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Somerset ISSUE NO 160 AUGUST 2018 FREE



Gardening in the TWILIGHT ZONE Coping with that Courgette glut

August gardening events galore throughout Somerset

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alpine stra w vertical ga berries, rdening, tropical hedychium s

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Up Front!

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” - Warren Buffett “Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.” OUR HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GARDENING CALENDAR OVER THE COMING WEEKS IN SOMERSET

Somerset ISSUE NO 160 AUGUST 2018 FREE



Gardening in the TWILIGHT ZONE Coping with that Courgette glut

August gardening events galore t

P lus

alpine strawberri vertical garde es, ning, tropical hedychiums

throughout Somerse



A family run business that has been growing since 1967 CROCKERTON, WARMINSTER, WILTSHIRE 01985 217413


Our cover

This month’s cover of Country Gardener highlights the wonderful variety of dahlias gardeners can choose from and at the same time celebrates the re-emergence in popularity of a flower which not only is a border stalwart but is a wonderful cut flower. The variety shown is Dahlia ‘Harzlee’ raised in Germany 30 years ago and now one of the most prolific bloomers you can plant.

Celebrating wildlife photography If you love wildlife photography there’s an exhibition which showcases the beauty and diversity of the nation’s wildlife, as well as the talents of professional and amateur photographers. It is on show in Glastonbury through a partnership between Somerset Wildlife Trust and Red Brick Building. There are winners include Somerset photographer, Victoria Hillman. The exhibition aims to inspire people to protect and appreciate the wildlife in their local area. The exhibition is free to enter, voluntary donations will be shared between the two organisations. No booking is necessary – you can just turn up! The exhibition runs from Tuesday 17th July through to Saturday 25th August. Red Brick Building, Morland Road, Morlands Enterprise Park, Glastonbury BA6 9FT

Weekend flower show for Bridgwater Bridgwater hosts its annual two day weekend flower show on Friday, 24th August and Saturday, 25th August - a popular and traditional event with vegetables, pot plants, cut flowers and handicrafts all on show. Admission is £1 and the show opens from 1.30pm to 5pm on the Friday and 10am to 3pm on the Saturday. The show takes place in the Town Hall.

- Jenny Han

CELEBRATION OF FLOWERS AT BATH’S VICTORIA ARTS GALLERY Internationally renowned colour expert and fabric designer Kaffe Fassett returns to Bath. He has been associated with the city since the 1960s when Kaffe Fassett he moved to England from San Francisco. Inspired by flowers all his life, Fassett demonstrates his full creative flair in a new exhibition. With a bespoke colour scheme to match, the installation will transform the Gallery using 40 of his vibrant coloured quilts and needlepoints. The exhibition runs until Sunday 2nd September. Victoria Arts Gallery Bridge St, Bath BA2 4AT.


This year marks the 175th birthday of extraordinary garden designer Gertrude Jekyll. Her collaboration with the renowned architect Edwin Lutyens is especially remembered at Hestercombe House and gardens near Taunton, arguably the greatest example of their work. To celebrate the work of Gertrude Jekyll, Hestercombe is hosting an exhibition that gives a personal insight into the extraordinary and wide ranging skills of this artist and designer – the first woman to be awarded in 1897 the Victoria Medal of Honour of the Royal Horticultural Society, the highest award for British horticulturists. ‘Gertrude Jekyll: An Artist’s Eye’ presents original paintings of her gardens and the images she captured through drawings she made and photographs she took. The original desk she worked at is featured alongside vases she designed, the plans she drew and the books she published. A sound piece accompanies the exhibition. The exhibition in the Portman Room at Hestercombe House, runs from Saturday 21st July to Sunday 2nd September. The gardens are also running a Gertrude Jekyll summer trial from Friday 21st July to 10th August. Hestercombe Gardens, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton TA2 8LG.




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Taunton Flower Show an August highlight

Same again as Taunton Flower Show celebrates staying put There should be an extra reason to be grateful when Taunton Flower Show opens on Friday, 3rd August and Saturday, 4th August. The Somerset town’s Vivary Park is again the venue of the hugely popular West Country event. There had been fears last year that the annual extravaganza

OPEN GARDEN FOR CHILDREN’S HOSPICE SOUTH WEST Enjoy an afternoon in a beautiful North Somerset garden and support Children’s Hospice South West when Hill View at Sandford opens for the charity on Sunday 12th August. This family friendly, mature, organically run garden and smallholding is set up with wildlife and tranquillity in mind. In the summer, the traditional meadow should be at its best. Children are welcome with activities provided or you can just relax with a cream tea listening to music. The garden is open on Sunday 12th August from 2pm until 5pm. Admission is free, all proceeds will be donated to CHSW, with home-made teas and plants available. There is wheelchair access, and parking is available including accessibility spaces. Hill View, Greenhill Lane, Sandford, North Somerset BS25 5PE.

would have to move to a new venue after Taunton Deane Borough Council hiked its charges to use the park. But after negotiations the show, which has been running for 166 years stayed put. Although the show boasts an arena of displays and presentations it still remains at heart a show for gardeners. The competition marquee is the core of the show and classes have sections for fruit, vegetables, flowers, homecrafts, floral art floristry, winemaking and photography for adults, plus an array of creative sections for those aged under 17. Everybody is eligible to enter these classes and there are more than 50 trophies and £4,000 of prize money to be won. As well as some stunning floral displays, there are food and craft areas, a children’s village, a plant village, gardeners’ question time, wine tasting, honey making, live music and the floral and competition marquees. The show opens its gates to the general public at 10.30am until 7pm on Friday and is open between 10am and 6pm on Saturday. There are discounts on tickets bought before 21st July but after that entry is £15 for adults on Friday and £13 on Saturday.

Forde Abbey hosts traditional summer fair The wonderful gardens at Forde Abbey on the Somerset and Dorset border hosts a special annual Summer Charity Fair on Thursday, July 26th which will have a lot to offer for gardeners. Plant stalls feature in the exhibitors and of course there’s the chance to wander around the famous 30 acres of gardens, sensational walled garden and the highest-powered fountain in the country. It’s a traditional day out for all the family with classic cars on display, model boats, a dog show, scurry and flyball, falconry displays on horseback, a fun fair, fly fishing, a food court, street food and more. The fair will be open from 11am to 4pm with free parking and allocated parking for registered disabled Blue Badge visitors. Dogs are very welcome on a short lead. Adult entry is £6 with children of five years to 15 years costing £2. A family ticket costs £14. Forde Abbey, Chard TA20 4LU

Traditional day out at Forde Abbey 5


Hartwood House opens gardens for The Samaritans The spacious gardens at Hartwood House, Crowcombe Heathfield, will be on display in aid of The Samaritans charity on Sunday 12th August, from 2pm until 5pm. The garden, which covers eight acres and nestles in a woodland vale near the Quantock Hills, has elegant lawns, many fine specimen trees and shrubs, colourful perennials, fruit and vegetables. “The garden looks very different at this time of year from when we open for charity in the spring and early summer,” owner Cmdr. David Hartwood House garden covers eight acres Freemantle told Country Gardener. “We have a wide range of hydrangeas which should be looking their best. The vegetable garden will be bearing fruit, and the woodland walks will be fun for the children to explore and people to walk their dogs. As always there will be cream teas and a plant stall.” Admission is £4, children free, and dogs on leads are welcome, and there is plenty of free parking. Hartwood House, Crowcombe Heathfield, Somerset TA4 4BS is signposted off the A358 between Bishops Lydeard and Williton. For more details call 01984 667202 or visit the website at

Rare Plant Fair returns to the Bishop’s Palace, Wells The historic gardens of the Bishop’s Palace at Wells hosts another summer Rare Plant Fair on Sunday, 19th August. The Bishop’s Palace in the historic city of Wells has 14 acres of gardens. Since development of the gardens started in 2005, the borders have been planted with season long interest in mind. Many of the roses are repeat flowering and the cross section of planting means that most of the borders are full of interest from May until the first frosts. In August the large Bishops Dahlia collection will be at its best. Now in their 24th season, Rare Plant Fairs are held in beautiful and prestigious gardens, each with its own unique character, from those with histories stretching back centuries to more modern gardens created in recent years. The nurseries are selected to ensure they are genuine growers who produce most or all of the plants that they sell themselves. The Fair will be open from 10am to 4pm, and adult entry, which includes entry to both the fair and garden, costs £6. Lunches and refreshments are available at The Bishop’s Table café/restaurant. The Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Somerset BA5 2PD 6

The long term solution to patio black spots

The record breaking temperatures this summer has meant alfresco living is very much the norm. This then raises the issue of how best to improve the look of our garden stonework? Stonework deteriorates year on year regardless, without the added pressure of continuous and intensive jet washing, which is not only laborious but causes further damage to the surface of patios, driveways and terraces. But is there an alternative? From the first day stonework is laid, the next time it rains, millions of microspores are deposited. These originate from trees, initially as tiny spores, similar in size to pollen. Propelled by the wind, they travel for miles, until it rains, when they are watered into the pores of the stone. For the first 12 months they lay dormant, until they begin to establish themselves by feeding off the minerals in the stone, finally germinating after two years, and appearing on the surface as ‘patio black spots’. At this point they are almost impossible to remove. Jet washing has little or no impression, and by focusing the pressure washing continually on one spot, damage can be caused by the vibration of the jet delaminating or eroding the surface. Most proprietary patio cleaners will remove green algae but can take weeks to work and have no obvious effect on the black lichen. The Patio Black Spot Remover and Preventer system removes those hideous black spots and cleans and restores the original colour to all garden stonework, plus prevents their return! The Patio Black Spot Removal Company is offering Country Gardener readers free delivery on all orders until October.

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courgettes by Kate Lewis

WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF COURGETTES IN HIGH SUMMER IT’S WORTH KNOWING HOW TO DEAL WITH THE GLUT Renowned for being one of the easiest and most prolific vegetables to grow, gardeners usually find themselves with fridges overflowing with courgettes by August. With a seemingly endless supply from just a few plants it pays to arm yourself with a variety of recipes to enjoy these versatile gems of the summer harvest. Courgettes fall under the umbrella of the large Cucurbitaceae family which include pumpkins, squashes and gourds. Believed to be one of the oldest crops on earth, they can be traced back 10,000 years ago to the Andes and were brought over to Europe soon after the discovery of the New World in the sixteenth century.

Courgettes in the garden

Plants are best started off indoors from seeds in pots, individually and on their side from late March. When roots begin to show transfer outside to fertile and well-manured soil. Given their South American heritage it’s no surprise that they need plenty of sunlight so avoid planting in shade. Plant in rows 90cm apart, taking care to avoid overcrowding which can lead to powdery mildew. Courgettes are very thirsty plants and appreciate plenty of manure to lock in the moisture. Never let them dry out. If you have missed the chance to plant from seed, courgettes also fare well grown from plug plants. They grow very well in containers and grow bags if well watered and kept in a sunny spot.

Courgette facts • Plants sown in April/May are usually at their best for harvesting July/ August • Wear long sleeves when harvesting to avoid spiky hairs on the stalks which can cause irritation. • There is no need to peel courgettes, just wash and trim top and tail. • The entire plant – fruit, leaves and flowers – is edible. 8

Each plant carries both male and female flowers. Early in the season lots of the bigger male flowers appear, followed by the female flowers which bear the fruit – a noticeable swelling behind the flower. It is the male flower which is the most suitable for stuffing and frying. When the glut comes the fruit is best severed from the plant with a knife, maintaining strength in the stems. Harvest the fruit when they are still tender and around 10cm long. Fruit left to grow much bigger than this loses flavour and texture. Grossly oversized courgettes – sometimes more than a foot longer - are often passed off as marrows. When looking for a true marrow – a separate and more flavourful variety, and which offers much more potential in the kitchen – keep an eye out for the striped tiger cross on the end of the fruit rather than the all green variety.

Courgettes in the kitchen

From grilling to baking, preserving to cake-making, courgettes are very versatile in the kitchen. This is welcome news given how many most growers have picked by midsummer. Cooking in water however is a no-no. For a quick alternative side-dish chop, lightly cook in olive oil and season with herbs – mint or basil are perfect pairings - lemon and salt. Grated courgettes work well cooked in the same way. Courgettes take well to slow cooking in the oven – roughly chop, toss with oil and salt and roast at 200 deg C for around • Courgettes are mostly water and so don’t freeze well. Make chutney, pickle or soup instead. Alternatively chargrill in long strips, pack into a sterilized jar, cover with oil and keep in the fridge for a few weeks. • Being mostly water courgettes can benefit from salting before use – especially in a chutney or in a slow-cooked dish. Chop or grate, sprinkle with salt, leave in a colander for 1-2 hours (half an hour for grated). • Courgettes make a great vegetable pasta – use a spiraliser or peeler to make long strips. Sauté in olive oil for a couple of minutes then pair with your favourite pasta sauce.

