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Hampshire ISSUE NO 104 MAY 2018 FREE

www.countrygardener.co.uk

Long live LAVENDER... and now all summer long

Sensational

garden days out in May

P lus

VEGETABLES WITH

the taste of Italy

Seductive a beating th lpines; e invasion; s weed u squashes; mmer grow own loofa your h’s

Gardening events galore THROUGHOUT HAMPSHIRE

GA R DE N

CE NTRE

FARM

S H OP

www.garsons.co.uk www.garsons.c w w.garsons.c o.uk

BUT CH E RS

RE S T AURAN T

TITCHFIELD Fontley Road Titchfield Hampshire PO15 6QX 01329 844336


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Erin 75ltr Multi-Purpose Compost £3.50 Erin 100ltr Chipped Bark £4.99 Erin 35ltr Growbag only £1.85 Miracle-Gro 50ltr Enriched compost £3.95 Country Care 50ltr Mushroom Compost £2.65 Country Care 50ltr Horse Compost £2.65 Country Care 50ltr Topsoil £2.65 Yankee Candles from £3.95 Dulux 5ltr Masonry Paint £14.95 Woodlodge pots all 25% off RRP

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Up Front!

“The world’s favourite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.” - Edwin Way Teale “Queer things happen in the garden in May. Little faces forgotten appear, and plants thought to be dead suddenly wave a green hand to confound you.” - W. E. John

OUR HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GARDENING CALENDAR OVER THE COMING WEEKS IN HAMPSHIRE

Chawton House workshops with Mottisfont’s former head gardener Historic Chawton House near Alton, once the home of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight and now a centre for the research of women writers, is running a series of gardening workshops with Thomas Stone, the former head gardener of Mottisfont Abbey Gardens. He is working with Andrew Bentley, the garden manager at Chawton House, using their beautiful grounds and plants to cover a wide range of garden subjects. A half day workshop on looking after roses is taking place on Tuesday, 24th April, and a whole day workshop on dealing with common pests in the garden is on Tuesday, 15th May. Thomas Stone is a professional gardener, speaker and blogger with nearly 30 years horticultural experience, having worked at Mottisfont Abbey Gardens, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and several private gardens as a head gardener. Tickets are £40 for the half day course and £75 for the full day. Refreshments and lunch are included. Call 01420 541010 or book online at www.chawtonhouse.org Chawton House and its gardens with tearoom are open to the public until early December, including weekends and bank holidays, Monday to Friday 12.30pm-4.30pm, weekends and bank holidays 11am-4.30pm. Chawton House, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire GU34 1SJ.

Vegetable planning in Gilbert White’s kitchen garden There’s a Spring Kitchen Garden Course at Gilbert Whites House in Selborne on Saturday, 21st April from 10am to 4pm with the chance to spend a day in the kitchen garden learning how to plan, prepare and sow your own vegetables. The course covers crop planning, soil preparation, setting out growing areas and seed sowing. Apply to Gilbert White & The Oates Collections, High Street, Selborne, Hampshire. GU34 3JH. Tel: 01420 511275

Newton Valence prepares for May gardens open

A wonderful selection of gardens open in the village of Newton Valence on Sunday, 20th May from 1pm to 5pm. The village is tucked away above the hangars of Selborne in Hampshire on the edge of the South Downs National Park. The gardens vary in size and style and include a trellis garden, a pergola garden, an English courtyard garden, a walled garden, a garden with a view and a cottage garden. Tea and cakes will be available in the village hall and there will be a home produce stall by the village pond. Assistance dogs only allowed and proceeds go to St Marys Church, Newton Valence. There will be an interesting selection of plants for sale and entry is £5.00 per adult, with accompanied under 16s free.

Arundel Castle ready with 60,000 tulips The gardens at Arundel Castle celebrating their 10th birthday in style - with the blooming of around 60,000 tulips. The Collector Earl’s Garden will host its largest ever tulip festival from mid-April to early May. It’s part of celebrations to mark the 950th anniversary of the castle’s initial construction. Over 120 named varieties of tulip will be on display at this year’s event, including ‘Pink Impression’, the deep rose pink petals of which will frame the enchanting water rill ponds.

On display for the first time will be the glamorous ‘Carnival de Rio’, which is as flamboyant as the Brazilian festival it is named after. A season pass for the gardens is £35, and can be purchased from the Castle ticket office. Private guided tours of the gardens can also be arranged in advance. www.arundelcastle.org Tel: 01903 882173

Look out for the June edition of Country Gardener from Saturday 19th May onwards www.countrygardener.co.uk

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Country Gardener


...In Hampshire

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A LOOK AT NEWS, EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS IN HAMPSHIRE

Three-day Stansted Park event a country delight Stansted Park’s three-day garden show at the beginning of June is a country delight. It doesn’t have the status of an RHS show, but neither does it have the wall-to-wall crowds or the high prices. But what it does have is an eclectic mix of garden plants, garden accessories, arts and crafts and food stalls - there is something for everybody. There is plenty of car parking with the added advantage of it being free and entry fees range between ÂŁ5 and ÂŁ8. The ‘Garden Show in Summer ‘at Stansted Park, the Hampshire Grade II country house and estate takes place from Friday, 8th to Sunday, 10th June and is a perfect event to find all you need for your garden. The well-established show is a great opportunity to source new gardening talent, designers and artisans. There’s a range of affordable and

Health and wellbeing at Harold Hillier Gardens

handpicked stands with specialist plants, garden accessories, sculpture, art and food. The Garden Show at Stansted Park opens daily from 10am to 5pm (last entry 4pm). Tickets are ÂŁ9 for adults, ÂŁ7 for 60plus and ÂŁ3 for children 15 years and under. Stansted Park, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire PO9 6DX Also make a note in your diary for The Garden Show at Loseley Park, Guildford which takes place from Friday, 27th to Sunday, 29th July. www.thegardenshowonline.com

HOUGHTON LODGE WELCOMES THE BEST IN FLORAL ART

The popular Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey is launching a health and wellbeing course aimed at linking health with the garden. The course is called Brain, Body and Landscape - and runs on Saturdays 28th April, 5th May, 16th June and 23rd June, from 10am to 1pm. It is a series of ‘walk and talk’ nature-based workshops to keep your mind and body healthy. The sessions will be led by Dr Helen Molden, a chartered counselling psychologist and psychotherapist who has a specialist interest in health psychology. Benefits include strategies to reduce stress, improve sleep and boost mental agility. Price is ÂŁ95 for four sessions and entry to the Gardens for the afternoon of the sessions. Booking is essential. Tel: 01264 810502. Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Ampfield, Romsey SO51 0QA

Houghton Lodge and Gardens in Stockbridge has a season of exciting art exhibitions planned featuring professional artists as it continues its collaboration with Creative Coverage, the Hampshire arts organisation. The first exhibition from April to June will feature floral, still life and fungi paintings by Ingrid Skoglund, George Paul Sainsbury and Peter Thwaites as well as hanging glass pictures by Susan Purser Hope, elected Chair of the Contemporary Glass Society. Then from June to August Houghton Lodge will feature photographs by Sarah MacDonald and paintings by Sara Barnes, Nancy Jones, Michael Jevon and Pat Regnart. www.houghtonlodge.co.uk Houghton Lodge, Tiebridge Cottages, North Houghton, Stockbridge SO20 6LQ

NGS makes record ÂŁ3.1 million donation to charities The National Garden Scheme, which is popular with owners and visitors in Hampshire, has announced a record total donation of ÂŁ3.1 million from garden openings in 2017 - a figure which has doubled in ten years and brings the total donated to beneficiary charities since the NGS was founded in 1927 to ÂŁ55 million. Beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie and Hospice UK, who each receive ÂŁ500,000 from funds raised in 2017. Annual donations continue to Carers Trust, Queen’s Nursing Institute, Parkinson’s UK and Perennial, as well as MS Society, which is NGS’ guest charity for the third and final year. George Plumptre, chief executive of the NGS, said: “The NGS is hugely grateful for everything our garden owners and volunteers have done in 2017. They have worked tirelessly to open their exceptional gardens to the public and provide delicious tea and cake to thousands of visitors, who in turn generously support the NGS, come rain or shine!â€? www.countrygardener.co.uk

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GARDENERS’ CUTTINGS IN HAMP SHIRE

MOTTISFONT GETS EARLY SHOWING OF PRIZE WINNING CRAFTS The popular National Trust property Mottisfont Abbey is one of the first venues in the country to stage the diverse works by the 12 finalists of the £10,000 Woman’s Hour Craft Prize. From a bespoke bicycle to willow sculpture, this exhibition provides an important snapshot of contemporary British craft. The exhibition tour is organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize is in association with BBC Radio 4 and the Crafts Council and runs from 25th April to 24th June, and is open from 11am to 5pm. Normal property admission price only. Mottisfont is one of the first locations on a country-wide tour of these fascinating works. Mottisfont Abbey Garden, House and Estate, Mottisfont, nr Romsey, Hampshire SO51 OLP

Hampshire lawn mowing season 233 days long last year The lawn-mowing season for Hampshire gardeners was 233 days last year. Sunday 26th March was the most popular start to the mowing year and Thursday 2nd November was the busiest day for final mows. The results come from a survey a survey to determine the length of the UK lawn-mowing season. It is part of a wider campaign to obtain year on year figures to see if changing weather patterns are impacting upon grass growth and gardening conditions. The 2018 survey is now open for people to submit their first mow date. The link is www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/lawn2018. All participants will be entered into a draw to win £50 of gardening vouchers.

Cold snap delays Japanese knotweed Hampshire gardens blighted by destructive Japanese knotweed may be hoping the plant has died when it failed to emerge from its winter hibernation around mid to late-March. But the recent cold weather is only delaying the start of the plant’s growing season by between four to six weeks. The cold March weather is causing the weed described by the Environment Agency as “the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant”, to prolong its underground hibernation, before beginning its annual assault on property foundations, patios, driveways, cavity walls and drains. Environet offers a free Japanese knotweed identification service for worried homeowners, who can email photos to expert@environetuk.com.

Spring garden masterclass at Forde Abbey There’s a powerful line up when Forde Abbey hosts a ‘Garden Masterclass Spring Event’ on Saturday, 12th May with the trio of Anna Pavord, Keith Wiley and Harriet Rycroft focusing on all things spring in the garden. There will be a garden tour given by Danny Burlingham. The themes for the day are: ANNA PAVORD – A tale of tulips. How did this flower, this capricious, subtle, powerful flower, first arrive in our gardens? Anna tells its story and talks about some of her favourites. KEITH WILEY – Woodlanders in Spring. Keith will focus his talk on the wonders of naturalistic, woodland planting and how to transform the dry shady areas of the garden. Anna Pavord HARRIET RYCROFT – A potted year. Harriet will talk about plant containers so that they earn their keep from spring to spring. Please note the day runs from 10.30am – 5pm, arrival at 10am when the gardens open. Lunch and entry to the garden, £140. Forde Abbey, Chard TA20 4LU. Tel: 01460 221290 6

Country Gardener


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A beautiful place to live

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Gardening with MINDLESSNESS Grenville Sheringham believes there are many garden tasks which lend themselves to a spot of daydreaming …

There seems to be a fashion these days for doing everything with mindfulness, gardening included. This is a cause of some concern for me because I have always thought of my gardening as a mindless activity. Let me explain what I mean. In my younger days I worked in various large public and private gardens as part of a team, and a lot of the work was, frankly, boring. This was mainly due to the fact that a task like tidying an overgrown border, that would perhaps take you a morning in your own garden, could take two or three of us a week. I remember spending an entire winter raking up leaves in an arboretum, and most of a summer edging and hoeing beds and borders. Now when we are young, time seems to pass much more slowly, and an eight hour day can sometimes feel like forever.

‘...one of the pleasures of gardening - to be engaged in a satisfying activity while remaining free of the need to focus on the task in hand.’ At first I would find myself clockwatching. The incessant swish-swish of the long wooden lawn rake among the leaves, like waves lapping on the sea shore. Or the clip-clip-clip of the edging shears pecking away at the grass edge. I found listening to these sounds and feeling the rhythm of the work was soothing and calming and totally absorbing. And so over the years I have found that whenever I am engaged in a repetitive task, I unconsciously slip into that same mindless state. Having done most gardening tasks so often now that I think I can consider myself a bit of an 8

Country Gardener

Grenville Sheringham:”W hen it comeshts to gardening I must admit my thoug are rambling all over the place”.

‘expert’, it is very satisfying to almost feel the tool doing the job for you. I am sure it is the same for any professional who regularly uses their tools efficiently and effectively, and takes pleasure in the results of their labour. But nowadays a lot of gardening tasks we used to do by hand are done mechanically. This has to be a blessing with jobs like hedge trimming or sawing large branches of course, but there can of course be no question of mindlessly hedge trimming or chainsawing, as I found out the hard way (luckily with no long term consequences)! So to return to the question of mindfulness versus mindlessness. My understanding is that if you wish to do a task mindfully, then you must give it your full attention and be aware of each movement, eliminating any passing thoughts while you focus on the task. Like many people of my age I have done a bit of yoga and meditation in my time so yes, I get the idea, and I think it is great to just focus on breathing or whatever, but when it comes to gardening I must admit my thoughts are rambling all over the place from why chickens lay eggs and which came first to what’s for dinner tonight. But that for me is one of the pleasures of gardening - to be engaged in a satisfying activity while remaining free of the need to focus on the task in hand. Of course there are lots of gardening tasks that need full concentration - seed sowing, pruning, planting, to name but a few, but many gardening activities are repetitive and undemanding, so take the opportunity to relax and enjoy the fact that you are engaged in an activity that leaves space for daydreaming. As one of the old gardeners I worked with years ago would say as we made our way out to work in the morning – mind in neutral, feet in first!


Mark Hinsley

MSc.Res.Man.(Arb), OND (Arb), F.Arbor.A

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JOBS IN THE GARDEN

May is always looked forward to as the first month of summer but it also marks the end of spring. It is a month when gardeners can get caught out by mini droughts and heat waves and even the last, late frosts. The biggest threat is young plants that have that have recently been transplanted into the open ground and any freshly emerging seedlings. So be sure to keep all of them well watered and if the young transplants look as if they are flagging give them some shade protection from the heat of the sun or drying winds. On the other hand May can bring damaging frosts, cold winds with heavy rain, so be prepared to take steps to protect plants if it is necessary.

JOBS IN THE

May garden Earth up potatoes Spuds planted in March or early April should be showing long healthy shoots above the compost. By earthing up your potatoes, you can increase the number of potatoes grown from each tuber and protect your spuds from damaging sun exposure. Earthing up is the name given to the process of covering shoots with additional compost. When shoots are showing 10cm above the compost, cover them with more compost to leave just four cm shoots showing at the tip. Repeat this process every time shoots reach 10cm tall.

Stay vigilant on weed watch

Pesky weeds will be popping up faster than your crops as the soil warms up. Check under leaves of crops as well as between rows and gently remove with a weeding fork. Catch weeds while they’re small by hoeing borders and the vegetable garden once a week. Paths, drives and patios can be kept weed-free by spraying with a path weed killer. Many of these prevent weeds returning for several months after they are applied. Perennial weeds, such as dandelions, have roots that will regrow if you just kill the leaves. They will eventually weaken over time if you hoe them off, or you could try to dig out the roots.

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Earthing up potatoes is vital for a healthy crop

How to beat a cold spring The cold start to the season has delayed the planting and slowed the development of many vegetables. Some varieties need a long growing period in which to mature, so it can be helpful to find ways of chivvying them along. Where small numbers of plants are required, planting indoors in modules or pots can protect young, vulnerable plants and enable them to be grown on and planted out as soon as the weather allows. Larger plants are also less susceptible to slug damage than seedlings and so losses are fewer. Cloches will not only keep the soil beneath drier, but also retain the heat from the sun, transforming cold, wet, and claggy soils into warm, crumbly soils that are suitable for sowing into directly. Simple mulches or coverings also warm the soil and can be used with advantage as permanent mulches on certain crops. Carrots, for example, will benefit from the shelter and warmth created by fleece, and will naturally raise the cover as they grow. Tucking in the sides of the fleece also prevents the carrot root fly from entering, minimising crop damage. Potatoes can be planted through a black plastic mulch. This will aid tuber development as well as helping to prevent the soil from drying out. No earthing-up is required, as the tubers will form beneath the black plastic and be shielded from the light. As they develop on the surface, harvesting them merely requires rolling back the plastic, and since the plants can be left in situ, smaller potatoes can often be left to increase in size. Country Gardener


Sow and plant into warm soil

CUT PERENNIALS WITH THE ‘CHELSEA CHOP’ The ‘Chelsea Chop’ in the week of the famous flower show (or thereabouts) helps to keep the taller, late-flowering perennials from leaning. Pinch out asters, Helenium and Eupatorium at knee height and they will re-branch to provide you with stockier plants.

MAKE A BEAN W IGWAM After a wet March your soil may need ‘warm

ing’ up

Warm up your vegetable plot with a ground preparation fleece before sowing or planting out. When temperatures rise during May, seeds and plants will grow rapidly, however when temperatures drop, plant growth grinds to a halt. A gardening fleece will keep temperatures up, whilst being permeable enough to allow air and moisture through, ensuring healthy growth. The added bonus of a gardening fleece is it will help diffuse strong light, providing shading and preventing damaging scorching. Plant in pots or trays under glass, dwarf and climbing French beans, runner beans, sweet corn, outdoor cucumbers, courgettes, pumpkins, squashes, outdoor cucumbers – all which can be planted out next month. Savoy cabbage, winter cabbage, endive, kale and sprouting broccoli can be sown in the open ground now, ready to be planted out next month. This is also your last opportunity to sow peas and parsnips this year.

Use canes or hazel stems to make a support for growing beans. Either tie the tops together to form a wigwam or else arrange the supports in long ’X s’ that cross either half way up or close to the top. Sow a couple of beans to each cane and a few at the ends of the row, as replacements for any that don’t come up. Beans are greedy plants so they’ll enjoy being grown above a trench filled with rotted manure or kitchen compost (even part rotted will do). Cover the trench with soil and then plant the beans. Once the beans are up make sure that the slugs cannot get to the growing tips because they’ll destroy the plant.

