Sussex Country Gardener June 2017

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Issue No 13 June 2017


High summer

honeysuckles! Make your own garden fertiliser Blackcurrants - king of the soft fruits

How to water your plants properly Hundreds of summer gardening events throughout Sussex

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Up Front!

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.” Robert Orben

SUSSEX SUmmEr gardEnS and fEStivalS SpEcial

Gardens galore open in Partridge Green

Week of roses celebrations at Borde Hill There is a week of celebrations from 19th to 25th June to mark the 21st anniversary of Jay Robin’s Rose Garden, at Borde Hill Gardens with its 750 David Austin roses which fill the air with a glorious fragrance. The celebrations include weekday tours of the Elizabethan mansion (usually closed to the public), plus half hour tours of the Rose Garden and surrounding borders. There will also be specialist rose plants and gifts for sale, as well as several rose-themed artworks as part of the 2017 Sculpture Exhibition. With spectacular views over the Sussex Weald and the ouse Valley, Borde Hill’s grounds extend to over 200 acres across the garden, woodland and parkland and is famous for its roses. Rose lovers can combine a tour of the house with a guided talk around the rose garden and borders led by head gardener Andy Stevens. Normal garden entry prices apply. More details

Twenty two gardens, eight of them new, will be open to visitors on Saturday, 17th June and Sunday, 18th June 11am-5pm in the Sussex village of Partridge Green. It is a chance to see the beautiful designs, compact plots, hidden jewels gardens and favourites from last year. Many of them will be serving refreshments and homemade treats. The ‘scarecrow trail’ is now a big part of the village walkabout weekend as you go from garden to garden. All proceeds will be in aid of various charities. The leaflets with all the information will be available on the day from Bluebells Nursery situated next to Jolesfield Primary School, Littleworth Lane RH13 8JE. Copies will also be in the village shops and will be delivered to all houses in the Partridge Green and Dial post Newsletter. Parking is available behind the village hall.

CRAfTS SPECTACuLAR AT PARNHAM HouSE Hurstpierpoint’s special open gardens day The West Sussex village of Hurstpierpoint has an open Gardens day on Sunday 11th June from 1pm to 5.30 pm. All proceeds will go to St. Peter & St James Hospice. It’s a special event this year with gardens opening from South Avenue to orchard Way in the village with all kinds of varieties from rolling lawns and views to a children’s garden and ones with borders jam-packed with gorgeous blooms.

Parnham House in Pulborough is hosting the Sussex Guild Contemporary Craft show on the 17th and 18th June with opening hours of 10.30am to 5pm. The guild is a group of professional designer makers selected for their high degree of skill and creativity. In and around a large marquee in the Pleasure Grounds, near the Elizabethan House, visitors will see spectacular examples of ceramics, leather, creative textiles, jewellery, wood sculpture, woodwork, glass, metalwork and fine modern furniture; they will be able to meet the designer makers and view, buy, or commission an individual piece.



Country Gardener

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Gardens open bonanza throughout Sussex June is one of the busiest months of the year for garden visiting in Sussex, with a huge number of garden owners opening their gates and inviting visitors in to enjoy a peaceful afternoon while raising much needed funds for deserving charities. Apart from those in the National Gardens Scheme there are other charities organising open gardens including the British Red Cross and locally organised village open gardens. Many of these garden openings are covered by Country Gardener, and you can find a selection that are open during June on page 11, with further entries in the Time Off section of the magazine starting on page 50. In the May issue of the magazine we covered the 90th anniversary weekend Seaford Gardens, Sussex celebrated by the National Gardens Scheme on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend of 27th-29th May, and highlighted the gardens that will be open that special weekend in the areas we cover, in Devon and Dorset, Somerset and Hampshire, in a vast area around the Cotswolds, and as far as Sussex. You can read more about the gardens that open for the NGS by looking up the local county booklets that are available in many places, or by using the national handbook. Once again Country Gardener offers the National Gardens Scheme’s annual handbook to readers at a discount price. The Garden Visitor’s Handbook 2017 is available direct from the NGS at the reduced price of just £9.99 including postage and packing to UK addresses. The book is usually £11.99 from the NGS website and retails generally at £12.99. To purchase copies of the book using the code please either order via the NGS website at or by phoning 01483 211535. Remember the promotion code which is CGMGVH17. Please allow seven to 14 days for delivery. The NGS website has been redesigned and is very attractive, with galleries of attractive photos; visit