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30 minutes. Try deeper flavours such as thyme, chilli and garlic to enhance the finished roasted dish. Courgettes are best eaten when young, small and tender. Ensure the fruit is unblemished and firm. They should be kept in the salad drawer of the fridge and eaten within a week, preferably sooner as they lose their flavour and sweetness with age. At this sweet, tender age they are succulent and have a dense flavour which lends itself to being eaten raw - thinly sliced with a knife or mandolin, or pared into long ribbons with a peeler. Keep it simple by mixing with olive oil, lemon, herbs and salt or build flavours by adding feta, olives, pine nuts, tomatoes and garlic for a Mediterranean-style salad. Cooked courgettes work well in salads too, especially when griddled. Slice the courgettes lengthways, toss with oil and salt and place on a hot griddle pan on the hob, a barbecue, or on a baking sheet under a grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Griddled courgettes stand alone when dressed with a good olive oil, lemon and fresh chopped herbs.

Courgette Fritters INGREDIENTS 4 courgettes (approx 750g) 5-6 spring onions, finely chopped 250g feta cheese, crumbled small bunch fresh parsley, chopped

For an Asian inspired salad mix with roasted sesame seeds, sliced spring onion and soy sauce or for a Middle Eastern inspired dish mix with fresh mint, preserved lemons, soaked sultanas and taste pistachios. In Middle Eastern kitchens the courgette is often the centrepiece of the table, the inside scooped out and stuffed with a varying combinations of minced meat, grains, vegetables, herbs and spices. For bakers the courgette is a fantastic alternative to the ubiquitous carrot in cakes, useful in a chocolate cake or a lighter lemon and almond sponge (pictured) and also handy to win over those children less than impressed with green vegetables! For many chefs though, the star recipe in the courgette repetoire is fiori di zucchini fritti – the brilliant yellow flower dipped in batter, deep fried then served simply with salt and lemon, or stuffed with ricotta, tomatoes and garlic or rice. (They also look pretty roughly torn and added to salads.)

Courgette, Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake

small bunch fresh mint, chopped 1 tbsp dried mint 1 tsp paprika 140g plain flour 3 eggs, beaten salt & pepper olive oil for frying 3-4 limes

METHOD 1) Coarsely grate the courgettes by hand or in a food processor. Spread out on a tea towel and leave for around 20 minutes to removes any excess moisture. 2) Combine the spring onions, feta, fresh parsley and mint, dried mint and paprika. Add the flour and season well with salt and pepper. 3) Gradually add the beaten egg, mix thoroughly then stir in the courgettes. The mixture will be lumpy. 4) Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and drop dessertspoons of the mixture into the hot oil, flattening down with the back of a spoon. Cook for 2 minutes each side until golden. 5) Serve with chopped mint and wedges of lime. (Copyright: Nigella Lawson)

INGREDIENTS Cake 75ml whole milk 2 tbsp poppy seeds zest of 2 lemons 250g unsalted butter 250g light soft brown sugar 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated

½ tsp almond extract 200g self-raising flour 250g grated weight of courgette Icing 300g icing sugar 1 ½ tsp lemon zest 30g unsalted butter 2 tbsp lemon juice 1 tbsp poppy seeds

METHOD 1) Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin. 2) Warm the milk, poppy seeds and lemon zest in a small pan for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and cool. 3) Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale, light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. 4) Stir in the almond extract, flour and ground almonds. Fold in the courgettes and cooled milk. 5) Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until they form stiff peaks. Add a large spoon of the egg white to the courgette mixture and very gently fold in. Gradually fold in the rest of the egg whites. 6) Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for around 60 mins or until firm to touch. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack. 7) Icing: Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and melted butter. Add lemon juice and quickly stir together, adding a splash of water if needed, until you have a thick but spreadable consistency. Use a pallet knife to spread the icing over the cake. 8) Sprinkle over poppy seeds and leave the cake for 30 minutes to allow the icing to set. (Copyright: Riverford Organics)


Be brave when it comes to dahlias

Kilver Court head gardener Matt Rees-Warren urges dahlia lovers to be bold and take risks to make the most of the variety on offer from these wonderful flowers Dahlias have moved into the very forefront of our thoughts as gardeners over recent years and it’s not without reason. Their colours run through almost the whole rainbow except blue, and the shapes and forms the flowers take on vary in more ways than your average border perennial. Add to this a superbly long bloom and you have an irresistible cocktail no garden should be without. They have shaken off the ‘flower show’ image of old and have become, in my mind, a border stalwart. That’s not to say they aren’t still a wonderful cut flower, far from it. Those old admirers, who’d grow a field for one perfect bloom, knew a good flower when they saw one; it’s just the presentation that’s changed. Modern tastemakers now carry the dahlias’ reputation through Instagram and fashionable boutique floristry shops - a far cry from the trestle table at the county or flower show, next to the carrot cake. As with all gardening dahlias are 10

cyclical, and my year begins when I look through the catalogues in early spring. It’s a heartening feeling to suppose so much colour will pour over the garden in the not too distant future, but choosing colour is an art for a gardener to master. I would never limit myself from using any shade as that would be to take the pot from the painter but I like to find some restraint from the giddy gluttony. Dahlias, like tulips, have been used in some truly awful combinations and if you’re willing to put some time into planning your orders, the benefit will far outweigh the time taken. I tend to order in threes, in variety not numbers, then look to develop a theme or style from those three. So, for example, a bold, exuberant collection may begin with zingy orange ‘Ludwig helfert’, blood red ‘Bishop of Llandaff’, and corn yellow ‘Boogie woogie’. The path is laid. You can then riff on that style and choose more sets depending on how much room you have. It’s always better to be playful and Country Gardener

experiment than to stick doggedly to the ‘old favourites’, dahlias are about fun and exoticness after all. That doesn’t mean it’s all Caribbean beach colours, dahlias can be quite muted and sophisticated if need be. The cream and ivory of ‘Cafe au Lait’ partners superbly with the washed out peach of ‘Nicholas’ and the helium light pink of ‘Stolze von berlin’. Together they are restrained and elegant and would fall into a pastel colour palette with great effect. Not only do they have a wide spectrum of colour but the shapes and forms the flowers exhibit have clearly defined differences. The ‘Decorative’ group - with their many petalled balls reminiscent of peony flowers - are the most common and have the widest colour range and choice of cultivars. My particular favourite however, are the ‘Cactus’ group - maybe it’s the spiky form seeming more exotic and transporting me to their Mexican country origins.

“It’s always better to be playful and experiment than to stick doggedly to the ‘old favourites” autumn (I use compost and straw) and look to protect the fresh growth from slugs and snails in early May. If, like me, you’re buying new tubers or have taken out over winter then I would look to pot up around April. Put them in a good loamy/compost mix and place the tubers barely below the surface; leave somewhere with light and shelter and look to water regularly once you see growth coming through. I also like to place bark on the top of the pot to stop the soil leeching out when watering and keep the moisture locked in.

Left to right: ‘Ludwig helfert‘; ‘Boosie Wogie‘; ‘Stolze von berlin‘

I especially like the spectacular ‘Karma bon bini’ with its primal clash of sun yellow and fiery red. The ‘Ball’ or ‘Pompom’ group are also weirdly alien and look like optical illusions in a Frida Kahlo painting. Back on more common ground are the ‘Anemone’ or ‘Bishop’ group, ordained with superb plum and chocolate foliage, making them indispensable in offering contrast to other dahlias. I always use them and couldn’t be without the ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ or the ‘Bishop of Oxford’. With all the fun of the colour and the shapes comes a small hitch: they are demanding of your time. How much time though comes down to a Shakespearean choice – to leave in or not to leave in? For us living in the Gulf Stream corridor of the southwest it’s increasingly leave in, but beware as the idle hands of gardeners are fool’s gold. The ‘beast from the east’ certainly taught us that England can still have real winters, so I follow a simple mantra. Leave in what you can afford to replace and take out what you cannot be without. If I’m leaving them in I will cover them with a good thick mulch at the end of

‘Bishop of Oxford’

Plant them out in late May/early June or when they look leafy and strong and give them a good start with a seaweed or comfrey feed. The last element that may be taxing of your time is the staking, and when it comes down to it, it’s all about timing and personal choice. I will always try to leave plants to their natural habit and then stake before it’s too late – but I am a professional gardener and in the garden eight hours a day so it’s a bit easier to do! I’ve also grown weary of bamboo canes spoiling the border but if you want to put one cane of about 1.5m next to each plant you wouldn’t go far wrong. If you then tie in with twine, my tip would be: don’t tie too close to the bottom of the plant as it can act as a pivot to topple the plant and also tie much tighter than you think. Dahlias can get very heavy when in full bloom.

‘Karma bonbini‘


The re-emergence in popularity of dahlias with gardeners today always makes me think that fashions and fads are fleeting. It could easily have been the gladioli or the chrysanthemum that took the column inches and heralded as the new ‘old’ plant. So remember, take risks, be brave, try something new and who knows you could be the one setting trends, not following them!

‘Cafe au lait‘ 11

Golden Rain Tree is an apt name for this special tree


KOELREUTERIA PANICULATA - A GEM OF A MEDIUM SIZED TREE Mark Hinsley profile a special tree which combines beauty and history and is perfect for many gardens The names in common usage for Koelreuteria paniculata, Golden Rain Tree or Pride of India, can lead to some confusion. Golden Rain Tree is a name sometimes applied to the laburnum and Pride of India does not reflect the true origin of this species in north-east China and Korea. Looking into how the Pride of India found its way to our shores has opened up a little-known area of our garden history. Most of us with an interest in garden plants are aware of the great plant collectors sponsored by nurseries, such as Veitchs of Exeter, to strike out into the unknown in search of new, and lucrative, plant varieties. Their names are legendary in the plant world: Lobb, Fortune, Henry, Forrest, etc. However, Pride of India, and a good many other well-known plants, arrived by another means. The Pride of India was first introduced into France by seed sent back to Paris by Pierre Nicolas Le Chéron d’Incarville (1706 – 1757) a French Jesuit Missionary, who worked in China from 1740 until his death in Beijing (Peking). However, he turned out to be the tip of the iceberg. After him came Father Armand David (1826 – 1900) (Davidia involucrata), and the first westerner to see a Giant Panda, Father Jean Marie Delavay of the Missions Etrangères de Paris (1834 – 1895), who survived Bubonic Plague in 1888 and still carried on finding primulas and rhododendrons, Father Paul Guillaume Farges (Rhododendrons) (1844 – 1912) and Father Jean Andre Soulie (1858 – 1905) who sent back the first seeds of Buddleja davidii. Soulie was caught, tortured for 15 days and executed by lamas in the 1905 Tibetan revolt. The same revolt from which the British plant collector George Forrest only barely managed to escape from with his life. Yet fear not Brexiteers, it would seem that it was not the French who started this godly pursuit of new plants from strange worlds. Bishop Henry Compton (1632 – 1713) is reputed to have selected his missionaries not so much for their religious zeal but more for their knowledge of botany, so as to populate his garden in Fulham with strange and exotic flora that they were charged with bringing back to him from their travels. 12

For the sake of completeness, apparently, we also started the 1905 Tibetan Revolt by invading Lhasa in 1904 out of fear of Russian influence in Tibet. The next year, a massive anti-western, anti-Christian rebellion broke out among Tibetans in Kham (eastern Sichuan, northern Yunnan), with Tibetan Lamas at prominent Lamaseries like Batang leading the revolt. More than a dozen French Catholic missionaries lost their lives in horrible circumstances. Meanwhile, back to the Pride of India. The tree has certain similarities with another of Father d’Incarville’s introductions, Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven). However, it is not so vigorous, or so large and aggressive to walls, patios and garden paths. Its foliage is more attractive than Tree of Heaven. Young shoots come out copper- brown, the leaves are pinnate (like an ash tree), but each individual leaflet is doubly toothed near the tip. The mature foliage is matt dark green with a pink midrib beneath. The spectacular flowers are huge branched panicles 30 – 40cms long of bright yellow flower heads, which come on in August when a lot of other stuff has already finished. The tree keeps on giving because the fruit is a papery bladder containing three black seeds which are conspicuous and pink in the autumn. It will grow on just about any soil in the south of England and it does not get beyond medium size. Quite a star really. Mark Hinsley is from Arboriculture Consultants Ltd.

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your local family-run garden centre A wide choice of award-winning shrubs, bedding, trees, herbs, climbers, perennials, alpines, roses, soft and top fruit and much more. We also have a well-stocked shop, Pet & Bird Centre, Aquatic Centre, Shed, Cafe & Tea Room serving home cooked food.

Huge selection of terracotta & glazed pots Fencing, paving & aggregates Garden buildings

Plus all your garden sundry requirements Large range of summer bedding & basket plants OPEN: 9am-5.30pm Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm Sunday

Coffee shop open 10.30am-4pm Monday-Sunday





Landscape Design Hard and Soft Landscaping Grounds Maintenance Sportseld Maintenance Weed Control

01278 653205 Main Road, Cannington, Bridgwater. TA5 2LD

On the main A38 between Taunton & Wellington

TELEPHONE 01823 461324

CROFT GARDEN NURSERY W EST & FARM SHOP Great range of trees, shrubs, climbers, conifers, roses, herbaceous perennials, top and soft fruit and hedging. Home grown fuchsias, geraniums, patio plants, vegetable and herb plants. Lots of compost and garden sundries too! Planted containers and hanging baskets for sale and made to order. Red Road • Berrow • TA8 2LY • Tel 01278 782687

Garden Flower Show 17 - 19 August

Over 40 nurseries and trade stands A new floral display trail, floristry demonstrations Specialist talks and RHS advice Free Park and Ride from Torrington. All included with normal garden admission, free for RHS members. Book tickets online now and save 10% or for more information Great Torrington, Devon EX38 8PH Tel 01805 626810 RHS Reg Charity No. 222879 / SC038262


Champs Hill, Coldwaltham, Sussex

GARDEN Visits THE BEST GARDENS TO VISIT compiled by Vivienne Lewis

Visit any of these gardens that are open for charity in August and be inspired by the colour and variety that can be produced in high summer gardens. We advise checking before starting a journey as circumstances can force cancellations of openings in private gardens.