THIN OUT SEEDLINGS Seedlings sown in rows can quickly grow into each other’s space, taking up vital water and nutrients, effectively reducing your harvest. Use a dibber to gently remove excess seedlings whilst protecting their roots and transplant healthy seedlings elsewhere. Once you have thinned out your seedlings, water your remaining seedlings to allow the surrounding compost to re-settle. www.countrygardener.co.uk

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PLUS

Set up a safe haven for garden wildlife Butterflies and bees are valuable pollinators that are always more than welcome in the garden. You can attract these beneficial bugs by sowing colourful wildflower seeds and providing them with food and a safe place to stay. With May’s unpredictable weather, a butterfly house or bee log is brilliant for these bugs’ survival, as it will provide a safe place to hide from the rain.

Watch the temperatures around your tomatoes Tomatoes originate from South America and suffer as soon as temperatures drop below 10°C. Keep them under cover until you can be sure that the weather is warm enough to plant them outside, and then find the warmest spot to give them all the help they can get. If you are growing in the ground, keep well away from the potatoes, as blight can travel from one to the next. Try to keep the plants in a position that is warm but with air movement, as the blight favours humidity. Bush varieties are great in pots on the terrace.

Time to repot pelargoniums Tough as old boots they may be, but last year’s pelargoniums appreciate repotting and new soil to set them up for the summer. For best results, pick off dead foliage, prune back to healthy new shoots and give them all the sun they can get.

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

1. Watch out for late frosts. Protect tender plants 2. Earth up potatoes, and promptly plant any still remaining 3. Plant out summer bedding at the end of the month (except in cold areas) 4. Collect rainwater and investigate ways to recycle water for irrigation 5. Regularly hoe off weeds 12

• Keep sowing seeds in small batches roughly fortnightly so that you avoid having a glut but give yourself a longer more manageable harvest. • Repot supermarket herbs, dividing them into smaller pots, a couple of stems per small pot should do for starters. You can use this trick on mint, coriander, basil, thyme – pretty much anything. • Pinch out the tops of chillies to encourage new branches to grow and create a bushier plant. • If you haven’t started growing yet now is the perfect time to get in young plug plants or buy young plants from garden centres and nurseries. There is so much to choose from to grow in raised beds and allotments. • Keep hoeing between crops to control weeds and also create a ‘dust mulch’ to conserve precious soil moisture. Try to water in the cool of the evening if possible using a watering can to direct the water around the root area of the crops. • If you can get it, put some straw underneath the developing strawberry fruits to keep them off the soil and try to avoid watering overhead to reduce any problems with mildew.

CUT EVERGREEN HEDGES May is a good time to trim evergreen hedges, such as Lonicera, box and yew; it will get their edges looking crisp and neat. Small hedges can be trimmed with shears. Larger hedges are best tackled with a hedge trimmer. It is illegal to disturb nesting birds, so be sure to check the hedges for signs of nests before you start the job.

6. Open greenhouse vents and doors on warm days 7. Mow lawns weekly 8. Check for nesting birds before clipping hedges 9. Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs 10. Watch out for viburnum beetle and lily beetle grubs

Country Gardener


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ALPINES –

always

AND FOREVER

Gill Heavens looks at the diminutive plants which have wandered in and out of fashion throughout the years but which are now undergoing a renaissance Alpine plants can be found, as the name would suggest, in the mountainous regions of the world. In the wild they grow in alpine meadows and the extreme rocky outcrops above them. From autumn to spring they are often covered with a blanket of snow, which perversely protects them from the duel horrors of humidity and sudden frosts. They are conditions that rarely occur in this country, but this has not hindered their popularity, in fact they are at present undergoing a real upward swing in popularity. These diminutive plants and their associated rock gardens have wandered in and out of fashion throughout the years. A stalwart of the 1970s garden, along with crazy paving and conifers, it would be tempting to think that this is where it all began. In fact it started long before. Initially it was the beauty of the rocks that was attractive to 18th century gardeners, and on a grand scale. Enormous recreations of mountainous scapes were constructed, each rich landowner vying for the biggest, best and most naturalistic. Increasingly, these were planted with spoils from the great plant hunters’ expeditions. By the end of the 19th century most large estates were owners of alpine gardens, and an invention by James Pulham subsequently allowed more modest gardens to join in the fun. 14

This breakthrough in garden history was manufactured stone, modestly named Pulhamite, a composite of sand, clinker and Portland cement. It was used to make statues, follies and more importantly for us, rock gardens. In 1863 Thomas Cook arranged his first trip to the Alps and thereafter holidays to the mountainous regions of Europe became popular, and with it alpine gardening. Straddling the Victorian and Edwardian eras was Reginald Farrer, perhaps the most famous advocate of this style of gardening. He was an avid traveller and plant collector, his book My Rock Garden was published in 1907 and The English Rock Garden in 1919. The alpine plants that have caused such passion over the centuries, have evolved to best suit their exposed conditions and are generally low growing in order to avoid icy winds. Although annuals are rare in these harsh conditions, herbaceous perennials, bulbs, shrubs and trees are all well represented. Many of our border plants have alpine cousins that can be utilised, including violet flowering Hebe ‘Youngii’ which reaches a petite 20cm tall, Phlox subulata which will flood the ground with rivers of pink, white and blue throughout the summer months, and the dark-eyed, pink veined Geranium cinereum ‘Ballerina’ which grows to the heady heights of 15cm.

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Early in the year species tulips such as the wonderful Tulipa griegii, which makes up for its lack in height by its excess of flower, the scented buttercup yellow Iris danfordiae, and primulas of all types will brighten the dull days. As the year progresses dogs tooth violets, pulsatillas and aubrietas will come into their own. With the summer approaching, dianthus, Gypsophila repens, which is a carpet of pink for weeks on end, and saxifrages will thrive. Other summer favourites are the Himalayan woolly rock jasmine, Androsace lanuginosa, with its palest pink flowers centred with yellow or red and the silver leaved Moroccan Daisy, Rhodanthemum hosmariense, from the Atlas mountains. The golden Sternbergia lutea and azure blue, autumn gentians herald the coming of the autumn. For year round interest, dwarf evergreen conifers are ideal, including the rocket-shaped Juniperus communis ‘Compressa’, the low lying Norwegian spruce Picea abies ‘Little Gem’ and the arching and slightly depressed sounding cedar, Cedrus deodara ‘Feeling Blue’. Hopefully I have made it quite clear that there are a host of suitable plants from which to choose. However keeping them alive is perhaps not quite so simple. First let us think about where to grow them. If you are that way inclined, you could build a mountain in your back garden; this option I would imagine, is not open to many of us! Some lucky people own an alpine house where it is easier to control water levels and ventilation. I have lusted after the house at RHS Rosemoor for many years, where each visit is a joy, marvelling at the season’s stars. Favourites can be grown in a cold frame, covers can easily be added when protection is necessary. Your Lilliputian lovelies can be displayed in a

dedicated raised bed, where they will be held high for inspection. Or you could use an old Belfast sink or trough or indeed any other suitable container, use your imagination. Some, such as thymes, can be pushed into gaps in paving and lewisia may be grown between the courses in dry stone wall. Whatever your preferred receptacle might be, preparation is everything. Hate is not too strong a word to describe most alpines’ opinion on wet conditions, thus drainage is a necessity, drainage upon drainage. A mix of sharp sand, compost and soil, topdressed with grit is ideal. For optimum chance of success ensure that you know the requirements of your plants before you start planting out. Some alpines are more suited to being baked all summer long, some will take more shade. Make sure that if you are growing ericaceous specimens you don’t use limestone chippings, as your little darlings will complain bitterly. Few of us have grand estates staffed with an army of construction workers and gardeners to recreate and maintain a facsimile of the Massif Central in Maidstone. This is not a problem when growing alpines. In fact the very size of these pocket-sized beauties means that, with a little research and love and attention, you can create a microcosm of alpine life. I am no expert but I know that out there is a wonderful, bijou world just waiting to be investigated. For any of you that might be interested, a good starting point would be The Alpine Garden Society which was formed in 1929 and thrives to this day. I apologise now to those who will become addicted. For one, I don’t dare even look! www.alpinegardensociety.net www.countrygardener.co.uk

Clockwise from top left: Cedrus deodara ‘Feeling Blue’; Geranium cinereum ‘Ballerina’; Gypsophila repens; Hebe ‘Youngii’; Phlox subulata; Picea abies ‘Little Gem’; Tulipa griegii; Rhodanthemum hosmariense

15


Powderham Castle, Friday 27th and Saturday 28th April, 10am-5pm

The campaign to save the M5 Willow Man Toby’s Garden Festival is at the heart of a campaign to secure the future of the iconic M5 willow man who strides alongside the motorway near junction 23 at Bridgwater. Created by artist Serena de la Hey in 2000 as part of The Year of the Artist the willow man was conceived as a temporary structure and now nearly two decades on, it needs a complete rebuild as well as a fund for future maintenance. Serena is creating a huge ‘Willow Wonder’ at the festival with help from artist Stefan Jennings and Toby, which will be located in the Powderham Deer Park. Visitors will be able to add their own embellishments and support the fundraising.

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A two page preview of one of the West Country’s most popular garden festivals

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Toby’s Garden Festival at Powderham Castle, Devon

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Drop in to learn more about fermented veg

What is fermented veg and why are we being encouraged to eat it? How can we maximise health benefits of all the lovely vegetables we grow? New research suggests that improved gut health means better sleep too.

Katie Venner left - passionate about fermenting

Katie Venner, adviser on the fermenting story on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Archers’ and Jo Webster will be at the festival to explain and demonstrate how you too can simply and easily make kimchi, kefir and kombucha.

‘Boycie’ shares his house and garden delights Willow artist Serena de la Hay

The iconic Somerset Willow Man

Pest Clinic to sort out your garden problems The festival will stage a special Pest Clinic on both days with eco friendly help and advice with garden pest and disease problems from Dr Ian Bedord, Head of Entomology at the world famous John Innes Research Centre. Grazers the pet and planet friendly deterrent sprays which deter everything from slugs and snails to pigeons, der and even rabbits. The Pest Clinic with Grazers is on the Castle Rose Lawn. 16

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John Challis, the actor and author best known for playing Boycie in the BBC’s most successful sitcom Only Fools and Horses is to speak at the festival Keen gardener John will be signing copies of his book, Wigmore Abbey: The Treasure of Mortimer, an autobiographical account of creating his house and garden in Herefordshire with wife Carol.

BOOK TICKETS IN ADVANCE Adults £10; Children £3.50 at www.tobygardenfest.co.uk Tickets on the gate £12.50 Assistance dogs only are permitted onto the showground due to the deer.


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ADVANCED TICKETS: www.tobygardenfest.co.uk

Speakers’ Marquee ON THE ROSE LAWN 11am 12pm 2pm

3pm

FRIDAY 27TH APRIL

SATURDAY 28TH APRIL

Jim Buttress chats to actor John Challis – Boycie from Only Fools & Horses – about his life Rachel de Thame on FLOWERS, COLOUR COMBINING AND HER TIPS FOR A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN BBC RADIO DEVON’S GARDENERS Q & A SESSION with Toby and expert team (for broadcast on Toby’s Sunday morning show) Toby talks to willow artist Serena de la Hey about the campaign to SAVE THE M5 WILLOW MAN

Terry Walton, BBC Radio Two’s allotment doctor, on GROWING FRUIT AND VEG ORGANICALLY Jim Buttress chats to actor John Challis – Boycie from Only Fools & Horses – about his life BBC RADIO DEVON’S GARDENERS Q & A SESSION with Toby and expert team (for broadcast on Toby’s Sunday morning show) Toby talks to willow artist Serena de la Hey about the campaign to SAVE THE M5 WILLOW MAN

Sow, Grow & Cook Tipi 10:30am 11:30am

1:30pm 2:30pm

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ON THE NORTH LAWN

FRIDAY 27TH APRIL

SATURDAY 28TH APRIL

BUTTERFLY GARDENING with Dr Ian Bedford, Head Entomologist from the John Innes Research Centre FERMENTING VEG, THE GUT-FRIENDLY WAY to store and eat veg crops with Katie Venner of Tracebridge Sourdough and Jo Waters of Wonderglut.com HOW TO GRAFT AN APPLE TREE with Kevin Croucher, owner of Devon tree nursery Thornhayes COOKING DEMO with Anita Claire-Field from Petite Bouchee

BUTTERFLY GARDENING with Dr Ian Bedford, Head Entomologist from the John Innes Research Centre HAVE YOUR PATIO AND EAT IT with Toby Buckland, tips for veg-growing in small spaces PRACTICAL SOWING WORKSHOP with Sara Venn, from Edible Bristol VEGAN COOKING DEMO with ideas for gluts from Danny Evans, allotmenteer, owner and chef from Feniton Foods

Festival celebrity speaker

LINE UP

RACHEL DE THAME BBC Gardeners’ World presenter and author Rachel will be sharing her passion for flowers and giving the lowdown on what it’s like to design the floral decorations for the Queen during 2012’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames on Friday.

PLANT NURSERIES

at the festival

The finest specialist nurseries from across the country will come together in spectacular style at Toby’s Garden Festival held for the fifth year at Powderham Castle on Friday 27th and Saturday, 28th April. The popular two-day event has a record number of exhibitors with almost 60 new stallholders attending the Devon event for the first time. The nurseries attending the festival are selected as genuine growers who produce the plants they sell themselves. They represent the widest possible range of p[plants, including perennials. Shrubs and trees, alpines,bulbs and exotic plants- and all the growers many of them with Gold Medal success at Chelsea Flower Show are experts in the plants they have at the festival.

TERRY WALTON Allotment doctor Terry, known for broadcasting from his Rhondda Valley allotment on BBC Radio Two’s Jeremy Vine Show will be here on Saturday 28th April, sharing his love of growing fruit and veg and growing organically.

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JIM BUTTRESS TV gardener and author Jim Buttress is best known for BBC’s The Big Allotment Challenge. His horticultural career has Challenge taken him from Superintendent of the Royal Parks to RHS shows judge and head judge for Britain in Bloom for 25 years! 17


SIGHT

FOR SORE EYES

C ontinuing with our ‘Five Senses’ series. Gill Heavens considers what some think of as the most relevant, the sense of sight.

Caradonna forms part of a planting scheme that mixes purples, soft pinks and dots of white

We use our eyes for admiring other peoples’ gardens and planning our own, for recognising plants and finding our way around. All very simple. There are however tricks that can be employed to visually manipulate our surroundings, by using the magical effects that the clever use of colour and form can achieve. Many of these things we do naturally, without even thinking, especially those of us who are lucky enough to ‘have an eye’ for it. Some we can learn. Hopefully you will find a few tips here to help you along the way. Firstly, let us consider the use of colour in the garden. Gertrude Jekyll, in her Colour Schemes for the Flower Garden, speaks of using plants as if they were colours on an artist’s pallet. We all have our favourite shades and hues, some enjoy pastels, some abhor yellow, and others adore green flowers. Of this there is no right or wrong; however there is a way to take our favourite hues and set them off to perfection. It appears there are rules for most things in life, and the use of colour is no exception. As an aid to artists of all persuasions (and yes gardeners are artists), someone, somewhere invented the colour wheel. This ‘wheel’ is a segmented circle each section of which is a different colour of the spectrum, in strict order. Colours next to each other are called Analogous and are harmonious, for example orange lies between red and yellow. Opposites are called Complementary and these set each other off to best 18

effect, blue opposing orange. In practice this means that orange calendulas look wonderful with yellow rudbeckia and red geums, however they are also striking when used in conjunction with royal blue delphiniums. Be careful though, keep the tint the same, strong colours with strong colours. Don’t be a martyr to the cause, what are rules for after all? In your own garden you can do whatever you like. So called “clashes”, those that go against these rules, can be both challenging and invigorating. Different colours exhibit different properties. The cooler colours such as pinks and blues perform better placed out of full sun and tend to be relaxing and calming. Bright, or hot, colours really zing in the hottest part of the garden and sizzle in the heat of the day. Cooler colours tend to recede into the background whilst the hot ones come towards you. This can be used to great effect, especially when planting out a small garden. Using bright reds and their brash associates in the foreground, and dusky mauves and lilacs towards the back of the garden will help to give the illusion of length. These rules refer not only to flowers but also to foliage and bark, as well as hard landscaping. Now we have got our colours sorted out let us think about form, or shape. Just like the colours, contrast is all. To show off your plants at their best it is as well not to place similar ones next to each other. They will just get lost in a boring blur. You have spent good money on your plants, so each and every one of them needs to be appreciated.

