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Win a luxury stay at Eastbury Hotel

Hedgehogs need our help

Autumn colour to enjoy on days out

How a Cotswolds nursery is healing people

Hampshire www.countrygardener.co.uk

ISSUE NO 118 OCTOBER 2019 FREE

Core blimey! Reviving cider apples

LOCAL APPLE DAYS TO ENJOY Fruit only allotments An expert’s guide to planting fruit trees Join Country Gardener on garden themed holidays G A R DE N

CE N T R E

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www.garsons.co.uk

BUTCH E R S

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30/04/2019

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Up Front!

“October is nature’s funeral month. Nature glories in death more than in life. The month of departure is more beautiful than the month of coming October more than May.” - Henry Ward Beecher “Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer OUR HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GARDENING CALENDAR and winter.” - Carol Bishop Hipps OVER THE COMING WEEKS IN HAMPSHIRE

Winchester Cathedral hosts themed harvest weekend

The wonderful surroundings of Winchester Cathedral hosts a weekend which celebrates the harvest in a special way on Saturday, 5th and Sunday, 6th October. It will be more than just a harvest festival and will explore environmental issues facing gardeners and farmers in Hampshire. There will be farm animals, falconry displays, tractors, a Hampshire fare market and a ‘Big Top’ marquee full of harvest displays, speakers and organisations who are working towards a more sustainable future. Local food and drink will be available. It is a free event. Open 10am to 5pm each day. Winchester Cathedral, Inner Close, Winchester, SO23 9LS.

NERINE EXHIBITION AT EXBURY GARDENS Exbury Gardens is hosting a stunning collection of nerines throughout the whole of October. Exbury director Nicholas de Rothschild has produced well over 100 new hybrids many of which visitors can purchase during the exhibition, which runs from Tuesday 1st October through to Sunday 3rd November. Originally found on Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town in South Africa, nerines or ‘Jewel Lilies’ flower in a spectrum of colours from their original oranges, scarlets and white through to new purples, pinks, mauves, coppers and bronzes. The exhibition in the stunning 200-acre gardens promises to be one of the highlights of the autumn. The exhibition is free with garden admission or Friends of Exbury annual membership. Exbury Gardens, Exbury, Southampton, SO45 1AZ.

COMING OF AGE CELEBRATION FOR PUMPKIN FESTIVAL An autumn Pumpkin Festival and ‘Scarecrow Avenue‘ takes place on Saturday, 12th October at the Royal Victoria Country Park at Netley near Southampton. It is a charity festival to celebrate the best of autumn treasures with the special attention going on to pumpkins and scarecrows. There will be autumn drinks and food, flower arranging workshops, crafts, gardening advice and produce with a pumpkin stall and competition. You can take along you own scarecrow to the special ‘Scarecrow Avenue’. The biggest pumpkins in the UK will be on parade and small pumpkins are also welcome. It is a ‘coming of age’ celebration for the festival held this October for the 21st time. Dogs on leads welcome. Open from 12 noon to 5pm. Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley, Southampton, SO31 5GA.

NT Mottisfont celebrates the autumn NT Mottisfont near Romsey is celebrating autumn and the harvest season from late September through to Wednesday, 3rd October with a series of events including a scarecrow spotter trail, season decorations and lot of opportunities to learn more about autumn throughout the estate. It is also the first anniversary of the new Kitchen garden which should be bursting with fresh produce. Open every day from 10am to 5pm. Mottisfont, National Trust, Nr Romsey, SO51 0LP.

Botanical art workshop at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens The delights of botanical painting is the theme of a special one day art workshop on Saturday, 28th September at the well known Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey. The day which will focus on autumn berries and fruits in watercolour will be lead by botanical artists Candid Groom who will be showing how to paint shiny fruits and berries, furry leaves and prickly stems. The workshop is suitable for both beginners and those who have some painting experience. A materials list is supplied and the workshop, which runs from 10am to 4pm, costs £61 per person including lunch. Booking is essential. Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Jermyn’s Lane, Ampfield, Romsey, SO51 0QA.

The November issue of Country Gardener will be available from Saturday 26th October www.countrygardener.co.uk

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STEWARTS EST 1742

Visit Santa and his friendly elves at Stewarts Abbey Garden Centre, the home of Christmas!

Hinton Ampner

When you come to clear your mind, it helps us to look after our gardens and woodland A great visit for the whole family that children will remember for years to come!

When you visit, donate, volunteer or join the National Trust, your support helps us to look after special places such as Hinton Ampner for ever, for everyone.

nationaltrust.org.uk/hintonampner

Santa will be here from Saturday 30th November, booking essential Stewarts Abbey Garden Centre, Mill Lane, Titchfield, Fareham, PO15 5RB

© National Trust 2018. The National Trust is an independent registered charity, number 205846. Photography © National Trust Images.

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Country Gardener


...In Hampshire

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A LOOK AT NEWS, EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS IN HAMPSHIRE

Hampshire ready for apple day celebrations It’s time to celebrate the wonderful and much loved apple. From humble beginnings over 25 years ago, Apple Days have become popular events in towns, villages, National Trust properties, farms and orchards all over the south and southwest in particular. The events have one thing in common, they celebrate the unique varieties of apples grown throughout the countryand how to make the most of them. Some growers are sticking to 21st October, the official “Apple Day� started in 1990 when Common Ground, a collective of growers, held a celebration in Covent Garden. Others are holding their own apple days throughout the month. The first Apple Day brought fruit back to the London market

after 16 years absence. There were 40 stalls, with fruit growers and nurseries showing and selling a wide variety of apples. There were WI ladies with chutneys, jellies and pies, a demonstration of an orchard classroom, a wildlife trust talking about managing an orchard for wildlife, bee-keepers, a cider bar and experts from Brogdale identifying apples and offering advice. There were even apple jugglers and magicians to entertain the thousands of visitors. And this first event set the pattern for what you can expect at an Apple Day event. You won’t get all of those - but you may well get jugglers and apple-bobbing, competitions for the longest peel from a single apple, a slice of apple cake or apple pie and an apple expert who will look at your fruit and give you an informed identification.

Apple Tasting Day Blackmoor Estate, Sunday, 13th October This famous event has been running for 48 years and is a hugely popular free local event. It is in aid of local charities and a rare opportunity for fruit enthusiasts to taste a wide variety of the old and new apple and pear varieties grown at Blackmoor – from traditional favourites like Cox’s Orange Pippin and Norfolk Royal Russet to exciting new varieties like Opal and Rubens. Apple experts will be on hand to identify mystery apples, fruit trees and plants will be available and as usual there will be a range of other attractions including: rural craft fair and demonstrations; community fete; local produce stalls; horse and cart rides; cakes and teas. The day runs from 10am to 4.30pm and is free. Blackmoor, GU33 6BY – follow signs.

NT Slindon Apple Day Saturday, October 19th The Slindon estate hosts an apple day in the community orchard and offers visitors the chance to taste apples from the trees. You can test your strength on the giant apple press ‘Big Bertha’, try some juice straight from the press, visit the apple ID experts and their huge display of apples or play some skittles. It all takes part in the Jubilee Orchard, next to the Forge shop and cafĂŠ in Slindon village.

Apple Harvest weekend: Winchester Cit y Mill, Saturday ,26th and Sunday, 27th October You can celebrate a stylish Apple weekend and learn all about regional varieties of apples. Winchester City Mill is a restored water mill on the River Itchen where you can see milling and baking in action. Take your own apples along for identification. 11 to 4pm. Winchester City Mill, Bridge St, Winchester S023 9BH

Apple Day, Brighton: Stanmer Park, Sunday, 22nd September Apple Day is an annual seasonal celebration in and around the Stanmer orchards and one of the biggest apple events in the South of England. The event is free. It’s a village fair style day out for all ages, with tours of the orchards and live music. There’s a range of local craft, book, and produce stalls. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy Brighton Permaculture Trust’s own locally produced cider and fruit juice and a variety of food stalls from local, sustainable and ethical suppliers. There will be Orchard and plot tours throughout the day; apple Identification with RHS expert Jim Arbury where you can take your own apples and find out what variety they are; fruit tree sales, fruit growing advice and a display of Sussex apple varieties; Scything workshops and plant sales. 11am to 5pm. Stanmer Park, Brighton BN1 9PY www.countrygardener.co.uk

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GARDENERS’ CUTTINGS IN HAMP SHIRE

AUTUMN SEASON SHOW RETURNS TO ARDINGLY On Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October 2019 the popular Autumn Show & Game Fair will return to the South of England Showground in Ardingly. The Autumn Show & Game Fair has a strong horticultural theme It promises an autumnal day out for all ages, with children under 16 offered entry free. Profits will help support people across the South with an Visitors to the show can try their hand at clay pigeon interest or involvement in agriculture and other related landshooting, fly fishing, falconry, archery, axe throwing and based industries. more, while gardening enthusiasts can admire horticultural Tickets cost £10.80 for adults and £9 for seniors and students. displays and take part in the gardener’s Q&A sessions. Under 16s go free with a paying adult. Tickets available Tradition and heritage will be at the heart of 2019’s show www.seas.org.uk with dozens of unique vintage agricultural machinery, South of England Showground, Ardingly, West Sussex Scammel and traction engines on display to recreate and RH17 6TL educate about the bygone era of farming.

Art in the Garden at Harold Hillier There is still time to see the Art in the Garden stunning sculptures on display presented in the beautiful setting of the 180 acres Sir Harold Hillier gardens in Romsey. The exhibition, which runs until Sunday, 13th October, features award winning, local, new and established British sculpture and artists from overseas. Free but normal garden prices apply. Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Jermyn’s Lane, Ampfield, Romsey SO51 0QA

Forage for mushrooms and wild food at Heckfield Place The 400-acre Heckfield Estate is the setting on Wednesday, 23rd October for an exploration of the season’s pick of wild autumn foods under the expert guidance of professional forager Fergus Drennan. It starts at 10am and runs until 12.30pm. It’s the chance to discover how to safely identify and gather fungi as well as hedgerow leaves, fruit nuts and roots. During the walk Fergus will share with you and explain how to create meals from wild produce. Fergus has been gathering and learning about wild plants, seaweed and fungi for over 40 years Heckfield Place is at the heart of a bountiful 400acre estate has been rewoven, connecting house and grounds in a secluded corner of Hampshire. Heckfield Place, Heckfield, Hampshire RG27 0LD 6

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AUTUMN APPLES

The revival of

cider apples

After decades of being in decline, the future is finally looking rosier for some of the rarest, most historic regional cider apples

Cider has a rich history in the UK, however what most gardeners now think of as cider bears little resemblance to the traditionally produced version. Cider devotees have had a hard time of it. Twenty-five years ago the drink and cider apples themselves were out of fashion with local farmers competing to sell off their orchards. Now the same farmers and many more are producing traditional varieties of the apple for a whole range of designer and top class drinks. Cider has been made in Britain for donkey’s years, even before the Romans came; apparently, we have the Celts to thank for bringing it over. By the Middle Ages, cider apples could be found all over Britain. A lot of farms had their own orchard to produce their own amount of cider with various different varieties, playing their part. There was a time when there were 360 different varieties of the cider apple, with names such as Brown Snout, Chisel Jersey and Kingston Black thriving in different regions. Each region had it’s own style of cider, with parts of Wales producing complex and bolder types compared to Devon’s rounder and sweeter style, often luscious as honey and Somerset cider being full of flavour with a pronounced acid tang. Cider declined in popularity in the early sixteenth century when beer was transformed by the new practice of adding hops, which improved taste and its longevity. It is the use of true cider apples that is the key to producing an authentic West Country cider, but a decline in the cultivation of these fruits put its continued production at risk. Cider’s popularity took production as far north as Yorkshire, but real strongholds were established in Kent, Sussex, Suffolk and of course the southwest. Right up until the 20th century cider was popular, particularly in rural communities, but the increasing mechanisation of agriculture, beginning after the First World War and more intensified after the Second World War, had a huge impact on the rural economy. 8

