range of carnivorous plants. If you need to refresh a dull corner, stock up a new bed or want to treat yourselves to new plants, then the nursery growers will be on hand to offer advice. There will also be the opportunity to take a guided tour of the manor house, explore the extensive garden and visit The Sawmill cafĂŠ run by Brassica restaurant and the Mapperton shop. Over the years many thousands of pounds have been raised for local and national charities such as the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, Oxfam, Multiple Sclerosis. This year the Earl and Countess Sandwich have selected Weldmar Hospice, based in Dorchester, as the beneficiary charity for the entrance money. The Garden Fair is open from 10am to 4pm at Mapperton House, nr. Beaminster, DT8 3NR, entry is ÂŁ3, under 16s free.

Marina Christopher at plant society lecture The first meeting of the autumn for Dorset Hardy Plant Society starts with one of their favourite speakers, Marina Christopher of Phoenix Plants from Alton in Hampshire. The title of her lecture is ‘Gardening with Gravel’ and takes place on Saturday, 30th September at Colehill Memorial Hall 2pm for 2.30pm. There will be a member’s plant stall and a raffle also home made cakes and teas. Visitors are welcome. For further information please contact Debbie Steel on 01202 877390 or on

Get involved in the culture of storing logs 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 somewhere in mainland Europe. The people of northern 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! A Devon Log Store provides an ideal solution. Their standard stores are compact and robust and will store

a typical pick-up load of firewood logs, but much larger and custom or combined stores are regularly 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 per-cent enabling the wood to burn hotter therefore causing less tarring of flues and chimneys. Contact Devon Log Stores at or email on or call 01392 681690.



Is there an elm tree near you? The Conservation Foundation is searching again - and people throughout Dorset can help. Ever since the 1970s when a wave of Dutch elm disease swept across the UK and millions of trees were lost, most people assumed that all elms had been infected. In 2007 The Conservation Foundation began searching for healthy, mature elms which had survived. Had they had the disease and recovered? Were they resistant to it? Or had they simply

avoided the disease somehow? The Conservation Foundation were taken aback by the response with many fine trees reported from all over the country and in a wide variety of locations. Elms that were still alive and in good health in private and school gardens, parks, along streets, on farms and in open countryside. Now, twenty years on, what’s the state of these national treasures? If you know an elm please send the location – ideally a postcode – and if possible a recent picture to elms@ And do help spread the word. David Shreeve, The Conservation Foundation Tel: 0120 7591 3111

A thriving elm in Bournemouth


Super sale of camellias! There’s a real attraction for camellia lovers over the next few weeks with a sale of oddly shaped or single stemmed plants at greatly reduced prices. As summer blooms and autumn leaves begin to fade camellias begin to shine with glorious colour from October to May. Some varieties flower for over six weeks, so if some are lost due to the weather, more will take their place. The shape and tone of their evergreen leaves gives year round impact and backdrop and some varieties have rich red new foliage. Camellias are one of the easiest plants to prune as they have a fantastic ability to regenerate and shoot from old wood, even on the oldest plant. Ideally they prefer a slightly acidic soil but are also excellent grown in pots. Semi shade with some sunshine is the most suitable position for them, although they can grow happily in full sun. The most important thing to remember is never to let them dry out after the flower buds begin to form, which can be in late June onwards in warm sunny weather. One litre plants start at £1.50 and 3 Litre at £5. There are discounts for collection and orders over £20. The lists of plants are available on request from or call 07964 824673 for more details. 6

When summer is disappointingly short, the Danes have the best idea and decide just to make the absolute best of it. The point is there’s still lots of scope for outdoor eating. Denmark’s premium specialist stove maker, Morsø, has created an Outdoor Living range of cooking and heating appliances with aesthetic good looks and outstanding functionality. If you love al fresco dining and making the most of your time outdoors, this new range will make the centrepiece for a patio or garden. As we head slowly towards the cooler months again, these appliances come into their own and help extend outdoor living by providing evening warmth and more. The Morsø Outdoor Living range isn’t just about beautiful heating – it also enhances outdoor cooking too – at a whole new level. The ovens can be used to grill, bake, BBQ, as a smoke oven and to make perfect pizzas. There are three appliances to choose from - from the design classic The Grill ’71, through the mid-range Grill Forno, to the ultimate in garden cooking, the Morso Forno. If you’re a foodie who loves to cook outdoors, and you have a taste for design classics, you’ll be very, very happy if you treat yourself to a piece of Danish excellence. You can see working models at Rangemoors in Winkleigh and at the Hearth & Cook Showroom in Exeter. Tel: 01837 680068. Available online at Country Gardener

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Willows, Piley Hill, Boldre, Lymington

GARDEN Visits THE BEST GARDENS TO VISIT compiled by Vivienne Lewis

The mellow days of September are perfect for garden visiting, and here’s a selection of lovely gardens with vibrant late colour. We advise checking wherever possible before starting a journey as circumstances can force cancellations in private gardens. If dogs are allowed, they are mentioned.


14 Witchampton Mill, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 5DE


Piley Hill, Boldre, Lymington, Hampshire SO41 5QF Late summer sizzle and vibrant exotics with bananas, bamboos, gunnera and ferns around the tranquil pond and bog garden; sunny hot upper borders with a backdrop of billowing grasses. Willows is holding a Dahlia Day on Sunday 3rd September; at 3pm owner Elizabeth will give a demonstration on propagation and care. Open for the NGS: Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd September, 2pm-5pm. Admission £3.50, children free. Cream teas. Usually wheelchair accessable. Dogs allowed. Visitors also welcome by arrangement. Contact Elizabeth & Martin Walker on 01590 677415 or


Stratford Tony, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP5 4AT

A cottage garden with colour themed borders, pleached limes and hidden gems, leading over a chalk stream to a shady area which has some unusual plants. Plenty of areas just to sit and enjoy the wildlife. Wire bird sculptures by local artist. Open for the NGS: Thursday 7th September, 2pm-5pm. Admission £4, children free. Cream teas. Visitors also welcome by arrangement. 8

Varied four-acre garden with small lake fed from the River Ebble, waterside planting, colourful herbaceous borders. Pergola-covered vegetable garden, formal parterre, orchard, shrubberies, roses, specimen trees, downland views. Open for the NGS: Wednesday 6th September, 2pm-5pm). Admission £5, children free. Home-made teas. Visitors also welcome by arrangement. Some gravel. Contact Mr & Mrs Hugh Cookson on 01722 718496 or email: lucindacookson@ Country Gardener

WYCK RISSINGTON GARDENS Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 2PN

Contrasting gardens in an unspoilt Cotswold village around a village green and pond, with some wonderful views over the Windrush Valley. One has new features including a wild life pond, another a new walled garden, a third re-made six years ago; the others have a mix of English roses, fruit trees, grasses, sculptures, and fine borders. Open for the NGS (donation to Friends of St Laurence; the church will be open): Sunday 10th September, 1-5pm. Combined admission £7, children free. Homemade teas in village hall; plants and produce for sale. Easy parking. Wheelchair access. Dogs on leads allowed.


Porlock, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8NU Large varied garden set around an early 1900s Arts and Crafts house overlooking the sea with original stone terraces, a Mediterranean garden, long borders, meadow with bee hives, and vegetable garden. Unusual sub-tropical trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. Open for the NGS: Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September, 1-5pm. Admission £4, children free. Home-made teas. Visitors also welcome by arrangement. Contact David & Nicky Ramsay on 01643 862078 or email:


Kenn, Exeter, Devon EX6 7XL

Seven acres with colour co-ordinated borders, mature trees, lawns, fern garden and water garden. Formal parterre with lily pond; one-acre walled garden; palm tree avenue leading to summerhouse; cactus and succulent greenhouse, and lakeside walk. Also Kerry Tremlett’s print maker’s exhibition and sale. Open for the NGS: Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September, 2pm-5pm. Admission £5, children free. Home-made teas. Visitors also welcome by arrangement April to September. Contact Julia Tremlett on 01392 832671 or email:


Lyme Road, Axminster, Devon EX13 5BH A one- acre plantsman’s garden hidden behind high stone walls with Axe Valley views. Well stocked borders with rare shrubs, many borderline tender, 200 varieties of salvia, and other late summer perennials and grasses creating a riot of colour. Open for the NGS: Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd September, 1pm-5pm. Admission £4, children free. Homemade teas. Dogs allowed. Visitors also welcome by arrangement. Contact Peter Wadeley on 01297 631210 or email:




MIDNEY GARDENS Mill Lane, Midney, Somerton, Somerset TA11 7HR A plantsman’s garden with unusual planting combinations that attract wildlife, interesting use of colour, and a natural flowing style; seaside garden, white garden, kitchen garden, woodland walk, wildlife pond and undercover world gardens. Nursery open. Opening for NGS: Friday 15th September, 11am - 5pm. Admission £5, children free. Home-made teas. David Chase & Alison Hoghton. For other opening times and information, phone 01458 274250 or visit

Nyewood Road, Rogate, Petersfield, Sussex GU31 5HU Home of the author and principal of The English Gardening School, Rosemary Alexander, has garden rooms, topiary and white garden, large leaf border and terraced area; mirror borders, small decorative vegetable garden, red border, and grasses border. Open for the NGS: Saturday 16th September, Sunday 17th September, 2-5pm. Admission £4.50, children free. Home-made teas. Gravel paths and a few steps. Visitors also welcome by arrangement. Contact on 07551 777873 or email:


Tufton, Whitchurch, Hampshire RG28 7RF A stone’s throw from the River Test, formerly an estate cowman’s cottage, a traditional cottage garden, but through the gate in the hedge, there’s a nursery, greenhouses, vegetables, cutting garden and small orchard. Open for the NGS: Thursday 14th and Sunday 17th September, 2-5pm. Admission £4, children free. Home-made teas. Dogs allowed. Visitors also welcome by arrangement.


Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0GH See this garden transformed into a candlelit calm oasis with summerhouse, gravel garden and grasses. Have a glass of wine and canapés as you enjoy this magical space. A small pond has been added, and some ferns in a shady area. Evening opening for the NGS on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September, 7pm-9.30pm. Admission £6, including wine & canapés, licenced bar available. Regret no children. Dogs allowed. Ticket only event, please contact for information and booking. Contact: John Smith & Kieran O’Regan on 01444 871888 or email: 10

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The gardening helpline Care centres in Somerset and the Cotswolds are now part of an expanding programme improving the wellbeing and quality of life for people affected by life-limiting illness, through active and passive gardening It isn’t a catchy title but that doesn’t matter the work of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture is changing lives. Put simply, a growing number of carers in hospices are putting their beliefs behind the fact that gardening is a wonderfully flexible medium which can transform lives regardless of age and disabilities. Hospices in Worcester and Weston-superMare are just two where the gardening charity Thrive is supporting a relatively new concept in care homes - Social and Therapeutic Horticulture activities. A newly formed STH for Palliative Care Interest Group, now has over 40 members and wants to expand. There has been a growing understanding about the importance of the healing environment, ever since US psychologist Roger Gardening activities are often brought indoors Ulrich’s 1984 study that surgery patients with a view of nature suffered fewer complications, used less pain medication and were discharged sooner than those with a view of a brick wall. 12

Country Gardener

The STH prgramme for palliative care promotes wellbeing and quality of life for people affected by life-limiting illnesses through active or passive gardening or accessing nature. Occupational therapist, Lisi Pilgrem is part of the STH for Palliative Care Interest Group where she runs table top gardening courses. It is gardening at a gentle pace. Research shows that horticulture, gardening and access to nature, whether through active or passive participation, improves wellbeing and quality of life. STH for palliative care is also about holistically managing symptoms. People receive care from others - but being able to look after a seedling and bring it to fruition allows them to give again. Gardening can form part of a lasting legacy, particularly in palliative care. Sowing a seed, planting a tree, leaving something for others can be hugely important. Lisi has been monitoring the sessions she has been running at the hospices. After liaising with the psychologist she has used a distress level indicator with patients before and after the session – and early results show that distress levels are lower at the end of the sessions. One patient commented after attending an STH session: “I went home elated. I never thought I would ever do gardening again.” Lisi has noticed that instead of feeling not very well, many begin to feel themselves again and have a precious gift to take home for loved ones.