1920’s Arts and Crafts garden returns to its heyday A five year restoration project at one of the country’s most important Arts and Crafts gardens has been completed at the National Trust’s Standen in West Sussex. The house at Standen, with its breath-taking views over the High Weald and Weir Wood Reservoir, was designed for James Beale and his family in the late 19th century by leading arts and crafts architect Philip Webb. The 12 acre hillside garden, however, was designed by Beale’s wife Margaret and saw its heyday in the 1920s. An accomplished gardener and plants-woman, Margaret was inspired by a world tour in 1906-07 and created a series of outdoor rooms at Standen, including a scented rose garden – the Rosery – and a lime tree walk, along with more exotic areas with bamboo, ponds and lush foliage. More than ten years ago, a group of volunteers discovered the Beale family swimming pond while clearing out some overgrown bamboo in part of the garden. A new exhibition about the garden and its revival will be taking place in the house through to Sunday 3rd September and will include many of Margaret Beale’s original documents that were used for the restoration. A tulip festival is also taking place and a midsummer celebration will include talks, teas and tours from Thursday 1st June.

Alliums burst into bloom at Arundel Castle More than 15,000 pom-pom headed alliums have erupted into flower at Arundel Castle in West Sussex as part of its annual ‘Allium Extravaganza’. This year’s display, which comprises of purple and white alliums, is the largest ever showcased at the castle and was expected to burst into bloom from mid-May. A firm favourite with the nation’s gardeners and nicknamed the ‘fireworks of gardening’, alliums can grow up to five feet high and are part of the same family as onions, garlic and shallots. This year’s display, which can be seen throughout the castle’s Walled Gardens, comprises 14 different varieties including Allium ‘Mont Blanc’, a rounded bloom with white, star-shaped flowers and Allium ‘White Cloud’ which boasts a white head containing hundreds of tiny white flowers. Other varieties on show include the Allium ‘Hair’ which, as its name suggests, has green and purple hair-like flowers, the striking dark purple Allium ‘Spider’ and Allium ‘Purple Rain’ which bears huge purple, rounded flower heads which can measure up to 15cm in diameter. The most admired variety is the amethyst coloured Allium ‘Christophii,’ known as the Star of Persia. The castle gardens are open from 10am until 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday until 29th October.



Driftwood and the passion of an ‘instant gardener’ Geoff Stonebank’s Sussex garden has won awards, has been featured on TV and he has raised thousands for charity by opening it to the public – but he started out as a novice gardener on his plot a decade ago. Here he tells how Country Gardener exactly how he’s achieved it When we moved from London to the south coast back in 2004, I knew nothing about gardening. I’d had a good job and the opportunity to retire early. After getting Driftwood, the new house, as we wanted it, I began to get bored. By 2007, I decided to see what I could do with the garden. I didn’t have to work to any rules or guidelines as I was a complete novice and did what I felt was right for me and the plot! Well, I must have done something right as the garden has seen over 14,000 visitors, raised £76,000 for charity and won a few awards along the way, not to mention appearing on BBC Gardeners’ World last autumn. It was also a finalist in the BBC Gardeners’ World Garden of the Year competition last year as well. The front beach garden The Driftwood garden faces the sea, about a is only 100ft x 40ft but crammed with interest quarter of a mile away, and takes the full force of the SW winds. I’ve created several defence barriers with hedges, especially Eleaganus x ebbingeii, and reclaimed groynes to give a degree of protection to the planting. Lots of Verbena bonariensis rises majestically from the gravel along with the tall spikes of acanthus. Even in the winter, this part of the garden seems to maintain its look despite what the weather throws at it. Visitors are always amazed that it has been created in 6