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

Partial wheelchair access Unsuitable for wheelchairs Dogs on short leads

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

WHEATLEY HOUSE Wheatley Lane, Between Binsted & Kingsley, Bordon, Hampshire GU35 9PA Situated on a rural hilltop with panoramic views over Alice Holt Forest and the South Downs. The sweeping, mixed borders and shrubs are spectacular with colour throughout the season, particularly in late summer. Open for the National Garden Scheme on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th August, 1.30pm5.30pm. Admission £5, children free.

BONYTHON MANOR THE OLD MILL Ramsbury, Wiltshire SN8 2PN Water running through a multitude of channels no longer drives the mill but is a backdrop for a whimsical garden of pollarded limes and naturalistic planting. Paths meander by streams and over small bridges, with dramatic downland views. Potager style kitchen garden and separate cutting garden. Open for the NGS on Sunday 19th August 2pm-6pm. Admission £5, children free. 14

Cury Cross Lanes, Helston, Cornwall, TR12 7BA Magnificent 20-acre colour garden on the Lizard Peninsula, with a sweeping hydrangea drive to the Georgian manor (not open). Herbaceous walled garden, potager, three lakes in a valley planted with ornamental grasses, perennials and South African flowers. Open for the NGS on Wednesday 15th August, 2pm-4.30pm. Admission: £8, children £2. Contact Mr & Mrs Richard Nathan on 01326 240550 or email:

Country Gardener

PARISH’S HOUSE Hook Hill, Timsbury, Bath, Somerset BA2 0ND Eight-acre garden surrounding a Regency house (not open) with beautiful views across open countryside, lawns sweeping down to a ha-ha, colour themed herbaceous and shrub borders, elegant water feature, arboretum and acer glade, and new woodland walk. Walled kitchen garden with fan trained and cordoned fruit trees and cut flower beds. Open for the NGS on Sunday 12th August, 2pm-5pm. Admission £5, children free. Contact head gardener Jackie Hamblen on 07956 022016 or email:


OPEN GARDEN IN AID OF ST MARGARET’S HOSPICE Milford Dip Allotment, Yeovil BA21 4QE This open, working allotment will let you explore allotment life, with fine rows of cabbages and cauliflowers and exemplary towers of runner beans, but also its spectacular, colourful displays of prize winning chrysanthemums and dahlias. Refreshments will be available, along with a raffle and tombola. Open for St Margaret’s Hospice on Friday 10th August, 12pm-4pm Admission: £2.50.

Alverdiscott, Newton Tracey, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 3PP Newly reopening this year for the NGS, a beautifully designed garden full of rooms packed with plants, shrubs and trees, spectacular bamboos, flowing grasses, roses and giant phormiums all set in an acre looking out over the North Devon countryside. Unfenced pond and bog garden. Plants for sale. Open for the NGS on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th August, 2pm-5pm. Admission £4, children free.

THE OLD RECTORY Church Road, Quenington, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 5BN On the banks of the mill race and the River Coln, this is an organic garden of great variety, with mature trees, large vegetable garden, herbaceous borders, shade garden, pool and bog gardens. Open for the NGS on Sunday 12th August, 2pm-5.30pm; admission £5, children free.

SIDMOUTH AUGUST GARDENS Sidmouth, Devon EX10 9DX These contrasting gardens a mile apart are a slightly different group to the one that opened in June in Sidmouth, one with potager beds, espalier fruit archway, colour-themed flower beds, pond, rill, rockery, greenhouses, and studio, backing onto a nature reserve with walks; another with trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs, woodland and Mexican pine; the third lies behind a red brick wall, with terraces, rockery, impressionist colour palette, and small woodland; the fourth is a cottage garden meeting minimalist design, with grasses, blocks of colour, and willow creatures. Open for the NGS on Saturday 25th, Sunday 26th and Bank Holiday Monday 27th August, 1.30pm-5.30pm. Admission: £5, children free. 15




Pulham, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 7EA

Waltham Park Road, Coldwaltham, Pulborough, Sussex RH20 1L

Splendid views from these four acres of formal and informal gardens surrounding an 18th century rectory with yew pyramid allées and hedges, circular herbaceous borders with late summer colour, box parterres, mature trees, pond, fernery, ha-ha, pleached hornbeam circle and ten acres of woodland walks. Flourishing extended bog garden with islands. Open for the NGS on Sunday 5th and Thursday 9th August, 2pm-5pm, admission £6, children free. Developed around three disused sand quarries since 1960, now with woodlands including azaleas and rhododendrons, a collection of heathers in August, interesting sculptures and stupendous views. Open for the NGS on Sunday 12th August, 2pm-5pm. Admission £5, children free. Mr & Mrs David Bowerman on 01798 831205 or email:

10 BROOKDALE CLOSE Broadstone, Dorset BH18 9AA The 70 foot by 50 foot garden is centred around a wildlife pond and tumbling waterfall. A rich kaleidoscope of colour combining both tropical and cottage garden with tree ferns, bananas, lilies, grasses, and beautiful perennials with a different view at every turn. Open for the NGS on Sundays 5th and 12th August, 2pm-5pm, admission £3, children free.

MARLBROOK GARDENS Braces Lane, Marlbrook, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire B60 1DY Two contrasting, stunning gardens overflowing with plants for sun and shade, ponds, water features, patios, artifacts and sculptures. Round Hill Garden a traditional garden but with the exotic and unusual; Oak Tree House a plantswoman’s cottage garden with views over open fields. Art displays by garden owners. Open for the NGS on Sunday 12th August, 1.30pm5.30pm. Admission £5, children free. Contact Alan Nokes on 0121 445 5520 or email 16

Country Gardener

August Fair

Hartland Abbey & Gardens


19th August The Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Somerset BA5 2PD

Visit this historic family home with its fascinating architecture, collections and exhibitions. Beautiful 18thC Walled and Woodland gardens and wildflower walks to the beach at Blackpool Mill. Film location for ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’. * Dogs welcome * Holiday Cottages * House, Gardens and Café: until 30th September, Sunday to Thursday 11am - 5pm (House 2pm - last adm. 4pm) Please visit our website for full details of admission fees and times of opening.

For all information and events see Hartland, Nr. Bideford EX39 6DT 01237441496/234

Bridgwater Bridgwater Mowers Mowers

01278 651300 01278 651300 01278 651300

Main Road, Cannington, Main Road, Cannington, Bridgwater, Somerset TA5 2LD TA5 2LD Bridgwater,Bridgwater, SomersetSomerset TA5 2LD Main Road, Cannington,

• Repairs • •• Sales Sales• •Service Service • Repairs •

Ride on Mowers and Push Mowers

Ride on Mowers and Push Mowers Chainsaws, Hedgecutters & Brushcutters Chainsaws, & Cutters, Brushcutters Leaf Blowers,Hedgecutters Rotavator, Stone Generators & Gardening Hand Tools. Leaf Blowers, Rotavator, Stone Cutters, Generators & Gardening Hand Tools.

FREE collection


collection and delivery for VISIT US FOR OUR service and repairs! and delivery for

Selection of Looking Good plants and shrubs.

Selection of Looking Good Children’s toysshrubs. ~ Ride on plants and


tractors, mowers, etc.

Children’s toys ~ Ride on tractors, mowers, etc. All typesAll of types horticultural equipment serviced andserviced repaired. & repaired. of horticultural equipment


Monday to Friday 8.30am ~ 5.30pm | Saturday 8.30am ~ 4pm

Open Monday to Friday 8am - 5.30pm and Saturday 8am - 2pm

All types of horticultural equipment serviced and repaired.

Grounds Maintenance


Monday to Friday 8.30am ~ 5.30pm | Saturday 8.30am ~ 4pm



West Kington, Nr Chippenham, Wiltshire SN14 7JQ Grounds Tel 01249 782822




West Kington Nurseries Grounds


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.

DESIGN SHEDSMAINTAIN & FENCING MASSIVE PLANTCONSTRUCT SALE! Summer Houses, Log Cabins, “Probably the largest plant RELAXATION Grounds Maintenance Decking, Home Offices, ROOFTOP Grounds Weed Control sale in the West!” Workshops, Play Houses, Maintenance

Chicken Houses • Huge range of plants Hedge Cutting DESIGN CONSTRUCT MAINTAIN Compound A, Dunball Wharf, Landscape Design Prices • Bargain Road, Bridgwater TA6 4BJ Sportsfield •Hard Professional advice ROOFTOP Bristol RELAXATION Telephone 01278 686267 & Soft Maintenance Grounds Weed Control • Refreshments Landscaping Fir Tree, Galhampton,

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


SEPTEMBER 8th & 9th Grass Cutting

Nr Sparkford, Yeovil 7BH FenceBA22 Construction Hedge Cutting Telephone 01963 440464 Saturday 9am-5pm Landscape Design Fax 01963 441244 GOLD MEDAL SHOWCASE GARDEN Sunday 10am-4pm Sportsfield Open 7 days a week Free Entry Hard & Soft Maintenance CANNINGTON, BRIDGWATER, SOMERSET TA5 2LD Over £2,500 raised last year for local charities Landscaping

Tel: 01278 653205

Grass Cutting

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

Tel: 01202 874283

Fence Construction

          


Hidden beauty in rural Oxfordshire


Gardens Open

Tel: 01278 653205

every Tuesday & Thursday in June, July & August 2.00pm to 6.00pm An imposing 17th century farmhouse set within the remaining arms of a 500 year old moat, with over 3 acres of informal gardens and grounds

Cream teas ~ Museum ~ Gift shop

Private garden tours may be arranged on other days during the summer             Clanfield ~ Oxfordshire ~ OX18 2SU




Borders at this time of year need some height to fill up the late summer gaps which is why you always need to plan with tall perennials Borders take care of themselves in spring with plenty of plants at ground level: hellebores, primulas and small bulbs. Then, as the season warms up, the mainstream leafy perennials get under way, with peonies, sedums, phlox, day lilies, Solomon’s seal to name a few. And it’s then that any gaps show up, looking all the more like holes if they are at the back of a border. This is when you need the tall perennials to rescue your border if you are to maintain order and beauty Herbaceous perennials –plants that die back to the ground in cold winter weather but resume growing in spring – offer gardeners a mind-boggling selection of plant size, flower colour and form, and season of bloom. Height remains however the most important factor from May onwards. In recent years, as ideas about gardening have changed, many gardeners have opted to take their cue from nature, interpreting in the garden the layering tendencies of plants in the wild. (If you’ve ever looked at the area where woods border a field, you’ve seen these layers – tree canopy, understory trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, and groundcovers.) It is all about gradients Mixed borders give a nod to this concept, allowing woody plants to add structure, height, texture and year-long interest to the garden. Here’s some tall plants which can rescue your border:

New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) Phormiums really have a place in any planting scheme – few plants match their broad, strap-like leaves that come in a range of colours and stripes. There’s a staggering selection available, from compact ‘Bronze Baby’ to the lofty P. tenax itself, standing at well over three metres at maturity.

Yarrow Achillea millefoliu A butterfly favourite, yarrow is a robust summer bloomer with pretty, flat-topped flowers that bloom for six to eight 18

weeks. The ferny foliage emerges in early spring and is followed by four-foot tall flower stems in summer. Yarrow is one of the longest flowering perennials that grows best in full sun with well-drained soil of average fertility; overfertilizing can cause the stems to flop over. Flower colours can range from soft pastels to rich jewel shades.

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) For a wonderfully tall plant, Russian sage has rather small blossoms. But what they lack in size, they make up for in numbers. This long-blooming perennial is showy–but in the most tasteful way possible and delivers airy spires of lavender-blue colour on highly-textured silver-grey foliage to the landscape

New England aster (Aster novae-angliae) The tiny flowers on large stems make a real back-of-theborder impact. Despite their height, the strong stems only need staking in exposed positions and good news – they’re much more resistant to powdery mildew than their Michaelmas daisy cousins. Their only weakness is that their stems become bare as they age, which you can hide with lower plantings of other perennials.

Clary sage (Salvia sclarea var turkestanica) Many gardeners have increasingly got a bit of a thing for silver-leaved plants, and had listed Verbascum bombyciferum, Cynara cardunculus, Melianthus major, Onopordum acanthium and Silybum marianum (green with amazing silver veining) as favourites. But they’re pretty well known, whereas this biennial salvia doesn’t get much of a mention. It is incredibly easy to grow from seed, which is great for those on a budget. In general, the tallest plants should be towards the back (or the centre, if it’s an island bed), mid-size plants in the middle and the lowest perennials in front – but don’t be too rigid about this, or your border may look like stadium seating. Some of those tall perennials also work well to attract butterflies and birds.