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So called “clashes”, those that go against these rules, can be both challenging and invigorating

Jekyll recommended a colour called ‘invisible green’ - just a green that sort of retreats into the background, one that’s not an eyesore

A sculpture, seat or arbour will capture your eye, luring the curious towards them

Using bright reds and their brash associates in the foreground helps give the illusion of length

True, not everyone can be a star, but we need spear carriers to assist the divas; all roles are important. Leaves come in many shapes and sizes, from the huge hands of gunnera to the delicate fronds of brachychome, the long and strappy iris foliage and round nasturtiums. Flowers shapes are equally as varied in size and form, such as panicles of campanula, bronze fennel umbels or composite sunflowers. Mix all these ingredients up and you will produce an interesting and visually tasty garden cake. The natural shape of each plant can also be utilised, and this can be manipulated, to a certain extent, by pruning and training. Formality and exuberance also work well together. A classic example of this is a well-clipped parterre just managing to contain billowing cosmos and poker straight lupins. We can use the inherent characteristics of colour and shape to solve problems in the garden. The narrowness of long, thin gardens can be lessened with the use of diagonally placed paths and borders, with eyecatching specimen plants breaking up the space. Small plots can ‘borrow’ features from beyond the garden, such as a neighbour’s tree or a hill in the distance, which serves to elongate your tiny patch. The use of focal points in the garden is a ploy worth engaging. A sculpture, seat or arbour will capture your eye, luring the curious towards them. This is useful for a couple of reasons; to encourage movement through the garden or to draw

“It appears there are rules for most things in life, and the use of colour is no exception.” the visitor away from something the garden designer didn’t want you to dwell on, like the composting area! What we want to do in the garden is to slow down our audience; after all our hard work we don’t want them rushing around missing things. So we need to take their interest up, down and around before they move onwards. Personally I’m a big fan of the unsubtle, and there is nothing I love more than a cerise fuchsia next to a tangerine abutilon. However I do realise that there are more understated approaches. Monochrome gardens are more difficult than they sound, white is not always white, black seldom black. Experiment and you will soon know if the combinations you are trying are to your liking or not. If not, just do the garden shuffle until you achieve what you envisaged. You never know, you might come across a combination you didn’t expect to like, and after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

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19


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WILDLIFE

Beware birds nesting! The nesting season for birds is in full swing so that calls for common sense and precautions from gardeners when it comes to cutting back hedges We are all very passionate about protecting wildlife and one of the big themes every spring is cutting back hedges and trees while birds are nesting. The main nesting season is from March to August inclusive. However, nesting does happen outside of this period, so if as a gardener you are looking for exact dates when it’s safe to cut back hedges then you might have a problem. Even outside the nesting period, birds may be heavily reliant on hedges, scrub and woodland, particularly for feeding or roosting. It is courteous to check for nesting birds that have made a home of your hedge before carrying out any trimming. It’s amazing how many people think you cannot touch hedges and trees while birds are nesting, but you can. All birds in the UK are fully protected by law (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 - WCA) from intentional harm. Under the same act, any active nest, including nest building or a nest with eggs or chicks in, is also protected from intentional destruction or removal and you cannot block access to any active nest. So, if you see a bird carrying nesting material or food into an area, this indicates that there is an active nest there. There is no law in the UK preventing any one from felling trees or pruning hedges at any time of year. However, the RSPB urges that you try to do any tree work over the winter months, when you can see into the tree and

the tree itself is dormant. This also avoids the peak season for nesting birds. Some birds can nest at any time of year and mild winters can tempt them into nesting early. It does not matter when or where the bird’s nest is, it is still protected by the WCA all year round. With the trend of warm and wetter springs and summers, hedges can quickly become unmanageable. It’s OK to use secateurs or sheers to keep a hedge under control, and if you do disturb an adult from their nest, they should return when you leave the area. Birds have different strategies for raising their young; some only nest once a year and others have multiple broods. On the whole, they tend to build new nests in different locations, but some birds, for example house sparrows, will use the same nest all year, but the WCA still applies while the birds are actively nesting at any time of year. So what can you do? Most gardeners are aware of the wildlife in their gardens, and have a good idea where and when there are birds nesting. Carry out a visual check if you can, and if necessary just leave the work until the fledglings have left the nest, then you can do the work you need to. If you are aware of an active nest and you see someone about to do some work, let them know so they can avoid that area, as they may be unaware of the nest. If they are felling a tree, again let them know so they can come back when the fledglings have left the nest and fell the tree. As all species of bird are protected by the WCA, if they continue and destroy the nest they have committed a criminal offence, which is a police matter. Call your county police station on 101 and report the incident to the local Wildlife Crime Officer for the area. Hopefully, your garden won’t get too out of control while the birds are nesting! If you’d like some ideas on how to encourage wildlife into your garden, go to www.rspb.org.uk/advice/gardening/

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21


REPLANTING THE GARDEN

after the damages of winter Your garden probably needs more help and encouragement than ever this spring and the application of mycorrhizal fungi might be key If gardeners were looking for anything like good news over the past few weeks of snow, rain more snow and below average temperatures is that overwintering garden pests will have suffered too. Pest levels at the beginning of April were probably very low. Certainly the second cold snap in late March will also have killed off many pests as they started emerging from hibernation the previous week when temperatures had reached double digits. Garden plants were certain be affected by the prolonged cold spell and, more importantly, by sitting wet for long periods of time. Generally speaking, many plants can cope with cold weather but cold and wet weather is much more problematic and plant losses are inevitable. However, gardeners are a hardy bunch and have to learn to be stoic in the face of plant failures. What is more important is to learn from the failure and treat the new spaces in the garden as a marvellous opportunity. When planting, an important truism is ‘right plant, right place’. Research the plant that has not survived the winter: was it a plant truly suitable for that position/soil/aspect? Were you gardening on ‘the edge’ of what was possible? Had you fallen in love with this plant as it was displayed beautifully at your local garden centre and taken a chance? Good soil preparation is key to replanting plants so incorporating plenty of organic matter is the first step to a successful outcome. Nursery grown plants have often been raised on a diet of

chemical fertilisers and need to go cold turkey when planted into soil. It is not advisable to try and gradually wean them off as many fertilisers can react poorly and perform badly in soils. The best start possible for new plants is to treat them to mycorrhizal fungi which will rapidly grow as a second root system ensuring excellent establishment. Over a decade ago mycorrhizal fungi were shown to overcome replant problems in roses and this was reported at the time in the Horticultural trade press and national media. Another horticultural truism is that if a plant fails in one position it is inadvisable to plant the same plant family or Genus in that same spot. This is particularly well known for roses but can also apply to any other garden plant such as ones that failed due to a hard winter. The causes of replant problems are not well-understood and varied but in most cases there is a sensible reason why the application of mycorrhizal fungi is likely to overcome these problems and ensure good establishment and good early growth.

Here are some of the problems and solutions: LIKELY CAUSE OF REPLANT PROBLEMS

BENEFITS CONFERRED BY MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI

Lack of available nutrients

Mycorrhizal fungi colonise a far greater volume of soil thus enable the plant to find more nutrients

Over application of chemical fertiliser caused by over feeding failing plants, Handful for luck syndrome

Mycorrhizal fungi limit unhealthy nutrient uptake as the mycorrhiza needs to keep its host alive and healthy

Poor quality or stressed planting stock, i.e. Bare root plants

Mycorrhizal fungi grow very rapidly giving the plant access to nutrients and water so reducing stress

Build up of soil pathogens

Mycorrhizal fungi can block access of pathogens to plant roots by colonising those niches first

Pathogenic nematodes (eelworms)

Similar to above mycorrhizal fungi can block the nematodes entry points to plants

22

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23


Lavenders

ALL SUMMER LONG Probably the easiest grown plants for sunny, well drained sites, lavenders are loved by gardeners and now with the right selection it is possible to enjoy them all summer long Lavender is evocative of warm summer days filled with heady scents. Lavender (Lavandula) is, of course, an easy to grow, evergreen shrub that produces masses of beautifully scented flowers above green or silvery-grey foliage. This drought-tolerant plant thrives in a sunny border, container, herb or gravel gardens. It was once considered only as a high summer addition to the garden but more recent introductions offer the chance to extend the joy of having their serene spectacle in your garden over a longer season. Some lavenders have great presence as architectural specimens, most are good for low hedging while of course all are wonderful for bees. Lavender is best planted between April and May as the soil is warming up. It thrives in any poor or moderately fertile, free draining soils in full sun, and is ideal for chalky or alkaline soils. On heavier soils, like clay and clay loam, lavender tends to be fairly short-lived, becoming woody at the base. To prolong the life of your lavender on heavier soil, add organic matter and gravel to improve the drainage and plant on a mound. If growing as a hedge, plant on a ridge to keep the base of the plants out of wet soil. All hardy lavenders are in full bloom for about a month. The dark purple varieties appear to flower for longer as the richly coloured calyces are visible immediately the spikes begin to swell- and still hold colour when the flowers have faded. 24

LAVENDERS TO START SUMMER If you are looking for an early blooming variety there is nothing to surpass L.angustifolia ‘Ashdown Forest’, a bushy cultivar with its sharply scented pale blooms. As the lavender season progresses through late June and into July more cultivars begin to reach their peak including L.agustifolia ‘Hidcote’ –a compact form of the popular English lavender, named after plantsman Laurence Johnston’s famous arts and crafts garden in Gloucestershire. It produces dense spikes of fragrant, deep violet summer flowers above slender, aromatic, silvery-grey leaves. It is possibly the best lavender for edging paths and borders and the aromatic foliage perfumes the air if you brush against it. It also works well in a gravel garden, or clipped into a formal sphere for a contemporary look. Another option for this time of the year is Langustifolia ‘Miss Dawnderry’ , an intensely dark purple lavender known as a ‘Super Blue’, with a beautiful swaying and fluid movement in a light breeze. The flowers dry darker and the slender stems when bunched produce a proportionally larger head, than any other angustifolia. If fragrance is a priority then nothing really comperes to Langustifolia ‘Maillette’ -the world’s most widely grown angustifolia for oil. Long mid-purple flowers above grey foliage. Very highly scented. The flowerheads of ‘Maillette’ are packed full of tiny plum to lilac star-shaped flowers, and are barrel-shaped rather than spiked.

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LAVENDERS INTO THE HIGH SEASON Throughout July, Langustifolia ‘Betty’s Blue’ is a wonderful accent plant with its large, deep violet-blue flowers atop erect stems that do not splay, It is a compact and tidy variety that forms attractive domes in the garden. Sweetly fragrant and reliable, it is also a great lavender for drying. From July one of the first of the late bloomers is L.x intermedia ‘Olympia. These consistently popular tall tough lavenders have great presence as specimens or hedges. Their unsurpassed scent and colour are evocative of high summer. Hardy to at least -15°C, they will cope with most British weather.

Langustifolia Betty’s Blue

LAVENDER FINAL FLOWERERS As July falls in August L.intermedia ‘Provence’ displays highly flagrant pale purple flowers which fit in so well with its name. A delightful variation on Lavender ‘Grosso’ named for the province in southern France where ‘Lavandin’ is grown by the acre to supply the perfume industry. At three feet tall it is one of the tallest varieties, and its long, silver-grey spikes lined with mauve blooms make first-rate cut flowers. Last to flower often in autumn are the so-called Dutch lavenders, usually distinguished for their silver foliage. L.intermedia’ Fragrant Memories’ is probably the best. It overwinters well, and has very long flower spikes of mid-lilac blue, making it a good cutting variety. L.intermedia ‘Fragrant Memories’

PRUNING Lavenders should be pruned every year to keep them compact. On established plants use secateurs to remove flower stalks and about one inch of the current year’s growth, making sure that some green growth remains. At RHS Wisley, pruning is undertaken in late summer after flowering, although spring pruning is sometimes recommended. Lavender does not break readily from old wood and neglected specimens are best replaced.

PROPAGATION You can easily make more lavender by taking softwood or semi-ripe cuttings from young plants in early summer and hardwood cuttings from new growth after flowering in late autumn.

GROWING IN POTS

Langustifolia ’Hidcote’

Lavender can be grown in large pots, using multipurpose or loam-based compost such as John Innes No 3, with some extra coarse grit, up to 30percent by volume, to improve the drainage, and some controlled release fertiliser granules. Ensure that the compost is regularly watered in summer, but for improved cold tolerance, kept on the dry side during winter by A study at the standing in a cold University of Suss ex greenhouse or in found that two la te the rain shadow of blooming varietie s walls. were particularly valuable to bees Most lavender can L.x intermedia be grown in pots, ‘Ed elw eiss” and but it is ideal for ‘Gros Bleu’ were tender types - H3 the cultivars most (half hardy) or H2 visited by all bees, (tender), such as most of which wer L. canariensis, e bu mblebees. L. dentata var. dentata ‘Royal Crown’ AGM.

The best f or bees

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Lavandula intermedia ‘Provence’

Langustifolia ‘Miss Dawnderry’ 25


A tempting TASTE OF ITALY

Elizabeth McCorquodale sees the difference with the Italian way of growing vegetables - chosen for taste not for yield or looks Walk around any Italian city and cast your gaze upwards and you’ll be presented with the proof, if any were needed, that food – good food, full of scent and flavour - is at the heart of Italian life. Vegetables and herbs jostle for position alongside flowers on balconies and in window boxes, and kale and artichokes are as likely to be planted in municipal gardens as flowering bedding plants. It is an odd fact that so many of the foods that make up our idea of quintessentially Italian fare have only been in cultivation there for a relatively short time. Peppers and tomatoes came originally from South America, as did corn, but stuffed Romenesco peppers and golden polenta are as Italian as you can get; and the ubiquitous tomato is at the very heart of so many Italian regional dishes. That said there are as many variations to ‘Italian’ cuisine as there are regions and climates. From the rich, cream-laden, alpine dishes of the North to the healthy, vegetable-based offerings of the South, there is in fact only one thing that binds them all together and that is an absolute dedication to flavour; full-on, in-your-face flavour.

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The difference between our choice of veggies and theirs is that they were never tempted to abandon flavour in pursuit of yield, uniformity or shelf-life, so while the Italian kitchen garden (called an Orto) will contain all the veggies that are found in British gardens – Brussels sprouts, beets, potatoes, spinach, broccoli, carrots, turnips, onions and leeks for instance – theirs will be chosen for their flavour and their suitability to the regional variations of climate and soil, a trick that we would do well to emulate. A carrot or leek that will thrive in the Alps may not do so well at the sun-baked foot of Mount Vesuvius or, come to that, in a city garden in the West Midlands. Clearly it is best to select varieties that perform well in your area, so long, of course, as they are packed with flavour. While the soils of Italy are as varied as ours, what they have which we do not is a long growing season and reliable sunshine. Some plants – corn, courgettes and winter squash for instance – need a long growing season, while others – aubergines and peppers for example – need a long, hot growing season to perform their best. But all is not lost as long as we have a


greenhouse or -just as effective- a homemade frame covered with polythene. The run of the mill acorn or butternut squash are both reliable winter squash with long keeping qualities in most areas of the this country but if you hanker for something truly Italian go for the ‘Da Marmalata’ or ‘Tonda Padana’. As for summer squash, there are dozens to choose from, but the two that stand out are ‘Da Flore’ a sterile variety that has no fruit at all, so it can put all its energy into producing flowers for stuffing, and Rugosa friulana a lovely, warty, flavourful summer squash that will attract a lot of attention. To get the most out of your squash plant them atop your compost heap where their roots can revel in the damp, nutritious warmth throughout the season. Tomatoes are, of course, an essential, and they must be chosen for thin skins and sweet flavour. You could do a lot worse than ‘Principe Borghese da Appendere’, a trailing or climbing variety that is perfect for drying or ‘Costoluto Florotino’ which is a big, flavourful beefsteak tomato or even ‘San marzano nano scipio’, a small bush plum tomato that is perfect both for eating and cooking. For a true Italian artichoke choose either the large headed, green Romanesco or the pointy, early season ‘Violetta di Chioggia’ which can be cropped twice. Harvest the first crop early in the year when the heads are tiny, then cut the whole plant back to encourage a second crop later in the season. While peppers have only been around in Italy for 500 years, they have well and truly got their feet under the table and now play an indispensible role on the national menu. Some of the best sweet peppers are the long thin ‘Dolce of Bergamo’ which is perfect for grilling, and the Italian favourite, ‘Giallo d’Asti’, a big boxy green pepper which ripens to a sweet yellow with an outstanding flavour. For something with a bit of bite try the medium-hot, meaty ‘Ciliegia Piccante’ which is delicious stuffed with a mild soft cheese to counter the heat, or very hot ‘Adorno’ which is very pretty, taking on a violet hue when ripe. Aubergines make their way into a huge number of Italian dishes (think aubergine parmigiana; marinated, barbequed aubergines, and the ratatouille-like stew with Italian sausage.) Most varieties don’t need the old salt-and-drain method to rid them of bitterness, but if decide on an heirloom variety a good soak and rinse will ensure it is palatable. Choose from ‘Violetta Lunga’, a long deep-purple variety, or the light mauve ‘Prospero’ or perhaps ‘Tonda Bianca’, a large white variety and

always plant them in full sun. Bulb fennel is one Italian plant which really is not a fan of the heat, always doing better in cooler conditions. Romanesco is the traditional Italian choice which does equally well here, especially if it is earthed up as it matures to sweeten and tenderise the heart. For a variety that resists bolting try the alpine fennel ‘Montblanc’. Our own common and rainbow chards take on a new lease of life when given the Italian treatment. While they grow huge in the heat of the Med, they are quite happy in our variable summers and if partnered with sweet, sweated onions, a few sautéed mushrooms, some fried potatoes and plenty of elephant garlic (a large, mild relative of common garlic) they are transformed into something sublime. If chard isn’t your thing, go instead for the dark darling of the winter garden, ‘Cavelo d’Nero’ or the bitter leaves of unblanched raddichio (try Trevigiana ‘Svelte’ ), chicory or escarole (try Escarole bionda) all mainstays of the Italian kitchen garden. If you have limited space you could do worse than try ‘Puntarelle Catalogna Brindisi’ which is a little like a chicory crossed with a dandelion crossed with a fennel. It is delicious flash fried in a little lemony olive oil with garlic and pepper. The beauty of the Orto is not only in its variety, but in the colour and pattern of so many of the individual plants, not least the broccoli and cauliflower varieties that are prized around the Med. The bright green spirals of Romensoco or the beautiful purple of Violetta de Sicilia will brighten up any plate - as long as they are served raw; sadly the colours fade when they are boiled. Despite all the wonderful vegetables of the Italian kitchen garden, it is nothing without its herbs, and oregano is the queen of the Orto. It is the primary flavouring of any tomato sauce, be it for pizza, pasta or gnocci, and the main constituent of Italian seasoning together with marjoram, parsley, rosemary and thyme. Other herbs that you will find in any Italian herb garden are sage, sorrel, mustard leaf, anise, leaf fennel, lovage, dill, coriander leaf, erba stella, salad burnet, chives, rocket and the essential and delightful basil.