Geoff Stonebank: his garden has seen 14,000 visitors

a relatively short space of time and competition judges have told me that I seem to have the knack of making something look as though it has been long established. When asked, I often describe my style of gardening as one of being an ‘instant gardener’. I don’t have the patience to wait for things to grow, I want the finished product now. By complete contrast, at the back I’m told there is the wow factor as visitors walk up the side of the house and get their first glimpse of the main part of the garden. Driftwood is on a slope, has no exposed soil or lawn, which makes it difficult to find space to let things grow on and develop. Plants need to have a head start in life and be established specimens. The whole space, just 100ft by 40 feet, evolved over time. There was never any grand plan and it is full of an eclectic mix of rusted metal and unique and quirky sculpture. It really comes alive in the summer once all the annual bedding plants are established providing masses of colour, many of them in over 200 containers throughout the garden. The top of the back garden is a little more exposed so relies again on gravel beds and marine objects littered across the displays. The area nearer the house is a little more protected and has some more colour. You can visit Driftwood and see for yourself this summer on one of its open days for the National Garden Scheme or other charities; the dates are Sunday 11th and Tuesday 20th June, Saturday 1st, Tuesday 11th, Tuesday 25th, Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July or Sunday 6th August or arrange a special trip by appointment. Full details at Driftwood will also open in late August and early September as part of the Lewes District Council’s Artwave Festival when 14 artists work will be displayed for sale in the garden. A treat not to be missed is to sit in the garden and enjoy a cup of tea and one of my home-made cakes, all served on trays with vintage china and teapots! All gate money and proceeds from the refreshments go directly to charity. Dogs are allowed in on short leads. Driftwood, 4 Marine Drive, Bishopstone, Seaford, Sussex BN25 2RS. Telephone: 01323 899296 or email:

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Events in Sussex

Here’s a selection of gardening events in the area for your diary. We take great care to ensure that details are correct at the time of going to press but we do advise readers to check wherever possible before starting out on a journey because sometime circumstances can force last minute changes. 27th May HeatHfield & district agricultural sHow tottingworth farm, Broad oak, Heathfield.

Heathfield Show, a day out celebrating the countryside and this year is the show’s 70th year with lots to offer keen gardeners. 8am to 5.15pm. 1st June PetwortH House and Park faMily Bat walk Petworth House and Park, Petworth

A family friendly night time bat walk led by a qualified wildlife advisor to discover more about local bat species, and their behaviour. 9pm-11pm. Booking essential online or call 0344 249 1895

throughout June

2nd – 4th June west dean arts and craft festiVal west dean gardens, chichester, 01243 811301

trees and shrubs and maintain a border. Suitable for all levels. 6pm - 7.30pm. £100.

More than 200 artists, makers, writers and performers gather together for an outstanding showcase of arts and crafts. Discover works from the collection and enjoy tours, talks and screenings inside West Dean House. 10am – 5pm (last entry 4pm) 3rd/4th June floral fringe fair knepp castle, shipley, nr Horsham.

This quirky and eclectic fair specialises in quality stalls showcasing the finest craftspeople of today alongside those of days gone by. A celebration of the outdoors, gardens and gardening with a vintage twist. Adult £6.50, child £1, under 14s free. 7th/14th/21st/28th June suMMer eVening gardening course sir Harold Hillier gardens, romsey. 01794 369318 Over the four weeks you will learn how to plant and look after container plants, maintain and sharpen hand tools, prune

24th June outdoor tHeatre: ‘Pride and PreJudice’ nt uppark, nr Petersfield. 01730 825415

Pack a picnic and settle in for an evening of entertainment as theatre company Illyria put their unique spin on Jane Austen’s much-loved classic. 7pm – 9pm. Adult £16, child £8. 24th/25th June Historic gardens weekend weald and downland Museum, chichester, 01243 811363

Discover the herbs, vegetables and flowers that rural households would have grown and used from Tudor times to the Victorian era. Enjoy displays, guided walks and find out how the plants are used for medicinal and culinary purposes. 11am – 5pm. 9




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Furzehill Farm, Fordingbridge, Hampshire

GARDEN Visits THE BEST GARDENS TO VISIT compiled by Vivienne Lewis

Gardens are bursting with colour so it’s not surprising that June is a very popular time for charity garden openings, including groups with owners getting together to give visitors a great trip out to see a variety of neighbouring but contrasting gardens, and of course good tea and cake. Here’s a selection in the counties we cover. If dogs are not mentioned, they are not allowed into the gardens.