“A cyclamen and heather planter from one of the sessions was given by a dying lady to her husband. Sadly within a few hours she died. However her husband was delighted with the gift. “He told me how he was caring for that planter and would watch as the bulbs came up to bloom....a very powerful thing.” STH for palliative care, either outside in the garden, or inside using table top methods, does work, but it is still developing. It shows that people in hospice care can still function independently. It also shows gardening can evoke powerful childhood memories. Lisa explains: “I did three gardening sessions with a man; sadly by the fourth session he was too poorly to attend. “One of the nursing staff invited me to see him. I took in the little trees he had sown. He recognised my voice and as he lay in bed wished to see the Scots pine tree seedlings and then asked about the silver birch seedlings we had sown together. When offered the scent of crushed Scots pine needles he closed his eyes and talked about being in the Canadian woods with 70 foot tall pine trees, hearing the Siskins. “It must have been a significant memory and was a very calming moment for him. Scents can evoke such memories.” St Richard’s Hospice in Worcestershire established a men’s only gardening group in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK after finding women were more likely to join support groups. During the warmer months, this group meets in the hospice’s serene gardens and tends a few flowers and vegetables. Horticulture expert Duncan Coombs – a recently retired lecturer from Pershore College –guides men with little or no experience of gardening and help experienced ‘green fingered’ men develop their skills. Duncan Coombs, now a volunteer group leader, said: “It doesn’t really matter how successful the harvest is, it’s the process of tending to the plants that the men find therapeutic.” Lisi adds: “Research shows that gardening is good for us: just sitting — either indoors or out — looking at hedges, trees and flowers can benefit our wellbeing, and taking part in a gardening activity for just 20 minutes, three times a week, can reduce stress levels,’ Even when people are unable to access all of their garden, they might be able to manage light activities such as container gardening, and we’ve really seen the benefit that doing this has had.’

The work of Thrive Thrive uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable. For more information contact or call 0118 9885688

“It is such a blessing to have a gardener who will bring the garden into the lounge.” Christina Macleod tells how being helped by a gardener from the charity Thrive made her mother’s life happier: “My mother was a very keen gardener but is now 91 and can’t do any gardening. Life has been made so much happier, since we by accident found a qualified gardener who has done a course run by Thrive. It is such a blessing to have a gardener who will bring the garden into the lounge. So many friends with elderly parents say how fortunate we are to have someone with these skills and are keen to find someone similar for their older family members. But this is easier said than done. Our new gardener, Jo, looks at things in a different way and really ensures that mum feels part of the natural seasons of the year. At the beginning of each session she spends time chatting about what needs to be done with mum and again at the end about what she has done. This takes up her time but is of such value to mum. It is a really positive part of mum’s week where her opinion is respected and her knowledge valued. This is the way that Jo looks at the work she is doing. What books, items can be brought in and discussed about plans for the garden so mum is really involved? Catalogues, magazines and pictures as well as the computer at times. What can be brought inside to do so that mum still feels involved in her much-loved garden? Examples are planting sunflower seeds, potting up containers to be positioned carefully. Special flowers put in vases to bring the garden inside. Plastic goes on the floor and a table set up at a suitable height to make it easy. What can mum see from the bedroom and lounge? Jo has been in all the rooms downstairs and knows the positions of beds and chairs, and can then discuss and plan with in-depth knowledge. She ensures these areas have interest all year round. This year the sunflowers are very visible and make a dramatic statement placed in front of the beach hedge on a bench – so the slugs don’t attack! My mother is reminded that she planted them and how wonderful they look. How can mum make an interesting Christmas decoration? Last Christmas garden foliage was brought inside. A lovely table decoration made, that was the centre piece on the Christmas meal table for all the family to admire. It was a special Christmas shared with her brother and sister in law. Little did we know it was the last Christmas they would all spend together? Why don’t more gardeners or carers do the course at Thrive? If life has been happier and more fulfilled it will transform your clients lives and give you rewards too as older people are often full of great advice about what will work in their own garden. They have, after all, often worked in it for years.” 13



giving you a wide berth Getting drowsy on fallen fruit in the garden and orchard, wasps are just a nuisance… but are they? It’s time to get acquainted with these interesting insects Wasps are just a nuisance, right? Especially at this time of year when they get drowsy on fallen fruit from our garden trees and there’s the risk of getting stung by them. Most of us can’t see any good in a wasp. But most wasps are small and solitary. They won’t harm you, and they have no interest in you. They just want to catch insects, and they are pollinators, so they are a good part of your garden’s eco-system. They are also interesting, because some tiny wasps lay their eggs in plant tissue, prompting the plant to produce more tissue called galls, and it is in these that the wasp larvae feed. If you come across oak apples, spangle galls on oak leaves and what are called ‘robin’s pincushion’ on roses, these are all caused by wasps. Wasps along with bees and ants are all part of an insect order called Hymenoptera. It is a huge group with many species and a diverse range of forms. The name hymenoptera means 'membrane wings'. A typical hymenopteran has two pairs of wings although they are coupled together with tiny hooks so appear as one pair. There are 250 species of wasps in the British Isles, plus many ichneumon wasps which look very different, being very thin, a cousin to the wasps we are familiar with – and there are about 75,000 species worldwide. It’s only some of the larger social wasps that can be a nuisance to us; hornets are our

largest wasp, and although they look alarming to us, rarely sting humans. Social wasps live in colonies within large nests made from chewed rotten wood. Nests may be underground, or suspended from branches, or found in the attic, and look like a paper ball. As with social bees, the colony is dominated by a queen. The wasp queen lays all the eggs, whilst worker wasps tend to the nest and colony duties, such as caring for eggs and larvae, nest building, foraging for food and defending the nest from attack. But the queen must do the work in the early stages of establishing her colony. A difference between honeybees and wasps is that worker wasps catch insects for their larvae, by stinging them and laying an egg on them so that the developing larvae have fresh food – and in the process, usefully get rid of a lot of our garden pests. The adults drink nectar, but lap up anything sugary, which is why people put out jars with remnants of jam to catch troublesome wasps around the kitchen. And it’s then, when windfalls lie on the grass and wasps get tipsy on their juices that they can become a nuisance. Eventually, males and new queens will be produced. The queens will leave the nest, mate and hibernate until the following year. Meanwhile, the rest of the colony will die, as is the case with bumblebee colonies. The old nest will not be re-used. So, wasps have their place in the natural world and do much more good in preying on aphids and other insects that attack our garden plants, than they do us any harm.

Wasps won’t be a problem if you..

• Cover sweet and sticky drinks and foods. • Distract them away from your eating area by placing suitable food items at a safe distance, such as over ripe fruit, sugar water, banana skins. • Keep bare feet covered - especially children’s feet. • Don’t eat near open bins, and keep lids of household refuse containers firmly closed. • Use citronella incense or oil of lemon eucalyptus candle or incense to deter wasps. 14

Lynch Lane Garden Centre & Restaurant Lynch Lane, Weymouth, DT4 9DN Telephone: 01305 766336

The Gardeners Garden Centre National garden gift vouchers sold and accepted here

Why not try our restaurant?

THE GARDENERS RETREAT All day breakfast served from 9am-3pm Monday-Saturday 10am-11.30am Sunday Lunch time special Monday-Saturday 2 Meals for ÂŁ10 Sunday lunch choice of 4 meats served 12pm-2.30pm



Or just come in for a tea or coffee and a slice of homemade cake Telephone: 01305 759503

Abbs Pop up Country Gdnr 126x84.qxp_Layout 1 04/08/2017 11:36 Page


Subtropical Gardens P o p - u p R e s ta u r a n t The Chef Award winning chef Nick Holt, is showcasing his exquisite seasonal lunch menu, at a pop-up restaurant here at Abbotsbury.

Where Enjoy fine dining in our new Garden Pavilion, overlooking the glorious West Lawn.


Thurs 14th September Wed 4th October

Lunches are served 12 - 3pm

Booking advisable email or call 07525 667687

Subtropical Gardens 15

A gardening When schools return after the summer holidays, a record number will have gardening on their curriculum - and it is thanks to the first anniversary of research in the south west which established that children learn more when they go outdoors September will be a record-breaking month and an historic one as children return after the summer holidays. Hundreds of schools will include gardening on the syllabus for the first time - to back up the thousands which have for some time been offering the subject to pupils. Seventy-five per cent of secondary schools are now registered with the Royal Horticultural Society for the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. Said a spokesman for the RHS: “Schools want to do things differently and teach differently. Schools are seeing that being outdoors does not just benefit learning but also health and wellbeing. The numbers are expanding all the time – to new record levels and it’s delightful to see.” The explosion of interest in gardening in all levels of schools is down to a number of things but one new factor has been the reaction from a four year project involving 40,000 schoolchildren and 2,000 teachers in 125 primary and secondary schools in Devon, Somerset, Cornwall and the Cotswolds. It is now the first anniversary of the research but Natural England has been working since then with schools to get the message out – with stunning success. Children from the schools across the South West of England were found to be happier, healthier and more motivated to learn thanks to the project that has turned the outdoors into a classroom and helped schools transform ways of teaching. The project, funded by Natural England, Defra and Historic England was the largest project of its kind in England and has already helped more than 40,000 primary and secondary school pupils get out of their classrooms and into the outdoors – whether that’s a maths lesson in a local park or drama out on the school field. One development from the research was a step up in the number of schools who wanted to add gardening into their curriculum -



not just for the spring and summer but all year round. Said the RHS: ”Being exposed to natural elements, whether it is flowers and vegetables or insects and other living creatures, allows children to observe their surroundings and get to know more about nature in detail. Gardening provides children with a practical yet enriching hands-on experience that cannot be otherwise learned in a classroom. By encouraging them to watch become safely involved in small garden projects you can inspire them with a passion for gardening that can last a lifetime.” Sue Waite, Associate Professor in Outdoor Learning at Plymouth University, said: “The model for this project was built on substantial evidence into both the benefits and challenges schools face when embedding outdoor learning into core teaching. By working directly with teachers we’ve helped to bring about a sustainable culture of outdoor learning across schools that will continue long after the project has ended and will leave behind a lasting legacy”. The Natural Connections project provides strong evidence that learning outdoors has multiple benefits for school children. A total of 92 per cent of teachers surveyed said that pupils were more engaged with learning when outdoors. An RHS spokesman added: “Studies have found that gardening increases children’s alertness and concentration levels and forces children to think on their feet and solve problems. Simple tasks like measuring to lay beds or help create build projects can help them understand the practical implications. “Growing food in the school or home garden supports a positive change in the eating habits of children. Giving kids their own vegetable patch to cultivate is a perfect way to get kids on the path to a healthy diet. They will almost certainly enjoy eating their own produce too! “Children learn about sustainability and their responsibility to the environment when given the chance to discover and experience the outdoor environment - a love and respect which should last to adulthood and encourage a new generation of garden enthusiasts.