From left to right: Ciliegia Piccante; Trevigiana Svelte; Squash flowers for stuffing; Violetta Lunga; Violetta di Chioggia; Rugosa friulana

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Higher Ash Farm, Ash, Dartmouth, Devon TQ6 0LR

GARDEN Visits THE BEST GARDENS TO VISIT compiled by Vivienne Lewis

There’s a wealth of gardens to visit in the lovely month of May, a huge selection ranging from gracious lawns and fine trees, to small but well stocked town gardens with great ideas in design and planting. Here’s a selection that are open for charity in the areas we cover. We advise checking where possible before starting a journey as circumstances can force private gardens to cancel their openings.

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

Partial wheelchair access Unsuitable for wheelchairs Dogs on short leads

Visitors welcome by arrangement Coaches welcome consult owners Accommodation at this venue

OWLACOMBE FARM Roborough, Winkleigh, Devon EX19 8TG Opening once more for the Devon Air Ambulance, Owlacombe Farm’s four-acre garden and woodland garden has a splendid collection of more than 400 rhododendrons and azaleas, five ponds and bluebell woods. Open for the Devon Air Ambulance on Sunday 20th May, 1pm-5pm. Admission £4. Details on 01805603385 or email rosrob.pickard@gmail.com

AVIEMORE Chinham Road, Bartley, Southampton SO40 2LF A richly planted, small garden in the north New Forest with lawns, gravel areas and a vegetable plot. Oak bridges criss-cross a small stream. Old alpine troughs and quirky artifacts add to its structure, texture and colour, for plant connoisseurs and to show enthusiasts new plants and ideas for smaller gardens. Opening for the NGS: Sunday 20th May, 2pm-5pm. Admission: adults £3.50, children free. Contact Sandy & Alex Robinson on 02380 813651 or email: hears2u@gmail.com 28

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THE THATCHED COTTAGE Church Road, Upper Farringdon, Alton, Hampshire GU34 3EG The 1½ acre garden has been rescued and developed over the past seven years around a Grade II listed 16th century cottage (not open) in the conservation area opposite the church. Open with Berry Cottage. Open for the NGS: Sunday 13th May, 2pm5.30pm. Admission: adult £6, children free. Also open Sundays 1st July , 29th July, 19th August, 2nd September, all 2pm-5.30pm. Contact Mr David & Mrs Cally Horton on 01420 587922 or email: dwhorton@btinternet.com

CHEVITHORNE BARTON Tiverton, Devon EX16 7QB Visit during an exciting time of development, with newly planted areas, walled garden, summer borders and woodland of rare trees and shrubs, and a large collection of magnolias, camellias, and rhododendrons. Home to a Plant Heritage National Collection of Quercus (oaks) in 12 hectares of parkland with more than 400 different taxa – and sometimes a flock of Jacob sheep and rare breed woodland pigs. Open for the NGS: Sunday 6th May, (& Sunday 2nd September), 12pm-5pm. Admission: adults £5, children free. Chris McDonald (Head Gardener) 07920038083 chris. mcdonald007@gmail.com www.oaksofchevithornebarton.com

HIGHER ASH FARM Ash, Dartmouth, Devon TQ6 0LR An evolving two and a half acre garden, high up in the South Devon countryside with a large kitchen garden terraced into the hillside with adjoining orchard, vibrant azaleas and rhododendrons surrounding the barns and courtyard; herbaceous borders, shrubs and lawns, pond and stream. Opens with nearby Bay Tree Cottage on June and August dates (see below). Open for the NGS: Sundays 13th & 20th May, Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th June, Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th August, all 2pm-5pm; Sunday 7th October, 1.30pm-4.30pm. Admission: adults £5, children free. www.higherashfarm.com or call 07595 507516, or email: matthew.perkins18@yahoo.co.uk

CHINE VIEW 15a Cassel Avenue, Poole, Dorset BH13 6JD A new opening for the National Gardens Scheme, this Chine garden two miles outside Bournemouth is next to a public footpath leading to the beach, with an extensive terraced rockery incorporating 330 tons of Purbeck stone, palladian rotunda, subtropical plants and profusion of azaleas and rhododendrons. Open for the NGS: Thursday 17th & Sunday 20th May, also Sunday 1st July, all 1pm-5pm. Admission: adults £4, children free. www.countrygardener.co.uk

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THE BEST GARDENS T O V ISI T IN MAY

MAYFIELD 4 Walford Close, Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH21 1PH A town garden with formal hard landscaping and droughtresistant shrubs and perennials in the front and a wide variety of hostas; a series of garden rooms at the back has herbaceous perennial beds, winding grass paths and rustic arches. Pond, vegetable beds and greenhouses containing succulents and vines. Open for the NGS: Sunday 13th, Wednesday 16th & Sunday 27th May, Wednesdays 6th & 13th June, all 2pm-5pm. Admission: adults £3.50, children free. Contact Mr & Mrs Terry Wheeler on 01202 849838 or email: terry.wheeler@tesco.net

STONELEIGH DOWN Upper Tockington Road, Tockington, Bristol BS32 4LQ A new opening for the NGS, redesigned in 2014 by the current owners, it’s a densely planted garden with a wide variety of trees, shrubs and bulbs for year-round interest and still evolving. The south-facing curved gravel pathways connect the themed areas that flow into each other: subtropical, wildlife and oriental ponds, seasonal planting. Open for the NGS: Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th May, 1pm-5pm. Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd September, all 1pm5pm. Admission: adults £4, children free.

RENDY FARM Oake, Taunton, Somerset TA4 1BB A three-acre garden with formal walled front garden, raised vegetable beds, greenhouse and polytunnel enclosed by hornbeam, box and yew hedging. Decorative fruit and cut flower beds, meadow with large wild pond and orchard with stream running through, marked by pollarded willows, and a new shepherd’s hut garden. Open for the NGS: Sunday 20th May, 1pm-5pm. Admission: adults £4, children free.

ARK FARM Old Wardour, Tisbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP3 6RP Informal hidden gardens in a beautiful setting with a small wooded area, pond, water plants, lakeside walk, and views of Old Wardour castle. Open for the NGS: Sunday 20th May, 2pm-5pm. Admission: adults £4, children free.

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NAVAS HILL HOUSE Bosanath Valley, Mawnan Smith, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 5LL A 8½-acre elevated valley garden with paddocks, woodland, kitchen garden and ornamental areas, walled rose garden, water features and rockery. Young and established wooded areas with bluebells, camellia walks and young large leafed rhododendrons. Seating areas with views across a wooded valley. Open for the NGS: Sunday 6th May, 2pm5pm. Admission: adults, £5, children free. Contact Aline and Richard Turner on 01326 251233 or email: alineturner@btinternet.com

ROTHBURY 5 St Peters Road, North Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 1QS

WHITCOMBE HOUSE Overbury, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire A classical English cottage garden. Sit by the Captains bridge, near a brook banked with primula, astilbe geranium. Pastel coloured borders with rose, Potentilla, Smilicinia, acers and shrubbery areas. Open for the NGS: Sundays 6th May, 3rd June, 2pm5pm. Admission: adults £4, children free. Contact Faith & Anthony Hallett on 01386 725206 or email: faith.hallett1@gmail.com

You can have a Continental breakfast here, on the slopes of the Malvern Hills, in a 1/3 acre plant-lovers’ garden surrounding an Arts and Crafts house (not open), with herbaceous borders, rockery, wildlife pond, vegetables, small orchard, terraces accessed by sloping paths and steps. Refreshments through the day in aid of Parkinson’s UK. Open for the NGS: Bank Holiday Monday 28th May, 8.30am-5pm. Admission: Adults £3, children free. Also Sundays 24th June & 22nd July, 11am-5pm.

WELLFIELD BARN Walcombe Lane, Wells, Somerset BA5 3AG This ½-acre garden, created from a concrete farmyard has a ha-ha, wonderful views, pond, lawn, mixed borders, formal sunken garden, hydrangea bed, grass walks and interesting young and semi-mature trees, and a new areas under development. Open for the NGS: Tuesday 29th May, 11.30am-4.30pm. Admission: adults £4.50. children free. Contact Virginia Nasmyth on 01749 675129. www.countrygardener.co.uk

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THE BEST GARDENS T O V ISI T IN MAY

THE WALLED GARDEN AT TILGATE PARK Tilgate Drive, Crawley, Sussex RH10 5PQ A chance to explore the walled garden and heritage grounds of Tilgate Park with the head gardener, Nick Hagon; see in May the azaleas, camellias, candelabra primulas and rhododendron collection. Talk begins at 7pm. Open for the NGS: Wednesday 23rd & Thursday 24th May; Wednesday 18th July & Thursday 19th July, all at 6.30pm-9pm. Admission: adults £7 (glass wine & canapes included), children free. For more details contact Crawley Borough Council at www.friendsoftilgatepark.co.uk

RAMBLERS

HARLAND GARDENS

Lower Common, Aylburton, Lydney, Gloucestershire GL15 6DS

Penland Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1PH An eclectic mix of four town gardens – awkward shapes and differing gradients from rich cottagestyle planting schemes, varied ponds, delightful courtyards, to practical kitchen gardens and habitats for wildlife. Adjacent woodland provides beautiful walks (maybe muddy). Plants sale at 52 Penland Road. Open for the NGS: Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th May, 1pm-5pm. Admission: adults £5, children free.

This past winner of The English Garden’s Britain’s Best Gardener’s Garden competition has been opening for the NGS for many years, but Jane and Leslie Hale are taking a well-earned rest after this season. Don’t miss this country garden with immense variety in little more than an acre, with herbaceous planting, a pond, a wild flower meadow, a mature apple orchard with heritage trees, and a large, productive vegetable garden. Open for the NGS: Sunday 6th May, 1.30-5.30pm. Admission: £4, children free.

68 WINDSOR AVENUE St Johns, Worcester, Worcestershire WR2 5NB Be surprised by this tranquil garden behind a 1930s semi-detached house in a cul-de-sac, where there’s nearly an acre that includes bog gardens, flower beds, ‘oriental’ area, vegetable patch, five greenhouses, a Koi pond plus three other ponds varying in styles, chickens and ornamental pheasants. Open for the NGS: Sunday 27th & Bank Holiday Monday 28th May. Admission: Adults £4.50, children free. Contact Roger & Barbara Parker on 01905 428723 or email: robarpark@googlemail.com 32

Country Gardener


ADVICE

Country Gardener

A regular look at practical help and advice over a range of gardening problems and opportunities.

ADV ICE

Is the ‘Chelsea chop’ too severe? It’s about the time for the perennial fascination with the “Chelsea chop” - the ritual cutting back of herbaceous plants which coincides with the Chelsea Flower Show. The wisdom underlying this late spring beheading is that by cutting back your plants by around a third in late May, it forces them to respond by producing stockier shoots. These are less prone to flopping, and are laden with a better, if later, display. Increasingly many gardeners are wary of this and believe anything likely to delay, let alone decapitate, the first blooms of astrantias and heleniums, not to mention other bee- and hoverfly-friendly perennials, is a tough call. So if a full-on Chelsea chop seems a cut too far, there’s a middle way which can work with any plants that flower on this year’s growth. Cutting back around a third of the shoots of multi-stemmed perennials by half means you’ll get early flowers, and then plenty more later on as the pruned shoots catch up. Try this with sneezeweed (helenium) or herbaceous phlox. Buddleia and lavatera respond similarly if you leave around a third of the old shoots intact, rather than hard-pruning them all in spring. Flowers appear on last year’s shoots first, which are followed by those on this year’s growth. As the main, towering spikes of hollyhocks, foxgloves and delphiniums fade, they will all send up a later flush of follow-on flower spikes if the old spike is chopped off just above the developing side shoots.

Gherkins need to be kept frost free

Gherkins to grow outdoors Gherkins are cultivars of cucumbers that produce many small fruits with few seeds and thick skins - and significantly are harvested while small. If you want to try growing these the best time to plant is the third week in May when all the frosts have gone. Plant 45cm apart in wellprepared soil in a sunny but sheltered position. They can be grown indoors and/or they can be moved out later. Keep them well watered until established and in dry weather. They can be left to grow wild along the floor but it’s best to train along a trellis, fence, stake, wire or string. Carefully train them to grow clockwise up a string, picking the side shoots and flowers off up to 30cm high. Then only pick the side shoots off and let the plant carry on growing up to about six feet tall. Once it has reached the top of the support let the plant grow wild coming back down towards the floor. Pick off any yellow dead leaves along the way. Only begin to feed once you see the first two growing-not before!

There is a less severe option to the ‘Chelsea Chop‘

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Bushes should be pruned to promote an open habit, so sun can penetrate inside the bush as well. And lastly, make sure that water is freely given during the key period as the berries start to plump up, in May and June. Remember you want juicy berries as well as sweet ones! Once a day, water the area beneath the bush with a hose until the soil is damp or slightly wet. Take care not to splash the foliage or the developing fruits. You have to be careful with variety selection – the more familiar cooking varieties outnumber those that are sweeter, and they tend to be the red or yellow skinned varieties.

Here are some varieties to look out for: The older cultivars are the better when it comes to gooseberries

OLDER CULTIVARS PROVIDE GOOSEBERRY DELIGHTS The sweetest dessert gooseberries offer a delicious alternative to the more commonly known culinary varieties and these mostly older cultivars are often fondly remembered from childhood days as ‘gooseberries you could eat straight off the bush’. Thin skinned, sweet and so delicious, it’s not surprising they are remembered with such fondness. Which means lots, and lots of sunshine! The more sun any fruit gets, then the sweeter it is because sunshine helps develop the sugar content in the fruit! It’s worth finding the warmest, sunniest spot you can find when planting.

‘LEVELLER’ - one of the most popular of all varieties. The fruits are large and sumptuous to eat with a rich, divine flavour. The skin colour is yellow when fully ripe, which is usually about mid June at which time it develops a characteristic, almost greengage type flavour. ‘MAY DUKE’ - one of the finest reds and useful in that it can be used as a dual purpose gooseberry – frequently used in the kitchen whilst green, and then enjoyed for dessert when fully ripe, whereupon it is a fine dark red. ‘HEDGEHOG’ - one of the most popular of the oldies with a sugary aromatic flavour and a rich deep ruby skin colouring. Despite it’s name, not especially spiny, at least no more so than the next variety! Described as having the ‘perfect dessert flavour’ this heirloom has been known for over 100 years.

Fighting whiteflies in the garden Glasshouse whitefly (Trialeurodes) is an increasingly common problem on indoor and edible plants. Whether they are on ornamentals or vegetables, whitefly control can be tricky and difficult. But controlling whiteflies in the garden is not impossible. Whiteflies are part of a group of sap sucking insects that can cause problems in the garden. Other sap sucking insects include aphids, scale and mealy bugs. The effects of these insects, including whiteflies, are nearly all the same. The signs that you may have whiteflies or one of its cousins is a sticky film on the leaves, yellow leaves and stunted growth. The way to determine if you specifically have whiteflies is to inspect the insects you find on the plant. Typically, the insects can be found on the underside of the leaves. The garden pests whiteflies look just like their name. They will look like a tiny whitefly or moth. Normally whiteflies become a problem when their natural predators, such as ladybugs, are not present in the area. This can happen for many reasons, ranging from pesticide use to bad weather. Controlling whiteflies in the garden can become difficult without the help from their natural predators; therefore, making sure that the area is good for their predators is important. Whitefly predators include: green lacewings, pirate Whiteflies can be a depressing sight bugs and whitefly predators. Using these beneficial insects are the best way how to kill whiteflies. You can also try spraying the affected plant with a lightly pressurized stream of water. This will knock the insects off the plant and will reduce, but not eliminate their numbers. You can also try controlling whiteflies in the garden by using reflective surfaces, like foil or discarded CDs, around the plants. This can have a repelling effect on the whiteflies and may keep them off the plant. Alternately, you can try sticky tape, which will help to eliminate the current population of whiteflies on your plants and prevent them from laying more eggs. Do not use insecticides as a way to kill whiteflies. They are resistant to most insecticides and you will only make the problem worse by killing their natural enemies. 34

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Problems growing chillies

Biochar’s use in garden soils Organic material carbonized at high temperatures with little or no oxygen is called ‘biochar’ and is sometimes sold commercially as a soil conditioner and as an ingredient in peat reduced and peat- free potting composts. Biochar is a type of fine-grained charcoal created by burning wood and agricultural by-products slowly, at low temperatures, with a reduced oxygen supply. Although biochar is a new term, use of the substance in gardens is not a new concept. In fact, researchers believe that early residents of the Amazon rainforest enhanced soil productivity by using biochar, which they produced by burning agricultural waste slowly in trenches or pits. You can create biochar in your own garden by burning brush, wood shavings, dry weeds and other garden debris in a trench but it isn’t easy to create the precise conditions. Light a hot fire so the oxygen supply is quickly reduced, and then let the fire burn down. Initially, the smoke from the fire should be white as water vapour is released, gradually turning yellow as resins and other materials are burned. Biochar as a soil amendment enhances plant growth and reduces need for water and fertilizer. This is because more moisture and nutrients remain in the soil and don’t leach into the groundwater. Scientists believe that soil improved by biochar is more efficient, retaining critical nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen. Additionally, nutrients present in the soil are more available to plants, making good soil even better. Biochar is available commercially and as it is highly resistant to decomposition has been suggested as a way of ‘locking up’ more carbon in the soil.

It can be immensely rewarding growing chillies but they are tropical plants and so they can be a bit needier than many gardeners think. Here’s three problems you might encounter: BLOSSOM END ROT This condition develops in green fruits of chillies, peppers and tomatoes. It is a problem caused by calcium deficiency, caused either by a sudden increase in demand for calcium as the fruit develops or by excessive nitrogen, reducing the uptake of calcium. It is essential for plants to have a good flow of water. Plants is small pots are particularly susceptible to drying out and water logging, which can prevent the distribution of calcium around the plant. FLOWER DROP This is a common problem, particularly early in the season. Especially with chinense varieties, you will find that the first flush of flowers either not set at all, or set only for the newly forming pod to drop with the flower. Overwatering is the most common cause of all chilli growing problems and can cause flower drop. Underwatering can also cause flower drop. Keep soil moist but not wet. A generous helping of coir or vermiculite in the compost will soak up excess water and release it back as the plant needs it.