southcombe GArdens

Dartmoor, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon TQ13 7TU Two glorious gardens open in the village famous for its fair, Uncle Tom Cobley and its 14th century church known as ‘the Cathedral of the Moor’. Southcombe Barn has four acres with trees and drifts of flowers, abundantly wild and intensely colourful, while Southcombe House has five acres with an arboretum and orchid-rich restored wild flower meadow. On a steep slope 900ft above sea level with fine views to nearby tors. Open for the NGS: Saturday 27th May, Sundays 28th May, 4th June, 11th June, 18th June, 25th June, 2nd July, 2pm-5pm. Combined admission £5, children free. Home-made teas at Southcombe Barn. Visitors also welcome by arrangement May & June for groups of 10+. Telephone: 01364 621332. Email: amandasabin1@ Partial wheelchair access. Dogs allowed.

kentisbury GArdens

Kentisbury, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 4NT

High in the North Devon countryside a few miles from the dramatic coastline and bordering Exmoor National Park, these three gardens make good use of the landscape and views. One garden has hundreds of roses, herbaceous borders, lawns, stream, pond and large ornamental kitchen garden; another is a large country garden with pond, stream, mature trees and shrubs, mixed borders, wildlife areas, and fruit/ vegetable area; and there’s a pretty cottage garden with colourful borders, shrubs, climbers and small trees. Open for the NGS: Sunday 25th June, 12pm5pm. Combined admission: £5, children free. Cream teas at Beachborough Country House, provided by Kentisbury WI. Dogs allowed.


gardens t o v isi t

emsworth GArdens Emsworth, Hampshire PO10 7PR

Two contrasting gardens but with some similarities, one owned by a mother at 4 Elderfield Close and the other by her daughter at 23 New Brighton Road. Exuberantly planted, highlighting difficult gardening situations, one extremely narrow and ending in full shade, the other an agechallenged, maintainable garden. Plant sale and old garden tool display and, new this year, a shepherd’s hut built by one of the owners, and used as an art studio. Open for the NGS: Sunday 18th June, 2pm5.30pm. Combined admission £5, children free. Home-made teas at 23 New Brighton Road. Dogs allowed.

stoGumber GArdens

Stogumber, Somerset TA4 3TQ Seven delightful and varied gardens in this picturesque village at the edge of Quantocks, with fine views of the surrounding countryside; three large gardens in the village centre, one semiwild garden, and three very large gardens on the village outskirts, with many rare and unusual plants. You’ll find a walled garden, ponds, bog gardens, rockery, vegetable and fruit gardens, a collection of over 80 different roses, even a cider-apple orchard. Open for the NGS: Sunday 18th June, 2pm-6pm. Combined admission £5, children free. Home-made teas in Village Hall. Dogs on leads allowed in six gardens.

west bristol GArdens Bristol BS9 2LR

Three contrasting gardens situated in in a peaceful Bristol suburb between The Downs and Coombe Dingle with a range of interesting styles and personal expression. Some quirky touches to be discovered in calm and leafy gardens, with a variety of plants and features. Open for the NGS: Sunday 18th June, 1pm-5pm. Combined admission £6, children free. Home-made teas at 159 Westbury Lane.

conGresbury GArdens

Congresbury, Somerset BS49 5JA Visit three contrasting gardens within the conservation area roughly halfway between Weston-super-Mare and Bristol. The gardens are close together and on the level and include a potting shed, greenhouse, vegetable garden, compost heaps, ponds, palms, bamboos, a Wendy house, and a 150 year-old beech tree. Open for the NGS: Sunday 11th June, 10.30am4pm. Combined admission £5, children free. Home-made teas at Fernbank. 12

Country Gardener

beAminster GArdens Beaminster, Dorset DT8 3BE

Four town gardens, two with the river running through; find masses of roses, unusual climbers, shrubs and swathes of perennials; and a garden that was started in 2011 and has a wildflower meadow with a small orchard.