Orchards fell into decline, many trees were ‘grubbed up’ and replaced by more profitable crops, and presses gathered dust. As time passed, the makers of the drink died, taking with them their knowledge and skills, while drinks such as beer and lager became increasingly popular and companies started to mass manufacture their versions of ‘cider’. As a result, some of our heritage cider-apple cultivars were on the brink of extinction. Some certainly have been lost – but there is hope in the form of a resurgence of small-scale, ‘craft’ cider makers and the establishment of museum orchards to conserve heritage fruit. The main difference between cider apples and those found in gardens are the level of tannin within them. Tannin is a bitter tasting, organic substance present amongst all apples, some more than others. Cider apples contain a lot of tannin; hence they produce a distinctive, bitter flavour. Cider apples are not usually edible but are grown for the qualities of their juice and tend to be rich in tannins and sugars. A ‘museum orchard’ – a gene bank of traditional cider apples (cultivars of Malus domestica) and perry pears (Pyrus communis) – has also been created. The first of its trees were planted in 2006 around Raglan Cider Mill in Monmouthshire. Grafts are being taken and sent to cider makers across Wales. In neighbouring Gloucestershire, Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith manage more than 100 different apple cultivars in the county’s own museum orchard, which includes 20 cider apples. Among them is rare, highly prized ‘Hagloe Crab’ – a barrel of cider of which used to be exchanged for a barrel of French brandy. In Cornwall, too, a ‘Mother Orchard’ has been planted on the National Trust’s Cothele Estate near Plymouth. Traditional methods cider is a much more complex drink than just fermented apple juice. West country cider is produced using true cider apples which, because they are high in tannins, gives them their distinctive, dry, ‘scrumpy’ flavour. Most cider apples are unpleasant to eat from the tree;

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Varieties which have become famous Morgan Sweet

Once the eating apple of choice in and around Bristol but now rather hard to come by, this large yellow fruity beast is delicious eaten straight from the tree. It’s also a great sweet addition to a cider blend as its juice ferments super quick. An ideal single variety cider apple for the less patient. they are much more fibrous than dessert apples, and the tannins give them an unpalatable bitterness: they are even more sour than cooking apples. Cider apples can be divided into four different categories – ‘sweets’, ‘bittersweets’, ‘sharps’ and ‘bittersharps’. Few cultivars have the ideal mix of sharpness and sweetness needed to make a quality drink. The skill of the cider maker is in blending cultivars to create that perfect mix of enough sugars to produce alcohol, some acidity to help fermentation, and some tannins for flavour. Traditional UK ciders tend to be a blend of two thirds bittersweets and one-third bittersharps. One tradition most definitely not followed by modern producers is that of adding meat, usually mutton, to aid fermentation. Hundreds of varieties of rare cider apples were planted after being donated to the National Trust to boost the genre. The Netherton Late Blower, Slack-ma-Girdle and Billy Down Pippin are among the National Cider Collection grown in Tidnor Wood orchard, Herefordshire. They were grown over 25 years by Henry May, who wanted to save old apple varieties in danger of disappearing.

Harry Masters’ Jersey A nice looking bittersweet apple, which excretes splendidly astringent juice when squeezed. Often quite large, and started in Somerset and known as ‘Port Wine’.

Kingston Black Also known as ‘Black Taunton’ and referred to as the ultimate cider apple because of the bittersweet juice it produces, which is acidically well balanced and tannin rich. It’s a pity the trees are prone to canker. The apple was first grown in orchards around the parish of Kingston St Mary just outside of Taunton.

Some were returned to the counties they grew in hundreds of years ago. Mr May has done much of the work to take cuttings from his trees, which have been grafted onto new tree roots. These were planted in a variety of gardens at Montacute House, Barrington Court and Glastonbury in Somerset, Tyntesfield near Bristol, Golden Cap in Dorset, Westbury Court Garden in Gloucestershire, Killerton in Devon and Brockhampton in Herefordshire. Mr May, a former customs and excise officer who used to collect cider duty, spent years tracking down rare species and gathering samples to grow in his orchard. He said he decided to collect cider apples having been “beguiled by their names for many years”.

Yarlington Mill Good cropping, nice flavour. First planted in Somerset and subsequently in Devon and Dorset. Will festoon your cider shed with a lovely aroma and is very high yielding. 9


AUTUMN APPLES

How to plant

fruit trees

Fruit trees are probably the fastest growing area of interest for gardeners. There is so much to be said in favour of them - most are extremely easy to grow and nothing is more important than planting them properly. Tom Nancarrow who took over Adam’s Apples Fruit Tree Nursery at Payhembury near Honiton in Devon early last year explains exactly how it is done.

“Fruit trees are available from a nursery or garden centre either bare rooted or containerised.” Bare rooted trees Bare rooted trees are grown in nurseries at dense spacings in the open ground, normally for one or two years before being lifted in the late autumn after the leaves have fallen and the trees have become dormant. They can then be sold bare rooted over the winter months or potted and grown on for a year to be sold as a branched, Bare rooted - and containerised tree in the ready to plant following year. At our nursery we produce all of our trees for sale as bare rooted plants. This means that trees are available for planting from around mid-November until the end of March. The practice of heeling-in gives you plenty of flexibility when it comes to planting bare rooted trees. This simply means covering the roots of your dormant trees, traditionally in a trench outside, covering the roots with soil until the moment you are ready to plant the trees in their final location. If you have just one or two trees you can also heel them in using a large pot and use compost, sand or woodchip to completely cover the roots. Tree roots must be kept damp and cool to avoid them drying out. It is better to heel the trees in somewhere and plant out when the soil conditions are good rather than rushing to get the trees in the ground for the sake of it. Choosing your site It is important to choose the right site. No fruit tree will 10

thrive in very wet ground, nor very exposed sites. If there are rushes growing in your field, if water pools on the surface or if all the surrounding hedges are growing at 45 degree angles due to the constant wind... think again before planting fruit trees in these locations! Your planting site wants to have relatively free-draining soil. Do a pH test, you can buy one from a garden centre for a few pounds. They are easy and interesting to do and will tell you if you need to add lime to increase the pH. Fruit trees require a pH between 6 – 6.7. Digging your hole I have a suspicion that lots of trees are planted too deep and this could be one reason they do not thrive. Your planting hole wants to be square. If planting in to grass, firstly strip the turf off an area 40cm x 40cm. I place a large sheet of polythene next to the hole I am about to dig, putting the spoil on to the sheet as it comes out. It is an efficient and tidy way of putting all the soil back in to the hole around the roots. Dig your square planting hole around 25-30cm deep. Be aware not to dig too deep - the top most roots on the tree want to be just a few inches below the surface once all the soil is back in the hole. You should now have a nice square hole. Break up the bottom of the hole with a fork to have some loose ‘friable’ soil and rough up the sides to reduce any smearing effect from a spade. You will also have a pile of soil next to the hole, hopefully broken up to a nice grainular and friable consistency. Fruit trees have a graft union at around 20-30cm from the bottom of the trunk where the tree has been grafted at the nursery, it is critical this is not buried. Locate it on the tree before you plant. Planting additions At this point you can add a handful of bone meal to the soil you have dug out, and a handful of garden lime if you require it, which should be mixed in well. Bone meal offers a slow release fertiliser that aids root

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An impressive line of fruit trees in winter and summer mode at Adam’s Apple Fruit Tree Devon nursery

development. Lime will raise the pH if your soil is rather acidic and will also help to make clay soils more friable. Mycorrhizal funghi are another addition you can mix in at this point, they help to increase the area of your root zone and will aid the establishment of your tree. I would only advise adding compost if your soil is very heavy clay, coming out in large clumps and not breaking up to a tilth. If this is your situation, add a small amount of compost at this stage, around 15 per-cent. The organic matter will help to break up large clods and improve the structure of your soil. But do not add more than this. Too much compost in the planting hole creates an unstable area in which the tree does not anchor itself and will topple over. It also holds too much moisture after heavy rainfall, causing potential problems with A perfect example of 40 root rot. cms square planted tree in grassed area Staking Before you plant the tree, bang in a stake. Staking is almost always beneficial. For half-standard trees on semi-vigorous rootstocks I would recommend a low stake, around 90cm, either a round five to seven cms or two and a half cms. Bang your stake in on the windward side, i.e., the side the prevailing wind blows Low staking is now the preferred option

from (southwest in this part of the world) just off the centre of the hole. It wants to be in the ground at least 45cm so there will be 45cm or so sticking out of the ground. Backfilling With the stake in, offer up your tree to the planting hole. The tree should be in the middle of the hole and around five cms from the stake, then start to back-fill. This is easier as a two-person job, one person holding the tree upright and the other backfilling with the soil. Back-fill evenly with a spade and gently tamp the tree up and down the first few times so that the soil falls nicely around the roots of the tree and fills the gaps. Once half the soil is back in, if you have used a polythene sheet you can literally pour the remaining soil back in to the hole. Firm it down with your heel – don’t jump up and down on it, but firm it so it consolidates and the tree feels securely in the ground. Use a rubber tree tie to attach the tree to the top of the stake, and not half way up, otherwise the tree will rub and get damaged as it blows in the wind. Tom Nancarrow Adam’s Apples Fruit Tree Nursery www.adamsappletrees.co.uk

“I have a suspicion that lots of trees are planted too deep and this could be one reason they do not thrive.”

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11


Can you fill an allotent with

AUTUMN APPLES

fruit trees?

Tim Foster author of a new organic guide to growing fruit ‘Fruit for Life’ puts some of his theories to the test - on his allotment Allotment occupation was definitely an issue not all that long ago. It still is, but in a different way. Then, the issue was all of the unused plots and what to do with them. Some councils covered them – they invested in large sheets of black polythene until some sites looked like a patchy oil slick. Which wasn’t that far from the truth really. Another approach was to encourage neighbouring plotholders to stop complaining about the weeds and slugs by taking on extra plots. So I did. Another one and a half to be precise. Brilliant. I became a peasant baron ruling over my new kingdom. The tiniest fly in the ointment was time, specifically the lack of it. Although I was doing bits of teaching (of gardening) in a number of different places, it added up to a full time job. What was required was some creative, lateral thinking. In the absence of that I planted fruit and here was the test of Theory number 1: Growing fruit is less work (and therefore takes less time). The answer is an unqualified resounding positive – later on. Initially, of course, the plot has to be ‘dealt with’ but even here, where a fine tilth is not required; we can take some short cuts. The short cuts I took were with shears and a slasher to reduce the existing vegetation. This was followed by a version of lasagne gardening – layers of organic matter and cardboard over as much of the area and repeated as many times as possible. The fruit plants were gently inserted through the mulch. And, lo, all of that was a lot of work. But thereafter the maintenance – pruning, feeding, training, even picking – was pretty minimal certainly compared to the annual rigmarole of growing, say, a bed of leeks. A reasonable response to that comparison might be ‘You idiot, they are completely different products’, to which I’d reply that they are different but I was already growing enough leeks. But - Fruit Theory number 2: You can get by with just fruit. There are some folk who reckon a diet should be all fruit, fruitarians no less. I’m guessing that, for such a diet to 12

work well, it would involve plenty of tropical and non-home grown fruit. As an advocate (I almost wrote ‘avocado’ there) of a plant-based diet I reckon that, like many things, it works best in balance: lots of fresh, ripe fruit but also a complete range of greens, pulses, alliums, etc. Fruit Theory number 3: (almost the opposite of number 2): Fruit isn’t good for you – too much sugar. The kinds of fruit we grow are basically enlarged (bred) versions of a plant’s seed distribution system: many are flavoured ,usually sweet, to entice creatures to snaffle ‘em and spread the seed in the process. But does a plant need much more than sugar and colouring to make this work? The likely answer is ‘no’, though most fruits have additions, probably accidental or incidental, that make them exceptionally good for us. The vitamin C in blackcurrants and kiwis or the antioxidants in blueberries. There are exceptions. Apple ‘Pink Lady’, for example, is about as good for you as a sock-full of wet sand on the back of the head. And, alas, fruit juices from concentrates are not that terrific. Fruit Theory number 4: You can fill a plot with fruit and it still counts as an allotment. Apart from the rules stating that a certain percentage should be ‘cultivated’ and permanent plants might not be allowed as part of that, some councils and associations require notification of fruit planting. Any trees have to be on the most dwarfing rootstocks. I think I got away with it – the association was so pleased someone had taken on the overgrown plots they forgot to check what I was doing on them. In the end, most of the plants (including 35 varieties of apple) are below head height and there is very little encroaching or shading of neighbours’ plots. Trees and bushes are trained and pruned regularly and other non-fruit plants (flowers, comfrey, perennial vegetables) have sneaked into gaps making it a joyful, varied, wildlife-friendly, productive plot. Which brings us back to the new issue with allotment occupation and those of us with multiple plots. They want them back. Tim Foster teaches organic gardening and RHS courses at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden. ‘Fruit for Life’ is published by Eco-logic books. RRP is £16.99 but is offered direct from the publisher at www.eco-logicbooks.com for £12.99

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13


AUTUMN APPLES

cider IN THE

There’s

KITCHEN by Kate Lewis

Cider apple cake

As we roll into autumn there is an abundance of apples on their way, with many growers turning their hand to making cider, but cider is more than a drink. It is worth keeping a bottle or two in the kitchen to add depth and flavour to your cooking.