Country Gardener


What’s on offer for

September days out September is increasingly a popular time for gardeners looking for a day out. Things have quietened down a little after the busy holiday weeks. There are less crowds but still the length in the days to get out and about. The other good news is that many gardens throughout the southwest retain their beauty and many of them proudly show off displays of dahlias, Michaelmas daisies and the start of autumn colour in the trees. Here’s just a few suggestions for trips out:

The perfect time to visit Cadhay Manor This is a great time of year to see the perennial grasses at Cadhay Manor near Ottery St Mary, which were planted several years ago for their drought resistance. It is also a wonderful month for autumn colour - look out for the Euonymus europaea (ornamental spindle) or Allatus (winged spindle) and verbena bonariensis with large clusters of small purple flowers, giving it the name ‘Purpletop’. The ‘sun flowers’ will also be splendid amongst which you will find rudbeckia, prairie sun flower and Helenium autumnale, known as ‘Sneezeweed’,

as the dried leaves were used as snuff to ward off evil spirits. Cadhay remains open on Friday afternoons until the end of September, and group bookings for 2018 are now being taken. Cadhay House, Ottery St Mary, Devon EX11 1QT. for more information.

Tranquility at Castle Hill gardens The 50-acre garden at Castle Hill is a haven of tranquillity surrounding the magnificent Palladian House. As the summer turns to autumn, if you didn’t experience the gardens, visitors can expect to witness an abundance of reds, ambers and golds prolific in the woodland garden. The historic parkland is interspersed with temples, follies and statues; a walk by the river leads to the Ugley Bridge and the magical Satyr’s Temple. You can climb to the castle on a clear day for magnificent views to Exmoor and beyond. Open daily (except Saturdays), until the end of October, Castle Hill has family and dog friendly gardens and a tearoom serving home cooked food.

Discover a rich history at Croome Once home to the Earls of Coventry, the house tells the story of its eclectic past in new and inventive ways.

Add some colour to your weekend this autumn at Gibside

Explore acres of parkland, one of the grandest of 'Capability' Brown's English landscapes, with statues, temples and follies to be discovered. The wild play area and RAF themed playground are great fun for all the family. The once secret story of RAF Defford in the 1940s is revealed in the museum with wartime artefacts, videos Gocostume crunching through fallen leaves and discover a forest and displays. teeming with wildlife and autumn colours, with walking routes for all ages and abilities.

National Trust Croome, near Worcester, WR8 9DW Call 01905 371006 for details or visit When you visit, donate, volunteer or join the National Trust, your

helps usTrust to look 2017. after special ©support National Theplaces <in the region> <like property X, Trust propertyis Y and Z> in for ever, for everyone. National anProeprty independent © National Trust 2016. registered charity, The Nationalnumber Trust is an independent registered charity, number 205846. Photography © National Trust #nationaltrust 205846. Photography © National Images. #nationaltrust Trust Images\Andrew Butler.



The Garden House – at its best in late summer September is a special month at The Garden House at Buckland Monachorum on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon. The season brings out the very best in late summer / early autumn colour schemes and the walled garden hots up as the curtain raiser to the fantastic acer display later in October. This year the long borders in the walled garden are looking more vibrant than ever, as the planting has been remodelled over recent years to provide an even longer period of interest and colour. The borders take up the entire width of the two acres of walled garden, with packed planting that blends flame oranges, bold pinks, deep chocolates and startling blues. The borders are unusual as they are separated into ‘rooms’ by a snaking hedge of Phillyrea angustifolia. This evergreen plant is a member of the olive family, and it’s been sculpted over the years to a waisthigh, knife-edge-hedge. If you haven’t visited The Garden House in September, you are in for a treat. The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum, Yelverton PL20 7LQ.

Bishop’s Palace gardens both stunning and tranquil Fourteen acres of spectacular gardens are the autumn attraction for anyone visiting The Bishop’s Palace in the heart of Wells. The gardens are both stunning and tranquil and you can admire the views from the top of the ramparts, meander through the arboretum, admire the reflection of the Cathedral in one of the well pools, explore what is growing in the Community Garden and, finally, take a moment to recharge your batteries in the contemporary Garden of Reflection. There’s a special one off event on Saturday, 9th September given over to a Medieval Falconry day from 10am to 4pm The Raptor Foundation return


to the South Lawn for a day of fantastic flying displays and beautiful birds and in between displays, visitors can take the chance to handle some of the birds. Bishop’s Palace, Wells. Somerset BA5 2PD.

Discover the villas and gardens of the Italian Lakes The gardens of Isola Bella in Lake Maggiore are some of the most dramatic 17th century Baroque gardens in Italy, and seem to float on the surface of the lake in ten terraces with marble ballustrades. Discover this and more of the gardens of the Lake Como and Lake Maggiore in 2018. There’s a maximum of 14 people on the tour. Prices from £2,450 per person. Departures are on 15th May, 5th June, 26th June and 4th September 2018. Expressions Holidays is offering Country Gardener readers a reduction of £100 per person for booking this tour of the Italian Lakes before Tuesday 31st October. Contact Expressions Holidays on 01392 441275 for full details. Fully protected by our ATOL 3076.

Whichford Pottery in Warwickshire Established in 1976 by Jim and Dominique Keeling, Whichford Pottery is a family-run business with a world-renowned reputation for making handmade British frost proof flowerpots. Whichford pots are designed, handthrown and decorated at the pottery by over 25 highly-skilled craftsmen and women. The flowerpots are practical as well as beautiful, from longtoms to seedpans, from huge jars to hand-pressed urns – all made from Whichford’s own clay blend, giving their pots a ten year frost proof guarantee.

Country Gardener

A visit to Whichford Pottery is a real treat! You can choose from their full range, meet the team, be inspired by the romantic courtyard garden, shop British in The Octagon and enjoy homecooked food at The Straw Kitchen. See website for pottery and café opening hours.

Old Court Nurseries & The Picton Garden

Rare Plant Fair at Adwell House, in support of the Amber Foundation The beautiful gardens of the Adwell Estate host a Rare Plant Fair on Sunday, 3rd September, in support of the Amber Foundation. The Adwell Estate lies on ground sloping down from the Chiltern Hills. The garden was originally laid out by the present owner’s ancestors in the 19th century. The garden is fed by spring water and the water garden continues to be the major feature with magnificent trees dominating the lawns. A proportion of gate proceeds will be donated to the Amber Foundation, which helps homeless unemployed young people, whose lives are going nowhere to gain the motivation, confidence and skills they need to get a job and accommodation. The nurseries that attend the fairs are selected to ensure they are genuine growers who produce most or all of the plants they sell themselves. The fair opens from 11am to 4pm, and adult entry, which includes entry to the fair and garden costs £5. Teas and bacon baps available. Full details, including a list of the nurseries attending the event, at

The Michaelmas Daisy Specialists since 1906 111 years of knowledge, passion and plants

Come and enjoy a very different plant experience in this 1.5 acre garden which is home to a National Collection of Michaelmas daisies of more than 420 varieties. The garden and nursery has many rare and unusual plants with an emphasis on autumn interest.

West Kington Nurseries giant plant sale Everything is growing well in time for the West Kington Nurseries giant plant sale West Kington Nurseries weekend on Saturday, 9th West Kington, Nr Chippenham, and Sunday, 10th September. Wiltshire SN14 7JQ The specialist herbaceous Tel 01249 782822 and alpine grower is opening its gates to treat readers to MASSIVE PLANT SALE! another special sale in aid “PROBABLY THE LARGEST of local charities, including PLANT SALE IN THE WEST!” Wiltshire Air Ambulance through the catalogue sales. SEPTEMBER 9th & 10th The weekend is set to provide a huge choice of plants for all SATURDAY 9AM-5PM seasons at bargain prices, from SUNDAY 10AM-4PM perennials to roses and topiary. FREE ENTRY Last year raised just under OVER £2,400 RAISED LAST £2,500 for local charities. YEAR FOR LOCAL CHARITIES

Castle Hill

FILLEIGH, NR SOUTH MOLTON, DEVON EX32 0RH Tel: 01598 760336 (ext 1) Explore 50 acres of stunning landscape on pathways leading to follies, statues and temples. River walk and panoramic views from the Castle. Dogs on leads welcome. Tearoom offering light lunches and delicious homemade cakes. Host to numerous events and a picture perfect wedding venue.

Open daily except Saturdays Adults £6.50, Seniors £6, Child (5-15) £3, Family £15.50, Groups (20+) £5.50

The small family team looks forward to welcoming you and is always there to help. • Open everyday 11am - 5pm September until 20th October. • Admission £3.50

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


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Mapperton House Autumn Garden Fair Sunday 17th September (10am-4pm)

Near Beaminster, Dorset DT8 3NR 30 nurseries selling plants and gardening gifts.

HOUSE, GARDENS & TEAROOM Open every Friday 2pm - 5.30pm until 29th September and August Bank Holiday weekend - Saturday, Sunday & Monday

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

£3.00 entrance in aid of the Weldmar Hospice (U16’s free, entrance to house and garden extra)

Buy direct for personal advice, wide variety and great value!


September Fairs

One of the finest gardens in Britain

Buckland Monachorum, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7LQ 01822 854769


Country Gardener

3rd September Adwell House, Nr. Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 7DQ 17th September Llanover House, Nr. Abergavenny NP7 9EF Please visit our website for full details of admission fees and times of opening.