Ashley And culkerton GArdens

Culkerton, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8SS Two quintessential Cotswold villages with ten hidden gems, several open for the first time, including cottage gardens, larger more formal gardens, old fashioned climbing and shrub roses, herbaceous and perennial borders, specimen trees, orchards and traditional vegetable gardens, natural ponds, and wonderful views. Plants at Ashley Manor Barn (GL8 8SX). Open for the NGS: Saturday 17th June, Sunday 18th June, 2pm5pm. Combined admission £5, children free. Home-made teas at Ox Barn, Culkerton. Dogs allowed. Mostly level access to gardens except one.

west littleton GArdens West Littleton, Gloucestershire

The picturesque village of West Littleton on the border of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire near Bath and just a few hundred metres from the National Trust’s Dyrham Park opens its gardens ranging from traditional country cottage and woodland gardens to formal landscaped gardens. Rose gardens, herbaceous borders, orchards, vegetable/fruit gardens and wildflower areas. Open gardens on Saturday, 10th June and Sunday, 11th June, 2pm-5.30 pm. Combined entry: £5 (seniors £4, children free). Teas, live music and plant sale. Proceeds go towards the upkeep of the church of St James, West Littleton.

Open for the NGS: Sunday 18th June, Wednesday 21st June, 2pm-5pm. Combined admission £5, children free. Home-made teas in Beaminster church from 3pm. Refreshments in aid of Perennial and St Mary’s church. One garden suitable for wheelchairs, otherwise minimal wheelchair access. Dogs allowed on short leads.

GreAt somerFord GArdens

Great Somerford, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 5JB Four miles from Malmesbury, Great Somerford has a lovely walk by the River Avon. Visit three wellestablished large gardens, a charming smaller one and Great Somerford’s Free Gardens and Allotments. Endowed in 1809 by the village rector, these are thought to be the oldest continuously cultivated allotments in the country. Open for the NGS: Saturday 17th June, Sunday 18th June, 1.30pm-5.30pm. Combined admission £5, children free. Home-made teas at The Mount. Partial wheelchair access.


gardens t o v isi t

oPen GArdens in PAyhembury Honiton, Devon EX14 3HT

Start at the parish hall and visit gardens of all sizes, including walled gardens, with a variety of plants, roses, hanging baskets, pots and interesting trees. Open for Devon Hospiscare on Sunday 25th June, 2pm5.30pm. Combined admission: £5. Refreshments and parking at parish hall. Wheelchair access to most gardens.

Ambrose PlAce bAck GArdens

Richmond Road, Worthing, Sussex BN11 1PZ The highly acclaimed back gardens of Ambrose Place have a rich panoply of styles, plantings and layouts. Behind a classic Regency terrace, with typically limited space, the 14 gardens open this year draw inspiration from Morocco, Provence and the Alhambra to the more traditional sources of the English cottage and Victorian gardens. Open for the NGS: Sunday 25th June, 11am-1pm & 2pm-5pm. Combined admission £6, children free. Light refreshments available at some gardens. Very restricted disabled access.

New garden openings in June the hollow

Tower Hill, Iwerne Minster, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 8NJ A hillside cottage garden built on chalk, constantly evolving, about a third of acre with interesting plants lining sloping pathways. Water features for wildlife and well placed seating areas to enjoy the views. Fruit and vegetable garden in a converted paddock with raised beds and greenhouses. Open for the NGS: Saturday 24th June, Sunday 25th June, Wednesday 28th June, 2pm-5pm. Admission £3, children free. Cream teas. Unsuitable for wheelchairs or limited mobility. Visitors welcome by arrangement in July, groups welcome. Contact Sue Le Prevost on 01747 812173. Email:


Country Gardener

kilminGton (shute roAd) GArdens Kilmington, Axminster, Devon EX13 7ST

These two gardens opening for the NGS are a quarter of a mile apart. Spinney Two is planted for year-round colour, foliage and texture with mature oaks and beech, flowering shrubs, roses and climbers. Set in more than three acres with woodland partially underplanted with rhododendrons and hydrangeas, Breach has shrubberies, a mixed border, vegetable garden, small orchard, ponds and a bog garden developed using natural springs. Open for the NGS: Saturday 17th June, Sunday 18th June, 1.30pm-5pm. Combined admission £5, children free. Home-made teas at Breach. Refreshments in aid of the church of St Giles. Dogs allowed on short leads.