Spiced squash, apple & cider soup

14

Wine is often the cook’s go-to choice of alcohol, but with its inherent appley flavours cider can really enhance a variety of dishes. Cider works really well in both meat and fish dishes. Use it as a base for a sauce just as you would a wine – remove the cooked meat from the pan, pour in a good slosh of cider and reduce it down with some cream and seasoning. Chicken and cider go very well together, especially when combined with cream, mustard and herbs. The tartness of cider also cuts perfectly through game, adds sweetness to pork belly and makes a great brining liquid for ham. Cider is subtle enough to be used with fish and shellfish. Try using it in a fish stew or replace the more traditional white wine with cider in moules marinières. As we turn to heartier autumnal dishes cider makes a good addition to vegetable soups and any type of meat stew rabbit, lamb, pork, sausages – for an added fruity depth. The sweetness and fruitiness of cider also lends itself to desserts and baking, especially when used alongside apples in cakes and pies. Try poaching pears in cider and spices for a light autumnal pud. If you are not using home-made cider, aim to buy a drink that has been made from real apples and not concentrate, and of a drier variety for a flavour. Country Gardener


Cider apple cake

Cider, mustard & herb chicken

INGREDIENTS: 250g self-raising flour 100ml cider 2 tbsp cider vinegar 125g cold butter, cubed 1 large cooking apple, peeled and sliced 125g soft brown sugar Demerara sugar 125g sultanas METHOD: 1. Heat the oven to 190°C. Grease and line a 20cm, round springform cake tin. 2. Put the flour in a bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mix resembles breadcrumbs (or do this in a processor). 3. Stir in the sugar and sultanas. Combine the cider and vinegar, pour into the dry ingredients and mix lightly but thoroughly. Finally, fold in the slices of apple. 4. Spoon the cake mix into the prepared tin, smooth the top and scatter the top with demerara sugar. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before serving

Serves 4

(©Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)

(© BBC Good Food)

INGREDIENTS: Olive oil for frying 750g skinless and boneless chicken thigh, cut into large chunks 1 large onion, sliced

METHOD: 1. Heat the oil in a large, wide pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. 2. Add the onions to the pan. Cook on a medium heat for 3 -4 minutes until soft, then add the garlic and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. 3. Pour in the cider and bring to the boil. Return the chicken to the pan, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 4. Stir in the creme fraiche, mustard and parsley. Simmer for a further 5 minutes. Season and serve with rice and greens.

Spiced squash, apple & cider soup Serves 4 INGREDIENTS: Olive oil for frying 1 leek, finely sliced 1 carrot, diced 1 stick celery, diced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 25g fresh ginger, peeled & grated 1 fresh chilli, deseeded & finely chopped 1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp turmeric 1 tsp garam masala 1 medium-large squash, peeled, deseeded & diced 1 apple, peeled, cored & diced 250ml cider 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock Pumpkin seeds to garnish Salt & pepper

METHOD: 1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan. Add the leek, carrot and celery and fry on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring to stop them catching. 2. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and spices. Fry for 2 minutes. Add the squash and apple. Stir well. Pour in the cider and simmer for 2 minutes. 3. Add the stock, season and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the squash is tender. Blitz in a food processor or blender until smooth. 4. Gently reheat, checking the seasoning. Garnish with pumpkin seeds. (© Riverford)

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 400ml medium dry cider 175g crème fraiche 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard Handful parsley, chopped

Mussels with cider & cream INGREDIENTS: 1kg mussels Large knob of butter 2 shallots, sliced 1 garlic clove, sliced

20g butter 250ml cider Large handful chopped parsley 200ml single cream

METHOD: 1. Prepare the mussels – wash to remove any dirt or grit. Remove any beards from the shells. If any are open tap on the work surface to see if they close. Mussels must be alive when they are cooked. They will close if they are alive. Discard any that don’t close. 2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low – medium heat. Add shallots and garlic to the pan and soften, stirring often so they don’t colour. When they are soft and translucent add the cider, let it bubble up and add the cleaned mussels. Cover with a lid, turn the heat up and cook for 3-4 minutes until they open. 3. Add the cream and the parsley, cook for another minute. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Divide between bowls, pouring any left over sauce over the mussels. Serve with crusty bread.

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15


GARDENING JOBS

JOBS IN THE GARDEN

F OR OC T OBER

Autumn is officially here, in all its glory. It is also harvest time when the vegetable plot is thriving and fruit is plentiful so although there’s lots of work to do, there’s also the need to start planning for winter and yes even next spring. This may also be the first month some areas of the country experience their first frosts. Fruit and autumn veg are ready to be brought in and stored, and plants should be cut back, wrapped up or brought inside to help them survive the chilly winter temperatures.

Planting spring bulbs is the number one job Late summer into early autumn is the best time to plant many varieties of spring bulbs (a notable exception being tulips, which should go into the ground between mid and late autumn) and a trip to the garden centre should reveal a tempting selection of bulbs displayed in pick-and-mix style boxes, including daffodil, crocus, camassia, hyacinth, fritillaria, anemone and iris. However, if you are looking for rare or unusual flowers, you need to sort out a visit to a specialist nursery, but hurry. The best varieties often sell out quickly. Before buying bulbs it’s worth checking to see that they’re healthy, otherwise a promising floral spectacle may turn into a damp squib. The best bulbs will feel firm and plump with no signs of damage or premature growth.

Discard any that are soft, shrivelled, battered, pitted or mouldy. It’s slightly more difficult to assess the quality of pre-packed bulbs, but don’t be afraid to have a good feel of the contents through the bag and put it back on the shelf if any feel squishy. Bulbs are incredibly versatile and can be planted in the border, naturalised in grass or grown in pots - ideal if you have a tiny garden or even a balcony. Either grow a single variety in a pot filled with bulb fibre, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try layering different types of bulb in the same container. For maximum impact choose flowers that appear at the same time (this will take practice). If you’re naturalising in the lawn, don’t forget to put the cap of turf back on top. Some planters have markers on the side, which helps if you’ve got bulbs that need planting at a specific depth - generally, most varieties need a hole three times the size of the bulb.

Planting spring bulbs is the number one job in October

Space-saving fruit

Many gardeners like the idea of growing fruit but find the business of rootstocks, pruning and pest and disease control too time consuming. Bush fruit (e.g. currants and gooseberries), offers a stress-free, rewarding entry to fruit growing. It’s also well suited to small town gardens. Late autumn is an ideal time to plant. Choose a sunny, sheltered spot. Plants tolerate a range of soils, but ensure the site is well cultivated, weed-free and does not get waterlogged. In early spring, apply a general fertiliser or fish, blood and bone at 70g per square metre. A mulch of garden compost or manure in early spring is also beneficial. Fruit is borne on a framework of main branches that is maintained from year to year, with the exception of blackcurrants, where up to a third of the oldest, unproductive stems are pruned out in winter on established bushes. 16

Country Gardener


GET PLANTS READY FOR CHRISTMAS Prepared hyacinth bulbs can still be planted now. Use bulb fibre or general purpose compost but don’t be tempted to use ordinary soil which might contain worms. Bulbs should be close but not touching either each other or the sides of the pot. Fill with compost allowing the tips of the bulbs to show. Water, but don’t overwater, and place in a cool dark cellar, garage or somewhere similar. Check regularly, watering a little if necessary. You don’t want them to dry out. Once the shoots are a couple of inches high you can bring the pots indoors.

Give a little time to the wild f lowers

Wild flowers only need to be cut down once a year. Wait until they have finished flowering and the seed heads have ripened, adjust the lawnmower wheels onto their highest setting, remove the grass collection box and run the mover over them, or if you fancy a lot of exercise, try a scythe. Leave the cuttings on the ground for a few days to allow any seed heads to dry and for the seeds to fall. Collect up the remaining stems and put them in the compost heap.

Keep deadheading dahlias Frosts will eventually bring an end to their glories but until then do keep deadheading dahlias to give the plant the maximum chance to keep some flowers as long as possible. A quick way to tell flower bud from spent head: the spent heads are pointed in shape, the buds round.

Deadhead dahlias: the large pointed head is the spent flower head that needs to be deadheaded. The round bud below it is a flower bud.

Taking cuttings

Soft cuttings can be taken now of perennial wallflowers and salvias. Take cuttings of non flowering shoots, cutting above a bud. Remove all but the top leaves and place in a clean plastic bag until ready to trim and plant into fresh compost mixed with perlite. Cover with a plastic bag and stand in good light but out of direct sun.

KEEP TURNING THE COMPOST HEAP

Turning the compost heap is really important at this time of year. As the garden is tidied in preparation for winter, lots of material is generated for composting so don’t just load the new material on top of what has been decomposing during the summer. To encourage the whole bed to rot down quickly, turn the contents regularly to stir it up and allow in lots of air. In the colder weather, the rate of decomposition will naturally decrease, but it will soon speed up during warmer spells.

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17


THE COLOURS

of autumn

As the temperature falls and autumn arrives, so comes the chance to enjoy the wonder of colours in our spectacular gardens, woodlands, arboretums and parks Once again we will soon be in the grip of a riot of autumn colour and with it one of the most favourite times of the year for gardeners. Arboretums, parks and woodlands, footpaths and forests will be ablaze with exotic colours with native favourites including beech, alder, oak, ash, maples and cherry. It’s no surprise that autumn is so popular - harvest time and there are the rewards of hard work earlier in the year.

But above all autumn is about colour and despite the colder weather and shorter days it is these next few weeks when nature puts on its spectacular display. So with the promise of perhaps a shorter display in the weeks ahead, now is the time to start making plans to seek out the very best. We have a few places to recommend.

Spectacular delights of Castle Drogo The gardens at Castle Drogo and Teign Gorge are one of the most spectacular places in October as they start to come alive with the colours of autumn. In the gorge whether you are after a gentle stroll to take in the views or a peaceful walk to explore the ancient woodlands of Fingle Woods you'll find there's a walk to suit everyone. Hidden behind immaculate yew hedges stands a unique Lutyens designed terraced formal garden. There’s plenty to see from the spectacular autumn colour of the Persian ironwood trees to the quaint Bunty House complete with its own miniature garden. Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton, EX6 6PB.

Japanese maples provide autumnal backdrop at Picton Garden October starts with the National Collection of Autumn flowering asters at their peak in The Picton Garden in Malvern. As the month moves on the Japanese maples and other shrubs begin to create a bright autumnal backdrop for the soft pastels of the late flowering Michaelmas daisies. A walk in this one and a half acre garden provides plenty of inspiration for keeping the season going in your own patch and the adjoining Old Court nurseries stocks much of what you see. Old Court Nurseries & Picton Garden, Walwyn Road, Malvern, WR13 6QE. Tel: 01684 540416 www.autumnasters.co.uk 18

Country Gardener

Fine autumn colour and warming soups at Lukesland Gardens Tucked away on the southern edge of Dartmoor, just north of Ivybridge, Lukesland is a wonderful place to enjoy autumn colour. This year’s autumn openings are on Sundays and Wednesdays 11am to 5pm from 6th October to 17th November. The shelterbelt of beeches, planted by the Victorians to protect this 24-acre garden from Dartmoor winds, turns a glorious gold, while more exotic species such as acers, cornus, enkianthus and ginkgo reflect their autumn tints in the pools of the Addicombe Brook. The Howell family, who run Lukesland, serve up seasonal soups and cakes in the tearoom. And children, who have free entry, can enjoy a fun trail around the grounds, exploring the many secret paths and bridges. Dogs welcome on a lead. For more details about Lukesland phone 01752 691749 or go to www.lukesland.co.uk or www.facebook.com/lukeslandgardens


© National Trust 2019 . Registered charity, No. 205846. © National Trust Images \Rebecca Glover.

Space to explore made at Castle Drogo Visit Castle Drogo to explore miles of walks in the Teign Gorge this autumn

Soak up the spectacular colour... at Batsford this autumn. Browse our selection of plants and gifts and treat yourself to a home-baked lunch or afternoon tea in our café. A perfect day out for all the family – including the dog!