DAYS OUT IN SEP TEMBER Gardening experts will be on hand to give advice. 9am to 5pm Saturday 9th and 10am - 4pm Sunday 10th September. Nr Chippenham, Wiltshire. Tel: 01249 782822

Michalemas daisies galore at the Picton Garden Established more than 30 years ago on part of the Old Court Nurseries site in Colwall, Picton Garden garden is packed with treats for plantaholics. Best known as the home for the Plant Heritage National Collection of autumn flowering asters and related genera, to give it its full title, better known as Michaelmas daisies, the garden has a strong emphasis on autumn colour. Much of the structure is given by the fine collection of trees and shrubs selected for their good autumn interest, be it foliage colour, fruit or flowers. This is then softened by a plethora of herbaceous plants, the Michaelmas daisies of which there are more than 420 varieties making a substantial contribution. It offers a welcome injection of colour as the gardening season begins to come to an end. Picton Garden, Walwyn Road, Colwall WR13 6QE. Tel: 01684 540416

Croome’s ‘Capability’ Brown landscape Described as one of ‘Capability’ Brown’s finest English landscapes, Croome is the perfect place to escape the crowds. Acres of parkland peppered with statues, temples and follies await your discovery with the lake a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the tranquillity. The court, the centrepiece of Croome’s great estate and seat of the Coventry family for more than 600 years, tells its story with exhibitions and installations. Another

P O T T E R Y Classic Hand-made English Flowerpots

fascinating period to be explored are the restored wartime buildings of the once secret RAF Defford airbase. Family fun can be had in the wild play area and RAF themed playground. Dogs welcome. Disabled facilities. Free parking. National Trust Croome, near Worcester, WR8 9DW Tel: 01905 371006 Open from 9am every day (except 24 & 25 Dec) See website for opening times/admission prices

Mapperton House hosts 15th autumn garden fair Mapperton House is the venue on Sunday, 17th September for the popular autumn fair for plant and garden lovers. There will be 30 stands, ranging from regulars Glenholme Herbs and Snape Stakes, to newer exhibitors like Foxplants with their fabulous range of salvias. There will also be the opportunity to take a guided tour of the house, explore the extensive garden (house and garden entrance extra) and visit The Sawmill (café) run by Brassica restaurant and the Mapperton shop. Over the years thousands of pounds have been raised for local and national charities. This year the Earl and Countess Sandwich have selected Weldmar Hospice, based in Dorchester, as the beneficiary charity for the entrance money. The fair opens from 10am to 4pm at Mapperton House, nr. Beaminster, DT8 3NR. Entry is £3, under 16s free. For a full list of stands visit

Bulb Bonanza Extravaganza at Whichford Pottery Friday 15th to Saturday 23rd September 2017

Top Quality Spring Bulbs For Sale Choose from over a hundred different varieties of spring bulbs all direct from our favourite Dutch supplier, René. Lots of different and unusual varieties as well as all the old favourites!

Talks by Guest Speakers Tamsin Westhorpe • Clive Nichols • Fergus Garrett Talk tickets £12.50 each - please call us or go online to book. • Gardening Q&A Corner every day 11am to 1pm. • Special offers on perfect pots for bulbs. • The Straw Kitchen (closed Mondays & Tuesdays). Whichford Pottery, Whichford, Nr. Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, CV36 5PG Tel: 01608 684416



Country Gardener


Providing gardeners with help on a range of gardening issues, problems and opportunities

How watering regimes can affect vegetable f lavour

Vegetables consist mainly of water with a relatively small amount of solid material that gives them flavour and texture. Withholding water might be thought to lead to more solid and stronger flavour and this is sometimes the case but not always. Tomatoes for example can be watery and tasteless if grown ’soft’ (lavish irrigation and feeding) but sweeter and with more tomato flavour and texture if grown ’hard’ (subjected to a certain amount of water stress). Overdo it though, and blossom end rot will quickly damage fruits as calcium flow through the plant needs a steady supply of water. The same goes for other fruiting plants such as peppers and aubergines. Many watery vegetables such as lettuces, courgettes and cucumbers do grow best with plenty of fertiliser and water. There are also differences between cultivars - Bavarian lettuces reputedly taste better than icebergs. Some vegetables require ample water to give the right flavour and texture. Radishes and turnips become woody and develop a fiery flavour if grown too hard; water stressed calabrese becomes coarse and stringy; cauliflowers produce small rubbery heads while beetroot and bay carrots lack the desired delicate sweetness if kept too dry.

be substantial and continue below ground level to prevent foxes and badgers digging under them, or deer leaping over. Scaring devices and repellent substances may also fail to give long-term protection. Badgers - Badgers are nocturnal visitors that will make short work of sweet tasting vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and sweet corn. They might rip up lawns from autumn to spring if there is an infestation of chafer grubs for them to eat. Fox - Foxes scent mark their territories including your garden with their faeces and pungent urine. They may chew hosepipes, rip polythene tunnels, trample plants, eat A rural fox – quick ripening fruits and to mark a territory damage lawns. Becoming more common in urban gardens, foxes can be seen in daylight but are more active at night. Rabbits - Mainly active at night, rabbits eat the foliage and soft stems of a wide range of woody and herbaceous plants. They can kill young trees and shrubs without tree guards by gnawing away the bark. Deer - When they arrive in the garden they cause similar damage to rabbits, especially muntjac and native roe deer.

Damage from larger pests

Any garden can be the subject to serious damage from some of our larger native mammals. Netting can protect new plantings against rabbits but boundary fences have to 22

Dramatic and destructive – honey fungus

Country Gardener

Coping with honey fungus

Honey fungus has been the most common plant enquiry to the Royal Horticultural Society every year for the past 20 years. Symptoms of honey fungus (Amillaria species) can be spotted in summer when infected root struggle to support plants and then dieback becomes visible. Closely examining of rots can reveal a creamy white fungal mycelium below the bark, smelling of mushroom. The fungus then develops in the autumn and is present for several weeks and is noticeable by tiers of mushrooms. The best control is to remove dying plants quickly with as many roots as feasible. Honey fungus survives on woody plant material and growth can be reduced by soil disturbance so regular cultivation of the soil is recommended. The fungus can be very difficult to get rid of completely but does not have to be a plant’s death penalty, Appropriate watering and mulching with well rotted organic matter gives other plants the best chance of surviving.

There are also anecdotal reports that suggest brown patches can result from drought, frost, watering or cold, drying winds. In some cases hedges recover but it may take several years. The best thing you can do is follow good practice in watering, drainage, feeding and trimming.

Growing onion sets over winter

Wait until spring to prune buddleja

Onion sets planted in autumn mature earlier than plants raised from seed and are less likely to be hit by diseases. Autumn plantings do best on light soils; growing from sets is often avoided for heavy soils. To reduce the risk of bolting you need to plant heat-treated sets. You should aim to plant in September when the spoil is still warm enough to allow them to establish well. Plant them in drills 2cms deep and push in into loose earth so only their tips show. Keep plants weed free and ideally weed by hand to

Watering and feeding will help conifers to recover

Buddleja davidii needs to be pruned at the right time. There’s a tendency to look at the bush in autumn and start to attack it. The much better practice is to wait until the spring. If you don’t prune Buddleja hard each year, it will get out of hand and untidy - just like the wild ones that sprout up wherever they can.

Leave buddleja pruning until the spring Onion sets - get planting in September

avoid root disturbance. Autumn planted sets should be ready for lifting by early summer. Yellowing and toppling of foliage are signs the crop is ready for harvesting.

Causes of conifer browning

Brown patches in conifers, especially hedges, are common and there are several causes. Although patches develop mainly in summer and the cause often lies in the previous 12 months. Hedge trimming late in the season, particularly in October to excess or trimming already stressed plants are probably the most common causes. Ideally you should trim hedges by September at the latest. A potent cause of browning is Cyprus aphid appearing from late spring until November. Unfortunately damage is obvious only after aphids have dispersed the following year.

Garden varieties, all rather plump healthy looking flowers, come as a result of proper pruning. Without pruning, the flowers would be smaller, and get progressively smaller as every season passes. This group of shrubs flower on new growth made in the current year, so it is to your advantage to prune the shrub well to produce many flowering shoots. These shoots that emerge as a result of properly pruning will have an upright, then arching habit of growth - totally unlike the ‘wild’ varieties seen on a vacant building site - or growing out of walls! The pruning should take place early in the spring - March is normally ideal and you can afford to be brutal. All species will resprout from old wood. Buddleja also respond well to dead heading with a second flush of flowers which also prevents seeding. Buddleja are very hardy, and not normally prone to frost.


Sell out festival to capture

the sprit of autumn The new two-day Toby Buckland’s Garden and Harvest Festival at Forde Abbey promises to celebrate the true spirit of the autumn. The festival, a sister event to the popular Powderham Castle Festival in April, takes place on Saturday,16th and Sunday 17th September and is a sell out with over 35 selected plant nurseries and growers in a total of 180 stalls and exhibitors. The theme of the event is autumn gardening but with a packed two days of demonstrations covering everything homemade preserves fermenting vegetables, gin making, flower arranging cookery demonstrations, wild meadow seeding and much

more A host of local artisans are bringing their expertise to the event which has caught the public’s imagination. There’s the bonus of the gardens of Forde Abbey garden themselves, the backdrop to the event. The 30 acres of award winning gardens tucked away in the Somerset countryside have been praised as being one of the greatest gardens in the West Country. Visitors will see the gardens are a delight in autumn, full of stunning late season colour and beauty. All the talks and demonstrations are free to festival visitors.

Two great gardening ladies Christine Walkden

Two great ladies of gardening will be at Forde Abbey! BBC One Show’s Christine Walkden will be at the festival on Sunday dispensing her irreverent, down-to-earth knowledge. On Saturday, Charlie Dimmock brings her practical panache and water gardening expertise.


What you can see and do at the fes Demonstration Tepee – Top Lawn SATURDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER 10.30am Homemade Preserves – The Pig at Bath chef Kamil Oseka on the long tradition of using vegetables to make homemade preserves. 11.30am Grace Alexander Flowers – Flower farmer Grace on what to plant for beautiful home-grown arrangements. 1pm Make a Wheatsheaf – The bakers from Taylors Traditional Bakery demo a traditional wheatsheaf loaf complete with harvest mouse! 2pm Fermenting Veg, Tracebridge Fermentaria – Fermenting expert - and official advisor to The Archers on Tom Archer’s fermenting storyline - Katie Venner on the latest way to preserve and live healthily.

Charlie Dimmock


Booze from your Garden – Two Thirsty Gardeners Nick and Rich show how to ‘dig and swig’ your way through the season and explain the cider-making process. SUNDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER 10.30am Edible Flowers – Organic flower farmer Jan Billington from Maddocks Farm on growing edible flowers for cooking and cake decorating. 11.30am Botanical Soap Making – Botanical soap making for beginners with Emma Burlingham and Jess Evans from Dorset soap-makers Hog & Tallow. 1pm Dazzling Dahlias – Rob Evans from awardwinning Pheasant Acre Nursery on these latesummer treasures 2pm Forager and print-maker Flora Arbuthnott demonstrates how to make natural dyes using plants from your garden.

Gastro Garden - Top Lawn

The gin still on the move 24

Make your own gin with Still on the Move - Cosmo Caddy talks botanicals. Saturday. Cheese, Smokes and Charcuterie - Ed Mello the popular Dorset smallholder and pop-up chef – Both days BBQ Demo - John Gower from Quiet Waters Farm cooking with Toby – Both days 2pm In a Jam with your Jam? - Antonia Mottola, Bunnies Love preserves offers advice how to make delicious jams and avoid getting in a pickle when making preserves. Country Gardener

Garden Talks and Tours Tree talk Join Kevin Croucher - Owner of Thornhayes Nursery, for a botanical and historical tour of Forde Abbey’s trees. Both days – Meet by the Plant Creche 12.30pm Walled Garden - Discover how Forde Abbey grow crops and tend the magnificent Walled Garden with head gardener Danny Burlingham. Both days – Meet by the entrance to the Walled Garden 1.30pm Scything with Chris Riley - Dorset scythe trainer Chris is here doing demo’s and advising on scything techniques, grassland and meadow management and selling a range of scythes. Long Grass Area. Weaving Garden Structures - Discover how to weave living garden structures with Stefan Jennings, creator of Forde’s willow tunnel – Sunday 11am and 1pm. Making Meadows - Find out how to make a meadow with Paul Jupp from Meadow in my Garden – Both days at the Meadow Maze 12pm. Topiary Trimming - Organic/natural style topiary demo's with Jake Hobson from Niwaki - Both days.