Country Gardener

Overall competition winner John Study

Melplash gardens winners

wow the judges

Prizes for the Melplash Agricultural Society’s Garden Competition will be presented at the show on Thursday 23rd August after judges were thrilled with the quality of the gardens


the best of agriculture by the sea CHILDREN Go FREE!!

Discounted tickets available at

The annual Melplash Agricultural Society’s Garden Competition, the most prestigious garden competition in the West Dorset area, saw 24 gardens and allotments entered this year, stretching from Lyme Regis to Hinton St George. The competition was judged over two days by last year’s overall winners large garden winners, Mr and Mrs Colin and Sue Dyer from Long Bredy and the small garden winner, Mrs Stephanie Harvey from Bridport, accompanied by the Melplash Agricultural Society President and his wife, Mr Richard and Ros King, the Chairman, Mrs Jo Sage and Vice Chairman, Mr James Vickery. The stewards were Mr Peter Yeates and Mr Clifford Pitcher. “All the gardens and allotments were fantastic, a real credit to their owners. I am full of admiration for the work that has been done by them to get their gardens looking so good,” said Society President, Mr Richard King. “It was a real privilege to see so many wonderful gardens this week. Walking through their homes, opening the back door to be wowed by what is there is a real treat. One thing that really struck me was everyone’s enthusiasm for their gardens and their plants, from the tiny courtyard gardens to the large open gardens.” said Society Chairman, Mrs Jo Sage Melplash Agricultural Society organiser, Peter Yeates added: “This year was another impressive garden competition – well done to everyone who entered and our grateful thanks to the judges who had the difficult task of selecting the winners, and also to our sponsors this year, Bridport’s garden netting and fruit cage manufacturer – W M James & Co. There were good entries in all the categories, and this year we are very pleased to be awarding the special prize to Bridport St Mary’s School Edible Garden Project.” All the prizes will be presented at this year’s Melplash Show on Thursday 23rd August.


Fruit & Vegetable Cages & Netting

JOINT 1ST Mrs M. Stones, Uploders JOINT 1ST Mrs J. Newton, Bothenhampton

Medium Small


Mr D. Lloyd, Ryall


Mr & Mrs Tarling, Bridport


Mrs C. Parham, Powerstock


Mr L. Loveridge, Lyme Regis


Mrs L. Ford, Bridport


Mrs J. Fry Nobbs, Mosterton



Mrs V. Bartlett, Bridport Mr John & Mrs Christine Studley, Hinton St George Mr D. Jolliff, Netherbury


Mr D. Wood, Abbotsbury


Allotments Buy Netting Online & Save 10%

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Call: 0800 1032800 Buy online 24/7 at

Overall Winner

Mr John & Mrs Christine Studley

Special Award

The George Payne Memorial Trophy - St Mary’s School Edible Garden, Bridport

The Melplash Agricultural Society’s annual garden and allotment competition is open to all residents within a 12 mile radius of Melplash Village Church. Gardens and allotments of any size can be entered. The only stipulation is that they must not employ a gardener for more than eight hours per week.



Country Gardener


Our popular garden advice column this issue deals with a number of questions from our postbag sent in by Country Gardener readers

We continually get deer jumping into our garden and doing a lot of damage. Are there any plants they won’t eat? First, let’s talk about what deer like to eat best. Deer love narrow-leafed evergreens, especially arborvitae and fir, and show a particular preference for hostas, daylilies, and ivy and most damage occurs from October to February, when food is naturally scarce. Deer seem to prefer plants that have been fertilised to Visiting deer in a garden can quickly cause chaos those that haven’t. Not surprisingly, deer tend to stay away from poisonous plants. Daffodils, foxgloves, and poppies are common flowers that have a toxicity that deer avoid. Deer also turn their noses up at fragrant plants with strong scents. Herbs such as sages, ornamental salvias, and lavender, as well as flowers like peonies and bearded irises, are just smelly to deer.

Again my standard roses are being hit by blackspot which seems to have started earlier than ever. Are there any roses that don’t get blackspot? The not–so-good news is that it is doubtful whether there are any roses naturally blackspot free all the time. This is one of the vagaries we have to put up with when growing roses. As far as modern roses are concerned, they are generally bred to be show perfect, but not to be blackspot proof. Rose black spot is specific to roses and all types are susceptible. Another bad year with blackspot The disease causes dark spots or irregular brown or black blotches on both leaf surfaces. Leaves then turn yellow and drop prematurely, resulting in weakened plants. The disease is worse in warm, wet weather. It is true that some cultivars are partially resistant to black spot but in a bad year all varieties may succumb. Generally, many of the older cultivars and more yellow than red or pink cultivars are susceptible. So choosing resistant varieties, such as ‘Bonita’, ‘Royal William’ or ‘New Dawn’, and growing a mixed planting should help. Rose varieties less than five years old should be relatively disease resistant. Prevention of rose black spot is difficult and many strains of the fungi are resistant. However, regular raking around the plant with a hoe and pruning and burning of infected material will certainly help as will a regular, fortnightly spraying regime. 20

Country Gardener

I have an acer in the garden that has been quite happy until the last year or so. Does it need trimming or pruning? It seems to be sparse in places and spindly in others. It has not had many leaves this year. Acers will respond very well to pruning. It is best to prune whilst the tree is dormant, so December to February would be an ideal time of year. Make sure to prune back to a bud – this means cutting just above the bud. If you leave any excess wood above the bud, the dieback could become diseased. Simply prune the acer tree to the shape that you want it to be. As always with pruning trees, take out any dead, damaged or diseased wood, and any branches that cross over or are growing in the wrong direction. If you have a smaller Japanese acer, sometimes the branches can get congested towards the centre of the tree. If so, you may also want to open it up to allow light and air movement through the tree. To do this, cut back a few of the older branches right back to the main trunk.

Acers respond well to correct pruning

My father grew wonderful Red-hot pokers in his garden and but I have tried to grow them and I clearly didn’t have his knack with them. How can I grow them successfully?

Red-hot pokers are such excellent garden plants that it is hard to imagine they have ever been out of fashion. But they have only recently begun to emerge from the horticultural doldrums. Though extremely popular before World War II, kniphofias were one of the victims of the Dig for Victory campaign, which saw flower gardens removed to make way for useful vegetable plots. Many old varieties are thought to have been lost as a result. Kniphofias need a sunny, south facing spot Kniphofia rooperi will thrive in a sunny spot, ideally south- or west-facing, and in well-draining, humus-rich garden soil. It won’t tolerate water-logging but will cope with drier soils, at the foot of a wall or near a hedge for example. An annual mulch around the base of the clump (but not over the crown) of well-rotted manure or garden compost will help to boost fertility and moisture retention. Plants can be grown from seed germinated in a cold frame in spring and established plants can be divided in late spring. Or try cutting offsets away from the main clump with a sharp spade, then leaving them to grow on for a season or two before re-planting.

I HAVE ACCESS TO PLENTY OF SEAWEED AS WE LIVE JUST THREE MILES FROM THE DORSET COAST. HOW CAN I BEST USE IT IN MY GARDEN? Seaweed is magical stuff in the water, and it’s somehow even more so when out of it. It’s incredibly healthful to our soils and our plants. As seaweed breaks down into the soil, it encourages micro-organisms whose activities help convert unavailable nutrients into forms that plants can use. It increases chlorophyll production and contains many micronutrients important for soil and plant health, as well as acting as a growth stimulant: it is rich in plant growth hormones that work above and below ground, improving root growth. If you do have access to fresh seaweed, it is a useful substitute for farmyard manure, and does not need to be rotted down before use. It is best dug in fresh before it has had time to dry. Digging it in to one or two spades’ depth below the surface and use a barrow load per square metre if you have this much available. If placed on your compost heap, fresh seaweed should be mixed in with woody or fibrous material (prunings or paper for example). It can become rather slimy and gelatinous on its own or when mixed only with kitchen waste or lawn clippings.

Will pruning my wisteria in mid-summer help its ability to flower? Yes, almost certainly it will. Summer pruning wisteria in July or August encourages the development of shortflowering spurs that will carry the long racemes of bloom in spring. The long vigorous shoots are cut back to a couple of buds from the base of the current season’s growth. During initial training of young wisteria plants, select a few strong shoots to tie into wires or trellis. Once you have created these, you can prune any sideshoots back to this framework. Cut back the whippy green shoots of the current year’s growth to five or six leaves after flowering in July or August. This controls the size of the wisteria, preventing it getting into guttering and windows, and encourages it to form flower buds rather than green growth.

Pruning wisteria in August will boost its flowering



Welcome to Country Gardener’s comprehensive annual guide to gardening speakers and lecturers

Our popular and much in-demand service of garden speakers has this year again been expanded, updated and revised. It also includes a number of new speakers. It provides new options, new ideas and possibilities as you plan your meetings. We have full details of each speaker including a synopsis of their areas of expertise and the subject matter of their talks and lectures. Illustration: 22

If you come across speakers who have not been listed in this guide please let them know about it so we can include them in a later edition or update our information online. We hope this Country Gardener specialist service helps you to find the right speaker on the right subject for your garden club or society perhaps offering someone different for your meetings over the next 12 months. In our guide you can find how far the speaker is prepared to travel; what he or she will charge; what subjects they specialise in and if they have plants for sale at the end of the meeting.

Country Gardener

£A Price band £0-50

£D Price band variable

£B Price band £51-100


£C Price band £100+ £B

Price band expenses only Slide presentations included



Langport B


q 01458 250666 E


1. Peonies and Irises As a commercial grower of Peonies and Irises, my talks include practical advice about propagation and husbandry of Peonies and Irises to optimise the flowering potential of these lovely plants. Talks include a slide presentation of flower types and cultural operations lasting about 45 minutes, followed by a practical “Hands-On” demonstration of how best to plant and care for Peonies and Irises to achieve years of rewarding flowers from a single plant.

2. Plant to Plate From Plant to Plate is an illustrated talk of the work within the UK Fresh Produce Industry to supply Farm Assured food to Farmers Markets and Supermarkets. Challenges of the future such as Food Security to provide for a huge increase in World Population Growth, Climate Change and Efficient Management of Water are also identified. A selection of Seasonal, UK grown produce may be available for sale following the talk.

Sue of Hurst Brook Plants has been growing Peonies and Irises since the 20th century and delivers an informative and entertaining talk with testimonials available from gardening and horticultural societies




Radius covered up to 50 miles

Plants or items for sale


Radius covered up to 100 miles

Radius covered 0-25 miles


Radius covered 100+ miles

CARL WOODMANS WORLD 1 BroomHill Cottage, Broom Hill, Huntley GL19 3HA


q 01452 830 258 E


1. Trugmaking by a miserable old trugger - I think that’s what the wife called me

2. Besoms and Gypsy Flowers 3. Bees and their products




CHEEK, ROY 35 Wembdon Rise, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 7PN

1. New tricks for old gardeners 2. First time at Chelsea - and winning Gold! 3. Winning BBC Gardener of the Decade 4. Plants That Should be Better Known £A


in with just five new plants.

3. Insectivorous plants - Discover new hardy year round attractive ones for the garden or the windowsill.

DODD, SUE & SMITH, SUE Treetops, 11 Stony Riding, Chalford Hill, Stroud, Glos, GL6 8ED q 01453 882127 E

1. Chelsea Flower Show - Creating 20

2. Irresistible garden plants for butterflies - e.g. Bringing them winging

2 Pound Cottages, Donyatt, Ilminster, Somerset TA19 0RT q 07594 574150 / 01460 53284 E Ħ

q 01278 451814 / 07788593674 E very different exhibits from bronze to gold.


1. Wildflowers of the Cotswolds Remedies, myths and legends 2. Gardening for butterflies and moths 3. The fascinating story of Britain’s wild orchids

4. Plan your garden holiday..? £C


Lavender Fields, Hartley Park Farm, Selborne Road, Alton, Hampshire GU34 3HP q 01420 511146 E

1. Lavender Story Experiences of growing and selling lavender, our products, plants, visits and open days.




- Choose from 50 destinations from Cornwall to Costa Rica.


CANDLIN, BEN 15 Long Park, Woodbury, Exeter EX5 1JB q 07763 348148 E Ħ

1. The fascinating world of Aroids 2. UK Subtropical Gardening 3. Plants of the Canary Isles Please visit website for more titles and info.

5. Holly & Ivy - Entertaining Winter Talk. Many other talks, ask for details. Widely experienced and qualified, Roy progressed from Gardener to Director of parks and gardens around Britain. As senior lecturer and curator of gardens in Somerset he amassed ten thousand different plants, ten national collections and created new hybrids, diverse gardens and gold medal exhibits at Chelsea. Now Chairman of an RHS trials forum, international tour leader, judge, advisor, designer and writer.