New garden openings in June FurZehill FArm

doynton house

South Gorley, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 2PT

Bury Lane, Doynton, near Bristol BS30 5SR

Richard and Sue Loader’s three-acre wildlife friendly garden in a New Forest smallholding has evolved over the last 20 years with a pretty cottage garden, wildflower meadow plots, and interesting garden structures made from New Forest greenwood. Open for the NGS: Sunday 4th June, Sunday 11th June, 1pm-5pm. Admission £4.50. Home-made teas. Unsuitable for wheelchairs.

durFord mill house West Harting, Petersfield, Hampshire GU31 5AZ

Relax in this peaceful mill garden with its meandering stream and quiet places to sit. Wander along the paths and over the bridges among the flowers, shrubs and beautiful trees. Open for the NGS: Saturday 3rd June, Sunday 4th June, 2pm-5.30pm. Admission £4, children free. Home-made teas. Visitors also welcome by arrangement. Contact Mrs Sue Jones on 01730 821125 or email sdurford@ Wheelchair access to main garden and tea area.

Owners Frances and Matthew Lindsey-Clark’s garden has areas separated by old walls and hedges, with old features restored and new ones added, lawn and borders, parterre, rill garden, walled vegetable garden, pool garden, dry garden, spring garden, peach house and greenhouse. Open for the NGS: Sunday 25th June, 2pm-6pm. Admission £4.50, children free. Home-made teas. A hard push in places but all areas are wheelchair accessible.


Ladram Road, Otterton, Budleigh Salterton, Devon EX9 7HT On the site of the original Otterton brickworks which closed in the 1890s, the gardens were first planted in the 1920s with the help of a Kew Gardens curator related to the owners, set in about 3½ acres with glorious panoramic views. The current owners have spent more than a decade on a restoration programme. There are mature trees, camellias, rhododendrons, a pond/ bog area, and a stump garden with roses, hostas, ferns and perennials. Next openings for the NGS: Sunday 21st May, Friday 16th June, 1.30pm-5pm. Admission £5, children free. Home-made teas. Dogs allowed. Visitors also welcome by arrangement May to September for groups 15+. Telephone: 01395 567304. Email:


Lonicera japonica, or the Japanese honeysuckle, is evergreen in all but the worst winters

Heavenly honeysuckles Gill Heavens picks her favourite honeysuckles as she enjoys plants which provide form and structure in the garden throughout the year and bestow intoxicating beauty. The species lonicera, widely known as honeysuckle, are in the family Caprifoliaceae whose members also include abelia and weigela and, strangely enough to my non-botanist self, the teasel. To many the name conjures up images of gloriously scented, summer flowering climbers, preferably in a quintessential English cottage garden. In reality this species includes over 180 different genus whose habitats range from the Arctic Circle to Mexico and consist of not only vines but winter flowering shrubs. First let us look at the climbers. Lonicera japonica, or the Japanese honeysuckle, is evergreen in all but the worst winters. It flowers from summer through to autumn when it produces black berries which provide both added beauty and a larder for wildlife. A good cultivar is ‘Halliana’ with perfumed white flowers that mature to yellow and can reach 10m in length. A variegated version ‘Aureoreticulata’ has bright green leaves with prominent yellow veining. 16

If you have a shady wall then Lonicera × tellmanniana, a Hungarian hybrid, is the one for you. It has bright yelloworange flowers which emerge from copper buds in late spring and will continue its display into early summer. Although a little tender, it is worth any extra care for the reward of its dramatic blooms. Lonicera sempervirens, the Trumpet Honeysuckle, has been cultivated in this country for over 350 years, introduced from America in the mid-17th century. In summer it has elegant tubular flowers, reddish-orange on the outside and contrasting yellow within. These blooms alone would be enough, but as a bonus they are followed by rich red berries. The Trumpet Honeysuckle is a parent of my all-time favourite, Lonicera x brownii ‘Dropmore Scarlet’, known as the Scarlet Trumpet Honeysuckle. This variety has deep red flowers with orange throats and will flower from late summer until autumn. Unfortunately it is not so loved in parts of the USA where it is has escaped into the wild and become an invasive pest. Although known as the Late Dutch Honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum is native to much of Europe where it grows in hedgerows. ‘Serotina’ is a good variety growing to 5m long with fragrant purple flowers, as is the more vigorous ‘Graham Thomas’ with long lasting white flowers. Both of these