FOOD DELIGHTS GALORE Foodies can look forward to a feast of flavours at the festival. There’s a host of local artisan food and drink producers, including jam, pickles and preserves, traditional loaves, wine, cider and gin makers, plus daily demonstrations on how to cook, cure, smoke and ferment your harvest. You can make your own ‘Festival’ gin with the Devon Distillery who return to the Festival after an extremely popular visit to the spring festival at Powderham.

GET YOURSELF OUT OF A PICKLE If you’ve ever got into a pickle while making preserves, or found yourself in a jam with your jams, help is at hand Amongst the many talented makers and producers at the show is Antonia Mottola, owner of Somerset-based jam producer Bunnies Love. Antonia is running a Pickle & Jam Surgery next to her stand on both days of the Fest where you can get advice on the technical side of preservemaking whether it’s setting jam, pectin content, which fruits or spices to use and the best way to make marmalade.

Tea Tent Demo’s Cornucopia – Audrey and David Rolfe teach the ancient art of making corn dollies. Basket Weaving – Don’t miss Jane Welsh demonstrating ‘stake and strand’ basketmaking with willow. Get crafting Try your hand at making natural sculptures from found and foraged cones, leaves, berries and shells with Naomi from NatureMake.

demonstrations will show how to manage long grass areas and wildflower meadows using a continental scythe.

FLOWER FARMING WITH GRACE ALEXANDER Grace Alexander is a psychologist and Somerset flower farmer will be running new flower farming demonstrations on both days and describes herself as “committed to growing happiness, one packet of British flower seed at a time”. Grace grows the flowers she loves on a third of an acre field in a village in Somerset, a tiny greenhouse, and a lot of window sills, including peonies.



Among the many entertainments on offer at the new festival comes the opportunity to learn about Forde Abbey’s fascinating tree collection with Kevin Croucher, owner with wife Pat of famous Devon tree nursery, Thornhayes. The tours, on both days start at 12.30pm on each day. Meet at the Festival Plant Creche on the Lower Lawn. The tours are free and will take roughly an hour. There’s no need to book just turn up.

The latest trend for fermenting vegetables may be more than just a good way to keep them fresh and full of nutrients. According to Somerset-based tutor and fermenting advisor to Radio 4’s The Archers, Katie Venner of Tracebridge Sourdough in Wellington, it may also be the best way to cut down on sugar. Fermenting is the art of preserving raw vegetables in brine and dates back to pre-Roman times.

Dogs are welcome at the festival. Thanks to the dog-friendly nature of the site and Forde Abbey owners Alice and Julian Kennard’s love of dogs – they have three of their own – you won’t need to leave your dog at home when you visit all we ask is that they are kept on a lead.

SCYTHING YOUR WAY TO HAPPINESS Fans of Aidan Turner in BBC’ Television’s ‘Poldark’ will be pleased to know that scything is to feature as one of the many harvest demonstrations. Hosted by Dorsetbased scythe trainer Chris Riley of Pratensis Countryside Services, the

Remember dogs are welcome

Tickets £10 in advance online, Under-16s free, £8.50 for groups more than 10 and garden clubs Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September 2017 10-5pm at Forde Abbey, Chard, Somerset TA20 4LU For information and tickets




September garden

September is the beginning of what for many gardeners is a favourite time of the year-not least for the fact that the garden is more relaxed than it has been for some time. The fight to keep your plants watered or producing or deadheaded has eased and a new wave of tasks is waiting.

When to harvest fruit

The correct time to harvest apples and pears can be a bit of a puzzle, even to experienced gardeners. It will depend partly on the cultivar and partly on the weather, but should always be completed before the first frosts and when the fruit is dry. It is unlikely that all fruit on a tree will ripen evenly, so you may need to pick in stages. Typically, this year, due to the cold spring and early summer, picking dates are probably a week or two later than usual.

PROPAGATE SEMI-RIPE AND HARDWOOD CUTTINGS Late summer is a good time for raising plants from cuttings. A wide range of hardy climbers, shrubs, trees and hers can be easily propagated by taking hardwood cuttings after the leaves have fallen while semiripe cuttings from broadleaved evergreens and many conifers can be taken from late summer to early autumn.

Use the soil's heat to get planting

If otherwise sound-looking cooking apples start falling off the tree, pick promptly. For dessert apples, pre-empt this by checking on a weekly basis. When cupped in the hand, a ripe apple should come away from the tree with just a gentle twisting action and be sweet but firm to the bite. If you plan to store your apples, pick them slightly under ripe. Store them in a cool location, ideally around 36°F to 38°F. Pears are more difficult in that they need to be picked while hard but with some developing sweetness. Again, check regularly and keep a note of the picking date for future reference. Store in slightly cooler conditions than for apples. Pick quince when golden-coloured and aromatic. Store for six to eight weeks before use. Medlars should be picked as late as possible and stored until the flesh softens and turns brown. 26

The ground is a giant radiator and the heat of a good summer will remain in the ground for some time yet. With the addition of moisture, this makes the autumn one of our best planting seasons as the roots of plants put in now will have time to engage with their new home before the onset of winter. This places them in a strong position to survive the months ahead and come away fast next spring. Evergreen foliage is much more liable to die of drought than cold if their roots are not engaged and able to draw water. The same can be said of any marginally tender Mediterranean plants such as rosemary and lavender.

Keep the patio going Enjoy the summer display right to the end by keeping your containers in shape. Deadhead the plants regularly to encourage more blooms. If the weather is dry, give them a good soak and finally, give them an extra boost by feeding weekly with liquid fertiliser; controlled-release feeds will be running out of steam by now. Country Gardener


Autumn is a good time to divide clumps of perennials such as Hemerocallis. Lift the clump and then divide it into pieces, either by prising it apart with two forks or cutting it up with a spade or bread knife. Each piece needs some leaves and roots. Older pieces from the centre of the clump should be thrown away, but newer pieces can be replanted or shared with friends. Some perennials, such as sedums, will benefit from being divided every few years to keep the clump growing vigorously.

Planning colour for spring Planning for spring might seem like a long way off, but September is the ideal to start making preparations for a beautiful floral display. Plant spring bedding, such as pansies, wallflowers and Sweet Williams. Water them well before planting and give them a good soak whenever the weather is dry to help them establish quickly. It’s also the time to buy spring-flowering bulbs. Choose firm, plump bulbs and avoid any with signs of mould. Plant them as soon as possible so they can start putting down roots. The cool, moist conditions of late autumn suit tulips best so wait until then before planting them.

OTHER JOBS ABOUT THE SEPTEMBER GARDEN • If you have clay soil, now is the best time to improve it before it becomes too wet or frozen. Incorporate organic matter and/or horticultural grit. • Sow green manures such as mustard, clover and rye grass on uncultivated areas to improve soil and keep weeds down over winter. • Create compost bins in preparation for all the fallen leaves and dead plant material which you'll be collecting over the coming months. Autumn leaves make a great addition to compost bins and are ideal for making leaf mould.

Plant a window box for autumn Some gardens will look a little bleak over autumn and winter, but plant some pots or window boxes for a show of colour that will banish the winter blues. There’s no shortage of plants that can be grown in pots over autumn and winter. Heathers, box, skimmia, choisya, euonymus and hebe are just some of the shrubs that can be combined with bedding plants, such as violas, pansies, primroses and polyanthus. Grasses are ideal for softening planting schemes and adding texture. Try Carex buchananii, Carex flagellifera or Carex elata 'Aurea'. Extend the spectacle by underplanting with daffodils, crocus, dwarf iris, grape hyacinth and other spring flowering bulbs. The best way of coming up with a plant combination is to head to the garden centre, pick a centrepiece for the container then take plants from the shelves to see what looks good together. Don’t be afraid to arrange and rearrange plants until you are happy with the way they look. Alternatively, here a few tried-and-tested container recipes. Underplant a half standard bay tree with Stipa arundinacea and Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant' - plant creeping thymes around the outside so they cascade down and soften the edges of the container. New Zealand cabbage palm (Cordyline australis) looks great in a pot with a skirt of black dragon grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens') and orange pansies. Start by adding a layer of soil-based compost, and then arrange your plants. When you’re happy with the display, fill the gaps with more compost, leaving a five cm gap between the surface and the lip of the pot. • Dispose of diseased plant material by burning it or putting it in with your household waste. Don’t compost it as the spores may remain in the compost and re-infect your plants. • Raise pots off the ground for the winter by using bricks or 'pot feet', to prevent waterlogging. • Perennial weeds are more vulnerable to weed killers in the autumn. Use a glyphosate-based weed killer to kill both the leaves and roots. • Install water butts to collect rain this autumn and winter. • Rain water is great for watering ericaceous plants such as blueberries, rhododendrons and camellias.


Can you deal with THE HARVEST GLUT?

Its almost inevitable that the hard work in the garden will end with a glut of fruit and vegetables - it can be both a headache and a worry about wasting all that wonderful produce Gluts are an inevitable part of growing your own fruits and vegetables. No matter how meticulous you are with planning crop timings, there’s always going to be intimidating load of fresh produce -much than can be coped with! The main culprits include climbing beans, courgettes and of course a myriad of apples, pears, plums and others fruits that just can’t be picked fast enough.

Courgette overload? Courgettes are both a joy and a many-headed monster. You don’t just grow one courgette; you grow what seems like hundreds. Courgettes are best used fresh, but can be kept for a short period of time by storing in a cool, dry place. Alternatively, turn gluts into chutneys or pickles. Courgettes can be steamed, fried or grilled. Spherical varieties are perfect for stuffing then baking.

Apple jelly Gluts of cooking apples can be turned into apple jelly with very little trouble, no peeling or coring necessary. It’s a great way to use large quantities of apples, and makes a lovely gift. Simply chop the apples roughly and simmer with water, then strain everything overnight through a jelly bag. Simmer the resulting liquid with sugar until it turns deep golden and sets to a sweet jelly. The added bonus of this is that you can incorporate any herbs that you may have an overload of, to preserve their flavour long into winter. It is excellent on toast or with cheeses and cured meats. Jelly can also be made with rhubarb.

Juice, juice and juice A hugely popular way of getting rid of at least some of your fruit is to try juicing. Making juice from home-grown apples is one of the most satisfying ways of using surplus and windfall fruit. Most gardeners are familiar with the seasonal problems of over production as the freezer fills with apple puree; the prospect of another apple pie or crumble seems 28

less enticing than it did at the beginning of the season and there are still more apples to be removed from under the trees before the grass can be mown. The answer is a fruit press that will gobble up pound upon pound of apples and generate gallons of delicious juice which can be drunk immediately, stored until later or turned into cider.