These are the places that make us. nationaltrust.org.uk/castle-drogo

LUKESLAND GARDENS Fine Autumn Colour Pools & Waterfalls

Home-made soups & cakes Sundays and Wednesdays 11am – 5pm 6th October - 17th November

Harford Ivybridge PL21 0JF Tel 01752 691749

www.lukesland.co.uk

Visit www.batsarb.co.uk for details on our forthcoming events

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

BATSFORD ARBORETUM AND GARDEN CENTRE Batsford, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 9AD. Tel: 01386 701441 E: arboretum@batsfordfoundation.co.uk www.batsarb.co.uk BatsfordArboretum

@BatsfordA

@BatsfordA

A Boutique Luxury Hotel, Spa and Seasons Restaurant

Escape to the country

THE EASTBURY HOTEL Long Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3BY Tel: 01935 813131 Email: relax@theeastburyhotel.co.uk www.theeastburyhotel.co.uk

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Warm autumn welcome at lively Sherborne hotel Just a few short steps from the historic Abbey town of Sherborne, The Eastbury Hotel is a boutique Georgian period listed townhouse with the hotel set within a spectacular walled garden. It is a warm, happy, welcoming hotel infused with a homely, personal touch and exceptional service. Originally designed as an 18th century Georgian gentleman’s residence, The Eastbury rooms are imbued with immense warmth and character and offer a real home from home. Menus reflect the changing seasons and Executive Chef Matthew Street and his team gather together the freshest and finest ingredients to create a tantalising variety of traditional dishes each with their own innovative twist. The Eastbury recently won Gold at the Taste of the West 2019/20 Awards for Hotel and Restaurant. Email: relax@theeastburyhotel.co.uk Tel: 01935 813 131 www.theeastburyhotel.co.uk

AUTUMN COLOUR SPECTACULAR AT BATSFORD ARBORETUM Home to one of the largest private collections of trees and shrubs in the country, Batsford Arboretum is famed for putting on a show-stopping display of autumn colour, thanks to the magnificent collection of Japanese maples, sorbus, euonymus and cherries. Enjoy 56 acres of magical walks amongst a kaleidoscope of reds, pinks and golds. Wander along the paths beside streams and waterfalls, enjoy spectacular views across the Cotswold countryside and discover beautiful statues hidden in shady glades. Browse the garden centre and gift shop and treat yourself to lunch or afternoon tea at the garden terrace café. Open daily, dogs welcome on a short lead. Batsford Arboretum & Garden Centre, Batsford, Moreton-in-Marsh, Glos. GL56 9AD. Tel 01386 701441 www.batsarb.co.uk

Old Court Nurseries & The Picton Garden The Michaelmas Daisy Specialists since 1906 GET INSPIRED FOR AUTUMN IN THE PICTON GARDEN

Come along and enjoy exploring this 1.5 acre Plantsmans garden known for it's autumn herbaceous displays. Now is the perfect time to get that inspiration to extend the season in your own patch, and the ideal plants might be waiting for you in our specialist nursery.

Open 11am - 5pm, every day September until 20th October. Closed 20th October - May 2020. Garden admission £3.50. Groups welcome by appointment. Mail order catalogue available on request

Tel: 01684 540416 www.autumnasters.co.uk Old Court Nurseries, Walwyn Road, Colwall WR13 6QE 20

Country Gardener


Ginko a survivor of a great race of plants which once dominated the earth

SPECIALIST TREES

Ginko greatness Mark Hinsley visits an Isle of Wight garden with a difference - an RHS partner garden where he discovers a giant of a tree On a semi-working return to my homelands on the Isle of Wight recently I decided to finally take a look at the Model Village in Godshill. I had been aware of it for ever, but never ventured in before, arrogantly turning my nose up at a ‘Grockle Trap’! “Waiter! Bring me my humble pie!” I don’t know; perhaps I am going soft in my old age; but what a treasure of a place! And not only that – an interesting feat of arboricultural management to boot. Around the scaled down model buildings are scaled down model trees; but they are not models, they are outdoor bonsai trees growing in the ground. The Model Village is an RHS Partner Garden and has a huge collection of conifers and trees that includes a large collection of niwaki or cloud pruned specimens. The whole collection contains about 3,000 trees and shrubs. The chosen range of trees have been individually sculpted for maximum effect to best fit in with the scale of the models. Some of the ‘little’ trees are as much as 40 years old. However, that is not all. In the middle of all this minatureness, standing on a bit of a knoll, no doubt a proud The Model Village in Godshill remnant of the on the Isle of Wight rectory garden that once stood on this site, was a very impressive gingko. Ginkgo is a good tree if you want to have a ‘what is native?’ argument with one of those xenophobic organisations that think we should only plant native plants. You see, 125 million years ago, gingko was native to much of the northern hemisphere. It is the sole survivor of a great race of plants which once dominated the earth. There are a lot of dinosaur fossils on the Isle of Wight that are contemporary with the gingko. The gingko has done better than the creatures that used to eat it. In modern times the gingko is native to the Chekiang province of China, although the name comes from Japan, where the tree has long been cultivated around Buddhist temples. There are gingkos in Japan that are reputed to be over 1000 years old, taken there from China during the Sung dynasty in the 10th century.

This tree moving palaver, eh? You can’t get away from it! It was in Japan in 1690 that the gingko was first seen by a European. His name was Dr Engelbert Kaempfer and he was physician to the governor of the Dutch East India Company’s Deshima trading post. At that time Japan was still a closed country and Kaempfer’s movements were severely restricted; he was made to take oaths, sealed in his own blood, that he would not fraternise with the Japanese people. At great personal risk, Kaempfer collected specimens of the new and wonderful plants he came across on his few trips into the interior. On his return to Europe in 1712 he wrote a book of his experiences. In it, among others, were the first ever descriptions of the gingko, the Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi) and several of the flowering cherries and magnolias that are so popular in our gardens today. Eventually a gingko was brought to Holland from Nagasaki aboard a Dutch East India Company ship and there are records of one growing in the botanic gardens at Utrecht in the 1730s. The first gingko recorded in England was at the Mile End nursery of James Gordon in 1754. Only after the War of Independence did a gingko reach America from England in 1798. I wouldn’t be surprised if the gingko at Godshill dated from the latter part of the 1700s. Mark Hinsley is from Arboriculture Consultants Ltd. www.treeadvice.info

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Join Country Gardener on 2020 garden holidays of a lifetime

Monet and Versailles tour in June and Yorkshire gardens in July launch our own specialist holidays Country Gardener magazine has joined forces with Floral Tours, the Bath based garden holiday specialists to launch affordable tailor made package holidays for passionate gardeners. We are delighted to announce two really special garden tours for 2020 which have original itineraries and great value - with some fun thrown in. Both tours include a professional tour manager.

Country Gardener Monet and Versailles Tour 2020 Two dates – 11th to 15th June & 9th to 13th September five days and four nights by Executive Coach, flight option available. 4★ Hotel on a B&B basis FROM £679 PP Evening meal options are available.

Your itinerary DAY 1 - Travel To include a visit on route. DAY 2 - Versailles Palace and Gardens From the seat of power to the Museum of the History of France. The Château de Versailles, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years, is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful. DAY 3 - Monet’s Garden Monet settled in Giverny in 1883. He untiringly transformed an abandoned domain into a floral masterpiece, to be the inspiration for many of his greatest works of art. Monet was not only a painter of his own garden but also an artist whose painting trips took him away for lengthy periods of time. 22

However, he was never far from his garden. Through constant correspondence, he kept a close eye on his family and his flowers. Frequent visits from his friends and admirers made Giverny the centre of his existence. The Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris. Musée Marmottan Monet features a collection of over three hundred Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Paul Gauguin, Paul Signac and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. DAY 4 - Bagatelle gardens plus free time in Paris for extra excursions Parc le Bagatelle is on the western outskirts of Paris in the Bois de Boulogne Quarter. It is one of the four gardens which together make up the botanic gardens of Paris. The others are the Parc Floral de Paris, l’Arboretum de l’Ecole Du Breuil and the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil. The park and chateau were built in just 64 days following a bet between Marie-Antoinette and the Count of Artois. The park was designed in an Anglo-Chinese style which was very fashionable at the time. In 1905 the gardens were redeveloped and collections of horticultural plants were introduced in order to raise public awareness of these plants. Rose gardens were planted and the Roserie de Bagatelle established with a collection which now has 10,000 rose plants including 1,200 different species, and is home to an annual international competition for new roses. DAY 5 - Departure and travel

Country Gardener


Country Gardener Yorkshire Tour 2020 15th to 19th July 2020 five days four nights by Executive Coach. 4★ Hotel on a half board basis FROM £497 PP

Evening meal options are available. A reduction for National Trust and RHS members.

Gardens to see on the Yorkshire Tour

Floral Tours Floral Tours is the only Group Tour Operator that works solely in the floral and horticultural sector providing tours and programmes at attractive prices . Floral Tours is owned and run by Pat Cooke from offices in Bath where she combines her love of the horticultural industry with her passion for flowers and horticulture. Pat is an active member of two Flower Clubs and one large gardening Club in her area. Teresa Perrett is part of the Floral Tours team and between her and Pat they have 18 years’ experience as specialists in tailoring floral and horticultural tours bringing both the logistics and inspiration to the table for a successful tour. Country Gardeners is delighted to work alongside them as they have a passion for listening to customers and their needs to help build the programme to grab the interest and enthusiasm of holidaymakers.

Scampston Hall - Walled Garden at Scampston The Walled Garden at Scampston is a stunningly beautiful contemporary garden, quite unlike any other. Designed by the renowned Dutch plantsman, Piet Oudolf, and featuring modern, perennial meadow planting alongside more traditional areas, the garden has been open to the public as a tourist attraction since 2004. Already acclaimed as one off Yorkshire’s finest gardens. Many of the plants that you will find in the garden can also be bought on site including those interesting and unusual plants that are particular to Scampston Walled Garden. Harlow Carr Spend time exploring the seasonal beauty of Harlow Carr. Among the many highlights are burgeoning colour in the Main Borders, vibrant primulas along the Streamside, and dazzling rhododendrons in the How to book Woodland Garden. Call Floral Tours on 01225913106 or Markenfield Hall email tours@floraltours.co.uk and Historically worth a visit while in Yorkshire. Markenfield is amongst you will receive a booking form to a small number of mediaeval houses that, to this day, could still be complete. Remember to quote recognised by their original builder, because they are so unaltered. Country Gardener. FT_CountryGardener_126x84mm_Sep19.qxp_Layout 1 11/09/2019 The story of Markenfield is one of the saddest and most romantic in English history. Deeply intertwined with the fortunes of nearby Fountains Abbey, this great house was one of the most important centres of the Rising of the North in 1569, which sadly was to be its tragic downfall. Beningbrough Hall and Gardens Right people, right place, right time There are over eight acres of formal gardens to explore, Specialising in tailor-made floral and horticultural tours relax among the flowers or maybe compare the size of your vegetables. They include a two-acre working walled We can take Tours include garden with a large fruit collection, several herbaceous • Floral Tours are working in borders, a newly installed and planted pergola and less you to some partnership with The Country formal areas managed for wildlife. Gardener to offer readers two fabulous tailored tours for 2020: Newby Hall and Gardens The Monet and Versailles horticultural Experience and The Delights With 25 acres of award-winning gardens including of Yorkshire. If you would like destinations to join us on these tours please one of Europe’s largest double herbaceous borders, an call Pat at Floral Tours. enchanting woodland walk and a miniature railway. • Monet’s Garden – France Best in Apr–Nov Stillingfleet Lodge • Keukenhof – Holland 21 Mar–10 May 2020 Stillingfleet Lodge Gardens and Nurseries is a delightful • Beervelde Garden Days – Belgium 8–10 May 2020, late 18th Century farmhouse surrounded by a series 9–11 Oct 2020 of contrasting gardens with a specialist plant nursery. • Les Journées des Plantes – Chantilly, France  15–17 May Each of the gardens are packed with texture and foliage, 2020, 9–11 Oct 2020 densely planted for ease of maintenance based on • UK Garden Tours and Events cottage garden principles. York Gate n 3 The only UK group travel operator that specialises purely York Gate is a one-acre garden tucked away behind in horticultural and floral tours the ancient church in Adel, on the northern outskirts n 3 Top quality at a great price of Leeds. Created by the Spencer family during the n 3 Over 24 years’ experience second half of the twentieth century, and bequeathed focused on the ‘floriculture’ sector to Perennial in 1994, it is a garden of immense style and craftsmanship, widely recognised as one of the most Contact us or visit the website for more details innovative small gardens of the period. tel +44 (0)1225 913106 email info@floraltours.co.uk www.floraltours.co.uk

Floral Tours

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13:52


ADVICE

September gardening

ADV ICE

Our batch of gardening queries from readers from the Country Gardener postbag has quite understandably an autumn feel about them

I have a new garden to try and fill for next spring and summer. I’ve been told that taking root cuttings is the way to go but I’ve also read it is a difficult process? It is true there are many advantages of taking and propagating root cuttings. Taking root cuttings couldn’t be easier and it’s the ideal way to increase your stock of perennials, such as phlox, rhus, mint, Japanese anemones and more. Herbaceous and woody plants benefit in particular from this system. Root cuttings are used to propagate plants that naturally produce suckers (new shoots) from their roots. This technique has several advantages: • Root cuttings require no special aftercare • Large numbers of new plants can be generated from each parent plant • The plants derived from root cuttings are relatively large and vigorous. • Plants from root cuttings are free of foliar pests and pathogens that might affect their parents, such as stem and leaf nematodes. Root cuttings are best taken in mid-to-late autumn or early winter when plants are dormant. Choose vigorous clumps to propagate. Lift the plant when dormant and wash the roots. Select young, vigorous roots, about the thickness of a pencil, and cut them off close to the crown.