Country Gardener

Lonicera fragrantissima- the sweetest honeysuckle

Lonicera sempervirens, the Trumpet Honeysuckle

blooms age to yellow. For a more diminutive version choose ‘Sweet Sue’ which was discovered in Sweden by Roy Lancaster and named after his wife. It has large very pale yellow/white flowers and grows to just 2-3m. As these climbing honeysuckles twine or twist to raise themselves to the skies they need to have support. You can use trellis, wires or use your imagination: willow structures, arbours, large shrubs or trees, indeed anything that will hold their weight. Shrubby honeysuckles are also very useful in the garden. In these unfortunate times when box blight has scourged the land, Lonicera nitida makes an excellent substitute. It has delicate green leaves and if left unpruned will make a dense shrub of 2m x 3m. Small fragrant white flowers are produced in late spring, followed later in the season by black berries. The variegated cultivar ‘Baggensen’s Gold’ has bright yellow shoots, which mature to lime green. Also useful for a low hedge is Lonicera pileata. Lonicera x brownii ‘Dropmore Scarlet’

Lonicera fragrantissima, sometimes known as The Sweetest Honeysuckle, can reach 2m tall by 4m wide. It has short-tubed, creamy white flowers, which are produced for a long period over winter and early spring. So why should you grow this? Its name has possibly given the game away! It has the most wonderful fragrance. Early emerging pollinators are irresistibly drawn by this glorious scent, as are gardeners! We must give thanks to Robert Fortune who introduced this gem from China in the mid-19th century. A worthy hybrid is Lonicera × purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’. For those of you who live in the tropics or have a large heated greenhouse give Lonicera hildebrandiana, the Giant Burmese Honeysuckle, a try. Large leaved and climbing to 10m, it has incredible long-tubed, buttercream flowers, up to 15cm long, which age to pale orangey buff. They have an aroma which matches the rest of the plant’s magnitude. Your friends will be queuing up to visit when it is in flower! There is much myth and legend associated with the honeysuckle, or woodbine as it is sometimes called. Always fond of flowers and their symbolism, Shakespeare mentions it in A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Oberon, the King of the Fairies, describes where his Queen Titania is sleeping as: “Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,” In ancient Greek literature the lovers Daphnis and Chloe only met whilst the honeysuckle was in bloom. After appealing to the gods the length of time it blooms was extended. How thoughtful! For this reason the honeysuckle is the symbol of love and fidelity. In Scotland it was thought to protect cattle from bewitchment and was therefore used to deck their byres. I am sure the cows appreciated the gorgeous scent, if not the sentiment. Medicinally the Chinese employed honeysuckle as an antidote to snakebites and in medieval Europe it was used for all manner of ailments including skin conditions, dysentery and pneumonia. Some honeysuckles are edible, including parts of our native species; in fact the name originates from the practice of snapping off the end of the flower and sucking out the sweet nectar. The flowers were used in puddings and made into cakes. However, beware of the fruit, although delicious to birds, they are toxic to us humans. As always, don’t take my word for it, I would recommend that you refrain from eating anything from the wild or garden unless you are quite certain that it is safe to do so. As for me, I think I will leave the flowers for the bees to sup upon. I will sit back and enjoy these plants which not only provide form and structure in the garden throughout the year, but often bestow intoxicating beauty.

Lonicera nitida - when Box is often in trouble this makes an impressive alternative

Lonicera × tellmanniana


King of the soft fruits

A single, well established healthy blackcurrant bush will yield 10lbs of fruit every year and will stay productive for 20 years. It is what makes it one of the most popular of all the soft fruits grown in our gardens Blackcurrant bushes are very easy to please. And boy do they show their appreciation of being looked after! Ten pounds of fruit per bush is a very generous supply of blackcurrants from which you can make countless jars of jam from, and the fruits are also ideal for freezing, juicing, adding to yogurts and so on. Any soil is suitable; they can tolerate heavier and more poorly drained sites than other fruit bushes, and even a little shade. Generous hearty soil, plenty of sun and a good feeding regime makes all the difference. But a blackcurrant bush will also shrug off less promising conditions and still yield fairly well. Disease became a problem some years ago and in many older stocks harboured significant disease. The way round this is to make sure you buy healthy stocks from reputable growers to get the best start. If possible, buy a two-year-old plant - once planted it will remain productive for almost 20 years.