COX, MYRA q 01278 784110 / 07896 351693 E

1. Transforming a bunch of flowers while explaining the work and my life as a Cinnamon Trust Volunteer 2. Reminiscing with Flowers and/or Vintage Memorabilia 3. Christmas Cracker fun with Flowers



DOWN, FELICITY Former owner of Cleeve Nursery q 07739 977431 E

Talks include: 1. All year round colour in the garden 2. Winter Colour 3. Plants for the Flower Arranger 4. Gardening in Containers

The Speakers List is our comprehensive annual guide to gardening and gardening speakers and lecturers. If you would like to be part of our hugely popular Speakers List next year contact Ava Bench on 01278 671037 or email 23

SP EAKERS’ LIST 2018/19 £B


EDMONDSON, ALAN 30 Belmore Lane, Lymington, Hants SO41 3NJ q 01590 610292 E

1. Primulas & Auriculas 2. Gardening with native plants 3. The shady garden Other talks available.


FISHER, SUE Yelverton, Devon, PL20 7BY



q 01822 841895 / 0781 775 7446 E Ħ

Sue offers a range of talks in Powerpoint form, fully illustrated with her own photographs. Topics include container gardening, wildlife, growing edibles, small gardens and climate change: please see website for more details or contact for further information. Practical demonstrations also available which are ideal for events such as garden shows.



FITZGERALD, ROSEMARY Beggars Roost, Lilstock, Bridgwater, Somerset TA5 1SU q 01278 741519 E

Talks on how wild and garden plants interact. Lovely slides from UK, Ireland, and countries including Morocco, Iceland, Sweden and south-west China. Contact me to discuss ideas!




FLINTHAM, BECCA 39 Regents Park, Exeter, Devon, EX1 2NY q 07717 846814 / 01392 437792 E Ħ

1. Wildlife Gardening - Attracting beneficial wildlife to your garden

2. Water, Water Everywhere - Ponds, bog gardens and water-wise gardening

3. Food For Free - A guide to foraging for wild foods





GARRATT, JONATHAN FRSA Jolliffe’s Cottage, Stour Row, Shaftesbury, SP7 0QW

q 01747 858697 E Ħ

1. “Back to Nature? Some of us never left.” (My own story, current work) 2. Breaking the Rules. Container gardening with a twist. 3. Sensory gardens. 4. A history of the flowerpot. 5. Landscapes. 6. Sculpture in gardens and green spaces.




11 Quarry Cottages, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 9UR


q 01935 472771 E

1. Six centuries of English dance: from Geoffrey Chaucer to Jane Austen. Can cover whole period or

focus on one historical era; always illustrated with literary references, live music and some audience participation.

2. Why Music in Prison

£B www


Jonathan has 35 years experience of making woodfired terracotta pots and has come to know a wide variety of “players” in the gardening scene.

HINSLEY, MARK ARBORICULTURAL CONSULTANT Office F11, 10 Whittle Road, Ferndown, Dorset, BH21 7RU q 01202 876177 E Ħ

1. The Churchyard Yew 2. Trees in your Garden 3. Trees and the Law Please contact us to discuss requirements.


HAIG, GAVIN FRCS The Castle Lodge, Castle Street, Bampton, Devon, EX16 9NS



HOFFNUNG, MARGIE Netherfields, Frog Lane, North Nibley, Glos GL11 6DJ

q 01398 332419 E

q 07876 196074 E

1. Creating a Wildlife Garden 2. The Healing Garden 3. Celebration of Devon/Somerset Wildlife 4. Trials and tribulations of being a Surgeon

1. Rosemary Verey 1918-2001 - Her


Practised as Surgeon and Doctor with a passion for attracting wildlife to our gardens. Developed award-winning Wildlife Garden at Tiverton Hospital. £A


HAZELL, GILL 17 Valley View, Clutton Bristol BS39 5SN q 01761 452036 E

1. Growing and Showing Sweet Peas 2. Classic, Rare and Unusual Bulbs 3. So you think you know Gladiolus! Other talks in relation to the above can be tailored to suit your society.

Country Gardener

Contribution & Legacy to C20 gardening

2. Garden Visiting - a very British Tradition - A lighthearted look at the many different aspects of why we visit gardens

3. Blaise Castle - A Stranger at Blaise – the development of the park & landscape with particular reference to Humphry Repton

The Speakers List is our comprehensive annual guide to gardening and gardening speakers and lecturers. If you would like to be part of our hugely popular Speakers List next year contact Ava Bench on 01278 671037 or email

£A Price band £0-50

£D Price band variable

£B Price band £51-100


£C Price band £100+ £B

Price band expenses only Slide presentations included

HUTCHISON, ADRIAN 2 Westwell Lane, Theale, Wedmore, Somerset, BS28 4SW



q 01934 712729 or 07779 072292 E

1. Weeds and their Control (including identification) 2. Wild Flowers in the Dolomites 3. Plants for Shade (in conjunction with Long Acre Plants) 4. Plant poisons and potions 5. Wild flowers in a land of fallen Giants


Radius covered up to 50 miles

Plants or items for sale


Radius covered up to 100 miles

Radius covered 0-25 miles


Radius covered 100+ miles






Whitehall Farmhouse, Sevenhampton, Cheltenham, Glos, GL54 5TL


Meadow Cottage, 42 Rivar Road, Shalbourne, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 3RL


q 01242 820772 / 07711 021034 E Ħ

1. Practical Propagation

- Seeds, Cuttings and Beyond

2. Getting the Most from your Garden - Extending the Flowering Season

without replacing all your plants My talks are based on practical experience and observation. I am also a beekeeper. £B

6. Pests and diseases A qualified Horticulturalist formerly involved in weed research and has led walks in the Dolomites. Please telephone or e-mail for details.






Langdale, Church Street, Offenham, Evesham, Worcs. WR11 8RW q 01386 424880 / 07535 537137 E Ħ



Old Court Nurseries & The Picton Garden, Walwyn Road, Colwall WR13 6QE

6. Seasonal Colours Please contact me for more information on travel charges and a full listing of my talks which are all based on personal experience and travel. A former lecturer, I have developed a strong interest in the relationship between gardens and people.


q 01823 674386 E Ħ

1. Hedgerow Medicine - Learn how to 2. 3.

recognise common plants and make useful medicines. Kitchen remedies - Find out the amazing properties of some of the herbs and spices in your kitchen. Medicinal Herb Farmer - Learn about my off grid 5 acre small holding and my work as a Medical Herbalist.

Covers Devon and Somerset.

1. Daisy Days - Michaelmas daisies the rise, fall and renaissance

2. A Plantaholic’s Wonderland 3. It’s not time for bed yet -

Rethinking autumn in the English Garden


REED, MERVYN Thornbury, South Gloucestershire


q 07429629588 E

1. Photographic Presentations with Horticulture in mind 2. I can be your Plant Doctor Contact me by e mail for details of talks. Don’t be selective, love all seasons for each has its own beauty.

Please see website or contact me for a complete list of garden talks. Travel radius over 50 miles is by special arrangement.


q 01684 540416 E

3. Question Time

2. Three West Country Gardens 3. Through The Garden Gate

Elder Farm, Greenham, Wellington, Somerset, TA21 0JY


q 077 66 197 129 E

– Gardens of Paradise. The history, design & symbolism of Persian style gardens.


and what are the benefits?

3. The Art and Science of Compost making - The gardener’s friend!

1 Stanley Cottages, Blaisdon Longhope, Gloucestershire GL17 0AL

1. Heavenly Beauty, Earthly Delight


and love your soil – from testing to feeding!

2. Green Manures, Catch Crops and Cover Crops - What’s the difference


Gardens of Versailles Islamic Gardens Medieval Gardens Landscapes of Vietnam and Cambodia 5. How to attract wildlife in your garden


1. Down to Earth - Learning to look after


1. 2. 3. 4.


q 07740 636455 / 01672 871265 E



PAKENHAM, CAROLINE The Old Manor, Rudge, FROME, Somerset BA11 2QG q 01373 830312 E

1. The cultivation and uses of unusual herbs




RENDELL, PAUL The Coach House, Tramlines, Okehampton, Devon EX20 1EH q 01837 54727 E Ħ

2. Getting ready for winter

1. Devon’s Water Wildlife 2. Wild Plants Of Devon

Money from the talks is donated to the Wessex Therapy Center for Multiple Sclerosis. I always bring a large variety of herbs for sale and demonstration plus my book Making Jellied Preserves and the jellies.

The speaker can offer over 40 talks about history, wildlife and landscapes of Devon and Cornwall. All talks are illustrated and last about one hour.

3. The Secret Wildlife On Dartmoor


SP EAKERS’ LIST 2018/19 £B



Corsham, Wiltshire www


q 01249 715122 E Ħ

1. The Wonder of Bees 2. Gardening for Bees 3. An Introduction to Beekeeping Fascinating and entertaining talks about bees and beekeeping aimed at gardeners. Find out how to help wild bees and other pollinators and even keep your own hives.




SHELDRICK, CAROLINE Middle Path, Keble Road, France Lynch, Stroud GL6 8LN



38 Wenhill Heights, Calne, Wilts, SN11 0JZ q 01249 821087 E Ħ

1. Herbs in the Kitchen Garden 2. Herbs to Aid the Gardener 3. Wild Plants of the Scilly Isles



STEPHENS, HARVEY Windsor Great Park q 07824362135 E t @prof_gardener

q 01453 884092 E Ħ

1. The Physick Garden 2. Flowers in Healing 3. Medicinal Garden Plants





White Fan Talks, ‘Starshine’, 15 Half Moon Court, Buckfastleigh, Devon TQ11 0GA q 01364 644028 / 07792517145

1. Strawberries & Other Garden Fruits - 18th Century to Present Day 2. Round The Year with Gilbert White - 18th Century Gardener &

Naturalist Both talks have powerpoint presentations. Long journeys can only be undertaken in the summer months, from April till October.




UNDERHILL, TERRY MHORT Fairlight, Mill Cross, Rattery, South Brent, TQ10 9LA q 01364 72314 E Ħ

1. The Gardens of Windsor Great Park: A personal presentation looking behind the scenes of the Savill Garden.

1. From the Mountains to the Garden 2. Mediterranean Plants in the Garden

2. The Great Gardens of Russia

Many other talks. Highly qualified, wide experience including TV, Radio and Magazines. See website for more titles.

3. Barking up the wrong tree

3. Autumn Colour

4. Plants worthy of Garden Merit £A


SMITH, MICHAEL J H 2 The Weind, Worle, Weston-superMare, Somerset BS22 9BN q 01934 642960

1. Caring for your Houseplants 2. Seed raising and Propagation 3. All year round colour in the garden I have been giving talks to Garden Clubs and Societies for over 40 years on many aspects of Horticulture. Please contact me for a full list of talks and presentations.



5. The Wonders of Chile’s National Parks


Harvey is an award winning garden manager with a wealth of International experiences. He trained at Kew and is a Chairman and panel member of various RHS plant trials. He is currently Deputy Keeper of the gardens within Windsor Great Park and played his part in selecting and cutting material for two Royal Weddings. Informative, enthusiastic presentations accompanied by quality slides.



1 Feebers Cottage, Westwood, Broadclyst, Devon, EX5 3DQ C

q 01404 822118 E

1. Feebers Garden 2. Plant Heritage Others by request. Mike & Edna are long time members of Plant Heritage and are widely travelled with long involvement in RHS Shows. The garden is open for groups.

TOLMAN, ANDREW Minehead, Somerset



q 01643 818092 E Ħ

1. Off the beaten track, hidden gems 2. Glorious gardens, a gardeners choice 3. Art of Topiary & Ornamental Hedges 4. Stumperies, ferns & shady friends

Can’t wait until next year?

USHER, DAVID 10 Rowbarton Close, Taunton, Somerset, TA2 7DQ q 01823 278037 E

1. Gertrude Jekyll - Her Plants & Designs. 2. The Restoration of Hestercombe Gardens 3. Bedding Plants for your Gardens 4. Care and management of trees & shrubs 5. The history of our gardens 6. The answer lies in the soil 7. Herbaceous Plants David, a professional gardener for over 30 years was Head Gardener at Hestercombe for 18 years. He is interested in all aspects of ornamental gardening and has given talks to a wide variety of groups. Contact him for a free brochure on any of his talks.

Why not advertise your speaker services in our Classifieds section? Call Ava Bench on 01278 671037 or email 26

Country Gardener

£A Price band £0-50

£C Price band £100+

£B Price band £51-100

£D Price band variable




WESTONBIRT, THE NATIONAL ARBORETUM Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8QS q 0300 067 4873 E Ħ

Bring Westonbirt to you with ‘The Wonders of Westonbirt’ talk, covering the seasons, events and future direction at the beautiful National Arboretum, presented by knowledgeable volunteer speakers.


Price band expenses only Slide presentations included £A




Radius covered 0-25 miles


Radius covered up to 100 miles

Plants or items for sale


Radius covered up to 50 miles


Radius covered 100+ miles

WILSON, JEREMY 17 Seymour Drive, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 8PY


q 07964 824673 E



WRAY, NICK Curator, University of Bristol Botanic Garden q 01179 629220 E

Fully illustrated lectures by well known speaker including:

1. Camellias 2. The Scented Garden Ex Head Gardener of private estates and now specialist camellia grower of over 250 varieties

1. The development of the new University of Bristol Botanic Garden 2. Flora of the Western Cape of South Africa 3. Evolution of Flowers

£B www


WILLIAMS, CATHERINE The Haven, Hart Lane, Ruardean, Gloucestershire, GL17 9UT q 01594 541118 / 07767 690009 E Ħ

1. Planting and Plant Care 2. How to love your garden 3. Design and Create a Garden to be Proud Of Many other talks available, please ask for more details.