Blossom end rot, caused by calcium deficiency

POWDERY MILDEW This disease affects chilli plant leaves, typically in the flowering and fruiting stage in the most humid part of the summer. It can severely affect your crop size. The disease looks exactly as its name suggests, like a powdery white mildew. Prevention is key with this pathogen. Make sure your plants are well spaced and ventilated so that they can dry out between waterings.

HOW TO WATER PLANTS It may seem obvious but, many gardeners are uncertain when, how and how much to water their plants. Any easy rule is that few plants tolerate continuous wet soil. Leave the soil until it has become almost dry before re-watering. You can test the water content of soil with your finger pushing it a couple of inches in and seeing how damp it is. And do not sit container plants in saucers of water for too long as this can cause root rot. www.countrygardener.co.uk

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to visit

GREAT PLACES

After the cold and wet of a long winter, May this year promises to be a special time for gardeners and garden lovers – especially with what is on offer when it comes to taking a relaxing day or days off. We are heading fast for the busiest time of year when there’s a wonderful selection of choice of venues ranging from National Trust properties, gardens, stately homes, events, plant fairs, shows, places to stay and holidays in the UK and abroad. It’s a great time to enjoy a passion in gardens and gardening, We’ve just a few suggestions which we know you’ll enjoy.

Our suggestions of places to go and things to do in May with gardens and gardening in mind

Hartland is heaven in May May is a heavenly time to visit the Hartland Abbey gardens. The tulips dazzle visitors to the Walled Gardens and the ancient wisteria over the front door fills the house with its heavy scent. Bluebells and wildflowers line the walks to the beach and the gardens and foxgloves spring up where St Nectan walked with his head under his arm! The house is filled with the pot plants grown in the greenhouses. The coastal footpath on the Hartland Abbey Estate is a wonderful sight with its carpets of wildflowers. All details on www.hartlandabbey.com

PLANT HERITAGE DORSET The National Plant Conservation Charity, Plant Heritage, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and Dorset features heavily in the celebrations. The national annual meeting is being held near Wareham from 27th to 29th April and three Specialist Plant Fairs will be held in the county, offering a range of unusual plants and savings direct from the growers. The first is at Athelhampton House on Sunday, 6th May, the second at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens on Sunday, 1st July and the third back at Athelhampton on Sunday 9th September. Admission is £7 and includes all day access to the gardens worth between £10 and £12.50. Athelhampton House Tel. 01305 848363; Abbotsbury Gardens Tel. 01305 871387. Plant Heritage organiser: martinyoung100@btinternet.com

Barnsley celebrates its 30th anniversary Barnsley Village near Cirencester in Gloucestershire celebrates 30 consecutive years of opening their gardens on Saturday 19th May. It is also the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rosemary Verey and as the founder of the festival she will be remembered in a special exhibition at Barnsley House. Barnsley residents love showing off their beautiful village to the hundreds of visitors who come every year. Opening from 10.30 to 5pm. Admission is £7. For further details email festival@barnsleyvillage.co.uk

Camellia delight at Abbotsbury Established in 1765, the gardens at Abbotsbury have been the site of many plant introductions to this country. The first camellias introduced to Great Britain in 1792 are now magnificent tree groves! At the heart of the garden is the colonial restaurant with its splendid veranda which overlooks the sunken garden. There is a well-stocked plant centre full of home grown plants not normally available to purchase. A quality gift shop, a children’s play area and free car parking are available. The gardens open every day (except Christmas and New Year period) from 10am to 5pm in the summer with last admission one hour before closing. Abbotsbury Gardens, Buller’s Way, Abbotsbury, Weymouth DT3 4LA. Tel: 01305 871387. www.abbotsburygardens.co.uk 36

PLANT FINDER’S PLANT

FAIR Sunday 1st July 10am to 3pm l Rare

and unusual shrubs Palms & Tree Ferns l Camellias l New seasons herbaceous plants l Hardy Ferns l NEW for 2018 Cacti and Succulents l Specimen

l

Craft stalls

£7 admission includes entry to the Gardens.

Abbotsbury Dorset DT3 4LA Abbotsburygardens.co.uk


LUKESLAND GARDENS 24 acres of Rare Shrubs, Trees, Pools & Waterfalls

2018

Home-made soups & cakes Sundays, Wednesdays and Bank Holidays 11am – 5pm 25th March - 10th June

COUNTY SHOW

17•18•19 MAY

Harford Ivybridge PL21 0JF Tel 01752 691749

www.lukesland.co.uk

Cerney House Gardens A Romantic English Garden in the UK Cotswolds 46 acres of Cotswold parkland Romantic secret garden * Wildlife and woodland walks * Plants for sale * A large variety of hellebores and tulips * Refreshments available at the old Bothy Open every day until 31st October 10-5pm Admission: £5 adults, £1 children

Telephone 01285 831300 www.cerneygardens.com Cerney House Gardens, North Cerney, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 7BX

43rd Cerne Abbas

Old Court Nurseries & The Picton Garden

Open Gardens More than 25 Private Gardens Open

16th & 17th June, 2-6pm Day ticket to all gardens Adults £7.00 Ticket for 2 days £10.00 Accompanied children free Teas in St Mary’s Church from 1.30pm Plant Stall Free Car Park (DT2 7GD) from 11am Equal proceeds to: Cerne Valley Scout Group & Dorset County Hospital Cancer Appeal

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

It's a great time to plan your 2018 autumn displays. Mail order catalogue available on request or order online www.autumnasters.co.uk for delivery in May.

www.cerneabbasopengardens.org.uk

Water Gardens & Cafe Muddiford, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 4ET

• Waterside cafe open 10am-4pm • Cream teas & light lunches • Design, construction & maintenance of ponds & lakes • Water features • Habit restoration • Ornamental fish & Plants

Tel: 01271 344533 mail@blakewell.co.uk

www.blakewell.co.uk

Open for the National Garden Scheme

Sunday 6th & Thursday 24th May 11am-5pm Admission £3.50

OPEN: 1st May-31st July Wednesday to Saturday, 2-5pm or by appointment. Later in the year: From 1st-31st August - Wed-Sun, 11am-5pm 1st September to 20th October - Daily, 11am-5pm

Tel: 01684 540416 www.autumnasters.co.uk Old Court Nurseries, Walwyn Road, Colwall WR13 6QE www.countrygardener.co.uk

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GREAT PLACES T O V ISI T

£100 off as Expressions tempts you to Tuscany

Take a tasty trip to Blakewell

Expressions Holidays have a tempting six-night small group tour of Tuscany gardens which combines Chianti and Lucca to reflect the diversity and beauty of Tuscan villas and gardens. It is the chance to witness Italianate, Baroque, parkland, water features, classical structures and beautiful views, ideal for a spring getaway or autumn break. There will be a maximum of 14 people on the tour. Prices are from £2,650 per person with departures on Sundays 20th May, 10th June and 9th September. Expressions Holidays is offering Country Gardener readers a reduction of £100 per person for booking any garden tours of Tuscany before 31st May. Fully protected by ATOL 3076. Contact Expressions Holidays on 01392 441275. www.expressionsholidays.co.uk

Blakewell’s waterside café, five minutes from Barnstaple, is now open to visit, offering homemade food and a selection of cakes, cream teas and coffee. From the farm you can sample fresh rainbow trout grown in sparkling clear Exmoor spring water. There’s the chance to walk the grounds and feed the trout, then order fresh trout which will be caught and cleaned for you to take home. Blakewell also offers the family fishing experience where you can catch your own trout. The team have more than 25 year’s experience in the design, construction and maintenance of ponds. Blakewell, Muddiford, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 4ET. Tel: 01271 344533 www.blakewell.co.uk

Lukesland Gardens – delights for all ages Lukesland Gardens, just ten minutes off the A38 in a hidden valley a mile north of Ivybridge, offers May Day delights for all ages. There are banks of azaleas and rhododendrons are luminous against the new green of the beech trees; wild bluebells and campions abound by a Dartmoor stream, criss-crossed by picturesque bridges. For children there is a nature trail with prizes and homemade soup and cakes in the Victorian tea-room. Dogs welcome on a lead. Open Sundays, Wednesdays and Bank Holidays 11am to 5pm until 10th June. www.lukesland.co.uk or www.facebook.com/lukeslandgardens or phone 01752 691749.

Axe Vale Festival – a great Devon day out The hugely popular Axe Vale Show on Saturday, 23rd and Sunday 24th June has something for everybody – from exhibits of plants and shrubs to locally-sourced delicious food and drink. Marquees full of arts, crafts, toys, collectables as well as antique and vintage items are there for you to browse through. There will be stalls selling everything from kitchen utensils to horse blankets. After all the browsing, you can relax outside and enjoy the spectacular entertainment. On Saturday compete in the Axe Vale Dog Show and on Sunday enjoy watching a sheep-shearer at work. Show opens from 10am to 6pm. Adult tickets £10 on the gate. Discounted tickets are available online www.axevaleshow.com Axe Vale Festival, The Showground, Trafalgar Way, Axminster EX13 5RJ.

Fifty acres of garden delights at Castle Hill

Castle Hill Gardens, at Filleigh near South Molton offers the chance to discover 50 acres of privately owned 18th century Devon gardens and explore winding pathways and beautiful woodland. Terraced walks give stunning parkland views and the opportunity to stroll amongst statues, follies and temples. The woodland garden is carpeted with primroses under ancient specimen trees, 176 different magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas are in full display. May welcomes the start of Outdoor Theatre shows with a performance of David Walliams’ The Midnight Gang. Open daily except Saturdays 11am to 5pm. Adults £7, children (5-15) £3, seniors, £6.50. Groups welcome by prior arrangement. For a calendar of events visit www.castlehilldevon. co.uk or call 01598 760336. Castle Hill Gardens, Filleigh, near South Molton, Devon, EX32 0RH. 38

Garden House opens its doors to budding photographers The Garden House at Buckland Monachorum near Tavistock in Devon opens its gates this month to budding garden photographers wanting to improve and show off their skills. Philip Smith, professional garden photographer and founder of the ‘International Garden Photographer of the Year’ is hosting his first workshop at this extraordinary garden on Saturday 26th May, when the wisterias around the garden will be flowering and the Cottage Garden will be a sea of pink, white and blue. Entries will also be open to all comers in the second ‘Photo of the Month’ competition. The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum, Yelverton, PL20 7LQ. For more details visit www.thegardenhouse.org.uk

Great family day out at Buckfast Abbey Garden Fair The Millennium Garden Fair opens at Buckfast Abbey from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, 2nd June and promises to be a great day out for families and garden enthusiasts alike. Entry is free. Toby Buckland of BBC Radio Devon fame, along with other gardening and wildlife experts will be hosting talks and presentations, sharing their wealth of knowledge, offering a few gardening tips too! There will also be an opportunity to put challenging gardening questions to the experts. The day will be packed with activity workshops for children, garden and rural craft demonstrations as well as tree climbing demonstrations. There will also be entertainment by the Dartington Morris Men and the South Devon Singers. There’s the chance to walk and browse the stalls and exhibitors including works by local artists and craftsmen, garden machinery, plant nurseries, herbal remedies and more. Buckfast Abbey, Buckfast, TQ11 0EE. Tel: 01364 645507 www.buckfast.org.uk

Country Gardener


May Fairs 20th May

Winterbourne House & Garden, Birmingham B15 2RT

27th May

Overbeck's in Salcombe

Kingston Bagpuize House, Oxfordshire OX13 5AX www.rareplantfair.co.uk Please visit our website for full details of admission fees and times of opening.

Take in the view when you visit our sub-tropical paradise. Garden, Museum, Shop and Tearoom. Open daily until 28 October from 11am to 5pm. Call 01548 842893 for details nationaltrust.org.uk/overbecks When you visit, donate, volunteer or join the National Trust, your support helps us to look after special places for ever, for everyone.

#nationaltrust

© National Trust 2017. The National Trust is an independent registered charity, number 205846. Photography © National Trust Images\National Trust/Eric McDonald.

          

Hidden beauty in rural Oxfordshire

Gardens Open

Spring Bank Holiday (Monday 28th May) for the NGS then every Tuesday & Thursday in June, July & August 2.00pm to 6.00pm

Cream teas ~ Museum ~ Gift shop Private garden tours can also be arranged

            Clanfield ~ Oxfordshire ~ OX18 2SU 

ITALIAN GARDENS

SMALL GROUP TOURS TUSCANY Visits: Poggio Torselli, Villa Vignamaggio, WITH GUIDED VISITS Villa Geggiano, Villa Grabau, Villa Reale 20 May, 10 Jun, 9 Sep. OF ITALIAN GARDENS 2018: From £2,650 per person • Maximum 14 people per group • Local garden guides and guided garden visits included • Six nights in 4 or 5 star hotels, two per tour • British Airways flights included Special offers may apply - full details on our website

LAKES COMO AND MAGGIORE Visits: Villa Babbianello, Villa Carlotta, Villa Monastero, Isola Bella, Isola Madre 2018: 15 May, 5 June, 26 June, 4 Sep. From £2,490 per person

AMALFI COAST, CAPRI & ISCHIA Visits: Villa Rufolo, Villa San Michele Axel Munthe, La Mortella 2018: 3 May, 24 May, 14 Jun, 13 Sep. From £2,460 per person

ENVIRONS OF ROME

THE

ART

OF

INTELLIGENT

Visits: Villa d’Este, Lante, Ninfa, Landriana, Castel Gandolfo 2018: 16 May, 6 Jun, 27 Jun, 12 Sep. From £2,490 per person

VENETO

T R A V E L

O R G A N I S I N G

Visits: Villa Barbarigo, Villa Emo, Villa Pisani, Giardino Giusti, Villa Rizzardi 2018: 20 Jun, 12 Sep From £2,620 per person

Founded 1989

Please call us 01392 441275 www.expressionsholidays.co.uk

Country Gardener ad horizontal half page jan 2018.indd 1

www.countrygardener.co.uk

13/01/2018 12:35:47

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Lord and Lady Lansdowne’s Private Walled Garden Tour On selected dates throughout the 2018 season you can enjoy an exclusive guided tour of the remarkable Private Walled Garden surrounding Bowood House. £34pp person (includes 2 course lunch)

One of the finest gardens in Britain 2018 Tour Dates

26th May Photography Workshop with Philip Smith, founder of International Garden Photographer of the Year. £75. See website for details.

Friday 20th April Friday 18th May Wednesday 6th June Friday 15th June Wednesday 4th July Friday 20th July Wednesday 8th August Friday 24th August

For more information or to book your tour, please call 01249 810961 or email houseandgardens@bowood.org

Free entry to tea rooms, plant centre and shop Buckland Monachorum, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7LQ 01822 854769 office@thegardenhouse.org.uk

Bowood House & Gardens Derry Hill, Calne SN11 0LZ

www.bowood.org

www.thegardenhouse.org.uk

Nature in Art

BUSCOT PARK &

7055 - Bowood House - Advertising January 2018 PWG Country Garden Magazine Ad.indd 16/01/2018 1 10:40

THE FARINGDON COLLECTION

The world’s first museum & art gallery dedicated to art inspired by nature.

One of Oxfordshire ’s best kept secrets

to become the proud owner of a specially created work of art by a renowned artist!

May 22nd - June 3rd David Shepherd - A unique

selection of original paintings by one of the UK’s best known and best loved wildlife artists and conservation icon.

May 26th - June 3rd The Wildlife Art Society - The

Wildlife Art Society International’s annual exhibition. Around 300 paintings, drawings, original prints, photographs and sculptures by members.

Children’s Activity Days

An amazing selection of activity sessions throughout school holidays! See the full programme and book your places online.

Open 30 March - 30 September Contact: Info line 01367 240932 or website ww w.buscotpark.com for opening times. 40

Open: Tues - Sun & B. Hols, 10am - 5pm Coffee & Gift Shop Tel: 01452 731422 Web: www.natureinart.org.uk Wallsworth Hall, Twigworth, Gloucester, GL2 9PA

Country Gardener

Images top to bottom: Chris Noble, David Shepherd, Angela Gaughan, Children’s Activity Days

April 24th - June 3rd Postcard Portraits - Buy a ticket


GREAT PLACES T O V ISI T

FROM LAND ARMY TO ALLOTMENTS The massive and exciting Crafts and Gardens feature at the Devon County Show on Thursday 17th, Friday 18th and Saturday 19th May, is sure to fascinate the green-fingered and those who love locally produced crafts. In the gardens section there will be displays to commemorate the centenary of World War 1 including how the Women’s Land Army in Devon helped to feed the nation; 30,000 poppies handmade to remember the lives lost from the South West will be sold in aid of the Royal British Legion. www.devoncountyshow.co.uk

Art and gardens delight at Buscot Park The Oxfordshire Georgian mansion at Buscot Park contains an extraordinary collection of furniture and art which includes paintings by Rembrandt, Reynolds, Rubens, Murillo and its Saloon was decorated with The Legend of the Briar Rose by the Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones. There are also gardens to explore, a ‘Four Seasons Garden’ set within old walls and the Pleasure Gardens beyond with five tree-lined avenues leading to a citrus garden, a ‘Swing Garden, the tallest sundial in England, a lake, and the Water Garden cascades designed by Harold Peto in 1903.Open until Sunday 30th September. www.buscotpark.com Buscot Park, Faringdon, Oxfordshire SN7 8BU.