Trying drying fruits and vegetables with Vigo Dried fruits and vegetables make the ultimate snack, as they are both delicious and healthy. A number of fruits and vegetables can be dried and can be eaten as snacks or included within recipes for up to one year if stored correctly. Drying is one of the oldest known methods of preserving foods. Flavours and aromas within fruit and vegetable is concentrated as water, so when this is removed from ®


Presses Pasteurisers Barrels & Bottles Orchard Care And much more Tel: 01404 890093

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the food it equals a more intense and unique flavour. The vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are found within fruit and vegetables are unaffected by the drying process and are able to be stored without the need of preservatives and refrigeration. Many different fruits and vegetables can be dried to provide a beautifully unique flavour, including apples, strawberries, pears, berries, grapes, plums, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, beans, onions, peppers, herbs and more. The list goes on. Though it is possible to use a conventional cooking oven in order to dry fruit and vegetables, they are technically not designed to dehydrate food items which can cause them to shrink, stick to each other and leak. This is where Vigo Presses can help. They have a fantastic product that makes fruit and vegetable drying a breeze. Their purpose built fruit and vegetable drier features four trays that are gentle fanned with warm, dry air to begin the drying process. Whether you want to dry different foods on each easy-to-clean tray or mix it up, the drying time will vary between two to three hours for herbs and around four to eight hours for apples. If you’re interested in growing seasonal produce and need a way of preserving the flavours for months to come, the process of drying is ideal. You can add an additional set of two trays for a maximum capacity of six trays, giving you the ability to dry an increased amount of fruit or veg. Vigo Presses has a wide range of fruit and vegetable harvesting and preserving equipment. See or phone 01404 890093 for further details.

Pickles and chutney Preserving techniques help to spread out sudden gluts so that summer’s bounty can be enjoyed later on in the year when fresh pickings are thin on the ground. Pickles,raw vegetables preserved in spiced vinegar and chutneys, vegetables and/or fruits cooked slowly with herbs, spices, sugar and vinegar, are a wonderful option for the fruit and vegetable overload. Chutneys are simply magnificent, capable of storing in the cupboard for many months. Like a fine wine, chutney matures with age as all the ingredients meld into a delicious symphony of flavours. You can make chutney from just about anything you have a glut of: beetroot, apples, beans, or the last of the season’s tomatoes, for example.

Cordial delights Delicious cordials can be made in one easy process using a steamer, which extract juice from fruit with steam. Juice extraction by steaming is ideal for currants (blackcurrants, redcurrants and whitecurrants), for hard fruits like crab apples and quinces, and for berries like blueberries, raspberries, loganberries and elderberries. Gentle cooking by the steaming method enhances the flavour of all these fruit juices.

Finally if all else fails! Of course the other thing to do with a glut is to give some or a lot of it away to those around you. A friend, neighbour or relative might really appreciate it although as so often happens if one garden has a lot of fruit to spare then the next door garden might have the same problem.

How you can keep fruit as long as possible Apples Late-cropping apples tend to store better than earlies. Make sure you choose unblemished fruit and place them in clear plastic bags (make a few pinholes first), or wrap them individually in newspaper, and store in a cool, frostfree place. They should keep for several months, but check regularly for signs of rotting. Stewed apple freezes well.

Pears Pears will not keep for long, but as they continue to ripen once picked, under-ripe fruits can be kept in a cool place for a few days until fully ripe. Slightly under-ripe pears are also best for cooking as they keep their shape better.

Plums Different varieties of plums are grown to eat raw, for cooking, or both. Gluts of plums can be frozen – first halve and stone the plums, then open freeze on a tray if you want them to keep their shape. They can also be bottled or made into plum jam.

Gooseberries Early, green gooseberries are usually too tart to eat raw, but can be stewed for use in pies, or stewed and then puréed for gooseberry fool. Later fruits, which are ready to harvest in August, are often yellow or red, and are sweet enough to eat raw. Gooseberries can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks and they freeze well.

Currants You can store unwashed bunches of black, red and white currants in the fridge for up to five days. They also freeze well – remove the stalks first and open freeze on a tray before packing into bags or containers. 29



The coming weeks will be taken up with picking, packing, storing and hopefully eating the fruit harvest from the garden. But there are some rules which will make picking easier and when fruit is at its ripest You can waste so much of your fruit harvest is you get the timing wrong when it comes to picking. A lot of it is common sense but you need to pick pears early and let them ripen off the tree. You need to check your apples every day to make sure you are picking at the right time and don’t end up with too many on the ground. And smell and feeling fruit is an age-old method which always works.

PEARS RIPEN OFF THE TREE Pears should be allowed to ripen off the tree rather than on the stem. This is because pears will over develop on the plant, resulting in soft texture and overly sugared flesh. If you pick your pears when they have sweetly blushed skin but are still firm and slightly under ripe, you can ripen them inside or in a paper bag for a week. The delicious flavour will come out in about a week and the flesh approach its best texture. Each fruit will come into its best maturity at slightly different times so when harvesting a pear tree, each pome will need to be individually considered before picking. You should have a basket or other container when harvesting a pear tree. Perhaps even line it with dishtowels to help cushion the fruit and prevent bruising. Once you have easily separated the pear fruit that is mature, bring it indoors to 30

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ripen. You can keep the pears longer by storing them at 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1°C.). This cooling period enhances the ripening process.

PREMATURELY PICKED APPLES WILL BE SOUR AND STARCHY Harvesting apples at just the right time is essential, not only to obtaining the highest quality fruit but also to maximise the storage life. There’s a delicate balance between picking the apple at the right time and having to deal with too many windfalls. The best test is still the ‘twist test’. Gently rotate the apple and if there’s any resistance and you find yourself forcing it – the apple just isn’t ready. Each variety has its own maturation time and can depend upon weather conditions during the growing season. For example, apples will ripen earlier if there is a mild, sunny spring which kick starts the tree’s fruiting cycle early. Early maturing apples still known as ‘summer apples’ such as ‘Honeycrisp’, ‘Paula Red’ and ‘Jonagold’ reach their peak in August and early September. First of all, mature apples are firm, crisp, and juicy with good colour and a developed flavour characteristic of the variety. In red varieties, the colour is not a good indicator of maturity. Premature apple picking may lead to fruit that is sour, starchy and generally unpalatable while harvesting apples too late results in soft and mushy fruit.

PLUMS WILL BE RIPE TO THE TOUCH Plum trees are a fertile fruit so it is important to know when to harvest plums. The hands down best way to ensure the time is right for picking plum fruit is by its firmness and flavour. The plums will be becoming soft to the touch and the taste will be sweet and juicy. Hopefully, you have actually eaten a ripe plum at some point and can use this memory as a barometer. Colour of the ripening plums can also be an indicator as to harvesting plums at their peak. As plums approach maturity, the fruit develops its characteristic colour. However, there are many cultivars, so you need to be aware of the variety in your garden and how it should look prior to harvesting. For instance, plums such as ‘Stanley’, ‘Damson’, and ‘Mount Royal’ change from green to greenish-blue then segueing to dark blue or purple when they are ripe. Also, as the fruit ripens, the plum develops an almost powdered colour in some varieties. Early maturing varieties of plum will need to be harvested over a period of weeks, as the fruit is not ripe on the tree at the same time.

DAMSONS TEND TO FALL OFF The best indication of damsons being ready is when you notice some on the ground. There will be that natural fall off.

When that starts to get regular, then gently feel the fruit if when you are feeling; they fall off in your hand then its time for picking. If you are jam making then make sure there are a few unripe ones along with the ripe ones to assist setting. You don’t have to strip the tree in one go - get off what is ripe, leaving the rest to ripen later.

OLD FASHIONED TASTE AND SMELL TELLS YOU WHEN GRAPES ARE READY The best time to pick grapes can be surrounded by lots of science and technology. There used to be a traditional view that the grapes would be ready for harvest 100 days after the onset of flowering, but these days things are more little more scientific. Remember that just because grapes seem ripe to the sangliers, doesn’t mean the are necessarily ripe certainly from an oenological (winemaking) perspective. But of course, the best way to get an overall impression of the grape’s ripeness is by using our good, old-fashioned senses, taste and smell. Grapes from the same plot or even the same vine will ripen at different rates, depending on several factors, including whether they are exposed to the sun or covered by foliage.

Making fruit picking safer - and more efficient A LADDER WILL DO THE JOB BUT WHICH ONE? Safety is the biggest issue when it comes to using a ladder for fruit picking. Every garden, every gardener and every job is slightly different and what works for one might be useless for another. Growing in popularity amongst gardeners because of their safety is the Niwaki Tripod ladder with its distinctive look and high safety record. Tripod adders are essential for large topiary and hedges. Depending on the slope, you can either work face-on, with the third leg leg poked into the hedge, or sideways, with the ladder parallel to the hedge. Their adaptability, stability with a wide base and comfort with double rungs allow you to spend all the time necessary to do jobs properly, without rushing. As such they are Ideal for orchard work, both for picking and pruning, where thanks to the single back leg, you can get right into the crown of the tree. Unlike traditional orchard designs, for example a pointed A-Frame, you can lean over the top, or rest picking baskets on top. They’re also considerably wider at the base than A-Frames, have the telescopic back leg, vital on slopes, and are welded not

riveted, so are much, much stronger - and exceptionally light and easy to use. The welded, extruded aluminium construction is weatherproof, strong, and very light. Double rungs are easy on the feet, and don’t get muddy or slippery. Niwaki have a showroom in Semley, Shaftesbury in Dorset.

FRUIT PICKERS WILL INCREASE YOUR HARVEST Investing in an extendable fruit picker will almost certainly increase your fruit harvest and reduce damage of the amount of windfalls you have to deal with. Climbing ladders can be something which worries a number of gardeners so this is a ‘feet on the ground’ option which will pick fruit from up to six metres off the ground. Most of the varieties on the market are adjustable. Some come with multi-change telescopic handles. You can choose from cloth,wicker or wire with a foam liner bags which will collect the fruit. A gentle pull and the fruit if it is ready will drop into the strong collection bag. The downside is that it can be a long process if you have a lot of out of reach fruit.


Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’ (Blue Atlas Cedar) has probably no place in a small suburban garden


Remember our trees are a renewable resource! Mark Hinsley who wants us all to plant more trees, argues that home owners should be left to manage their own trees and not fall victim to restrictive and environmentally damaging Tree Preservation Orders Back in the late 1970s I remember being on a tree job in Byfleet. The site was one of a row of houses in a typical street and all were open plan in the front. In front of the house next door was a small Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’ (Blue Atlas Cedar). At one point the lady of the house next door came out to talk to us. “Isn’t my cedar lovely?”, she said proudly. “I saw it in the garden centre and just fell in love with it!” “Tell me”, she said, “will the tips of the branches ever reach the front of the house?” “Madam”, said I, “that is an Atlas Cedar, given half a chance they will reach the back!” So here we are 40 odd years later laughing at the idea of putting a Blue Atlas Cedar into a small suburban front garden. But does it really matter? It is only gardening, and when it does become too big, prune it or take it out and put another one in. What is the problem? The problem is, it seems to me, that the understanding that the vast majority of trees are a renewable resource has been forgotten. We used to know that. For 5,000 years our woodland was managed on that basis. You could coppice: cutting trees down to the ground and letting them re-grow, or you could pollard: cutting trees back to just a trunk and letting them re-grow, or you could remove them altogether and plant a new one in their place. A tree and a piece of wood used to be one and the same thing. Now they are not. Thanks to new technology, such as plastics, and the influx of cheap imported timber from ‘The Empire’ and changes in building practices and a myriad other reasons, we gradually lost the connection between the 32

tree and the timber to the point where, if you put a piece of timber into the hand of your average urban spaceman, he would have no real concept of the growing tree it came from and how it arrived there. For the above reasons, how we perceive trees, and, to an extent, who does the perceiving, has changed. Trees have become an ornament, a symbol for particular environmental views and an item for political gain. The lady in Byfleet would be in danger of finding that, when the time came to remove the cedar and replace it, she was served with a Tree Preservation Order making her keep it by somebody hell bent on ‘saving the planet.’ The consequence of this is that people are far more cautious about planting trees than they used to be in the fear that the right to manage them will be taken away. The result is not more trees in our towns and villages but fewer. We have a British Standard that tells us that new trees on development sites should have room to grow to full size; you cannot plant a potentially large tree with a view to pruning it in the future. The consequence of this is that small trees, which tend to be shorter lived, instead of potentially large long-lived species are planted, which results in not more canopy cover in our towns and villages but less. If we want people to plant more trees – and we really, really do - we need to save Tree Preservation Orders for the very important ones and let people manage their own trees in their own gardens. In my view, we would not end up with an environmental disaster as a result. Mark Hinsley Arboricultural Consultants Ltd.

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COME AND VISIT US THIS AUTUMN FOR ALL YOUR GARDENING NEEDS ✽ The best selection of plants in the local area ✽ Huge range of pots, composts and sundry items ✽ Seasonal bedding plants and bulbs ✽ Many special offers!


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Discover the stunning views at Marwood Hill Gardens, 20 acres of private gardens with lakes in North Devon. The gardens are a wonderful haven in which to relax and enjoy the impressive collections of plants, shrubs and trees and experience the views and peaceful atmosphere.

Specialist Plant Sales Open 9am - 5.30pm Mondays - Saturdays and 10am - 4pm on Sundays


At Marwood, we aim to provide something a little bit different, something which you can take home.

Tel: 01271 342528 | Marwood Hill Gardens, North Devon EX31 4EA

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

Orchard Park, Shaftesbury Road, Gillingham SP8 5JG T: 01747 835544 E: MON - SAT 9 - 5.30 SUN 10 - 4.30 Discover more at


The New Forest’s leading centre offering you the quality and choice of Trees, Shrubs and Hardy Plants grown on our own 25 acre nursery. Our shop is filled with a wonderful range of Autumn offers. We have everything you need to get planting straight away! Autumn bulbs are in stock, so plant now to ensure a colourful Spring display.

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Relax in ‘Camellias’, our Coffee Shop and Restaurant, where you can enjoy coffee, tea, and a selection of lunch specials prepared fresh every day Visit our website, for info and gardening tips!

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EVERTON, on A337, Near LYMINGTON. 01590 642155 Open every day 9-5.30, Sunday, 10.30-4.30

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

Tel: 01202 874283 33



Here’s a selection of gardening events to look out for during the next few weeks throughout Dorset. 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 and copy 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.






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Issue No 130 June 2014



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Country Gardener

Autumn time to keep the garden going After a series of mild autumn and winters more gardeners are finding autumn sowing a way to keep the garden alive It’s likely every year gardeners all over the country start to think that September and October are the times to start ‘putting the garden away’ for the winter. Yet a series of mild winters would suggest that the much better option is to think of the autumn as the time to decide to keep the garden going through the winter. It’s a decision which gets you outside in the fresh air, allows you to exercise and can give you brilliant home-grown produce with a great selection of winter vegetables. With the autumn’s cooler weather and crisper mornings, planting late in the season can produce a plentiful garden and harvest. Some vegetables that thrive in such conditions include the heartier varieties like broccoli, lettuce, kale, cabbage and Swiss chard. Planting seeds in September is the best time to do so; however, it is not too late to plant in October, but you need to remember to plant vegetables that are considered to be ‘frost tolerant.’ Most vegetable gardens can accommodate winter crops. Some vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, take up a lot of space for a long time but are still well-worth the investment. Choose an open site with free-draining soil, cultivated thoroughly prior to sowing or planting and enriched with organic material. Where ground is in short supply, containers will support a few plants. If a greenhouse or polytunnel is available, it can be used to over-winter some crops and start others off early. However, heating greenhouses for year round harvests is rarely efficient.

Five to enjoy this winter

Leeks - Leeks are an absolute must in a winter garden. If rust is a problem in your area (it tends to be more problematic in mild, moist autumns) choose a variety showing strong resistance such as ‘Oarsman’. Leek moth is more widespread these days so if it’s known in your neighbourhood, cover plants with fine mesh netting or fleece to thwart it. Purple-leaved varieties tend to be hardier, such

as the French classic ‘Bleu de Solaise’ and the British bred ‘Northern Lights’. BrusseLs sprouts - ‘Montgomery’ is always the variety to grow – it’s an F1 hybrid with a deliciously mild taste. The RHS like it, too, and have given it an AGM. Everything you read about having your own sprouts for Christmas is true so make an effort to grow them. Beginner growers take note: plants need to be sown in April for a winter harvest; sprout tops are delicious, too. spinAch - Spinach is ideal as it provides pickings all through winter and well into spring –’Tetona’ is a classic arrow-shaped green spinach; the leaves develop a beautifully meaty thickness and deep colour as the weather cools, but they remain incredibly tender. A hassle free crop.

What to grow for winter Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, kale, leeks and parsnips are hardy vegetables and will stand through the winter. Leafy crops such as chard, parsley and rocket should also over-winter with a little protection. Other crops such as carrots, onions, turnips and winter squash can also be grown to enjoy in winter if stored correctly. Sow leafy crops such as chard, chicory, landcress and parsley in early summer for autumn harvests that can last into winter if they are provided with some fleece or cloche protection. pArsnips - There are a few things to watch for with parsnips: the seed’s shelf life is short so buy fresh each year; avoid over-rich soils, as this can give excess leaf at the expense of root; don’t sow too early as germination will be poor on cold soils and it also increases the likelihood of canker disease; sow seeds in clumps in the soil, then thin to the strongest seedling. sprouting BroccoLi - Most of us are familiar with the purple form of this brassica. There is also a white form, which is underrated, prolific and delicious. Both types make large plants when grown well – at least one metre tall and wide – and they need to be sown in April in order to give you crops worth waiting for.



Elizabeth McCorquodale takes a look up high and enjoys the wonders of green roofs with all their noise reduction, pollution filtering benefits and shows how you might like to create one Green roofs attracted quite a lot of attention a few years ago but now they have settled comfortably into the landscape, appearing without fuss on all sorts of buildings from grand avant-garde homes to factories and public buildings (my local council sports a rather lovely example) to modest garden sheds and garages. I am the fond custodian of an accidental green roof which sprung up, of its own accord, on the top of one of my sheds. It established itself hardly without my noticing after I re-roofed the old shed with a piece of corrugated plastic and then weighed down the plastic with a few shovelfuls of gravel borrowed from my garden path. Over just a few weeks seeds carried by the wind landed on the roof and germinated in the gullies and crevices, and the more the plants grew, the more windblown dust and soil particles got caught among the roots. This accumulated substrate is now deep enough to support an entire plant and invertebrate community with no input from me at all, which just goes to show that although green roofs can seem a little exotic, even a little contrived, they are in fact Above: Wildlife meadow on a roof in just another patch of garden, Hampshire albeit a little higher than the Below: Giving new meaning to green buses rest. 38

Country Gardener

Sedum is, of course, the most popular of all the green roof plants, but from turf roofs –primped and preened or wildly natural – to entire formal gardens, just about any plant and planting style can be incorporated into, or onto, a roofing scheme. It is the depth of the substrate - the growing medium – and the strength and angle of the structure which will determine what you can grow. Sedum roofs require about 70 to 100 mm of substrate. For grass and wildflower roofs you need a little more, but you can get away with as little as 150 to 200 mm. If there is any question about the strength of the structure and if it will support the weight of the substrate, the plants and the extra water burden, an architect or structural engineer should be consulted. A DIY green roof will generally weigh in the region of 60-150 kg per square meter. This is within the load bearing capacity of new, well-built sheds, but it is always best to err on the side of caution and consult an expert if in any doubt at all. The optimum angle of a green roof is determined by its ability to shed rainwater efficiently and its ability not to shed its plant community. Too flat and the water won’t drain without help, too steep and the water won’t have time to be absorbed and may even result in the plants being washed off the roof. That isn’t to say that flat roofs or steeply angle roofs cannot support a plant community; they

can. It is just that they will need a little extra engineering in order to do so and for this it is a good idea to consult with a specialist green roofing company about the best way to go about it. Whatever the angle of the roof the substrate needs to be lightweight, it needs to be able to hold water and be able to drain efficiently. This is where coir really comes into its own. Unlike peat, coir will readily re-wet if it dries out, it is lightweight even when it is sodden and it drains well. Use equal parts coir, fine gravel and well-rotted garden compost to make your substrate. The aim is to achieve a stable growing medium that isn’t excessively nutritious in order to provide a home for your chosen plants without encouraging a whole lot of windblown opportunists. Your roof needs to be made up of a stable population of fairly tough, hardy plants that can cope with the harsh environment of fluctuating temperatures and water levels rather than a bunch of fly-bynight tenderlings that won’t last the distance. The profile of a green roof is simple. It begins with the roof of the building, which is then topped with a moisture-and root-proof membrane such as heavy-duty pond liner. This is topped with the substrate (the growing medium) into which the plants are planted. As long as the building and roof structure is strong and sound the addition of a membrane and planting will not damage the building. In order for the roof to drain well, the area all around the edge should be designed not to support plant growth in order to allow water to be shed easily and so that plants don’t encroach into gullies or drainpipes. A 15cm border of substrate-free space around the edge of the roof should suffice. There are three categories of green roof; the intensive, the extensive and the biodiverse. The intensive roof is really a roof garden, with a deep layer of growing medium which may support trees, shrubs and underplanting, as well as other garden feature such as paths and seating, and with its structural design requirements this sort of roof is an architectural rather than a horticultural endeavour. More within our scope is the extensive green roof, and this is what most of us think of when we think of green roofs; a selection of sedums, some grasses and tough wildflowers, or perhaps monocultures of any of these. Extensive systems are found on the roofs of small sheds and in the greening of huge factory buildings and, depending on the species of plants, this type of roof can fulfil just about all the promises of green roofs including reducing the impact of buildings on the built environment, both visually and environmentally. A biodiverse roof goes one step further and is designed, built and planted especially to support the local ecosystem. The design goes from the membrane up, with the correct substrate and planting complimented by essential ‘extras’ such as small piles of stones or rotting logs (or small branches, on a more modest scale), patches of bare, unplanted ground and small bowls to catch and hold water for the benefit of birds and invertebrates. Of course there is no strict delineation between any of these designs, and you can do as much or as little as the fancy takes you, incorporating all sorts of creative

Above: As long as the roof structure is sound there should be no damage Below: Just grass - and a stunning effect

and environmental goals within the design of your roof. Monocultures are perfectly acceptable and provide a neat and even appearance, but variety is undoubtedly better for supporting wildlife. Sedums only offer nectar and pollen for a scant six weeks or so each summer while a good selection of wildflowers and grasses can support the local invertebrate population all year round. The best plants for green roofs are those that can cope with shallow substrate and drought conditions and many of these can be found in the alpine section of nurseries and garden centers. Some of the best for shallow substrate (70-100mm) are Allium shoenoprasum, Dianthus deltoids, Muscari, Potentilla verena, Sempervivum species, Sedum species, Thymus serpyllum and Petrorhagia saxifrage. An ordinary green roof requires minimal maintenance once it is established. In the first summer it may be necessary to water your roof during dry periods and you must always be on the lookout for any unwelcome or damaging invaders such as buddleia, but from then on your plant community will gradually settle in and find its own happy equilibrium. Contact your local council or wildlife trust to find out about the local Biodiversity Action Plan which can inform you of which plants to grow to best support local wildlife.