WYNNE-JONES, DAVINA Herbs for Healing, Barnsley Herb Garden, Near Cirencester, Glos GL7 5EE q 07773 687493 E

1. Herbs for Healing - practical uses of plants for good health 2. Herb Gardens, historic and modern. 3. The influence of my mother, Rosemary Verey, on me and others.

4. Garden plants and their pollinators 5. The gardens and landscapes of Sicily 6. Darwin the botanist and his travels aboard the Beagle

Old Court Nurseries & The Picton Garden The Michaelmas Daisy Specialists since 1906 112 years of knowledge, passion and plants

Get inspired for late summer 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.

OPENING TIMES: 1st - 31st August Wednesday to Sunday 11am - 5pm (including bank holiday Monday) 1st September - 20th October Daily 11am-5pm

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




Garden By Elizabeth McCorquodale

Scented honeysuckles and lilacs, solar lighting tucked into borders can transform your garden into a mid summer place of tranquillity and peace

A dedicated white border - wonderful as the light fades

Hesperis matronalis

Whites and pale pinks - perfect twilight colours


Most of us still work through the week, so for much of our lives we miss the beauty of our gardens. The plants and features that grab our attention in daylight melt into the background as the light fades and we are left with the knowledge that it looks nice but we don’t have time to enjoy it. Tucking just a few extra features into the daytime garden can transform it into a twilight garden – a place that fulfils our love of gardens and gardening and offers us the therapy that comes from green spaces. Planting is at the very heart of the twilight garden and it is where so many plants and flowers really come into their own. It is in the twilight garden that the whites, the pale yellows and pinks and the silvery foliage all come into the spotlight and are transformed into the stars of the show. Evening primroses, especially the paler varieties, are a perfect choice as they offer large scented blooms in a choice of heights that suit any planting scheme while the highly scented white and pale lilac flowers of Hesperis matronalis offer the potential of a swathe of trouble-free flowers to fill gaps in planting schemes. Annuals such as Nicotiana sylvestris, with its tall highly scented trumpet flowers, impatiens and New Guinea impatiens, the paler shades of night-scented stocks, and the big blousy blooms of vivid yellow or white tuberous begonias or white and pale pink cosmos all fulfil their promise just weeks after planting. Scented, white climbers such as Halliana honeysuckles, Tracheospermum, wisterias and many climbing and rambling roses are perfect for clothing the frame of a pergola while white flowered shrubs such as lilacs, mock orange and a numerous rose cultivars offer not just brightness in the darkening garden but a heady fragrance as well. Apart from selecting for bright, light colours, the only caution for choosing flowers for a night garden is to ensure that the flowers stay open as the night draws in. Lighting is another must in a night garden if you are going to enjoy all that is on offer to you. Individual lights arranged strategically at different heights throughout your garden allow you to make the most of all of your twilight garden. Lights tucked into the borders and at the side of paths add atmosphere and allow you to wander around and appreciate your garden in the fading light. There are many inexpensive solar-powered lights available now which are powerful enough to cast gentle light around your garden and don’t require fiddling around with long leads and waterproof sockets. Waterproof fairy or Christmas lights cast gentle light that allow you Country Gardener

to enjoy the feeling of being a part of your night garden, while very bright lights around your seating area will throw any unlit areas into deep darkness and can separate you from the rest of the garden. If fluttering moths aren’t your thing site your lamps and lighting above head height so you can enjoy your night time visitors without worrying about them bumbling into you as they search out the treats in your garden. Pay special attention to lighting any areas with steps or uneven paving to avoid trip hazards as the light fades. While the night garden can be a very peaceful place it is busy behind the scenes. Birds, insects, mammals and amphibians make use of the cover of darkness to forage and hunt and our gardens can come alive with a surprisingly number of creatures. If it appeals, you could arrange your seating area and your lighting with the dedicated intention of attracting and watching all sorts of garden visitors from foxes and badgers to bats and hedgehogs. Occasional feeding of foxes and badgers and regular feeding of hedgehogs with suitable food (wet or dry dog or cat food and a bowl of water is a good choice for all these animals) will encourage them to return. Garden ponds can be an unexpected pleasure in the twilight garden as they are a magnet for all sorts of wildlife. Foraging bats may come to swoop and dive over the surface of the pond, catching the insects who swarm over the water in the evening, and frogs and toads, most active at night, will be both vocal and visible as they hunt for insects and molluscs in the undergrowth. A discrete light set in, beside or over the pond will attract even more insect life and at the same time will allow you to see to spot your wild visitors. In some summers it seems there is rarely a dry evening and we find ourselves once again contemplating the prospect of long winter months to come and thinking that we have barely spent any time in the garden all summer. Providing a comfortable, sheltered place to eat or enjoy a glass of wine while we wind down at the end of the day means that even

in less-than-perfect weather we can still leave our everyday responsibilities back in the house and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the garden, with its comforting feeling of time-away-from-it-all. When the weather is glorious and the evenings are warm and balmy, it is easy to forget just how chilly it gets when you are sitting still after the sun goes down. A pergola can make a warm and cosy shelter, especially if the prevailing wind is blocked by dense planting or a barrier. One particularly effective way to convert a pergola for evening use is to fashion a sort of roller blind from batons and heavygauge polythene sheeting and attach it to the pergola on the side of the prevailing wind. During the day the blind can be rolled up and tied up out of the way, but on cooler evenings it can be let down to shield you from drafts. Blankets kept for garden use are a simple answer to cooler evenings; without them you could be chased indoors too early by the chill that creeps in when the sun goes down. A chimenea or a raised fire pit are good options for warming the area on cooler evenings, especially if you intend to be outside for long enjoying the scents and sounds of the wakening night. Comfortable seating is a must for pleasurable loitering. Ditch the fashionable bistro set or upright bench and invest in seating that begs you to stay awhile. If space is limited a comfortable, covered swing seat can fulfill the role of both seat and shelter, especially if it is positioned to take in your most beautiful night-time view. Although you might not have much spare time for gardening, leave yourself some pleasing chores to help you relax into your space. Picking a few flowers to take the night scents indoors or tying up stray tendrils from the climbers covering your evening shelter can enhance the pleasure you get from your garden.

Daisies at dusk

Lighting up the patio

A twilight guest in the garden

Some blues stand out in the dark



Onwards and


Anne and Malcolm Hurley refused to give up on growing vegetables when they moved into a home which only had an extended patio - so they discovered vertical gardening Five years ago I left a lovely Hampshire garden of about an acre on lovely fertile soil where we loved growing vegetables of all sorts. I’ve never been a flower or shrub gardener and I’ve never been able to really sort out a successful border but growing vegetables was something I loved. A hobby became a passion and our family and neighbours all profited from our successes in growing broad beans, dwarf beans, courgettes, pumpkins and lots more. But the house was getting too big for just the two of us and the garden started to become a real chore and we realised it was too much for us to handle. Then just as if someone was trying to tell me something I slipped one one frosty November morning on a pavement, twisted my ankle and to be honest lost a lot of enthusiasm for heavy gardening as my ankle never seemed to be the same again. That’s what happens as you get older- you think it’s just a temporary setback but the injury never seemed to clear up. However to move on with the story, we moved to Somerset to a much smaller house which we loved the moment we saw it, but when it came to outdoor space there was little more than an extended patio. So this is where my gardening story really starts because we discovered the delights of vertical gardening – of making use of smaller spaces and keeping our passion for growing fruit and vegetable alive. My motivation was simple. I wanted to keep gardening. I wanted us to have fresh vegetables but we didn’t have any space and my days of digging beds are well and truly over. Our patio was rather ugly but thankfully it is south facing and stays warm and it lent itself to growing plants onwards and upwards. We read a lot before starting but for gardeners used to growing vegetables it hasn’t been difficult. We found a great place to begin was with the vegetables and fruits that naturally climb or can be made to do so with gentle encouragement. So we started with likes of climbing beans, 30

Vertical gardening - making the most of confined spaces

climbing peas, vine tomatoes and the cucurbits: cucumbers, melons, squashes, pumpkins, gourds and sprawling types of courgette. Many climbers produce tendrils that grip the structure they are climbing to and literally pull the plant up as it grows. Others, such as the beans, will wind their way around a support to head skywards. The natural sprawlers such as vine tomatoes and courgettes require tying in to their supports at regular intervals. We built timber supports and a wire mesh for the wall for squashes and runner beans. On to this framework we attached wired and shiny silver containers that started life as large tomato tins. They proved to be perfect for growing herbs and compact bush tomatoes. We found that almost anything can be used as a container and we attached plastic pots and even a few terracotta pots to the structure – and we started planting. We’ve found growing vegetables upright not only saves space, but also makes harvesting easier. You don’t have to stoop to cut fruit from the vines. Fruit is kept away from the ground, and allows better air circulation, and I am sure we see fewer diseases than we did on our old vegetable plots. Our vegetables now successfully hide that old ugly brick wall. So our patio is thriving. We grow cucumber and tomatoes in large pots and have them trailing up a trellis. Our wall is full of containers fixed on to the wooden support and our pumpkins and squashes are trained tightly on to the trellis and then individual fruits have to be individually supported and I find strips of panty hose work wonderfully well! We grow lots in containers, all arranged and trained upwards. It is a delight and all without having to walk too far or the use of a spade. So please try it. Lack of space just needs a bit of creative thinking. If you are a gardener you can make it work as we did.

Country Gardener


JOBS IN THE August garden

August can seem like ‘the end of the show’ in terms of the garden, but in many ways it’s just the beginning. Now is the time to think about bulbs for next year, as well as perennials you might want to order and plant in the autumn. While some flowers might be fading, grasses and seedheads are really coming into their own and, as the light changes and the shadows lengthen, the August garden should be able to deliver a really atmospheric experience.

Thirsty but essential work Water is the single most important ingredient in the growing season, but use it wisely. Water butts are an essential in all our gardens and it is always best to use these supplies first. New plantings should always take priority, and remember to water deeply and with less regularity so that the roots of plants are drawn down into the soil rather than teased to the surface. Irrigate in the evening when evaporation is diminished and only water when you need. The key to watering is the effective application of the right amount to the right plant at the right time. If you water, apply a good amount to the soil at the base of plants. Spraying water into the air and on to foliage does no good at all. A watering can with a rose, or a hosepipe with a lance, directs water where it is needed.

Planning your bulb displays Getting ready for next spring might seem like early planning gone mad, but August is the perfect month to start making preparations for a beautiful floral display. Plant spring bedding, such as pansies, wallflowers and Sweet Williams. There should be a good selection of plants at the garden centre. Water them well before planting and give them a good soak whenever the weather is dry to help them establish quickly. Choose firm, plump bulbs when you buy spring flowering bulbs and avoid any with signs of mould. Plant them as soon as possible so they can start putting down roots. The cool, moist conditions of late autumn suit tulips best so wait until then before planting them.

Start planning for next spring

Established trees and shrubs can look after themselves. Herbaceous plants will simply die back, and lawns will go brown, greening up again with autumn rains. Fruit trees and bushes Use water wisely in the garden will benefit from extra watering as the fruit develops; otherwise just accept smaller, but richer, harvests. Raspberries will suffer without water in dry spells. Vegetables need adequate moisture, but even this varies. Leafy crops such as lettuce should never go short, nor should seedlings and new transplants. Water early morning, in the evening or in the dead of night when evaporation losses are least.

THERE’S STILL TIME TO DIRECT SOW There are still quite a few things you should be sowing in August, such as Spring cabbage and Chinese cabbage, There’s still time to plant late crops which is a late crop, as well as hardy lettuce. Although we think of lettuce as a summer crop, it is a surprisingly hardy plant and under cloche and in the greenhouse can easily be available for a Boxing Day salad rather than some tasteless import from sunnier climes. Sow spring onions like ‘White Lisbon’ winter hardy which will grow, albeit slowly, to add zing to that salad along with some fast growing radishes. Late spinach can be sown in August along with a last sowing of kohlrabi and turnips.


Off wit h their heads

Deadhead regularly to prolong flowering throughout the month. This is best done on a daily basis so that it never becomes a chore, watering with one hand, deadheading with the other. Deadhead recurrent blooming roses to keep them going until autumn, but leave the rugosa roses now to develop hips.

Keep patios as colourful as long as



If you don’t want to create new strawberry plants using runners, it’s a good idea to cut back plants after they finish fruiting or they’ll spread very quickly. Remove any straw mulch and take out any weeds. New strawberry leaves will soon appear, so don’t worry if your plants look a bit bare after you prune them. Make sure you put away any netting in the shed as it’s a potential hazard to cats and birds, which can easily get tangled up in it.

Keep the patio going with colour Enjoy the August summer display right to the end by keeping your containers in shape. Deadhead the plants regularly to encourage more blooms. If the weather is dry, give them a good soak and finally, give them an extra boost by feeding weekly with liquid fertiliser.