STANWAY HOUSE AND THE WORLD’ LARGEST GRAVITY FOUNTAIN Stanway House is a Jacobean manor house, located near the village of Stanway in Gloucestershire. The spectacular gravity fountain in the grounds is the world’s highest, reaching 300ft. The house is a perfect example of a Cotswolds manor and has been lived in by the same family since the 16th century. There are extensive grounds to explore and fascinating history to discover. The working watermill produces flour from wheat grown on the estate. Open in June, July and August, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2pm-5pm. The fountain plays at certain set times, subject to drought and other adverse weather conditions. Groups welcome at any time by arrangement. Dogs also welcome. Stanway House, Stanway, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 5PQ. www.stanwayfountain.co.uk

Nursery at Miserden This Garden at Miserden near Stroud in Gloucestershire was created in the 17th century and retains a wonderful sense of peace and tranquillity. There are extensive yew hedges, including a notable topiary yew walk designed by Lutyens as well as some carefully planted mixed borders, which contain a wide range of roses, clematis and herbaceous that provide colour right through from spring to autumn. There is an ancient mulberry tree, believed to be planted in 1620 and a water feature with fountain and stone summerhouse built to commemorate the Millennium. The garden is a preserved, hidden gem in the heart of the Cotswolds. The Garden at Miserden, nursery and cafe are open Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays, 10am to 5pm. www.miserden.org Miserden Nursery, Miserden, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL6 7JA.

Bowood House - at its very best in late spring With its magnificent display of bluebells, rhododendrons, magnolias and azaleas unique to Wiltshire - and only in bloom for six weeks each year - Bowood’s Woodland Garden is a springtime ‘must’. Saturday 28th April is the first day of the 2018 season, so make sure a visit is in your diary. This spectacular 30-acre Woodland Garden at Bowood, home to the Lansdowne family since 1754, was originally laid out in 1854 by the 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne; the gentle upland garden boasts some of the earliest known hybrids in the UK. Tel: 01249 810961. www.bowood.org Bowood House, Derry Hill, Calne, Wiltshire SN11 0LZ.

Two May Rare Plant Fairs in classic settings One of the joys of visiting Rare Plant Fairs is that every event is set in a unique garden, with garden entry included in the admission price. Each garden has its own distinctive character, some with histories stretching back centuries. The two May fairs are no exception. On Sunday 20th May the fair returns to Winterbourne House and Garden in Birmingham, a rare example of an early 20th century suburban villa and garden. The fair opens from 10.30am until 4pm. The largest fair of the series, with over 30 exhibitors, takes place at Kingston Bagpuize House, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, on Sunday 27th May. A proportion of the proceeds will be donated to SeeSaw, a local charity that supplies grief support for the young in Oxfordshire. The fair is open from 11am-4pm. Visit www.rareplantfair.co.uk for details including admission charges and a list of the exhibitors.

Enjoying Overbeck’s in May The Mediterranean feeling at Overbeck’s Garden comes on warm days in May. Its sheltered cliff side location offers far-reaching views, enjoyed from any number of places in the garden. For sun worshippers the grassy slopes of the Olive Grove offer the perfect spot to relax and take in the panoramic view. For those that appreciate a little shade the gazebo garden may be the preferred choice, surrounded by fragrant Mediterranean herbs and a picturesque view up the Salcombe Estuary. The terraces are the best place to soak in the views across the estuary, across to the headland of Prawle point, and what better spot to enjoy crab sandwiches or seasonal salad? Call 01548 842893 for details www.nationaltrust.org.uk/overbecks

www.countrygardener.co.uk

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GREAT PLACES T O V ISI T

Replanting set to make Cadhay – a ‘must visit’ The Cadhay gardens were put to bed well in the autumn, particularly in the main borders which should pay dividends this year at the popular Tudor manor house just five miles from the sea at Sidmouth. Over the winter the main project has been the re-paving of the Courtyard in Blue Lias which looks tremendous. Some of the old paving stones have been used to improve the rill which runs alongside the path by which visitors enter the gardens and there’s been extensive replanting which will ensure that everyone receives an excellent welcome. Cadhay, Ottery Saint Mary, Devon EX11 1QT. Tel: 01404 813511 www.cadhay.org.uk

SPRING AND SUMMER LIFE AT OLD COURT NURSERIES Nestled in the foothills of the Malvern Hills is The Picton Garden, home to more than 420 varieties of Michaelmas Daisy. Well known for its autumn displays this one and a half acre plantsman’s garden glows with the first of the asters in August and in autumn the colours intensify, reaching a crescendo in late September and the first week of October. The new generation of the family have been bringing the spring and summer to life in the garden with an emphasis on woodland planting making good use of the wonderful trees already present. The adjacent nursery is well stocked with many of the plants seen in the garden. Old Court Nurseries, Walwyn Road, Colwall, Worcestershire WR13 6QE. Tel: 01684 540416. www.autumnasters.co.uk

Little Malvern Court gardens ready to ‘show off ‘in May The gardens at Little Malvern Court sit below the wooded slopes of the Malvern Hills, with far reaching views across the Severn Valley to Bredon Hill and the Cotswolds. Particular features to look out for in May include the beautiful pots of tulips, grouped according to colour, surrounding the house. The many and varied magnificent flowering cherries and crab apple trees are in blossom. In the rose garden, alliums literally burst into flower and the early roses start to open. The gardens are just off the A449 in Little Malvern. Tel: 01684 892988. littlemalverncourt.co.uk. Little Malvern Court and Gardens, Little Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 4JN.

NATURE IN ART DEDICATED TO ART INSPIRED BY NATURE Nature in Art is the world’s first museum and art gallery dedicated to fine, decorative and applied art inspired by nature. A varied and growing collection is housed in a fine Georgian mansion just outside the famous cathedral city of Gloucester. There’s a programme of temporary exhibitions alongside regularly changing displays of collections. Exhibitions are supported by an unrivalled programme of artists in residence, children’s activity days and adult art courses. With a licensed coffee shop serving meals, plus gardens, free parking and a beautiful setting it’s a wonderful place to visit. International in scope, appeal and stature, Nature in Art is a must for all interested in world-class art, nature and heritage. Nature in Art, Wallsworth Hall, Sandhurst, Gloucester GL2 9PA.

Whitsun half term fun at The Bishop’s Palace

The Bishop’s Palace, Wells, the 800-year-old home of the Bishops of Bath and Wells continues its season of family activities this Whitsun Half Term with a week of fun from Saturday, 26th May to Sunday 3rd June. The focus will be ‘A Bishop’s Life’ and a new family picture trail created around the grounds with clues for all ages to follow to discover different areas of the site. On Friday, 1st June, Nature Ninjas family gardening sessions will take place from 11am to 3pm, with the opportunity to get hands on with the Palace gardening team and discover what jobs need doing. All events are included with standard admission. Children under five have free admission. Apart for the half term events the Bishops’ Palace is running daily-guided tours and horticultural tours of its spectacular gardens including stunning paulownia flowering in May Open until Sunday 28th October from 10am to 6pm. Tel: 01749 988111. www.bishopspalace.org.uk The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens, Wells, Somerset BA5 2PD. 42

Country Gardener

Open gardens weekend at Cerne Abbas For the 43rd time the Dorset village of Cerne Abbas will welcome visitors to its Open Gardens weekend on 16th and 17th June. The proceeds will go to Cerne Valley Scout Group and the Dorset County Hospital Cancer Appeal. About 25 private gardens normally hidden from view will be open from 2pm to 6pm. Day tickets for entry to all gardens are £7, accompanied children free, tickets available in the car park open from 11am or in the village square from 1pm. All the gardens are within easy walking distance of free car park (DT2 7GD). Tea and cake served in the church from 1.30pm and a plant stall in the village square from 1pm.This is a quintessential English weekend in the friendliest of villages. www.cerneopengardens.org.uk for more information.


Hartland Abbey & Gardens

A SPECIAL DAY OUT IN A SPECTACULAR CORNER OF NORTH DEVON Visit this historic family home with its fascinating architecture, collections and exhibitions. Beautiful 18thC walled and woodland gardens, bluebell and wildflower walks to the beach. Wonderful tulips. * Dogs welcome * Holiday Cottages * * Film location for ‘Guernsey’ * House, Gardens and Café: until 30th September, Sunday to Thursday 11am - 5pm (House 2pm - last adm. 4pm)

T H E G A R D E N, NURSERY & CAFE AT M I S E R D E N

For all information and events see www.hartlandabbey.com Hartland, Nr. Bideford EX39 6DT 01237441496/234 n ay y pe id a O y Fr h M t er 5 ev om fr

Beautiful Garden, Exceptional Plants, Superb Coffee. HOUSE, GARDENS & TEAROOM Open every Friday 2pm - 5.30pm until 28th September Also late May & August Bank Holiday weekend - Saturday, Sunday & Monday

HOUSE & GARDENS: adult £8, child £3 (last guided tour 4pm) GARDENS: adult £4, child £1,

season ticket £12pp Member of Historic Houses Association

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

Open 10am-5pm Tuesday - Sunday and Bank Holidays Miserden, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL6 7JA

www.miserden.org

AXE VALE SHOW 23rd - 24th June 2018 Trafalgar Way, Axminster EX13 5RJ

A great weekend for all • Show Opening Times 10am - 6pm (5.30pm Sunday) • Many Stalls: toys, hobbies, flowers, plants, arts, crafts, antiques, vintage and more • Demonstrations of local crafts • Sheep Shearing on Sunday 24th

Support your local community! Online Ticket Sales available now or purchase at the gate

www.axevaleshow.com www.countrygardener.co.uk

Charity number: 1130829

• Fun Day Out - for all the family and all age groups • Great Food and Drink from local producers to sample and buy • Great Entertainment relax and enjoy super acts and live music • Dog Show on Saturday 23rd

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Come and celebrate our 30th Anniversary!

Barnsley Village Garden Festival

£e7e for

(fr s) u14’

Sat 19th May 2018 from 10.30am Open Gardens include: BARNSLEY HOUSE, BARNSLEY PARK HERBS FOR HEALING GARDEN With music, morris dancing, barbecue, craft stalls, lovely village hall teas & more! barnsleyvillage.co.uk

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. Open daily except Saturdays Adults £7, Seniors £6.50, Child (5-15) £3, Family £16, Groups (20+) £6.50

Little Malvern Court Nr Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 4JN Open 18th April until 19th July Wednesday & Thursday afternoons Other times by appointment

01684 892988 littlemalverncourt.co.uk

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

14 acres of RHS partner gardens See the Wells that give the City its name Stunning Paulownia flowering in May Daily Guided Tours & Horticultural Tours Half Term Holiday Family Activities Community Garden & Contemporary Garden of Reflection • Cafe & Shop T 01749 988111 ext.200 44

www.bishopspalace.org.uk Country Gardener

PHOTO: MARCUS HARPUR

Castle Hill Gardens

FILLEIGH, NR SOUTH MOLTON, DEVON EX32 0RH Tel: 01598 760336 www.castlehilldevon.co.uk


GREAT PLACES T O V ISI T

Garden show in summer for perfect gardening shopping The three-day ‘Garden Show in Summer ‘at Stansted Park, the Hampshire Grade II country house and estate takes place from Friday, 8th to Sunday 10th June and is a perfect event to find all you need for your garden. The well-established garden show is a great opportunity to source new gardening talent, designers and artisans. There’s a whole range of affordable and handpicked stands with specialist plants, garden accessories, sculpture, art and food. The Garden Show at Stansted Park will be open daily from 10am to 5pm (last entry 4pm) Tickets are £9 for adults, £7 for 60+ and £3 for children 15 years and under. Stansted Park, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire PO9 6DX Also make a note in your diary for The Garden Show at Loseley Park, Guildford which takes place from Friday, 27th to Sunday, 29th July. www.thegardenshowonline.com

Cerney Gardens, a riot of colour Cerney Gardens is a romantic ‘secret’ garden in 40 acres of Cotswolds parkland with a walled garden. A vibrant riot of colour is appearing throughout the garden as the herbaceous borders awaken. In the walled garden, ‘the knot garden’ is brimming with a stunning display of tulips and alliums, this year in pink and white. You can enjoy the peacefulness and tranquillity of nature on the bluebell woodland walk and the new nature trail. Open seven seven days a week from 10am to 5pm. Entry is £5 for adults, £1 for children. Dogs on leads welcome. www.cerneygardens.com Cerney House, North Cerney, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 7BX.

Flower festival and open gardens weekend at Eckington

For all those who love beautiful gardens a visit to Eckington near Pershore in Worcestershire shouldn’t be missed over the weekend of Saturday 16th and Sunday, 17th June. Eckington boasts five gardens in the National Gardens Scheme, all outstanding in their design and location. There are another 30 or more gardens open of varying size and designs so there’s plenty to see. To refresh you on your tour there are plenty of refreshment stops, including homemade cakes and light meals. There’s a free circular mini-bus. For those with difficulty walking, gardens are marked if they are wheel chair friendly. the gardens open from 10am to 5pm on both days. Prices: £6per person for the weekend. Children of school age free. Tel: 07967 503288, www.eckington.info Eckington, near Pershore, Worcestershire WR10 3AN

www.countrygardener.co.uk

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SPRING BANK HOLIDAY OPENING AT FRIARS COURT Enclosed within the remaining arms of a 16th century moat, the tranquil gardens of 17th century Friars Court are divided in to different ‘room-like’ areas with a variety of borders and specimen trees. The gardens are open on Spring Bank Holiday, Monday, 28th May for the National Gardens Scheme then every Tuesday and Thursday in June, July and August from 2pm to 6pm. Home-made cakes and cream teas are served in the Garden Room whilst a museum detailing the history of Friars Court is in the Coach House. Private tours are available on request. Tel: 01367 810206 www.friarscourt.com Friars Court, Clanfield, Oxfordshire, OX18 2SU.

SPECIALIST PLANT FAIRS

Buy Direct from Award-winning Nurseries Sunday 6th May 2018 Athelhampton House Sunday 1st July 2018 Abbotsbury Gardens Sunday 9th Sept 2018 Athelhampton House Organised by

Dorset

Fairs Open 10am-3pm £7 Admission Includes Gardens

East Lambrook Manor Gardens, Somerset’s hidden gem East Lambrook Manor Gardens is a hidden gem. Although recognised worldwide as the quintessential English cottage garden, the garden, created by the famous plants woman and gardening writer Margery Fish in the 1950s and 60s, is not widely known and, in fact, many local people have never heard of it. Why is this? Perhaps because it’s still privately owned and it doesn’t have the benefit of the National Trust behind it. There is however great continuity, head gardener Mark Stainer has tended the garden for 43 years. The garden is characterised by many winding paths between abundant beds and borders, which make it feel larger than it’s 1.5 acres. It has changed little since Margery Fish’s day and remains a plantsman’s paradise, brimming over with a range of plants, and is particularly noted in summer for hardy geraniums. The garden has a wonderful nursery, the Margery Fish Plant Nursery, known for cottage garden plants and interesting perennials. Throughout the summer there are exhibitions by local artists in the Malthouse Gallery, in the garden, which also houses a delightful café selling excellent tea and cakes and delicious apple juice from the garden’s own apples. East Lambrook Manor Gardens, East Lambrook, South Petherton, Somerset TA13 5H.

martinyoung100@btinternet.com

Stanway House & Fountain

HA

The world’s tallest gravity fed fountain Visit the iconic cottage garden of gardening legend Margery Fish before September and enjoy tea or coffee and a slice of cake for just £2 per person with this ad. Only four minutes from the A303 at South Petherton.

Jacobean Manor House, home of the Earl of Wemyss, together with spectacular fountain open all year by appointment for group visits. Contact 07850 585539 for details.

M ER SUM CAKE &

TEA OR £2 F ER OFF

Margery Fish’s iconic cottage garden

Cottage garden, nursery, café and gallery.

www.stanwayfountain.co.uk Stanway, Cheltenham, Gloucs, GL54 5BT 46

Open Tues - Sat & BH Mons plus Suns in May- July | 10am - 5pm Entry £6.00 | Over 60s £5.50 | Groups £5.25 | U16s free Silver Street | East Lambrook | Somerset | TA13 5HH 01460 240328 | enquiries@eastlambrook.com | eastlambrook.com

Country Gardener


Winchester Cathedral Flower Festival set to return in style The sensational Winchester Cathedral Flower Festival returns from Wednesday, 5th September to Sunday, 9th September with a stunning array of flower arrangements inspired by the magnificent Winchester Bible, the largest and finest surviving 12th-century English Bible. The first festival was launched in 2013 and quickly built a reputation for something really special. It is the chance for visitors to immerse themselves in a riot of colour as the Cathedral is transformed by striking and fragrant floral displays evoking the Bible’s exquisite illuminated initials and elaborate decorative schemes. The Flower Festival Market is in the Cathedral’s historic Inner Close, with hand-picked exhibitors, refreshment outlets and flower and craft workshops for visitors of all ages. Special afternoon tea packages and flower demonstrations are also available. The design team is led by Angela Turner, international floral designer and RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal Winner, on behalf of The Wessex and Jersey Area of NAFAS. Opening times are: Wednesday, 5 September – Saturday, 8 September 9am to 7pm; Sunday, 9 September 9am to 6pm. Tickets from £7, with free entry for children under 16, available from the Cathedral Box Office on 01962 857 275 or online at www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk A preview evening is being held on Tuesday, 4 September at 7pm with a champagne and canapé reception, with tickets from £30. Guests are invited to Choral Evensong, sung by the Cathedral Choir, at 6pm.

INSPIRED BY THE WINCHESTER BIBLE

5 – 9 SEPTEMBER 2018

Immerse yourself in a spectacular array of colourful and fragrant floral displays inspired by the magnificent 12th-century Winchester Bible. Tickets available from £7. CONTACT US FOR TICKETS Call 01962 857275 Email box.office@winchester-cathedral.org.uk Online winchester-cathedral.org.uk

47


SPECIALIST TREES

Hanging on for dear life

literally

MARK HINSLEY recounts the colourful and fairly perilous introduction into a lifetime of working with trees My first experience of tree work was in 1972 when working as a landscaper for my father. There was an old hollow white willow with a big limb that extended out over our workshop roof. Dad and his employee, Frank, decided that this limb should be removed. I was about 16 at the time and the lightest, so I was elected to be the climber. We didn’t possess a chainsaw, so they borrowed a new Stihl 020 from Roger, who sold garden machinery from a unit in the workshop. They were concerned that this saw should not be damaged. I climbed up the inside of the hollow tree and out through a large hole onto the branch in question. They threw a rope to me, which I passed over a branch behind me and lowered down to them. I then scrambled along the branch and attached another about two-thirds of the way along to be used as a pulling line. Back in position at the base of the branch they started up the chainsaw and attached it to the end of the rope hanging over the branch behind me.