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Choosing FRUIT TREES The prospect of growing fruit trees can be daunting – pollination groups, complicated pruning involving spurs and tips, countless tricky pests – but choose your variety wisely and you can sidestep many of the scarier aspects of fruit cultivation. Stick to fruit that’s less troubled by problems, lowmaintenance and importantly, self-fertile so you don’t need pollination partners to guarantee a crop. Then look forward to delicious harvests year after year – maximum reward for minimum effort. The first fairly obvious step is to only buy trees of fruits you’ll like to eat. Then make sure how your garden is set up for the trees to flourish. Even if a tree survives it may fruit poorly if at all. Some tree fruit cultivars will have buds killed by frosts, so no fruit, if they bloom too early. Most tree fruits flower early in the year, so need a sheltered site that attracts pollinating insects - predominantly bees.

Plant fruit trees and bushes in the right spot and they’ll give you years of flavoursome crops

If these beneficial insects are discouraged from visiting flowers by strong winds the flowers won’t be pollinated and resulting fruit set will be very poor. Areas where cold air collects are known as frost pockets, and it is important to avoid growing fruit in these areas because flowers that emerge very early in the year can be damaged or killed. Cold air naturally sinks to and collects in the lowest point it can reach - so dips and the bottom of sloping sites are most at risk. If your garden is in a natural valley don’t plant fruit trees at the bottom of it, where there will be a natural frost pocket. Although some tree fruits are listed as “self-fertile”, with no cross pollination needed, even these often bear more heavily with two or more cultivars. Make sure the ones you choose will flower at the same time. And when planting, make sure these are close enough (often within 50 feet), so the bees can find both plants.


Apricots Apricots can be a wonderful crop if you get everything right.They are members of the Prunus family, all members of which are best left unpruned to minimise the risk of canker and silver leaf diseases, both of which can enter the tree through pruning wounds. If any misplaced or damaged branches need removing, prune them out during the height of summer. Apricots are self-fertile so don’t need partners, and modern-bred varieties are more than capable of producing a generous crop in the UK. Look for names that end in ‘cot’ such as ‘Tomcot’ or ‘Flavorcot’. The only flaw is the early blossom’s susceptibility to frost, so you do need some luck with the weather.

P lum ‘Victoria’ This self-fertile plum produces bumper crops of juicy fruits. Its pink-red skin has a beautiful blue bloom, with yellow flesh inside that’s good eaten fresh and even better cooked. ‘Victoria’ has stood the test of time, first discovered in a Sussex garden in the 19th century and introduced to the nursery trade around 1840. The only problem you may encounter is that it can sometimes be so laden down with fruit, its branches can snap under the weight.

Mulberry ‘Chelsea’ Mulberry may at first sight seem an unusual choice for fruit trees, but these historic trees are easy to grow, as long as you have the space. They need enough room to spread out. They also need to be somewhere warm and are ideal for the south and southwest. Mulberries need little pruning, another bonus, and their fruit is sublime.

Nashi pear ‘Kumoi’ These Asian pear trees deserve to be grown more, and have none of the problems conventional pears can encounter, such as pear midge spoiling buds or pear rust disfiguring leaves. The fruit are like a cross between an apple and a pear, their white flesh crisper and crunchier with a hint of strawberry-like flavour. 44

Country Gardener


autumn colour If your garden needs more colour at the end of summer then here’s some options to lift the spirits in the autumn weeks ahead Autumn colour in the garden is one of the great and underrated delights. Too often looking around the garden in August can reveal just a show of tired foliage and absence of colour. Planning a garden which comes to life again from September onwards is simple and not expensive and provides a lift for the spirits with colour shape and style which means the garden can run through to as close as Christmas as possible so the winter gap is shortened even further. Vitis vinifera “Spetchley Red’ This grape vine has leaves that go a really good shade of red come late summer and into autumn; from the famous gardens at Spetchley in Worcestershire it’s perfectly hardy and also carries crops of small black edible grapes but is really grown for the beautiful colour of the leaves. The colour remains true in all weather conditions. Colchicum ‘ Waterlily’ Although often called autumn crocus, colchicums are not related to true crocuses. There are winter- and springflowering species, but the most common ones bloom in September and October. They flower when least expected, the large blooms suddenly appearing from the bare earth without any leaves – hence the common name ‘naked ladies’. All parts of the plant are poisonous, so wear gloves when handling the bulbs.

Aster ‘Little Carlow’ A deservedly popular aster with large sprays of pale, purplish/ blue flowers in late summer/autumn. Flowers stand high above the foliage and last for weeks. It is hardy and tolerant of wide range of conditions. It comes into full colour in September and will stay around for weeks and doesn’t get affected by mildew which often puts off some gardeners from choosing Michaelmas daisies for their autumn displays. Malus ‘Everest’ With colourful fruits and foliage, crab apples look wonderful in autumn. Malus ‘Evereste’ is flushed with red-flushed, orange-yellow fruits in autumn that complement the orange-yellow leaves. It is an excellent tree for smaller gardens, with a pleasant conical shape. In autumn it gives another fantastic show, with good colour, and masses of red-flushed, orange-yellow fruits about an inch across, which hang on through the winter. Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii is not very often grown, partly because several plants need to be grown together to produce good crops of the violet bead-like berries. However if you are attracted to this wonderfully colourful plant Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ is a great improvement, fruiting well on its own, with large packed clusters of the berries in midautumn, overlapping with the golden purple leaf tints and then lingering after leaf-fall. 45

The ‘JOY OF THE MOUNTAIN’ herb Oregano, or marjoram, is prized for its beautiful flowers and foliage and is a stalwart in the herb garden you shouldn’t be without If ever there was a herb which lives up to its name then its probably oregano. Grown for its strong tasting and pungent leaves, oregano is a perennial herb that thrives in a warm, sunny position. It is said to have been derived from the Greek 'oros' meaning mountain and 'ganos' meaning joy – hence ’joy of the mountain’. It’s heady aroma fills the air on a hot day and lifts the spirits, a property which has been harnessed medicinally since ancient times. An important herb in Italian, Greek and Mexican cooking, oregano is often used dried rather than fresh in strongly flavoured dishes in which ingredients such as chilli, garlic, tomatoes, onions, olives and wine predominate. Leaves and flowering tops are infused for tea. Oregano is a must-have in any herb garden. Its pungent, spicy, slightly bitter flavour pairs well with almost any vegetable preparation. And just as easy to grow as chives, oregano is another go-to for the first-time gardener. Although oregano thrives in a warm climate, it is a hardy perennial that returns year after year, without much work. Oregano plants can last ten years, and will withstand snowstorms and still continue to produce healthy, vibrantly coloured leaves. Older plants still yield delicious leaves, but their potency decreases once they reach three or four years in age. Oregano is one of those plants that looks beautiful planted within the landscaping or along a path. It is a ‘garden anchor’ that comes back every spring, providing height and dimension within the garden. Oregano also grows well in containers, so if have a limited growing space, it is a great option. Oregano also performs well indoors, when given enough light and warmth. You can grow oregano by planting from seed, by dividing, or from a cutting taken from a healthy, established plant. When planting from seed, plant seeds outdoors about six weeks before the last frost. If you are planting a cutting or transplanting a seedling or small plant, make sure the ground temperature is at least 70°F. Plant oregano in light, well46

Oregano or marjoram?

The names are inte rchangeable. Origan um vulgare is called wild marjora m in the UK and or egano in the Mediterranean. Ot hers say when grow n as a culinary herb it is referred to as oregano. The only species with a name that hints at m marjoram) therefor arjoram is O. majoraba (sweet e some believe that this is the only true marjoram. Sw eet marjoram orig inates from Italy an was introduced in d to the UK in the 16 th it was put into no segays used to war Century when d off the plague and pestilence and als commonly eaten in o used as snuff. The herb was not the UK until packag off and people en joyed the herb in Ita e holidays took ly and when pizza became popular.

drained soil. Oregano actually grows better in moderately fertile soil, so no fertilisation or addition of compost is necessary. Oregano performs well in part to full sun, but the flavours intensify when it receives a full day of sunshine. Don't overwater oregano. Water thoroughly, only when the soil is dry to the touch. Plant oregano eight to 10 inches apart. Oregano grows up to two feet tall and spans about 18 inches across. If you are planting oregano in a container, be sure the pot is about 12 inches in diameter; oregano is a prolific grower. Oregano is a great companion plant to almost anything, so don't worry about planting it next to something it won't get along with. Many gardeners plant it alongside tomatoes and peppers. Oregano keeps away a tomato's archenemy, aphids, by means of predation. Aphids actually love oregano, but oregano also attracts syrphidae (flower flies), which then dine upon the small bugs. Oregano's thick foliage also provides humidity, which supports peppers' growth. Harvesting couldn't be simpler. You may harvest oregano once the stems are at least four inches tall. Let the plant grow to about eight inches tall, and then cut back up to two thirds of the plant. If you won't be drying your oregano by the bunch, and you only need the leaves, simply grab the stem about two thirds down the length of the plant and run your fingers along the stem. The leaves will collect in your hand, and then all you'll have to do afterwards is trim the now-leafless stem. To obtain the optimum potency of flavour, harvest oregano leaves just before the plant flowers, if you can time it perfectly. Even the subtly flavoured flowers are great topped on salads.

Country Gardener



Tel: 07966 258267 / 01258 840082



Tel: 07966 258267 / 01258 840082

Dorset Country Gardener September 2017  

The September 2017 Issue of Dorset Country Gardener Magazine

Dorset Country Gardener September 2017  

The September 2017 Issue of Dorset Country Gardener Magazine