Pam Webb,Petersfield

Taking roots is both simple and can generate a lot of fresh plants

Remove no more than one-third of the root system from the parent plant, and replant the parent plant as soon as possible. Discard the thin root end and remove any fibrous lateral roots. Cut each root into two inch lengths making a horizontal cut at the upper end and an angled cut at the lower end. Fill pots with cuttings compost, such as equal parts peat substitute and gritty sand or perlite. Insert the cuttings about two inches apart so that the horizontal cut surface at the top of the root is just below the surface of the compost and top dress with a layer of grit. Water the compost lightly and place the pots in a cold frame. In the following spring, pot up individually when the cuttings show signs of growth and are well rooted. Grow plants on and plant out the following year.

My grandfather always used to grease his fruit trees during November and he said it was a failsafe way of protecting the fruit for next spring. Is this still something gardeners are advised to do?

Ann P later, Instow

Fruit tree grease bands or just applying grease to a tree trunk are pesticide-free ways of keeping winter moth caterpillars away from your pear and apple trees in the spring. You use fruit tree grease for insect control. The ‘bracelets’ of grease on the trunk create an impassable barrier A simple grease band will protect fruit that stops the wingless females from climbing up the tree trunks to lay trees from winter moth caterpillars their eggs. Insects use fruit trees as a place to lay their eggs as well as get some lunch. They can damage your precious fruit trees in the process. Applying fruit tree grease or fruit tree grease bands is one way to stop this kind of insect damage without spraying pesticides in the garden. You can buy fruit tree grease bands, also known as gel bands at garden centres. Simply place them around the trunk about 18 inches above the ground. If the bark of the tree is not smooth, grease bands might not work well, since the bugs can crawl under the bands through the fissures and continue creeping up the trunk. In that case, think about applying fruit tree grease to the trunk-add it in a ring around the trunk about 18 inches above the soil. A ring of grease stops bugs in their tracks. You’ll want to start applying fruit tree grease at the end of October. The moths that want to lay eggs in the fruit trees typically arrive in November before the coldest weather hits. You want the protective bands in place before they get to the garden. 24

Country Gardener


I have some birch trees at the bottom of the garden which this year seems to be struggling and look as if they need some help. They are lovely young trees and I am wondering what if anything I can do to help them?

John Rosen, Chippenham

Birch trees are so popular but they can have problems. They have notoriously shallow root systems and are therefore sensitive to both heat and drought. They need moist soil Birch trees can be problematical and respond really well to mulching so this is where you might start. They also need training to grow with a main trunk and pruning some lower branches can reduce specific defects. It is also a tree which is susceptible to boring insects and spraying with an organic insect spray in the autumn and spring might also help. The bark of many birches naturally peel, refreshing the surface. Where conditions are damp and shady, algae may appears. This can be gently removed by first wetting the algae, leaving a few minutes to soften and wiping it away gently. You can also peel off bark that is naturally beginning to come away revealing the more brightly coloured layers beneath but do not strip any bark which is firmly in place.

Twist gently and let the apple fall into your hand

Is there an idiot-proof way of deciding when to pick apples? Yes there is, although the right time to pick will certainly vary from year to year but there are obvious ways to tell when to start picking. If healthy looking apples start falling off the tree it is usually about the time. Apples can be harvested in stages and could need three pickings to get the whole crop at optimum ripeness. Tasting is another good way to assess and always pick on a dry day, as moist fruit will spoil quickly in store

Mick Freeman, Dawlish

I’ve now got some space in the vegetable plot and garlic seems to be one option but I’m finding it difficult to decide whether I should be planting in the autumn and let them overwinter or wait until the spring Autumn is without doubt the best time to plant garlic but remember to buy bulbs from nurseries or garden centres not from supermarkets. Horticultural bought garlic will be disease free and supermarket garlic is usually from overseas Garlic is better planted in the and needs hotter, sunnier conditions. autumn and left to overwinter Choose a sunny site and soil that is well drained. Incorporating bulky compost into the soil before planting will increase fertility and nutrient levels as well as improve the soil texture to make it more well draining but at the same time adequately moisture-retentive. Garlic does not thrive in acid soils so adding lime is advisable to raise the pH and create a more alkaline soil. Consider growing under black polythene, which suppresses emerging weeds. Removing weeds by hoeing later in the season may damage the bulb heads near the surface of the soil. Adding bulky manure prior to planting improves the moisture-holding capacity of the soil which reduces the need to water. At planting give an initial good watering to the crop. Over the winter do not water and in the spring start to increase watering gradually, but aim water solely to the soil reducing water splashing onto the foliage. Garlic leaves are susceptible to fungal diseases which favours wet leaves. When the foliage starts to die down and wither in spring, stop watering altogether. Harvest from early summer to mid-summer when you notice the leaves yellowing and withering.

Alan Tempaum, Exeter

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NOW is the time to get PLANTING Autumn is nature’s planting time! Wit h the soil warm from summer and moist from autumn rain it is the perfect time to get trees and shrubs in the ground Planting new trees and shrubs is not a difficult job, but one to get right, if you want your new plants to have the best start in life. Timing is all-important together with root health, weather, soil conditions and aftercare. Planting is ideal over the next few weeks. The soil should still be dry and warm. New plants will need less watering and have the chance to get established before the worst of winter sets in. Bare-root and rootballed trees and shrubs are only available in autumn and winter. They should be planted immediately, but if this is not possible, then they can be heeled in (temporary planting in the soil to prevent the roots drying out) until planting is possible. Remember plants will not grow where soil contains too little air or where soil moisture is either excessive or insufficient. Pre-planting soil preparation should aim to improve these conditions so loosen the soil to a depth equivalent to the

Barthelemy & Co

height of the rootball and over a wide area to eliminate compaction and improve drainage. Improve soil structure on heavy or sandy soils by incorporating organic matter. It is not beneficial to apply fertiliser at planting time. However, on poor soils sprinkling an inoculant of mycorrhizal fungi (e.g. Rootgrow) over and in contact with the roots, may help trees and shrubs establish. If soils are waterlogged over winter consider trees better suited to wet soil, install drainage, or plant on a slight mound, about 25-30cm (10in-1ft) high and one metre (39in) in diameter. Northcote Hill, Honiton, Devon, EX14 9TH Tel: 01404 43344 'Growing in Devon since 1957' Growers & suppliers of native & ornamental trees, shrubs & hedging for: • Native, Formal & Evergreen Hedges • Screening • Woodland • Amenity • Wood Fuel • Gardens Now stocking a large range of ornamental trees & top fruit Call us for friendly and expert advice for species selection, planting & tree protection. We can also provide a planting & maintenance service.

5% READER DISCOUNT online or call quoting CG5 by 30/11/2019 Call us for friendly and expert advice • Delivery available

Email: faye@perriehale.co.uk www.perriehale.co.uk

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

Send SAE for descriptive catalogue. Visitors welcome Mon-Sat 9am-1pm & 2pm-4.30pm Barthelemy & Co (DCG), 262 Wimborne Rd West, Stapehill, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 2DZ

Tel: 01202 874283 enquiries@barthelemymaples.co.uk www.barthelemymaples.co.uk 26

Country Gardener


Barthelemy & Co – true Japanese maples specialists If you love the autumn colour of Japanese maples, then you’ll love Barthelemy & Co near Wimborne in Dorset. Established by a French nurseryman almost a century ago, the Skinner family now specialise in propagating and growing Acer palmatum – or Japanese maples. The ten acre nursery at Stapehill has a huge collection to choose from and staff are on hand to help select the right variety and to offer advice about caring for the trees. Over 100,000 acer palmatums are raised annually at Barthelemy & Co, 15,000 to 20,000 of these are grafted named varieties and, as one of the largest specialist growers of their kind, you can be sure of a great product and excellent service. Barthelemy & Co, 262 Wimborne Road West, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 2DZ. Tel: 01202 874283 www.barthelemymaples.co.uk

Adam's Apples

Now is the time to order bare root fruit trees Adam's Apples nursery in East Devon grows the largest range of fruit trees in the west country. This includes over 200 apple varieties, plums, gage, pears, cherries, damson, quince and medlar, all on a range of root stocks. They also sell bare rooted soft fruit plants. Adam’s Apples are award winning cider makers too, and grow and sell some of the best traditional cider apple trees from Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Herefordshire.

All of our trees and bushes are sold bare rooted, available from late autumn through to spring. Bare rooted trees are cheaper to purchase and easier to transport than potted trees and are the quickest way for trees to establish and thrive. They are always happy to offer advice and recommendations for your garden, small holding, farm or or community orchard. Trees delivered throughout the UK. Adam's Apples, Egremont Barn, Payhembury, Honiton. EX14 3JA. Tel: 07870576330 / 01404 841166 sales@adamsappletrees.co.uk www.adamsappletrees.co.uk

Rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi a planting essential Many gardeners find using rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi an essential starting point to success when planting. You can treat any size of plant with rootgrow, from mixing a couple of teaspoons into the compost of a seed tray to a treating a whole planting project. The mycorrhizal fungi in rootgrow will quickly colonise new plants enabling them to explore a much greater volume of soil in search of nutrients and water resulting in faster establishment and greater yields. The empathy range of seaweed stimulants and fertilisers work in harmony with the mycorrhizal fungi, helping to nurture and feed the life in our soils and subsequently the plants themselves. www.rootgrow.co.uk

Country Gardener reader discount for bare rooted stock Autumn and winter is prime planting time for trees and hedging as the dormant plants can be moved to their new home with minimal disturbance to their growth. Perrie Hale Nursery offer bare-rooted stock for woodland and hedgerow planting. They have recently taken on many of the plants that were part of the previous Thornhayes

Nursery range and now offer a large selection of ornamental trees and top fruit. They are a long standing family business known for its quality UK grown stocks of hedging plants, shrubs, broadleaf and conifer trees, top fruit and soft fruit. They are offering Country Gardener readers a five per-cent discount when ordering online or over the phone quoting the code ‘CG5’ by 30/11/2019. Contact them on 01404 43344 or email faye@perriehale.co.uk or their online shop www.perriehale.co.uk

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Country Gardener


n o i t i t e C omp

WIN A LUXURY STAY FOR TWO IN NEW

VICTORIAN THEMED GARDEN ROOMS The Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne has five magical themed rooms in a wonderful garden setting and you can be one of the first to stay in them - and enjoy a spa treatment The Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne is becoming one of the most talked about hotels in the West Country. It is just six minutes walk away from Sherborne Abbey and has spectacular gardens which will appeal to all garden lovers. To celebrate the opening of the five new luxury Victorian Potting Shed themed garden rooms at The Eastbury Hotel we are offering one lucky Country Gardener reader the chance to win a one night stay for two people in a Potting Shed Suite plus a massage each at the spa worth a total of £445. The unique Victorian Potting Sheds show off eco friendly moss and sedum roofs with flowers. Whilst externally resembling a traditional Victorian Garden Potting Shed, internally they boast luxurious bedroom accommodation with en- suite wet room facilities and private terraces with fire pit. Perfect for long last summer evenings and cosy winter warmers. All five are dog friendly ideal for you and your four legged companions. With fully opening tri-fold doors and large roof light these rooms are light spacious and airy and are hidden away within the lovely Dorset garden. Professional manners come first at this wonderful hotel, but a layer of warmth is delivered during informal chats about how to make the most of Dorset whatever the weather.

To enter simply answer the question below and email your answer and contact details to relax@theeastburyhotel.co.uk before 14th October.

What is the executive chef’s name at the Eastbury Hotel?

And if you can’t wait to see whether you have won call the Eastbury Hotel on 01935813131 to book your stay or visit www.theeastburyhotel.co.uk Terms and conditions: The prize is valid for six months and subject to availability. For full terms and conditions see the hotel Facebook page Leveller Live.