As the branch detached from the section I was lying on, it kicked upwards and straightened, almost catapulting me off it. They then hauled the saw up to me in the tree. The idea was that, should I somehow let go of the saw, it could not fall to the ground because it was attached to the rope. They decided to tie the rope attached to the saw to a handy bit of chestnut paling fence near the base of the tree. As instructed, I then lay on top of the branch, which was angled up at about 30°, and began cutting through the 48

branch down from the top. As I cut through the branch Dad and Frank hauled on the pulling line. As the branch detached from the section I was lying on, it kicked upwards and straightened, almost catapulting me off it. Fortunately, I was holding on with one hand and was not dislodged. Unfortunately, they pulled the falling branch onto the rope that was attached to the chainsaw. The weight of the branch on the rope caused the chainsaw, which I had been holding out in front of me, to be snatched violently back towards the branch behind me over which the support rope was looped. I ended up in a sort of crucifix position with my left hand holding onto the tree at full stretch one way and my right hand hanging on to the top handle of the chainsaw at full stretch the other! The throttle trigger on an 020 was in the top handle so I couldn’t release it because I was holding the saw and much of the weight of the branch, all in that hand. After what seemed like an eternity, Frank managed to fight his way through the fallen branch to the fence and release the chainsaw support rope, at which point I was able to let go of the throttle trigger. As the screaming noise of the chainsaw abated a degree of calm returned to the scene. I used the support rope to lower the precious chainsaw down to waiting hands. It was then that I noticed on the outside of my jeans, just by my right knee, a large fresh tear in the fabric. It had been caused by the chainsaw chain catching the bunched material by my knee as it flashed past my leg on its journey from in front of me to behind me when the branch fell across the support rope. Oh well – we all have to start somewhere! Mark Hinsley is from Arboricultural Consultants Ltd. www.treeadvice.info

Country Gardener


Plant Heritage gears up to in style

celebrate its 40th anniversary

Plant Fairs will celebrate anniversary

Dorset is the only county to have two Plant Heritage charity groups but they are about to come together to host a series of plant fairs The National Plant Charity we all now know as ‘Plant Heritage’ started life as the National Council for the Conservation of Plants & Gardens (NCCPG). And while this is still its formal title remembered by many gardeners, ‘Plant Heritage’ is more user-friendly and perhaps more easily understood. In October 1978, The RHS held a conference to highlight the loss of many valued and interesting garden plants - as opposed to plants in the wild. One of the earliest working groups was held in Dorset in December 1978 and the Dorset County Group was formed shortly afterwards. The first National Collection of salvias, was established at Abbotsbury Gardens; this later moved to Kingston Maurward College on the outskirts of Dorchester, alongside the National Collection of penstemons. Group meetings were held for many years at Kingston Maurward and also at Athelhampton House. Although Dorset is not a large county, its infrastructure – particularly its narrow roads during the spring and summer can be very congested and it can take quite a while to drive from one side of the county to the other. Dorset is incidentally one of the few counties without a motorway and dual-carriageways are still a bit of a novelty. A decision was made in 1989, by those living in the east of the county, to form a separate group, which still meets near Wimborne. Dorset is the only county in the UK to have two Plant Heritage Groups but together we publish a joint programme of 16 to 17 meetings each year with quality speakers and hold several Specialist Plant Fairs in the county, which raise funds for the charity and its work in the county.

The Dorset Group now meets once a month at the Dorford Centre in Dorchester on Thursday evenings and the Dorset (East) Group meets at Colehill Memorial Hall, near Wimborne on Saturday afternoons. Members of either group can attend each other’s meetings and indeed, any other group meeting in the UK, free of charge. An added bonus is that thieir specialist plant fairs are also free to all Plant Heritage members from anywhere in the UK. This year, to mark the 40th anniversary, Dorset will be hosting the National AGM in Wareham from Friday, 27th to Sunday, 29th April. In addition to the two main Plant Fairs at Athelhampton House on Sunday 6th May and Sunday 9th September, a new Plant Finder’s Fair will be held at Abbotsbury Gardens on Sunday, 1st July. This fair will have unusual and exotic plants, in addition to the excellent range of annuals, perennials and shrubs which can also be found at Athelhampton. The fair will also have several National Collection Holders selling their own plants and has also attracted 20 specialist nurseries from up to 200 miles away. Admission to all three fairs includes free access to the attractive and extensive host gardens. Plant Heritage has undergone some significant changes since its formation back in ‘78 and is now the world’s leading cultivated plant conservation charity, bringing together the talents of botanists, horticulturalists and conservationists and the dedication of keen amateur and professional gardeners. If you would like further information, go to ncccpg.com and click on ‘in your area’.

www.countrygardener.co.uk

49


Asquash summer

SUMMER

You can grow summer squashes in a range of shapes and textures- from ‘hand grenades’ to ‘flying saucers’- and are more fun to grow and eat than traditionally straight courgettes. There’s a number of ways to bring the colours of summer into your vegetable garden but nothing beats the sight of fast growing summer squashes in all their vibrant colours. If you regularly grow courgettes then now is the time to branch out. Summer squashes come in a wonderful range of selections. Their fruit is ideally harvested young, with thinnish skins that do not store for long periods. Squash comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes from massive pumpkins to tiny patty pan squashes. There are winter squashes, such as pumpkins and butternut squash but it is the summer squashes, such as yellow crookneck, yellow straightneck, and scallop, which are harvested when immature, which gladden the eye. Squashes are easy to grow from seed and can be sown outdoors in the spot where they are to grow, or you can start them off indoors in pots. Sow two or three seeds deep outdoors in late May or early June and cover with cloches, jars or plastic; leave in place for two weeks, or as long as possible, after germination. Thin the seedlings to leave the strongest one. Despite differences in shape and colour, the fruit of summer squashes have one thing in common: when left on the plant and allowed to mature, they grow to their full size and develop a hard skin. When this happens they are generically 50

Country Gardener

known as ‘marrows’ and become the pride and joy of local garden shows. Squashes will develop rapidly after the flowering stage of the plant. When harvesting the growing summer squash, you need to decide what you want to use the squash for. You can use it in recipes and many different dishes. Because they come in different varieties, there are different flavours as well. Some are milder than others. If you are looking for summer squash to cut up and cook up as a simple vegetable, you might want to pick it earlier. When the squash is smaller, it tends to be more tender. Just remember that the larger the summer squash fruit gets, the tougher the skin. Two weeks before planting or sowing seed outdoors, make planting pockets three feet apart for bush plants of summer squashes and five feet for trailing plants of summer squashes. Do this by making a hole about a spade’s depth, width and height and fill with a mixture of compost or well-rotted manure and soil. Sprinkle a general fertiliser over the soil. Plant one plant on top of each planting pocket. Keep the soil constantly moist by watering around the plants, not over them. As they need plenty of water, sink a 15cm (6in) pot alongside the plants when planting out. Water into this and it will help ensure the water goes right down


to the roots and does not sit around the neck of the plant, which can lead to rotting. Feed every 10-14 days with a high potash liquid fertiliser once the first fruits start to swell. The fruit of pumpkins should be supported off the soil on a piece of tile or glass.

Will squash grow in pots?

There are a number of varieties of squash that are perfect for container gardening. Some varieties to consider include: ‘Bush Acorn’, ‘Black Magic Zucchini’, ‘Bushkin Pumpkin’ and ‘Bush Crookneck’. There are two important elements to successful container gardening -size and soil type. Although it may not seem like it, one squash plant will fill a 24-inch pot in no time. Do not overcrowd squash plants. A couple of things can be done to promote drainage; drill several holes in the bottom of the container and place some fine gravel covered by a piece of wire mesh in the bottom of the container. This will keep the soil from clogging up the drainage holes. The best soil mixture is loose, well-drained and loaded with organic matter. Mix together one part each perlite, sphagnum, potting soil, peat moss and compost for a well draining and highly fertile soil.

SQUASH SEEDS OR PLANTS? Seeds are the best option by far. Plan for one plant per person in your family, tops. Any more and you’ll be up to your elbows in squash come midsummer! Direct sowing is preferred to transplanting seedlings. Squash plants can’t tolerate having their roots disturbed. Most summer squash varieties are ready to harvest in 50 days. Because they mature quickly and require warm weather, you can plant them following early spring crops like peas, lettuce, or spinach. Direct sowings any time from spring after all danger of frost is past to midsummer works well with most varieties. Sow the seeds one-inch deep, spacing the plantings about 18 to 30 inches apart in the bed, depending on the variety. Where space is limited, grow only the bush varieties. If you have a short season or want the earliest possible crop, start a few seedlings indoors, preferably in peat pots, two weeks before the last frost in your area. When setting out the plants, be extra careful not to disturb the roots when transplanting them.

‘Defender’

Ball’. If you harvest the fruit small they can be skewered and grilled; bigger fruits are better stuffed.

THE SHAPE OF THINGS ‘Bambino’

‘Eight Ball’

There are now a huge variety of shapes to summer squashes but not fit into one of these categories:

Elongated The traditional courgette shape, long thin and striped. They key is to pick young and not to let hidden ones grow into ‘marrow sized’ fruit, which is easily done during their rapid growth often hidden under heavy foliage. ‘Bambino’ is an easy to grow favourite and ‘Defender’ grows into classically wonderful thin straight fruits.

Roundish The global approach to squashes include mid to dark green ‘ Eight Ball’ and light green ‘Geode’ as well as the yellow variety ‘Summer ‘Summer Ball’

‘Sunburst’

Rugosa Frulana

www.countrygardener.co.uk

Scalloped The pie-shaped fruit have margins which are like the shell of a scallop. They are sometimes called scallopini or pettypan squashes. The fruit is always best when harvested small, about five cms in diameter and get difficult to cook when larger. Light green ‘Peter Pan’ and bright yellow ‘ Sunburst’ are two of the best options.

Straightneck and crookneck The yellow fruit consist of fat, oval shaped bottoms attached to thinner, straight or crooked necks. These types have been popular in the United States for some time and are now getting established in Britain. ‘Summer Crookneck’ and ‘Rugosa Frulana‘ are widely available in catalogues and garden centres. ‘Crookneck’

51


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Somerset Scandinavian log cabin quiet location Sleep 4/6. Fully equipped. Open all year. From £295 P/W. Short/long stays. Pet welcome. No Smoking. Tel: 01278 789678 or email kathsouthview@sky.com

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Self Catering Thatched Country Cottage Carmarthen Bay South Wales Gloucestershire, Cosy annexe for two

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Seafront chalet situated on estuary. Sleeps up to 6. Seaview. Well Behaved Dogs Welcome. For brochure Tel: 01269 862191

Sleeps 5. Close to New Forest. Linen provided. Warm welcome awaits all. Tel: Mrs Crane - 01794 340460

Accommodation Holiday Cottages Lanlivery near Eden and other Cornish Gardens lovely woodland lodge 2/4 people www.poppylodgecornwall.co.uk 01726 430489 Carmarthenshire A charming holiday cottage, rural setting, stands alone, Sleeps 3. Short breaks available. Pets welcome. 01239 711679 Devon. Tamar Valley. Pretty cottage sleeps 2-4. Wood burner, garden, small dog welcome. 02073 736944/07940 363233 www.northwardshippon.co.uk Cornwall. Village location between Truro and Falmouth. Fully equipped renovated cottage. Peaceful garden. Off road parking. Ideal for 2 adults. No children/animals. Good public transport. Good pub and shop. Easy reach of Heligan and Eden. 01279 876751 ayrepj@aol.com Country Gardener

Creekside Cottages, Near Falmouth, Cornwall Waters-edge, Rural & Village Cottages Sleeping 2-8. Peaceful & Comfortable. Available year round. Dogs Welcome. Open Fires. Call us on 01326 375972 for our colour brochure www.creeksidecottages.co.uk

Advertise here... Call on 01278 671037 for details, or email: ava@countrygardener.co.uk


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

Peace, Privacy, and Stunning Views! 4* Delightful cosy cabin for 2, nestling between Wye and Usk Valleys. Shirenewton village and pubs closeby. Wonderful walks, splendid castles and bustling market towns. Perfect for all seasons. Pets welcome! Tel: 01291 641826 lynne@bryncosyn.co.uk www.bryncosyn.co.uk

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

4 star luxury cottages in idyllic surroundings. Fully equipped, open all year. Children & pets welcome. Tel: 01239 841850 www.valleyviewcottages.co.uk

Near Stratford-upon-Avon Lovely self-catering cottage in peaceful location: Large garden, Sleeps 2. Perfect for famous gardens, NT properties & Cotswolds. Tel: 01789 740360 www.romanacres.com Holiday bungalow in AONB overlooking Donkey Sanctuary. Sleeps 4. April – October. Ideal for walkers, nature lovers and children. jandtmercer@gmail.com www.sandwaysholidaycottage.co.uk 07842 514296

Advertise here... ...from just £2 per word

Gloucestershire Quality Bungalow B&B Ensuites, rural, large garden with sheep and fruit. Ideal Cotswolds, Malvern’s, walking, cycle storage, ample parking, Wi-Fi £37 p.p.p.n. Tel: 01452 840224

Pembrokeshire, Wales

Sidmouth Devon

Somerset 5* Restaurant with Rooms. Close to many NT Gardens, Houses and Dorset Coast. Sculpture by the lakes in Dorset. Pet Friendly 01935 423902 www.littlebarwickhouse.co.uk Charming B&B in garden cottage annex. Double with en-suite. Village location near Jurassic Coast, Bridport. Tel: 01308 488177 Country House B&B Ideal location for Malvern Autumn Garden Show and surrounding gardens. Visit www.littlebridge-house.co.uk or Tel: 01885 482471 for details.

Advertise here... ...from just £2 per word Bed & Breakfast 4 Star Gold Award B&B in Stoulton, Worcestershire. Luxury accommodation in beautiful surroundings. Perfectly situated to visit Worcester, The Malvern’s, Pershore, Cheltenham and Cotswolds. 01905 841129 www.sunbrae.co.uk. Also available 32ft caravan sleeps 4. www.countrygardener.co.uk

Home Farm B&B in beautiful Cotswold village nr Chipping Campden. Close Hidcote and Kiftsgate. Tel: 01386 593309 www.homefarminthecotswolds.co.uk

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

ANNECOTTERILL

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

Tel. 01297 553100 info@millhousefineart.com

www.millhousefineart.com

Advertise here... ...from just £2 per word

53


CLASSIF IED Flyscreens

Wisteria Pruning, Improvement, Oxfordshire, surrounding area. Richard Barrett wisteriapruning@tiscali.co.uk 01865 452334

Gardens To Visit

Burrow Farm Gardens

Advertise here... Call on 01278 671037 for details, or email: ava@countrygardener.co.uk

www.burrowfarmgardens.co.uk

Specialist Garden Products flyscreens4u@sky.com

Garden Furniture UKs leading supplier of Teak Furniture for the Garden

13 Acre Garden Open 10am-6pm Tea Room, Nursery & Gift Shop

Dalwood, Axminster, EX13 7ET

Garden Tools/Sundries RECOMMENDED GARDENING TOOLS AND SUNDRIES DIRECTLY FROM A

PROFESSIONAL GARDENER Tel: 01256 809 640 sales @chicteak.co.uk www.chic-teak.co.uk

jonne@jonne.co.uk 07770 720 373

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

Water Lilies

Direct from the National Plant Collection® at Bennetts Water Gardens in Dorset

Buy online at www.waterlily.co.uk

Garden Plant Supports

THE GARDENER’S BLACKSMITH

Ex display sheds. Stables, field shelters, garages, summerhouses, offices, workshops/agricultural 01935 891195

or visit our gardens in Weymouth

www.arthurandstrange.co.uk See me at Powderham 27th & 28th April

Home & Garden Show Putton Lane, Chickerell, Weymouth DT3 4AF

Artist blacksmith with a forge in Axminster designing and manufacturing garden plant supports, structures and furniture. Commissions welcomed.

www.thegardenersblacksmith.co.uk

Garden Services 2 nd & 3 rd JUNE 2018

Lewtrenchard, Devon EX20 4PW www.coombetrenchard.co.uk

Polytunnels FREE BROCHURE

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

Yenstone Walling Dry Stone Walling and Landscaping Patrick Houchen - DSWA member. Tel: 01963 371123 www.yenstonewalling.co.uk 54

DORSET WATER LILY COMPANY

Polytunnels from £399 available to view by appointment 01363 84948 info@ferrymanpolytunnels.co.uk

www.ferrymanpolytunnels.co.uk Country Gardener

Speciality hardy marginals and moisture loving bogside.

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

Consultation/Design & Landscape Service Tel: 01935 891668

www.dorsetwaterlily.co.uk


CLASSIF IED Wholesale Nursery

Storage

www.devonlogstores.co.uk CERTIFIED ORGANIC VEGETABLE PLANTS Visit us at Kitley Farm, Yealmpton, PL8 2LT Or order plants at

www.growersorganics.com Tel: 01752 881180

Tel 01404 41150

Made from sustainably harvested locally grown timber, these log stores are sturdily and attractively designed, yet light enough to be easily moved. Also wheelie bin/recycling storage and cycle stores.

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

Try

Available in a range of sizes suited for the courtyard/patio or larger garden.

Trimplant Nursery, Combe Raleigh, Honiton, Devon sales@trimplants.co.uk www.trimplants.co.uk

For further details call Nick on 01392 681690

Terracotta Pots

The Terracotta Pot and Gift Shop

Enjoy more of the Country Gardener experience by visiting our website

Stockists of frostproof pots and garden ornaments from Greece and around the world as well as a host of other bits and pieces Open every day Growers of many plants suitable for coastal areas including hedging plants All propagated and grown in Devon Established suppliers to landscape designers

www.coastalhedging.co.uk www.seasideplants.co.uk

Eastoke Corner, Hayling Island, Hants. PO11 9LU

Wanted/For Sale Wanted Old Radio Valves And Audio Valves. Tel: 02392 251062

ATTENTION ALL GARDENERS!