Divide those perennials It’s nearing the time when you need to start dividing perennials certainly towards the end of the month is a good time to divide clumps of perennials such as hemerocallis. Lift the clump and then divide it into pieces, either by prising it apart with two forks or cutting it up with a spade or bread knife. Each piece needs some leaves and roots. Older pieces from the centre of the clump should be thrown away, but newer pieces can be replanted or shared with friends. Some perennials, such as sedums, will benefit from being divided every few years to keep the clump growing vigorously.

P lus..

Give fruit cordons, espaliers and fans a summer pruning in late August to restrict size and vigour and encourage fruiting rather than leaf growth. • Plant autumn crocus corms now, at three or four times their own depth in drifts at the front of the border, between small perennials, or in rock gardens, troughs or pots. 32

Lengthening your strawberry season

• The hardy lavenders (varieties of L.angustifolia) should be pruned every year to keep them compact. Once established plants have finished flowering remove flower stalks and about 1in (2.5cm) of the current year’s growth. • Powdery mildew can affect grape foliage throughout the season, but more serious is damage to fruit. Spray with organic treatment. • If you have been feeding your raspberries but they still show leaf yellowing, consider magnesium deficiency. This causes yellowing between the leaf veins. Treat with Epsom Salts as a foliar feed.

Country Gardener

University of Bristol

Botanic Garden

Follow the buzz

Bee and Pollination Festival Saturday 1st - Sunday 2nd September 2018

Talks and demonstrations Honey tasting Latest pollinator research Wildlife exhibits Nurseries with bee-friendly plants PLUS free tours of the Garden Admission: Adults ÂŁ5.00 (ÂŁ5.50 with Gift Aid).Children, Friends of the Garden, University staff and students FREE University of Bristol Botanic Garden Stoke Park Road BS9 1JG Tel: 0117 428 2041 Email:

Country Gardener_July 18.indd 1


Try some JUNGLE VIBE! Gill Heavens delves into the exotic world of hedychiums or ginger lilies, plants whose colour and vibrancy has the ability to immediately transport us to the world of the tropics There is a growing desire among the fine gardeners of the UK. Many of us are veering away from the classic cottage or the informal prairie and beginning to lean towards the jungle vibe. This might be more of a challenge, attempting to replicate Singapore in Swanage. However there are plants available that have the ability transport to us straight to the steamy tropics. One that will help you on your journey, with its lush foliage and glamorous blooms, is the hedychium, commonly known as the ginger lily. Once cultivated only by the enthusiast or expert, now they are becoming more readily available, with many laudable cultivars. Hedychium, also sometimes known as butterfly lilies, are in the family Zingiberaceae. Many of its relatives will be recognised by the cooks among you - cardamom, galangal, turmeric and of course the common ginger. All have fleshy rhizomes, creeping rootstocks, which allow the plant to travel sideways. There are thought to be between seventy and eighty different species which can be found in Southeast Asia, China, Madagascar and the Himalayan regions. The word Hedychium comes from the Greek hedys meaning “sweet” and chios meaning “snow. This refers specifically to the white ginger lily, Hedychium coronarium, with its highly fragrant white blooms. It can be reluctant to flower if the summer isn’t warm enough. A sunny spot and plenty of water throughout the growing season will increase the chances of a good display. Although not a native, this hedychium is the National flower of Cuba and its flowers are used both to celebrate 34

Country Gardener

weddings and as offerings for the dead. Used extensively in the creation of perfumed oils, in India it is known as gandasuli, meaning “the fragrance of the princess” in Sanskrit. Hedychium gardnerianum, Kahili ginger, is a vigorous plant with scented pale yellow flowers and striking long, red stamen. It was first introduced into this country in the early 19th century from the Himalayas, and named in honour of Edward Gardner, who was the first British resident of Nepal. Unfortunately it has become invasive in some parts of the world, including New Zealand, spreading by both seed and rhizome. Don’t worry, in our climate it is unlikely to become a problem. The Scarlet ginger lily, Hedychium coccineum, is one of the hardier varieties of hedychium. The stunning reddish-orange flowers are produced in summer, but lack any fragrance. They can be forgiven for this omission as they are not fussy plants, enjoying anything from full sun to light shade. The compact Hedychium densiflorum, also called the dense ginger lily, has individual flowers packed tightly into a spike. Reaching up to 1.5 meter tall, it is variable in colour, with some plants red/orange, while others have a little pink or yellow flowers. To avoid leaf scorch plant it is best situated in dappled shade. Worthy forms include ‘Assam Orange’ which was introduced by the famous plant hunter Frank Kingdon-Ward in 1938. Tony Schilling collected the yellow and orange hued ‘Stephen’ which he named after his son. Mr Schilling showed no filial preference as he named Hedychium ‘Tara’ after his daughter. This is a show-stopper of a ginger, with large and fragrant orange flowers. Although debated long and hard, it is

Hedychium gardnerianum, Kahili ginger

Hedychium coronarium highly fragrant blooms

Hedychium densiflorum, also called the dense ginger lily

Hedychium ‘Tara’

The Scarlet ginger lily, Hedychium coccineum

Hedychium greenii, the red ginger

thought to be a natural hybrid between H. gardnerianum and H. coccineum. A late flowerer, but definitely worth the anticipation, is Hedychium greenii, the red ginger. Whilst you are waiting for it to bloom you can enjoy the stunning foliage, with deep red stems and matching maroon undersides of the leaves. It is native to Bhutan and Northern India and has burnt orange-red flowers. This species often produce bulbils which you can pot up and propagate. In the wild many species live in woodland margins in moist soil. Dappled shade is their preferred situation, but they might need a little more sun to flower well in our less than tropical climate. Although hedychiums dislike winter wet, conversely when in growth they love water! In fact they are not only thirsty during the season, but hungry too. Feed and water well if you want large healthy plants and a fine display of blooms. When planting your specimens improve the soil with organic matter, which will help with moisture conservation, and plant deeply if you are in a cold area. As ginger lilies object to being moved, and may sulk for a year or so if you do, frost protection in situ is the best approach. After the first frosts have withered the stems, cut back the pseudostems to a few centimetres and mulch well. This will both raise the soil temperature and protect the rhizomes from excessive moisture. Not only will this keep the plant alive it will protect any developing flower buds. You could also grow your gingers in pots, which you can move around the garden as you please (as long as the specimen is not too big!) and retire it to a greenhouse or shed for the winter months. Hedychium can be slow to come into bud in the spring, but you must be patient and not give up too soon. Most will be showing signs by May, but others, especially in a chilly season, might not appear until June. Whether you are going to attempt a full-on tropical look, or just want a spot plant to add an extra bit of summer structure to your garden, ginger lilies are the plants for you. These exotic darlings are architectural, often fragrant, always beautiful and will certainly be a talking point for the neighours. With a little care, and perhaps a touch of optimism, you can nurture your own small corner of the Himalayas in Honiton.


Time to invest in a new gardening skill? It is boom time for gardening courses as more of us invest the time and money to learn more Is time you invested some time to improve your gardening skills? The last three years have seen a boom in the number of gardeners adding to their skill levels with courses on anything from organic gardening, autumn planting, pruning, propagation, composting and a whole range of gardening skills. It’s more a question of how much time you want to commit and what level you want to reach and what practically you want to add to your skill base. Garden design , photography and countryside skills such as hedging and dry stone walling are now popular and very much in demand. Gardeners are enrolling in numbers in everything from basic one-day gardening skills right up to the RHS General Certificate in Horticulture -the base for a career in gardening. Garden design courses continue to top the list where many hobby gardeners are keen to learn new skills and apply them to plans for their own gardens. The boom in learning is set against a recent claim that Britain has lost a lot of its gardening skills which need to be re learnt. The claim is the loss of knowledge stems from people born after it became common for both parents to work so basic gardening skills were not handed down from parent to childbecause there was no time in a busy working schedule. A survey by the RHS interviewed 500 people from three different generations about their gardening habits, and found that less than 1 per cent of parents were taught gardening in school. This was in comparison to 55 per cent of grandparents. So what are the skills being sought which go to making a more complete gardener?

SOIL TESTING For the gardening beginner, this will not present much concern at first. After all, as long as the soil is a nice rich loam, anything will grow. But eventually, as you progress in

gardening, you’ll find the acidity or the alkalinity of your soil will have effects on certain plants and you’ll need to make amendments, and know how and why.

PRUNING As you progress in gardening, you’ll find pruning is an essential garden practice both in landscaping and vegetable gardening. It’s an art which needs to be learnt for the sake of your garden.

PROPAGATING PLANTS FROM CUTTING Growing more plants from cuttings is probably one of the best measures for a gardening expert. It’s truly a feat not all gardeners have great success at, but growing more plants from cuttings can be convenient.

HORTICULTURE COURSES GALORE AT KINGSTON MAURWARD COLLEGE Horticulturists at Kingston Maurward College are planning next year’s courses for budding gardeners and responding to a demand for quality training for the home gardener, Kingston Maurward College is launching a new course: ‘College Certificate in Expert Horticulture Skills for year round Gardening’: Based near Dorchester, Kingston Maurward College offers challenging education and training opportunities to equip learners with the knowledge and skills to succeed in life and work. Offering full- and part-time courses, higher education and Apprenticeships, the College is set in a 750 acre estate complete with a Georgian house, commercial farm, laboratories, training areas, animal science centre, indoor and outdoor equestrian arenas, state of the art plant production units and Agri-tech facilities. Course areas include agriculture, countryside management, equine, animal welfare and science, foundation learning, construction, horticulture, military preparation, unformed public services, blacksmithing and welding, floristry, outdoor adventure and Business.

For more details please call Part time Courses on 01305 215215 or visit our website at 36

Country Gardener


AGRICULTURALSHOW ‘The Show where town & country meet’

Avonfield Gardens

Marsh Road, Hilperton Wiltshire BA14 7PL Tel 01225 571331

Wednesday 15th August 8.30am - 6.30pm Attractions include: The Imps Motorcycle Display Team Over 500 trade stand including 14 tractor dealers Competitive classes for Dairy & Beef Cattle, Sheep, Poultry, Grain & Fodder. K.C. Dog Show Huge Horticulture, Home-Handicraft Marquee including Fruit & Veg, Flowers & Floral Decoration, Photography, Honey, Cookery, Handicraft, Wine & Cordial - With many classes especially for children Held at the Turnpike Showground SP7 9PL 2 miles north of Shaftesbury - Free Car Parks

We offer a wide range of high quality trees, shrubs, conifers, alpines and herbaceous perennials, complemented by a range of key gardening products such as composts, fertilisers, tools, seeds terracotta and glazed pots and garden sundries. The centre prides itself on excellent levels of service, horticultural advice and a clear no-nonsense, no-gimmicks approach.

Tickets (pre-show prices in brackets) Adult £16 (£13 Child (5-16yrs) £4 (£3) Family ticket (2 adults + 3 Children) £39 (£31)

Open Mon-Sat 9am-5.30pm Sun 10am-4pm

Disabled facilities - Dogs on leads

CALL: 01747 823955 EMAIL: WEB: FACEBOOK: GillandShaftshow


Cleeve Nursery Everything for your Summer Garden! The Box Tree Café open 10.30 - 4.00 every day for tasty food and fantastic coffee!

Providing Quality Self Storage for over 15 years across Somerset & Dorset. Over 1200 Storage Units at Competitive Rates. Clean, Dry and Secure. Lopen, South Petherton 01460 243100 Priorswood, Taunton 01823 323575

Child Okeford, Blandford 01258 861100

Cleeve Nursery, Cleeve, Bristol BS49 4PW Tel 01934 832134 Email


CLASSIF IED Accommodation Lazydaze Holiday Chalet. Nestled Between The Quantocks, Exmoor & Blue Anchor Bay. 5 Miles From Minehead. Sleeps 3. Private Enclosed Garden. Dogs Welcome. Phone Jan For Brochure & Details On 01984 641321 Glorious North Devon. Only 9 cosy caravans on peaceful farm. Wonderful walks in woods & meadows. Easy reach sea, moors & lovely days out. £125395pw. Discount couples. Nice pets welcome. 01769 540366 Bosworlas near Sennen/St Just, Cornwall. Cosy Cottage, rural views, Sleeps 2-4 01736 788709 Cornwall, near St Just. Chalet, sleeps 4, heated indoor pool, open all year – near gardens/coast, golfing nearby. Prices from £260 pw. 01736 788718

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

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

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

Accommodation Holiday Cottages

Gloucestershire, Cosy annexe for two

non-smokers, lovely garden, beautiful countryside. Pets welcome. Special rates for Xmas. Tel: 01452 840531

Carmarthen Bay South Wales Seafront chalet situated on estuary. Sleeps up to 6. Seaview. Well Behaved Dogs Welcome. For brochure Tel: 01269 862191 38

Carmarthenshire A charming holiday cottage, rural setting, stands alone, Sleeps 3. Short breaks available. Pets welcome. 01239 711679 Devon. Tamar Valley. Pretty cottage sleeps 2-4. Wood burner, garden, small dog welcome. 02073 736944/07940 363233 Cornwall. Village location between Truro and Falmouth. Fully equipped renovated cottage. Peaceful garden. Off road parking. Ideal for 2 adults. No children/animals. Good public transport. Good pub and shop. Easy reach of Heligan and Eden. 01279 876751 Padstow house. 4 + baby, gardens, parking, Wi-Fi, Camel trail (bike storage), beaches 07887 813495 Wye Valley/Forest of Dean. Fully equipped 4-star single storey cottage. Two bedrooms both en-suite. Central heating/bedlinen provided. Rural retreat with shops/pubs one mile. Short breaks available. Warm welcome. Tel: 01594833259 Country Gardener

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

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

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

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


Garden Furniture UKs leading supplier of Teak Furniture for the Garden

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

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

Tel: 01256 809 640 sales

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

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

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


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

Tel. 01297 553100

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

Enjoy more of the Country Gardener experience by visiting our website More news & events, plus exclusive features can be found online Many free and paid advertising opportunities 39


Gardens to Visit

Specialist Garden Products

Burrow Farm Gardens

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

Specialist Nurseries & Plants Tel: 01243 375535

Garden Plant Supports

THE GARDENER’S BLACKSMITH 07770 720 373 Artist blacksmith with a forge in Axminster designing and manufacturing garden plant supports, structures and furniture.