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Springing

INTO LIFE Now is the time to plan your colour combinations and plant your bulbs if you want beautiful spring displays next year. It is the easiest way to fill your garden with bold and beautiful colour Bulbs are among the most anticipated flowers — their appearance signals a new garden season and the return of colour to the bleak late-winter landscape. But before you start planting a smattering of tulips here and a bag of daffodils there, consider what effect you want, what colours you choose, where you want different bursts of colour in your garden and how you can disguise the bulbs’ dying foliage that is necessary for the following year’s blooms. COLOUR IS THE STARTING POINT Interior designers often work with a colour palette - a selection of colours chosen to give a room or a home a particular look, mood or style. This technique is equally effective in gardens and landscapes. One option is to choose a single colour scheme such as pink, white or purple. The effect is simple and always has a big impact. You can also build your design around a pair of colours such as pink and white, red and yellow or orange and purple. Another approach is to use a colour wheel to choose a harmony of several related colours such as pink, lavender and burgundy or yellow, orange and red. THINK OF HOW TO STAGGER BULBS BLOOMING From early-blooming crocuses to late-blooming tulips and alliums, the spring bulb season can stretch for as long as eight to ten weeks. When 30

Country Gardener

choosing your bulbs, be sure to include a few from each bloom time: early, midseason and late season. This way you’ll have flowers in bloom for as long as possible. Spring-blooming bulbs look best when the plantings are generous and the bulbs are grouped together. Small bulbs such as Scilla siberica or Chionodoxa should be planted in groups of at least 25 bulbs. Tulips look best in groups of at least a dozen bulbs. Daffodils and alliums can be planted in threes, though groups of seven or nine look even better. When choosing bulbs for a naturalised planting, look for species and varieties that will multiply readily without becoming invasive. Also look for a location where you can live with the relaxed look of dying bulb foliage once the flowers are gone. Excellent choices include small bulbs like crocus, snowdrops and scilla for lawns; grape hyacinth, species tulips and ‘Tete-a-tete’ dwarf daffodils for rock gardens; and larger daffodils and checkered lily (Fritillaria meleagris) for fields and woodland settings. REPEAT SHAPES AND COLOURS Landscapes are more pleasing and cohesive when the same plant or grouping of plants appears in multiple locations. Our eyes connect these similar shapes or colours into one scene rather than a collection of separate elements. In a formal


setting, plant in squares, rectangles or circles. For a more natural or informal look, use ovals, triangles, kidney shapes or a free-form shape that fits the location. PLANT ANNUAL AND PERENNIAL BULBS Many spring bulbs, including daffodils, Scilla, Chionodoxa, alliums and Muscari, can be considered perennials, as they will return and bloom again every spring. In fact, most of these hardy bulbs will naturalise and multiply over time. Tulips and hyacinths are often treated as annuals because they usually put on their best show the first spring after planting. In the right growing conditions (full sun, well drained soil, hot dry summers), some tulips, such as Darwin hybrids, will re-bloom for several years. To ensure the most dramatic spring display, treat these bulbs as annuals and plant a fresh batch every autumn. SHOP FOR LARGE, HIGH-QUALITY BULBS Size matters when it comes to bulbs! The most reliable way to achieve professional-looking planting schemes is to choose the highest quality, top-size spring bulbs. Not only will you get bigger, better and stronger plants, but the blooms will go above and beyond all your expectations in terms of colour and longevity. Also remember that bulbs are perishable, so it’s important to purchase the freshest bulbs possible and store them in a cool place until planting time. BUY IN BULK Tulips should always be planted en masse: you need to think in hundreds. The tulip is the fanfare that greets the beginning of summer and, as such, should be loud and unashamed. There are so many fabulous tulips that it’s tricky to choose from the scores of different combinations that will work well together. In this case the

To p t ips

1. Don’t just plan t your bulbs in w ithout a plan. Sele favourite varietie ct s from catalogues or online. Before buy, print or cut ou you t the images. Mar k each one with th flowering times, th ei en play around w ith the pictures, m r them to contrast ixing in colour, shape an d scale. 2. Combine tulip s, alliums or daffo dils, making sure they flower at th that e sa opposite effect an me time, or deliberately go for the d put together gr oups after another to gi ve you weeks of pe which flower one rformance. 3. Try a simple co ntrast between tw o colours – purple orange, crimson an and d gold, coral and crea family of colours, similar, but with en m – or select a ough contrast be them (or one of th tween em) to make the group sing.

juxtaposition of deep purple Tulipa ‘Paul Scherer’, vibrant orange (and scented) Tulipa ‘Ballerina’ and the cool, soothing Tulipa ‘Spring Green’ gives just the right touch of restrained glamour. Three kinds are probably enough. CHIRPY ALLIUMS As the tulips begin to fade away, the alliums take over. Here’s three options for different sorts of alliums. Firstly, Allium altissimum, which has to be about the tallest of the lot: its sturdy stems are about 1.5m high and support flower spheres 10cm in diameter. If you have trouble finding a supplier, Allium ‘Gladiator’ is fine as an alternative. Beneath them will be plummy red Allium atropurpureum and Allium nigrum, which is white with a greenish tinge. Alliums die beautifully, which is always an advantage: their flowers fade to skeletal husks dotted with seeds as black and shiny as the eyes of a field mouse.

How to plant your spring bulbs • Position one bulb in each hole, unless the bulbs are small varieties, such as Muscari, crocus or dwarf iris, in which case you can plant a few bulbs in each planting hole. • Cover bulbs with soil and leave over winter. The soil is usually cool and moist enough during autumn to mean that the bulbs don’t require watering in, although if it’s particularly dry you can water them just once to begin with to help get them started. • After flowering, the blooms and foliage should be allowed to die back fully before being removed. This helps the bulbs to gather energy for the next year’s display. • Plant spring-flowering bulbs in autumn from September to late November. • Most spring-flowering bulb varieties will thrive in full sun or partial shade. • Plant in a hole which is twice as deep as the bulb is high. • If the bulb has a pointed side, position with the point facing upwards. Corms like anemones can be planted any way up. www.countrygardener.co.uk

31


Now that makes

PROPER SCENTS

by Elizabeth McCorquodale

awakening feelings den, tickling the memory into life and gar the to ion ens dim ra ext an gs Scent brin e is elsewhere. catches our attention when our gaz of well-being and happiness. Scent There are numerous scent families among plants, from the heady, heavy perfume of jasmine to the fresh, fruity scent of roses such as ‘The Ingenious Mr. Fairchild’, from the comfortable grandmotherly aroma of lavender to the ubiquitous rose scent of so many perfumes. That this scent is often harvested not from rose blossoms but from the leaves of the scented geranium ‘Attar of Roses’ only deepens the mystery of the scented garden. A beautiful, satisfying garden is made up of many elements including colour, height and form, movement and sound and of course the frequently overlooked scent. Scent is an element that is often included by accident or considered deliberately only in relation to one or two plants. It isn’t uncommon for gardeners to include one or two plants in Lavender - the classic garden scent their gardens that remind them of another time or place and you often hear someone exclaim,’ I love the scent of lavender. I must have some lavender in my garden.’ The potential of scent, though, can be much greater than a single familiar plant. The whole garden can be lifted and enlivened by setting out to include scented plants. Rose scented geranium Incorporating night-scented plants 32

Country Gardener

into the border under a window will bring the night time garden into the house after dark when it would otherwise be forgotten. Scented leaves growing beside a path at just the right height encourages the pleasure of touching and feeling with the extra reward of a sudden delightful release of perfume. If you were to choose mint or lemon verbena, lemon balm or other herbs your taste buds will also be stimulated. A deep close inhalation of a crushed leaf can offer pleasure that is similar to a satisfying flavour on your tongue. A hidden, unexpected perfume is intriguing and can arouse a curiosity in our surroundings that would otherwise lie dormant. A carefully chosen plant that might not be visually stunning can be incorporated for its scent alone. The arch over my garden path is draped with a vigorous, beautiful but scentless passionflower which is dotted with buds and flowers for most of the growing season. Stunning as it is in its own right, this tangled mass of leaves and flowers is nevertheless brought to real life by the wild honeysuckle that has chosen to weave its way among the confusion of wiry stems and complicated blossoms, offering its heady, unexpected perfume from fairly unimpressive clusters of cream honeysuckle flowers that are mostly hidden from view. The scent is delightful, but even more so because it is so unexpected. Scent is the secret weapon of winter flowering plants. There are so few pollinating insects on patrol during the cold months that plants


need to employ all their resources to attract insects to their blossoms, and because of this, when you grow winter scented plants you are getting, not only the scent but also the pleasure of the foraging invertebrates as well. Mahonias, with their highly scented clusters of yellow winter flowers, release their perfume freely and attract winter foraging insects in droves. There are mahonias of all shapes and sizes with some species even offer edible berries as a bonus. For anyone with a reasonably sheltered spot near a door or gateway there are few species of winter flowering plants that offer as much perfume impact as Daphne species. There are evergreen varieties and deciduous ones too but both offer delightful, heavily perfumed flowers right in the depths of winter. My favourite winter scented plant is the ubiquitous Viburnum fragrans and its crosses, the best of which is V. bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’ which has highly scented pretty pink flowers all through the winter. As an extra delight for the winter garden try growing primulas inside in an unheated porch or an often-visited winter greenhouse. Scents linger in the memory and one of my most enduring is the intoxicating pleasure of walking into the cool winter greenhouse where I trained when I began my studies 35 years ago. Primulas, though highly scented, are usually overlooked for fragrance as they are too close to the ground to be noticed, but grown above waist height on a bright, cool windowsill or on a greenhouse bench, a generous collection of primulas will surprise and delight you with their intoxicating fragrance. For the curious gardener it is fun to play with scents that remind us of other plants. The gorgeous creamy froth of the almond scented flowers of Filipendula ulmaria are a delight and the new flowers can be used, in the manner of elderflowers, to make a delicious marzipan flavoured gin. Chocolate mint and chocolate cosmos wear their names with honour, though chocolate mint has the advantage of not only smelling of cocoa, but tasting of it as well. A few leaves steeped in a cup of boiling water really does taste like minty hot chocolate. Among the mint family you can choose from lemon and lime, strawberry, eau de cologne, apple, spearmint and ginger, as well as countless other scents and flavours. Try growing a selection of mints, of flavoured basils and of other herbs next to pathways and benches so that they can be appreciated every day. There are a number of night scented flowers that bear a perfume powerful enough to attract animals in the dark. Nicotiana sylvestris, the flowering tobacco, with it’s pure white tubular bells hanging proud above the foliage, is perfect for the back of the border near a window where

its scent can be appreciated. Hesperis matronalis, or sweet rocket, really earns its keep, not just for its heady evening fragrance but also for the abundance of white or violetblue flowers that stand out in the fading light. Matthiola longipetala, or night scented stocks, need no further explanation, while herbaceous phlox and many dianthus species show off their strongest fragrance on warm summer evenings. Climbing plants are ideal to choose to add scent to the garden as they are so easy to place around windows and doors and over arches and garden seating where they are sure to be appreciated. The rich scent of the evergreen Trachelospermum jasminoide, and the delicious fruity fragrance of the honeysuckles, Lonicera periclymenum and L. hallyana, the spicy scent of true jasmine and the rosy scent of Wisteria floribunda are just a few of the plants that will quickly clothe an arch or trellis, while, of course, there is always the abundance of rambling or climbing rose cultivars to chose from as well. Lilac hedge - stunning and powerfully scented If there is truly nowhere else to squeeze more plants into the garden there is always the perimeter, the hedge. It is hard to beat the long flowering rose ‘Harlow Carr’ as a medium sized semievergreen hedge, though deciduous Scented rose hedge; a traditional but lilacs go a long wonderful scent in the garden way for visual and olfactory impact. Though their flowering season is limited, the effect while they are in full flower is heady and magnificent. Far less showy, but equally scented are the various Elaeagnus species who hide their tiny powerfully scented flowers away among their attractive leaves. There are numerous opportunities to introduce more fragrance into our outdoor spaces. www.countrygardener.co.uk

33


WILDLIFE

WHY HEDGEHOGS

need our help

Hedgehogs have in the past been voted as Britain’s National Animal Species and are the friend of gardeners but now more than ever before we need to give them some assistance Hedgehogs were once common and much loved. They still are very much a gardener’s friend as they feed on animals including species regarded as pests such as slugs, caterpillars and more. But populations have fallen dramatically in recent years but this is all part of a longer decline, their numbers plummeted from an estimated 36 million in the 1950’s to just 1.5million in1995 and since then have fallen five per cent each year. Tens of thousands of hedgehogs are killed by road traffic each year. The loss of hedgerows, declines in prey populations and habitat fragmentation are just a few of the reasons for the drop in numbers Wildlife experts believe the threat of extinction in the near future is unlikely despite some scaremongering, but the rate of decline has wider implications for the state of the UK’s ecosystems because hedgehogs, like butterflies, are seen as an ‘indicator’ species for the health of the natural world. The People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), a charity which has been running counts of hedgehogs for over a decade and compiled the figures, believes there are now fewer than a million hedgehogs left in the UK. A spokesman told Country Gardener: “They’re quite generalist, and feed on soil invertebrates, and they’re not very fussy in habitat requirements, so if there is a big decline in hedgehogs, it raises concerns about the quality of the environment generally”. He said that the loss of hedgehogs mattered. “The hedgehog is the most important creature on the planet, because you can get nose to nose with it. With a hedgehog you can get really close, and make a connection. It is an animal with so many delightful stories, and people can make an attachment to it, and risk falling in love. To quote Stephen Jay Gould: ‘We will not fight to save what we do not love.’”