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

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

Facebook “f ” Logo

www.connettsfarmdevon.co.uk

features ts, plus exclusive More news & even e can be found onlin nities advertising opportu Many free and paid

new and improved

CMYK / .ai

Facebook “f ” Logo

www.countrygardener.co.uk CMYK / .ai

Are you part of a garden club or society?

Thornhayes nursery Devon’s specialist tree grower for a wide range of ornamental, fruit, hedging trees and a selection of choice shrubs. Courses, expert advice, arboretum, display fruit garden.

Tel: 01884 266746 www.thornhayes-nursery.co.uk

DO YOU HAVE ANY EVENTS YOU’D LIKE TO PUBLICISE?

It’s free!

www.countrygardener.co.uk

Please send us your diary for the year - we’d love to include your talks and shows Send them into us by email to: timeoff@countrygardener.co.uk or by post to: Mount House, Halse, Taunton, TA4 3AD. Your event can also be listed on: www.countrygardener.co.uk Sign up to add your events today 55


TIME Off

COMPILED BY KATE LEW IS DIARY EVENTS FROM CLUBS AND ORGANISATIONS AROUND HAMPSHIRE

Here’s a selection of gardening events to look out for during the next few weeks throughout Hampshire. 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 timeoff@countrygardener.co.uk and copy to vivienne@countrygardener.co.uk We take great care to ensure that details are correct at the time of going to press but we advise readers to check wherever possible before starting out on a journey as circumstances can force last minute changes. All NGS open gardens can be found on www.ngs.org.uk or in the local NGS booklet available at many outlets.

APRIL 14th ROWLANDS CASTLE GARDEN CLUB, ST JOHN’S CHURCH HALL 3RD ANNUAL SPRING SHOW 2pm 17th LEE-ON-THE-SOLENT HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘HASLAR MEMORIAL GARDEN’ – CHRIS ROBSON Details on 02392 551873 18 MILFORD GARDENERS’ CLUB ‘THE WHITE GARDEN’ – CHRIS BIRD Details on 01425 612287 THE GARDENING CLUB OF SANDHURST & DISTRICT ‘HEATHERS’ & LATE SPRING SHOW Details on 01420 768965 th

19th ALTON HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY SPRING SHOW www.altonhorticulturalsociety.org.uk BARTLEY HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘DEVELOPING NEW PLANTS’ – PETER MOORE www.bartleyhs.org.uk SWAY GARDENING CLUB ‘ORCHIDS’ – ANDY BURTON Details on 01590 681440 20th – May 18th MOUNTBATTEN SCHOOL, ROMSEY

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GARDEN DESIGN Fridays 10am – 12.30pm Details on 01794 523037 21st HALE & WOODGREEN HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY PLANT SALE AT WOODGREEN HALL PORTSMOUTH & DISTRICT BRITISH CACTUS & SUCCULENT SOCIETY BRING & BUY Details on 07775 910303 22nd CHAWTON HOUSE, ALTON CHAWTON HOUSE PLANT FAIR Details on 01420 541010 24th THOMAS STONE HORTICULTURAL SERVICES, CHANDLERS FORD LOOKING AFTER ROSES HALF DAY COURSE CHAWTON HOUSE Details on 02381 222606 25th BISHOP’S WALTHAM GARDENING CLUB ‘SHRUBS’ – GEOFF HAWKINS WARSASH HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘TWELVE MONTHS OF COLOUR’ – JOHN NEGUS www.warsashhorticulturalsociety.btck.co.uk

26 WOOLTON HILL & DISTRICT GARDENERS’ CLUB GARDENERS QUESTION TIME Details on 01635 254151 th

Country Gardener

SOUTH WONSTON GARDEN CLUB ‘WILDFLOWERS FOR YOUR GARDEN, FOR HARRY POTTER & THE OLYMPICS’ – JAMES HEWETSON-BROWN Details on 01962 882031 30th FORDINGBRIDGE & DISTRICT HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘THE SUMMER GARDEN’ – ROGER HIRONS

MAY 1st BURSLEDON & DISTRICT GARDENING CLUB ‘LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN’ – CHRISTINE BENNETT Details on 02380 402986 DENMEAD HORTICULTURE SOCIETY ‘THE MEON VALLEY PROJECT’ – ELAINA WHITTAKER-SLARK www.denmeadhorticulturalsociety. btck.co.uk MEDSTEAD GARDENER’S CLUB ‘CLEMATIS’ – MARCUS DANCER Details on 01420 562592 SOLENT FUCHSIA CLUB, UNITED REFORM CHURCH HALL, FAREHAM ‘A FUCHSIAS QUIZ’ – DEREK LUTHER 3rd DIBDEN PURLIEU GARDENING ASSOCIATION ‘FLOWERS OF GREECE’ Details on 02380 842006


4th BOURNEMOUTH IN BLOOM, THE BOURNEMOUTH HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘WILD COAST & KINGFISHERS IN AUTUMN’ – DUDLEY HIGGINSON Details on 01202 752014 SOUTHAMPTON GARDENING CLUB PLANT SALE Details on 01489 784823

10th ALDERSHOT FLORAL DESIGN CLUB ‘JUST WHERE THE FANCY TAKES ME’ – DAVID RYLAND www.surreynafas.org.uk/aldershotfloral-design-club WINCHESTER FLORAL DESIGN SOCIETY ‘FLOWERS IN MAY’ – MELANIE SMITH Details on 01962 854271

5th WEST MOORS HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY PLANT SALE

11th/12th THE GREYLADYES ARTS FOUNDATION, SCHOOL ROAD, BURSLEDON PLANT SALE 10am – 1pm www.gaf.org.uk

7th THE SALISBURY BONSAI SOCIETY MONTHLY MEETING Details on 07785 565510 8th LYTCHETT MATRAVERS GARDENING CLUB GARDENERS QUESTION TIME – GOLD CLUB Details on 01202 624269 WESSEX BONSAI TALK/DEMONSTRATION – CORIN TOMLINSON www.wessexbonsai.co.uk 9th COPTHORNE NURSERY & GARDENS, 25 FOXHAYES LANE, LANGLEY OPEN DAY Details on 023 80894998 GRAYSHOTT GARDENERS ‘HYDRANGEAS’ – SALLY GREGSON Details on 01428 722000

BASHLEY PLANT C E N T RE

12th MEDSTEAD GARDENER’S CLUB, VILLAGE HALL ANNUAL PLANT SALE 10.30am – 12.30pm Details on 01420 562592 WARSASH HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY PLANT SALE AT VICTORY HALL www.warsashhorticulturalsociety.btck.co.uk

WHITE HORSE GARDEN CLUB PLANT SALE Details on 01367 820251 13th COPTHORNE NURSERY & GARDENS, 25 FOXHAYES LANE, LANGLEY OPEN DAY Details on 023 80894998 14th OAKLEY GARDENING CLUB ‘AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 ORCHIDS’ – SUE BIRTWISTLE Details on 01256 780788

MIDHURST GARDEN CLUB ‘GROWING SWEET PEAS FOR EXHIBITION & PLEASURE’ – JIM MACDONALD Details on 01730 814194 15th HALE & WOODGREEN HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘CONTROLLING PESTS & DISEASES IN YOUR GARDEN & GREENHOUSE’ – NEIL HELYER THOMAS STONE HORTICULTURAL SERVICES, CHANDLERS FORD COMMON PEST & DISEASES IN THE GARDEN – DAY COURSE CHAWTON HOUSE Details on 02381 222606 16th THE GARDENING CLUB OF SANDHURST & DISTRICT ‘HERBS’ – BELINDA ALLEN Details on 01420 768965 MILFORD GARDENERS’ CLUB ‘PERFUME OF PLANTS’ – JOHN BAKER Details on 01425 612287 17th ALTON HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘A YEAR WITH THE BRITISH POLICE IN AFGHANISTAN” – SHEILA HILL www.altonhorticulturalsociety.org.uk BARTLEY HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘TOMATOES’ – PETER WILLS www.bartleyhs.org.uk SWAY GARDENING CLUB ‘PLANTS FOR PROBLEM PLACES’ – ROGER HIRONS Details on 01590 681440

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57


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Why not pay us a visit... 58

Country Gardener


Stockists of Country Gardener Hampshire Country Gardener is available free of charge throughout the area at the outlets listed below. For amendments to details or deliveries call Pat Eade on 01594 543790 email pateade8@gmail.com Alresford Natural Talents (Westlea Farm Shop) Alton Farm & Country Supplies Lavender Fields Alton Home Hardware Mill Farm Organics Andover Vigo Nursery (C Blake & Son) Mole Country Stores The Weyhill Farm Shop Basingstoke Conkers Manydown Farm Shop Mole Country Stores The Vyne NT Beaulieu Fairweather Garden Centre Brockenhurst Setley Ridge Garden Centre Bursledon Pickwell Farm Shop Grandessa Farm Shop Cadnam Cadnam Garden Centre Eastleigh George Beckett Nurseries Emsworth Emsworth Home Hardware Fair Oak Allington Nurseries The Garden Society Fareham Mud Island Nurseries Mole Country Stores Fleet Peacocks Garden Centre Fordingbridge Baskets & Blooms Bleakhill Plants Hyde Garden Shop Scent Sational Plants Wolvercroft World Of Plants Woodgreen Community Shop

Four Marks, nr Alton Garthowan Garden Centre Gosport Tourist Information Centre Hartley Wintney Organically Speaking Havant Staunton Country Park Hayling Island Meadow Farm Nursery Terracotta Pot Shop Tourist Information Centre Stoke Fruit Farm Hinton Ampner Hinton Ampner NT Hook Hook Garden Centre Lindum Nurseries Newlyns Farm Shop Wellington Farm Shop Whitewater Nursery Horndean Queen Elizabeth Country Park Lasham Avenue Nurseries Liss Hillier Garden Centre Lyndhurst Furzey Gardens Lymington Mole Country Stores Everton Nurseries Tourist Information Centre, St Barbe Museum Newbury Fairoak Garden Machinery Yew Tree Garden Centre New Milton Redcliffe GC Ferndene Farm Shop & Plant Shop Bashley Plant Centre Danestream Farm Shop Park Gate Carters of Swanwick

Petersfield Friends of Petersfield Physic Society Tourist Information Centre Ringwood Penn Lawnmowers In-Excess Garden Centre Romsey Gilberts Nursery Choice Plants Nursery Romsey Home Hardware Romsey World Of Water Mole Country Stores Cedar Nurseries Sir Harold Hillier Gardens Pococks Rowlands Castle Rowlands Home Hardware Stansted Park Garden Centre Salisbury Salisbury Garden Centre Wilton Garden Centre The Shed Shop Selbourne Gilbert White’s House Southampton Mayfield Nursery Woolston & Dist Allotment Association Stockbridge Garden Inn Garden Shop Longstock Park Nursery Tadley Mowers UK Elm Park GC Wolverton Plants Titchfield Stewarts Garden Centre Garsons Hambrook’s Garden Centre The Ultimate Shed Company St Margarets Fuchsia Nursery Waterlooville Rumsey Gardens Southern Mowers Whitchurch Hardy’s Cottage Plants

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Country Gardener Magazine Editorial Publisher & Editor: Alan Lewis alan@countrygardener.co.uk Tel: 01823 431767

Distribution Pat Eade pateade8@gmail.com Tel: 01594 543790

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

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60

Country Gardener


Countdown begins to stop closure of

THOUSANDS OF FOOTPATHS

Right-to-roam law means pre-1949 rights of way not on official maps must formally be recorded or will no longer be protected and could disappear Thousands of footpaths, and bridleways across the UK face being lost forever within a decade under a clause in rightto-roam legislation. The incompleteness of the legal record of public rights of way has been a contentious subject for many years. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 sought to address this. It provided for a ‘cut-off date’ in 2026, so that unrecorded pre-1949 public rights of way would cease to exist if not specifically preserved by regulations.

chair of the conservation body, the Open Spaces Society. Gathering the evidence and applying for paths to be recorded was ‘a painstaking and lengthy’ business, warned Wadey, who raised the prospect of farmers taking down stiles and putting up fences, and field gates being locked. “On 1st January 2026, old footpaths and bridleways that are not recorded on the councils’ official Definitive Map of Rights of Way may cease to carry public rights,” He said urban alleyways were of greatest concern, with shortcuts behind

‘The real worry is [about] rights of way that people are using every day, suddenly they will stop having that right’ Those campaigning to save footpaths are now warning that the ‘clock is ticking’. Walkers, horse riders – and even those taking regular shortcuts to the shops in towns –have ten years to apply to save any rights of way that existed before 1949 but do not appear on official maps. Organisations such The Ramblers, the Open Spaces Society, Natural England and others support the work to correctly record bridleways and restricted byways that are currently omitted or recorded at a lower status (such as ridden routes recorded as footpaths) as well as creating any new definitive routes. The task is to get all rights recorded as soon as possible. Certain unrecorded rights will be extinguished in 2026. The consequences of failing to act could be far-reaching, said Dr Phil Wadey, vice-

walking or riding or cycling along them. But they are not on the official map, so they will vanish if applications are not made,” said Wadey. “People won’t realise until they are gone and then it will be too late”. Wadey said: “The real worry is [about] rights of way that people are using every day – suddenly they will stop having that right, which means the landowner could close it at any instant. Some old roads, typically unmetalled green lanes, might disappear, as well as urban alleyways.” There were lots of instances where the basic route was recorded, but because of changes or inconsistent records, there might be a 20ft gap where a footpath should join a road, Wadey said. “And if you lose that gap, somebody can put a fence across it, quite lawfully.” Anyone wishing to register a right of way can seek advice from their local authority, the Open Spaces Society, the British Horse Society, and The Ramblers, who all have volunteers with expert knowledge.

houses under threat from homeowners extending their gardens, or fencing off paths that have existed for decades. This could affect popular shortcuts on many housing developments; even if the homes were built after 1949, the path around which they were constructed could have existed for longer and so be at risk. “These paths are all over the place. A lot Each highway authority (county council or unitary of them are actually authority in England, county or county borough council paths that are in in Wales) keeps a Definitive Map and Statement of all everyday use. They public rights of way -the formal legal record of the are not hidden. We existence of footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways are not talking about and byways open to all traffic. In total it offers more paths that have fallen than 137,000 miles of public footpath, bridleway and into disuse. There byway providing a level of access admired are actually people throughout the world.

What is a Definitive Map?

www.countrygardener.co.uk

61


How to grow your own

loofah sponge If you are looking for something really different and fun to grow try loofahs, sometimes known as sponge gourds, best known for the bath sponges made from its mature fruit yet in some parts of the world prized as a vegetable. Did you know that loofah sponges are made from a vegetable? Even better, you can grow them for cleaning and eating! You’ve probably had or used a loofah sponge in your life, whether in the bath or for cleaning around the house. But did you know it was made from a vegetable? Luffa aegyptiaca and Luffa acutangula, also known as loofah, vegetable sponge or dishcloth gourds, are grown mainly for their useful fibrous tissue skeleton. Young fruits can be eaten as squash, used in stews or even used in place of cucumbers. The

luffa gourd plant is an annual tropical or subtropical climbing vine. When the fruit section of the plant matures, it can be used as an organic bath or kitchen sponge. Some people even use the juice of this very beneficial plant to treat jaundice. While much of the marketing of loofahs shows the sponge in a sea-side setting, surrounded by seashells and the like, loofahs are the fibrous flesh of the mature luffa gourd—and you can grow them in your garden but you will need plenty of sunshine.

HOW TO GROW LOOFAHS Growing these plants is an enjoyable project but not one for the impatient. Loofahs are cold sensitive and take a long time to mature into a dried sponge, so loofah gourd planting shouldn’t be attempted if you don’t have the patience to wait. Sow gourd eight inches apart along a fence as soon as the ground is warm enough to work and all danger of frost has passed in spring. To facilitate germination, scrape the seed coat with a file or allow seeds to soak for at least 24 hours. Seeds are very slow to sprout so gardeners should not lose faith. Seeds can also be started indoors several weeks before the last frost. Plant one to three plants in a hill and space hills six feet apart. Loofahs like full sun and a well-drained but moist soil, enriched with plenty of compost or well-rotted manure. They are grown like a winter squash or hard-shelled gourd and their long (30 feet isn’t unusual) vigorous vines need lots of room to roam or a sturdy trellis to clamber over. The very first fruits that appear on the vine should be allowed to mature into sponges The sponges are mature and ready to pick when the green skin has turned dark yellow or brown and starts to separate 62

from the fibre inside, and the fruit feels lightweight. Leave the fruit hanging on the vine as long as possible for maximum sponge development, but be sure to pick and peel the fruit immediately if they get hit by frost. Fruit that isn’t fully mature won’t have enough tough fibre to make a good sponge. The first step to revealing your sponge is to peel off the tough outer skin: if it is already cracked you can pull it off in pieces, if it is intact try squashing the fruit gently until cracks appear and then extending the cracks by squeezing the fruit and pulling at the torn edges of the skin with your thumbs. If the skin is very dry, soaking the fruit in water for a few minutes may make it easier to dislodge the skin. Once the skin has been removed, shake out the seeds. Finally, dry the washed sponges in the sun, turning them frequently, until completely dry. Store in a cloth bag to prevent them from getting dusty and they will keep for years.

Loofahs for washing up?

If you are keen to join the drive to reduce plastic in our homes then you can join the growing number who successfully use loofahs as an alternative to dish sponges and scourers for washing up.

Country Gardener


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Hampshire Country Gardener May 2018  

The May 2018 issue of Hampshire Country Gardener Magazine

Hampshire Country Gardener May 2018  

The May 2018 issue of Hampshire Country Gardener Magazine

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