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

Dalwood, Axminster, EX13 7ET

Water Lilies

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

Buy online at or visit our gardens in Weymouth


Putton Lane, Chickerell, Weymouth DT3 4AF


Commissions welcomed.

Garden Services Wisteria Pruning, Improvement, Oxfordshire, surrounding area. Richard Barrett 01865 452334 See me at Taunton Flower Show 3rd/4th Aug

We stock up to 200 varieties throughout the year

Home Services

Advertise here...

or 07500

600 205


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

Speciality hardy marginals and moisture loving bogside.

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

Seed Specialists

Consultation/Design & Landscape Service Tel: 01935 891668

Tel: 0800 0854399

Call on 01278 671037 for details, or email: 40

Call Gary: 01684 770 733 UK and

07771 530401

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

Free printed catalogue & emailed guide available upon request.

Mail order


Yenstone Walling

Discover the Diversity of Hardy Geraniums!

CERTIFIED ORGANIC VEGETABLE PLANTS Visit us at Kitley Farm, Yealmpton, PL8 2LT Or order plants at Tel: 01752 881180

Country Gardener

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

Wholesale Nursery

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

Tel 01404 41150

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


Courses, expert advice, arboretum, display fruit garden.

Wanted/For Sale

Tel: 01884 266746

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

Trimplant Nursery, Combe Raleigh, Honiton, Devon


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

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

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

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CMYK / .ai

Oak Fair aims to improve on last year’s

bumper event Stock Gaylard will be hosting the popular 14th annual Oak Fair on the 25th and 26th of August. With almost 10,000 visitors through the gate last year to look at 200 plus stalls and displays, the pressure has been on to improve the show without losing the unique atmosphere of the event.

The fair, which runs from 10am to 5pm, makes a great day out for all the family. The children will be entertained throughout the day with a variety of activities and workshops in a special kids area while adults can enjoy the stalls and exhibitors showing the depth of rural skills and conservation projects found locally. Local foods and drinks will be available in the Market Square to enjoy during the day. The fair welcomes back Avalon Axes who will be letting anyone have a go at showcasing their axe throwing skills! The Great Big Tree Climbing Company will be available again with tree climbing for kids and adults. In the arena there’s also the return of the Heavy Horse display team, Mere Down Falconry and Adams Axemen who will be putting on displays. The Tree Pirates are also booked in to show off their skills with chainsaws creating their exceptional sculptures. Dike & Son of Stalbridge are the main sponsors of the Oak Fair. Tickets are £10 with children free. Concessions are £8.50. Stock Gaylard Estate, Sturminster Newton, Dorset, DT10 2BG.




Here’s a selection of Somerset gardening events to look out for over the next few weeks. Thank you to all those gardening clubs who have sent us their details of events for us to publicise. P{lease remember to send us details of your event at least ten weeks before publication and we will publicise it free of charge. Make sure you let us know where the event is being held, the date and include a contact telephone number so that anyone interested can find out further information. We are keen to support garden club events and we will be glad to publicise talks and shows held during the year where clubs want to attract a wider audience, but we do not have space for club outings or parties. We suggest that garden clubs send us their diary for the year for events to be included in the relevant issue of the magazine. Please send to Country Gardener Magazines, Mount House, Halse, Taunton TA4 3AD or by email to







all Summer long For the latest garden news, events & advice - don't miss COUNTRY GARDENER


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Garden & Estate Machinery SALES - SERVICE - REPAIRS


01823 390063 Fivehead, Taunton, Somerset, TA3 6PT on the A378 between Taunton and Langport GREENSHUTTERS NURSERIES & GARDEN CENTRE

Specialists in Conifer and Laurel Hedging 01460 281265


TEL: 01984 632761 Made from sustainably harvested locally grown timber, these log stores are sturdily and attractively designed, yet light enough to be easily moved. Also wheelie bin/recycling storage and cycle stores. Available in a range of sizes suited for the courtyard/patio or larger garden.

For further details call Nick on 01392 681690


Stockists of Country Gardener Somerset Country Gardener is available free of charge throughout the area at the outlets listed below. For amendments to details or deliveries call Pat Eade on 01594 543790 email Axbridge Mawr Agri Banwell Banwell Garden Centre Bath Gardenalia Prior Park NT Landscape Gdn Prior Park Garden Centre Berrow Westcroft Nurseries Bitton Fonthill Garden Centre Brent Knoll Sanders Garden World Bridgwater Bridgwater College, Cannington Bridgwater Mowers Gwillam Kellands Prompt Cabins Walled Garden, Cannington Wynnstay Agricentre Bristol Brackenwood Garden Centre Chief Trading Post Ltd Cleeve Nursery & Garden Centre Kemps Plants Lockyer Fuchsias Pucklechurch Village Store & PO Riverside Garden Centre University of Bristol-Botanic Garden Burnham on Sea Visitor Information Centre Castle Cary Dave Marsh Hardware Heather’s Florist Chard Chard Garden Centre Forde Abbey Plant Centre Tourist Information Centre Charlton Adam Charlton Adam Post Office Cheddar Cheddar Garden Centre Chew Magna Chew Valley Trees Chilcompton Norton Green Garden Centre

Congresbury Cadbury Garden Centre Middlecombe Nursery & Gardens Tincknell Country Stores Crewkerne Crewkerne Horticultural Wynnstay Agricentre Curry Rivel Sandpits Garden Centre Ditcheat Maryland Farm Shop Dunster Dunster Castle NT Forton Forton Nusery Frome Barters Plant Centre Frome Reclamation Oakley Garden Machinery Tourist Information Centre Galhampton Prompt Cabins Glastonbury Sweet Acre Nursery Hambridge Brown & Forrest Heywood Home Farm Shop Highbridge Rich’s Cider Farm Hilperton Avonfield Garden Centre Hinton St George Community Shop Ilminster Loxston Garden Machinery Keynsham TT Mowers Whitegate Nursery Langford Blagdon Water Gardens Langport Kelways Plant Centre Long Sutton Village Store and PO Lower Severalls CB Plants Lydeard St Lawrence Elworthy Cottage Plants

Martock Paulls of Martock Mells The Walled Garden Minehead West Somerset Garden Centre Montacute Montacute House NT Montacute Post Office North Perrott North Perrott Garden Centre North Petherton Carrotts Farm Shop Porlock Tourist Information Centre Shepton Mallet Dobbies Kilver Court Gardens Tourist Information Centre Somerton Lytes Cary Overt Locke South Petherton East Lambrook Manor The Rose and Crown The Trading Post, Lopenhead Stoke-sub-Hambdon Tourist Information Centre Stoke St Gregory Willows & Wetlands Centre Street Oaklands Nurseries Taunton Avery Nurseries Galmington Garden Machinery Greenshutters Nurseries Hestercombe Gardens Monkton Elm Garden Centre Nicky’s Flower Studio RJ Sheppy & Son Rumwell Farm Shop Taunton Sheds & Toys Tourist Information Centre Tickenham Garden Park Tintinhull Tintinhull NT Trowbridge Palmers Garden Centre

Warminster Lakeside Garden Centre Washford Pickard Country Store Wellington Chelston Nurseries Stawley Village Shop @ Appley Willowbrook Garden Centre Wells Browne’s Garden Centre Rocky Mountain Nursery Tincknell Country Stores Tourist Information Centre Wells Reclamation Co. West Bagborough Triscombe Nurseries West Coker Greensleeves Nursery West Harptree New Manor Farm Shop West Quantoxhead Wibble Farm Nurseries Whitchurch Whitehall Garden Centre Williton Gliddons Garden Machinery Wraxall Tyntesfield NT Yeovil Brimsmore Gardens Mole Valley Farmers Tourist Information Centre

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

Distribution Pat Eade Tel: 01594 543790

Time Off: Kate Lewis

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

Ava Bench - Somerset & Classified Tel: 01278 671037

Rob Houghton - Hampshire & Sussex Design & Production Aidan Gill Tel: 01614 283230 Accounts Sam Bartholomew Tel: 01823 430639

Gemma Stringer

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


Country Gardener

Advance tickets on sale now!

Forde Abbey, Chard

15th & 16th September Returning to Forde Abbey this year, we are looking forward to an even greater spectacle in the beautiful grounds. We’re delighted that actor JOHN CHALLIS, better known as Boycie from Only Fools & Horses was so popular with Powderham visitors we have lured him back to be with us at Forde Abbey, plus we have the wonderful ALYS FOWLER, RHS judge JIM BUTTRESS, MATT BIGGS of Gardeners’ Question Time fame and… drum roll…. the BLUE PETER GARDENER!

Plus... ...The demo tipi makes welcome comeback with NEW workshops on paper-flower making with WILDHIVE’S BEE WATSON, photography lessons with ANDREW MAYBURY, tree talks from KEVIN CROUCHER of THORNHAYES NURSERY plus all the favourites from last year – cider-drinking, apple-pressing, basket-weaving and much more to be announced in the coming months!




k .u o .c t s e f n e d r a g www.toby




Alpine strawberries

- small but sensational

Charming and well behaved, alpine strawberries are fast becoming a favourite with gardeners- easy to grow, full of flavour and aroma and able to provide a useful harvest The jewel-like fruits of alpine strawberries (Fragaria vesca Sempervirens) are a special delicacy more of us should be enjoying. Their flavour combines the essence of strawberries, roses and pineapples. Also known by their romantic French name, ‘Fraises des Bois’, these charming and well-behaved perennial plants yield continuous harvests of tiny, three quarter of an inch inch berries with an intensely concentrated flavour which should encourage more gardeners to add them to their ‘must grow’ list. In France, Alpine strawberries are carefully hand harvested and sold as a sought after seasonal specialty to top perfect individual custard tarts at Paris patisseries. In fine restaurants, they are served in exquisite stemware topped with creme fraiche and candied violets. Alpine strawberries are cultivated strains of wild or woodland strawberries and are reported to have been transplanted into domestic gardens as early as the 12th century – which is easy to understand as their aroma and flavour are unmatched as garden berries. Alpines can grow in full sun, although in very hot weather areas, they will also thrive in half day sun or an area of dappled shade. Like other berries, they love a rich, fertile, and above all, well drained soil. Alpines need little special care beyond consistent moisture and occasional feeding. These hardy, evergreen plants are carefree because, unlike regular strawberries, they do not self propagate by sending out runners. They’ll stay wherever you plant them gradually growing into soft leafy mounds about a foot in diameter and height. After several seasons, mature plant crowns will multiply and can be divided in early spring to double or triple your number of plants. Plants bear fruit the first season after sowing. Feed and water regularly and plants will continue to fruit for up to four years. Properly located, plants will bear a continual summer long 46

crop of deep crimson pointed petite berries full of flavour and fragrance. These plants with their green, serrated little leaves, white flowers and bright red delectable, berries are neat, attractive and very ornamental. The plants are perfect in windowboxes or hanging baskets, or as a handsome edging plants along a garden path or flower border and are equally at home as rock garden plants, in window boxes, patio containers, or in cascading from strawberry pots. Seven or eight mature little Alpine plants will yield about a cup of berries several times a week on a continuous basis throughout the summer. Alpine strawberries are easily grown from seed, so they’re cheap. Sowed March – they will soon become strong goodsized seedlings. They’ll crop a little later in the summer, but Alpine strawberries are easy to grow and can give excellent crops

will be at their best for two or three years after that. They are short-loved though and it’s a good idea to replace them every few years or you’ll be left with straggly plants, prone to virus. Tired strawberries also produce only half the fruit. Space your plants a foot apart in good, generous, productive sweeps down the length of your paths. They are much better than the traditional edging of chives or box around a vegetable patch, and ‘Alexandria’, in particular, is doubly useful because it thrives out of full sun. Wild strawberries are much tougher than conventional strawberries and have few pests and diseases. The fruit rarely gets eaten by birds, so you can grow without netting. Mix in loads of leaf mould or rich organic material when planting - they like a rich soil which remains moist even in summer. Like many fruiting plants they benefit from slow-release phosphates, so scatter seaweed solution or bone meal around them a couple of times a year.

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Somerset Country Gardener August 2018  

The August 2018 issue of Somerset Country Gardener Magazine

Somerset Country Gardener August 2018  

The August 2018 issue of Somerset Country Gardener Magazine