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

1.

Make square six inches by six inches ‘hog holes’ in the base of your solid garden boundaries. This links your plot to the wider landscape, helping to reverse habit fragmentation. Provide log piles, leaf piles, compost piles or bespoke hedgehog ‘hibernation houses and place these in quiet corners for hedgehogs to use when they are inactive – and don’t be too tidy.

2. 34

3.

Hedgehogs need drinking bowls of clean fresh water and during longer periods without rain can get desperate for water. At this time of ‘hog holes’ the year leave some windfallen fruit on the ground. Hedgehogs are carnivores but don’t turn their noses up at fruit. Avoid using pesticides Hedgehog hotel in your garden. Hedgehogs have a varied diet and feed on slugs, worms, snails, caterpillars and various insects. Pesticides and slug pellets are often used to tackle some of these garden pests. This not only reduces the food available to hedgehogs but can also seriously affect a hedgehog’s health and ability to breed so don’t use these in your garden. Take care on the roads at night. Most active at night and attracted to the heat of the road, hedgehogs may need to cross several times on their nightly foray for food. Whilst curing into a ball is an effective technique against predators it doesn’t work against cars! Extra food for hedgehogs is especially important in the autumn, as they need to fatten up to sustain themselves during hibernation. You can buy specific hedgehog food but never put out bread or milk as hedgehogs cannot digest lactose.

4.

5.

6. 7.

Country Gardener


Natural air fresheners IN YOUR HOME

In the autumn and winter months we crave for the scents of the gardens and new research suggests it would be healthier to opt for a better use of plants as natural air fresheners A lot of households depend on artificial air fresheners for their homes. However, since many contain chemicals that can be dangerous to your health, it’s time to switch to natural air fresheners like lavender or mint. While the amount of chemicals used in these air freshening products are said to be regulated, research show says that they still emit and generate potentially hazardous toxins. According to one study, even those that are labelled as ‘green’ or ‘organic’ aren’t always safe. Households that are exposed to artificial air fresheners are subject to a range of adverse health effects like asthma attacks, migraines, and earache. But there is a solution for this. The simple trick is to replace them with fragrant foliage that you can grow on your own. There are many indoor plants that can emit a flowery aroma and make your entire home smell pleasant. By switching from artificial fresheners to scented plants, your house can smell just as fresh without the risk of breathing harmful toxins. While there are a wide variety of fragrant plants to choose from, we have picked out the best ones that suit any taste. Here are the five best-smelling plants that you can use as natural air fresheners:

1. Scented geranium

With a wide range of scents to choose from, such as apple, lemon, or strawberry, homeowners might get confused with getting an air freshener instead of a plant. Well, that’s because geraniums come in different kinds, with unique scents to choose from. That leaves you with endless options when deciding which one to take care of inside your home. These scented plants are available in seven scents, mainly rose, lemon, mint, fruit and nut, spice, pungent and oak. Geraniums have small flowers, but some are so tiny that you barely even notice them. It’s best to water these potted geraniums once

every four weeks to keep it healthy and alive indoors.

2. Lavender

Lavender is one of the most popular fragrances from a plant, and it’s widely used as a medicine because of its soothing scent. The relaxing smell that the lavender emits is believed to have a calming effect; it’s even used to help people fall asleep. Although it’s a popular ingredient, its effects are still yet to be proven. Nonetheless, growing a lavender inside your home is still an excellent choice. Make sure to keep it by the window as it requires a high level of sunlight to survive.

Scented geranium

3. Mint plant

If you’re not a fan of traditional flowery plants, the mint plant might be your best bet. Its fresh smell is a great alternative to artificial air fresheners. The two most popular varieties are peppermint and spearmint, which both emit delicate yet soothing aromas. However, mint is quite a highmaintenance plant as it requires to be watered at least three to four times a week.

4. Gardenia

This plant is a regular ingredient in many popular perfumes, and you might have even sprayed it on yourself at some point in your life. The strong yet sweet aroma of the gardenia will keep your household smelling fresh for months. To keep it healthy, make sure to expose it in regular light and water it once a week.

Lavender

5. Citrus plant

Obviously, this plant emits a citrusy smell such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit. But if you want this plant to survive inside your home, it will require a high level of maintenance. For indoor planting, the citrus plant needs at least eight hours of sunlight per day, with one soaking every week. If you do not meet the requirement of the citrus plant, problems can develop, and it won’t be able to emit the sweet, zingy smell. www.countrygardener.co.uk

Gardenia 35


The therapy

solution

Link Nurseries near Worcester has been given a new lease of life to help those with mental and physical health problems through horticulture

The power of gardening to help those with mental and physical problems has been proven again with the work of Link Nurseries Horticultural Therapy Centre near Worcester. The therapy centre site in Powick was once a Victorian asylum and NHS treatment centre but now has a thriving success rate in helping a steady flow of people seeking help. It was facing closure in 2016 after £250,000 was cut from the budget of Worcestershire Health and care NHS Trust, the landlords of the site before being taken over and saved by Pershore College, which is part of leading college group WCG. Phil Woodhead was appointed to lead the centre into its new future and it has continued to grow both its therapeutic and commercial offering. The nursery works closely with Pershore College, but is also supported by local charity the Bransford Trust, who have supported the nursery with grants to facilitate its growth. It primarily works with people who have mental or physical health problems, and veterans from the Armed Forces. Phil Woodhead said: “We are a community focused horticultural centre, committed to providing therapeutic and vocational services and activities for people seeking to recover their health. “One of the main provisions we offer is a friendly gardening club called ‘The Well Bean Gardening Club’, where anyone can grow vegetables or flowers and we’ll give them all the help and advice required. “We see a wide variety of people coming in to use the impressive facility we have here and the gardening really is fantastic for their wellbeing and as a therapeutic service.” Each client at the nursery is given their own square foot of garden, based on the idea created by American gardener Mel Bartholomew. The bed is divided into 16 sections, each of which can accommodate a different vegetable or flower, for example one broccoli plant, four lettuce, five parsley, nine beetroots and sixteen carrots. But the nursery also has 75 Well Bean Boxes, with visitors encouraged to maintain their own box and contribute to the general work around the facility and maintenance of the nursery. There are two Well Bean Box sessions per week, charged at £3.50 per session, with a morning dedicated to veterans too. All seeds and tools are provided and teachers are on hand for people both growing the plots and other crops such as strawberries, tomatoes and pumpkins which are grown for commercial purposes. A regular attendee at the nursery, Tommy Bourne said: “Coming to

“It is a very therapeutic place, that is non-judgemental and both friendly and welcoming from the start. The team have encouraged me to try new things.”

36

Country Gardener


The atmosphere at the site is supportive and positive, uniting people through a love of gardening

Link Nurseries for the first time, I came not knowing what to expect, but as soon as I got here I was surprised at the welcoming, friendly and charming atmosphere I encountered. “I had done some gardening as a child but here I was able to learn the ins-and-outs in an incredibly relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. I was amazed at how far I was able to come, finally being able to grow my own plants and vegetables. I am gaining confidence from knowing ‘I grew these and I am proud I have’. “The use of the Quiet Garden is a great benefit, particularly when I am having a bad day and my PTSD is pretty bad. I can have a couple of minutes to myself with no judgement whatsoever. “The other members of the Well Bean Gardening Club, as well as the staff, truly are wonderful people. They are always open to talk to and will always help you out if you need it.” The system at Link Nurseries gives each person who uses the centre their own responsibilities as well as a learning opportunity. It has drawn praise from medical professionals and the nursery hopes to spread the word further around the medical profession, positioning the facility as a provision for social prescribing. Other provision at the nursery includes a flower and plant drawing group, a Renew café (a safe space where ‘it’s okay not to be okay’ and where people can sit, have a drink and a chat and get involved in some craft activities) and nutritional therapy sessions. There are also opportunities for pupils from special educational needs schools to use the nurseries. Volunteers ensure the smooth running of each of these activities, as well as day-to-day maintenance of the nursery, care of the plant stock and growing vegetables from seed. They also maintain the quiet garden, duck enclosure and plant sales area – making volunteers integral to the site’s continued development. In order to fund the nursery, staff sell a range of produce on

site, such as shrubs, bedding plants, hanging baskets, table decorations and Christmas wreaths in December. Plants sold are mostly from the Pershore College Nursery and Plant Centre, situated at the college, with unusual plants selling very quickly. Link Nurseries aims to offer a friendly shopping experience and has received praise from customers. A customer, Maggie Huckfield, said: “This is a great little plant nursery, without all the unnecessary bits and pieces encountered at big commercial enterprises. The plants are well laid out, are healthy and extremely well priced. “However, the most notable feature is the great customer service, which is essential when we’re talking about a rank amateur gardener shopping with a visually impaired friend! We were guided in the right direction without feeling we were encroaching on time and we then got all our plants delivered to the car with smiles and genuine friendliness.” The absolute essence of the Nursery is mutual respect. Everyone comes with personal issues and the atmosphere aims to be supportive and as positive as possible, uniting people through a love of gardening. This requires an understanding that some people will only be able to work alone in the quiet garden, others will need constant supervision, yet some will happily spend hours picking out seedlings into individual pots. The pride that people who look after a Well Bean Box experience when they pick their cabbage, carrots and courgettes is one that all can share. One Well Beaner, Peter Gibbs, said: “I had never done any type of gardening before, until I found the Well Bean Gardening Club., of which the experience has been very rewarding, and given me a new lease of life.” To find out more about Link Nurseries visit www.wcg.ac.uk/linknurseries

www.countrygardener.co.uk

37


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TIME Off

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

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

SEP TEMBER 25th BISHOPS WALTHAM GARDENING CLUB ‘PLANTS WHICH CHANGED THE WORLD AND THE WAY WE LIVE’ – ROSINA BRANDHAM

30th FORDINGBRIDGE & DISTRICT HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘A VICTORIAN HEAD GARDENER’ – DR FRANCIS BURROUGHES www.fanddhs.org.uk

OC T OBER

26th IBSLEY & DISTRICT HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘WEIRD & WONDERFUL PLANTS’ – ALAN MARTIN Email: terryings@btinternet.com SOUTH WONSTON GARDENING CLUB ‘21ST CENTURY GARDENING’ - TIMOTHY WALKER Details on 01962 882031 WHITEPARISH GARDEN CLUB ‘NEW & EXCITING PLANTS’ – MARCUS DANCER

1st ANDOVER FLOWER CLUB ‘ANYTHING GOES’ – MARTINA COLEMAN Details on 01264 355335 MEDSTEAD GARDENERS’ CLUB ‘PUTTING THE GARDEN TO BED’ – ROGER HIRONS www.medsteadgardenersclub.xyz

28th WARSASH HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY WHS CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

3 BRANSGORE HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘COLOUR IN THE GARDEN WITHOUT FLOWERS’ – PHILIP GAMBLE DIBDEN PURLIEU GARDENING ASSOCIATION ‘AUSTRALIA – A PLANTSMAN’S PARADISE’ – STEVE AUSTIN

29th COPTHORNE NURSERY, FAWLEY VILLAGE OPEN DAY Details on 023 80894998

42

2nd BURSLEDON & DISTRICT GARDENING CLUB ‘AUTUMN FIREWORKS’ – PETER CHIVERS Details on 02380 402986 rd

Country Gardener

SPRINGHEAD TRUST, FONTMELL MAGNA SERO CHARITY LUNCH Details on 01747 811853 4th SOUTHAMPTON GARDENING CLUB ‘CHOICE PLANTS GARDEN CENTRE’ – ROGER SAVAGE Details on 01489 784823 7th EAST MEON GARDEN CLUB ‘TRANSFORM/TRANSFORMING GARDENS’ Email: pamelapeacock383@gmail.com OAKLEY GARDENING CLUB ‘WILDLIFE OF A WORKING FOREST’ – MIKE READ NEWBURY & DISTRICT GARDENERS’ ASSOCIATION ‘HERITAGE APPLES’ – CHRIS BIRD Details on 01635 42190 9th GRAYSHOTT GARDENERS ‘RHODODENDRONS & AZALEAS’ – DAVID MILLAIS Details on 07954 175542 TOTTON & DISTRICT GARDENERS’ SOCIETY ‘GARDENING THROUGH THE MEDIA’ – STEVE BRADLEY Details on 023 80668177


10th CATISFIELD & DISTRICT GARDENING CLUB ‘EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT GROWING ROSES’ – STEWART POCOCK Details on 01329 286195 WINCHESTER HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘AUTUMN BULBS’ – TIM WOODLAND Details on 01962 866818 12th CROSSFIELD HALL, ROMSEY ROMSEY RNLI CRAFT FAIR Details on 01794 514869 13 SPRINGHEAD TRUST, FONTMELL MAGNA TIME AND TIDE THEATRE – ‘TO WIN THE DAY’ Details on 01747 811853 th

16th MILFORD GARDENERS CLUB ‘NEW ZEALAND SOUTH ISLAND’ – ROSEMARY LEGRAND Details on 01425 612287

– LOOKING TO THE FUTURE’ www.hgt.org.uk

17th ALTON HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘NEW ZEALAND – NORTH ISLAND’ – ROSEMARY LEGRAND www.altonhorticulturalsociety.org.uk BARTLEY HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY AGM, PUMPKIN COMPETITION & PUMPKIN CARE Details on 023 80812217 18th BISHOP’S WALTHAM GARDENING CLUB ‘HISTORY & DEVELOPMENT OF THE PALACE GARDENS’ – JAMES CROSS www.bwgc.org.uk

14 MICHELMERSH & TIMSBURY HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘RIGHT PLANT. RIGHT PLACE’ – ZONA MCGLYNN WEST MOORS HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘SPRING IN JAPAN’ – ROSEMARY LEGRAND Details on 01202 871536

21st NEWBURY & DISTRICT GARDENERS’ ASSOCIATION ‘WATER GARDENING – CHRIS BIRD Details on 01635 42190 SOUTHAM GARDENING CLUB ‘GARDENING AS WE ALL GET OLDER’ – HOWARD DRURY THE GARDENING CLUB OF SANDHURST & DISTRICT ‘PLANTS FOR SHADE’ – ROSIE HARDY

15th HOLFORD GARDENERS GROUP ‘WATER GARDENS’ – JOHN ADDISON Details on 01278 741130

23rd HAMPSHIRE GARDENS TRUST, CHAWTON HOUSE, ALTON ‘TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE

th

24th WHITEPARISH GARDEN CLUB ‘BETH CHATTO, HER PLANTS & ME’ – STEVE AUSTIN 26th MINSTEAD STUDY CENTRE, MINSTEAD ‘DESIGN YOUR OWN GARDEN BORDERS’ – ROSIE YEOMANS Details on 023 80813437 28th FORDINGBRIDGE & DISTRICT HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘THE LAVENDER FARM’ – LYNDSAY & NICK BUTLER www.fanddhs.org.uk 30th WARSASH HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘WILL THERE BE ANOUGH CAKE?’ – MARK PORTER 31st SOUTH WONSTON GARDENING CLUB ‘THE WINTER GARDEN’ – MARK PORTER Details on 01962 882031 IBSLEY & DISTRICT HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY ‘HOW TO GROW VEGETABLES IN SMALL GARDENS AND IN CONTAINERS’ Email: terryings@btinternet.com

Dorset ISSUE NO 162

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Send them into us by email, giving us 10 weeks notice of the event 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

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43


PETERSFIELD’S GARDEN OASIS Physic gardens are now much loved and treasured and one Hampshire town provides such a garden of rare calm and beauty In the midst of the hustle and bustle of Petersfield High Street, a Hampshire town close to the West Sussex county border, half-hidden between the shops, lies a quiet oasis of beauty and tranquillity. Petersfield Physic Garden is the perfect place for some time out, and an ideal visit for those gardeners who love peace, tranquillity and a near perfect garden. This is a private garden which is open to the public without charge in the centre of town. It is created in a 17th Century style with distinct parts laid out for different purposes-the Knot Garden, the Topiary Walk, the Orchard and the Herb Garden. The Herb Garden is the largest of these perhaps the favourite with visitors. This garden was given to the Hampshire Gardens Trust in 1988 and part of it is laid out with beds of herbs in a formal geometric pattern typical of 17th century physic gardens. It is set in an ancient walled burgage plot behind the High Street and had been planted in the style of John Goodyer, the distinguished 17th century botanist, who lived in Petersfield. Features include a small knot garden, a topiary walk in an orchard area under-planted with wild flowers, a rose bower with shrub roses and a sundial and terracotta urns. Many of the plants would have been grown in the 17th century. Physic gardens owe their name to the plants grown in them which were considered to contain medicinal properties. Generally the beds were of a defined geometric shape and laid out in a formal pattern.

In addition to these formal herb beds, planted with such things as woad (Isatis tinctoria), selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) and horehound (Marrubium vulgare). The 17th Century was also a time when many plants were introduced from the New World and there are borders planted with shrubs, roses and herbaceous plants which would have been familiar at that period The garden is kept beautifully by a dedicated voluntary workforce with great planting and most plants are labelled for your reference. The volunteers are happy to talk to you about the garden and its interesting history. You can become a friend of the garden for a minimal annual cost to help keep this amazing space for people to visit. Physic gardens are now much loved. Modern botanical gardens were preceded by mediaeval physic gardens that originated at the time of Emperor Charlemagne. Gardens of this time included various sections including one for medicinal plants called the herbularis or hortus medicus. Pope Nicholas V set aside part of the Vatican grounds in 1447 for a garden of medicinal plants that were used to promote the teaching of botany, and this was a forerunner to the academic botanical gardens. Certainly the founding of many early botanic gardens was instigated by members of the medical profession. The naturalist William Turner established physic gardens at Cologne, Wells, and Kew. Petersfield Physic Garden is open daily (apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day) from 9am – 6pm in the summer and 9am – 4pm in the winter. Entry is free. Petersfield Physic Garden, High Street, Petersfield, GU32 3JJ.

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

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

Time Off: Kate Lewis timeoff@countrygardener.co.uk

Advertising Sales Cath Pettyfer - Devon & Dorset Corina Reay - Cornwall & Cotswolds cath.pettyfer@countrygardener.co.uk corina@countrygardener.co.uk Tel: 01837 82660 Tel: 01823 410098

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Design & Production Aidan Gill aidan@countrygardener.co.uk Gemma Stringer gemma@countrygardener.co.uk

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.

44

Country Gardener


NOW is the

time to plant

A HEDGE

If you are thinking of planting a hedge this autumn take time out to look at the fantastic choices available to select what it right for your garden

Images from top to bottom: Mixed flowering hedges; Japanese blueberry; native hedge ivy; Blackthorn; Bay laurel

Autumn is the perfect time to think about planting a new hedge or even thickening up gaps in an existing one. Hedging is easy to plant and much cheaper than a fence especially if you choose bare-root plants delivered during the winter when the plants are dormant. CHOOSING A HEDGE Fast growing hedges If you are looking to get a hedge which really establishes itself quickly then remember there’s a far greater choice than just leylandii. One of the most popular choices for privacy hedging, the cherry laurel is extremely fast growing. Also known as common laurel, this evergreen species thrives in shadier conditions as well as in direct sunlight. Growth wise, you can expect about 60cm per year in average conditions. Valued among the Ancient Greeks, another option is the bay laurel which had strong associations with the god Apollo - and its leaves were even fashioned into wreaths for the victors of an early incarnation of the Olympic Games. Attractive and aromatic, today laurus nobilis is prized as a fast growing privacy hedge. Evergreen hedges Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar) and Thuja ‘Brabant’ are fast-growing conifers that create an evergreen hedge. Thuja are extremely hardy and will tolerate strong winds. They grow in most soils (except for water-logged soils). They both tend to be a bit bushier than leylandii in the pot or as a rootballed hedging plant (one dug straight from the ground) but they are slightly slower growing than leylandii so are generally cost a little bit more for the equivalent height plant. Thujas have aromatic, fruity foliage when brushed against. Keep them trimmed once a year to the height and width you need and they will form a fantastic field or garden hedge. Photinia Red Robin is a popular, fast-growing, evergreen hedging plant that makes an attractive garden hedge if it is pruned twice a year. It has bright red, young leaves in early spring and, if it is trimmed in late spring or early summer, it will produce more red shoots in summer. Native hedges Native hedges are quite simply hedges that have developed in an area naturally over thousands of years and which

continue to thrive locally. This has been achieved and sustained without any human intervention. There are many extremely popular hedges that are native to us such as box, beech, yew and hornbeam. Planting one of these species ensures that your hedging is acclimatised to local weather conditions and means that less favourable soils will be tolerated. Edible hedges include blackthorn (sloe gin) hazel (nuts) crab apple (crab apple jelly) and elder (elderflower wine and elderberry cordial). Flowering hedges There are a lot of viburnums on the market and many grow well as flowering hedges. Most produce clusters of white or delicate pink flowers in early spring. Look for types such as Koreanspice viburnum (V. carlesii), which offer fragrant flowers, or for varieties that develop red or black berries. Snowball viburnum (V. opulus ‘Roseum’), grows eight feet tall. The variety ‘Nanum’ stays under three feet tall. Ninebark is a native shrub which requires little care to thrive. Grown primarily for its colourful foliage, which may be gold, coppery red, or deep purple in addition to medium green, ninebark stands up well to heat and drought. • Don’t plant out if your soil is too wet • Prepare the ground by digging in organic matter • Plant them to the depth they were originally planted in the winter • Mulch to a depth of 3cms to prevent weeds • Keep your plants well watered and feed them for the first couple of years • Protect the plants from pests- deer and rabbits in particular can be damaging to your plants and keep the area as weed free as possible

www.countrygardener.co.uk

45


Nerines - the f loral fireworks Nerine bowdenii is a brilliant pink, autumn flowering bulb, which will flower for years once it has settled into your garden If ever there was plant to signify the joys of early autumn, it is surely the spectacular, breath taking nerine. Nerine bowdenii is a wonderful plant, especially on a dull autumn day. With its tall scapes, terminated by a loose umbel of five to 10 trumpet-shaped, shocking-pink flowers, it must surely be the most exotic autumn-flowering bulb. Each flower has six narrow perianths with flamboyant wavy edges, which in certain lights appear to have been sprinkled with gold. And their faint musky scent carries on the autumn breeze. Grown as a block or a thick row, Nerine bowdenii is a lively addition to an autumn border. It flowers outdoors from September to early November, depending on temperature and site, with stems up to 20 inches tall .The flowers are long-lasting in the garden and keep going when cut for indoor decoration. The straplike leaves emerge after flowering and survive the winter undamaged. The genus nerine, is named after the sea nymphs of Greek mythology, belongs to the amaryllis family of herbaceous perennials, as do daffodils and snowdrops. Their native home is, in fact, South Africa, especially the Drakensberg Mountains. There are about 30 species, but only a couple are reliably hardy outdoors in the Britain — N. bowdenii and N. undulata. The former can withstand freezing temperatures, as low as -15C. N. bowdenii bulbs were first brought to Britain from South Africa by Cornish Bowden in 1903, hence the name. Nerine bowdenii is a floral firework — a welcome flash of colour as the temperature drops and the days get shorter — that will brighten any garden.

GROW ING T IP S

The bulbs are quite large and elongated. When buying bulbs, ensure that you get true, hardy N. bowdenii. Choose a sunny, 46

well-drained spot such as the base of a south-facing wall. Nerines thrive in hot summers but struggle in cold, wet winters. Plant to a depth of two inches to protect from frost damage. Once planted, try not to disturb them - they like to grow in a dense clump. Bulbs should be planted in autumn or early winter. Give them a good mulch to protect from frost in the first year until they are fully established. In the wild, nerines grow in very poor soil. Plants grown in richer soil grow bigger with more leaves, but at the expense of flowers. After planting, the bulbs should grow some strap shaped leaves until mid summer, and then they will die down. If we have a wet summer they may remain green. In September or October flower spikes will emerge and bloom without the foliage. Avoid planting next to narcissus (daffodils).

IN P O TS AND CONTAINERS

Nerines do well in pots permanently. Plant so the tip of the bulbs show above the compost surface. Bring them inside when in flower for brilliant and long-lasting houseplants, moving them outside again when they’ve gone over. In cold areas, mulch clumps when they’ve finished flowering for winter protection. If you think the flowers are getting less, year on year, feed in the summer with a potash-rich fertiliser. If there are no blooms in the first autumn, don’t worry. Nerines are notoriously temperamental when they have been moved or replanted. They will flower the following year. After many years the bulbs will become congested. Do not divide them as they flower much better when grown like this.

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Hampshire Country Gardener October 2019  

The October 2019 issue of Hampshire Country Gardener Magazine

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