HOW TO PLANT Always buy certified stock to avoid virus problems. Blackcurrants tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, but prefer well-drained, moisture-retentive conditions. You will see blackcurrants for sale in two forms: bare-root stock as the name suggests, the roots are exposed when you purchase these plants or in containers. Bare-root plants 18

should be planted from late autumn; containerised plants can be planted at any time of year, as long as the soil is not too wet. A few weeks before planting, clear the soil of all perennial weeds and add a generous amount of well-rotted manure. Dig a hole at least twice the diameter of the root ball, and spread the roots out when planting. Set each plant at least three inches deeper than it was previously. Deep planting encourages young, vigorous shoots to develop from the base. Mix the soil from the hole with well-rotted organic manure and backfill the hole. Firm it in well before watering. If growing in a container, choose one that is 20 inches in diameter. When planting, place some crocks (small pieces of broken concrete, clay pots, or polystyrene) in the bottom of the containers to retain moisture. Use a good-quality compost -John Innes No 3 is ideal- or multi-purpose compost mixed with one-third by volume of grit. An average blackcurrant bush will require a spacing of five feet and it will grow the same in height. Some varieties are slightly more or less vigorous than this and of course it is also dependent on soil. The blackcurrant scene is dominated by ‘Ben’ prefix varieties and these have revolutionised blackcurrant production in this country. They are defined by extra frost hardiness as well as bountiful crops.

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WHEN TO PLANT BLACKCURRANTS You can plant all year round. Planting of bare rooted bushes during the dormant season, from October to April is to be preferred because the bushes establish will little intervention or aftercare and receive little shock at this time. They are impervious to the elements and thoroughly hardy once they are in the ground. If you need to plant at another time, during the spring and summer, then this is also perfectly possible but at this time you will be planting pot grown bushes. Regular watering as described above is necessary to get them going but thereafter establishment is usually quick and satisfactory; the bushes will be well placed to make more significant growth the next year and they will be well established before winter.

the compost from the roots – you can be quite robust in this – cut all of the growth back to near the base and allow the bush to start again and rejuvenate, re-potting it in the same container with fresh compost. You should then be able to cultivate the same bush in a container for up to seven or eight years.

After planting you should cut all the shoots back to 2” from the base. This may seem drastic but don’t worry, having brutalised your brand new bushes they will come back all the stronger and basal buds will form strong new shoots next season which will be much better placed to yield well the year following.

SUBSEQUENT FEEDING AND AFTERCARE Blackcurrants are vigorous growers and prolific fruiters so a hearty feeding regime will give them the strength and impetus to gift you the best results possible. Apply mulch as often as you can -blackcurrants like to remain nice and moist during the summer. Consider extra watering from June to September when the bushes are most active, water with a hose as the mature bushes will have an extensive root system so really puddle that water around the base of the bushes for the most effect and extra luscious large berries. Weed control is important because they compete with the bushes for nutrients and water. So be vigilant and remove any weeds as they appear. Because blackcurrants are fairly shallow rooted (another reason why extra watering is an advantage) it is best to lightly hoe or hand weed.

GROWING BLACKCURRANTS IN POTS Although not the first choice that comes to mind when thinking of fruit to grow in containers it is possible to grow them in pots. ‘Ben Sarek’ is by far the best variety for container growing because it is much more compact in growth and requires less pruning. Any other variety is suited to this method of cultivation as well, but the rangier growers will look untidy. Pruning is the same as for bushes grown in the ground and regular hearty feeding is important to ensure a reliable supply of young growth to continue the fruiting cycle. Beware the same bugs and diseases as for bushes grown in the open ground. Blackcurrants in containers ought to produce well for four to five years in a good big pot. You will probably need to re-pot and this should take place in the winter. Shake off some of

WHAT TO GROW ‘Ben Sarek’ AGM: A good choice for the small garden as this is a compact, high-yielding bush growing only to about four ft high. It offers resistance to mildew and frost. ‘Ben Sarek’ produces large berries. ‘Ben Lomond’ AGM: An upright blackcurrant with some frost resistance because of its late flowering. Produces heavy yields of large, short-stalked berries, which are ready to harvest in late summer. ‘Ben Hope’: An excellent grower with heavy yields of medium-sized, delicious currants. It is resistant to mildew, leaf spot, and gall midge. ‘Ben Connan’ AGM: This compact plant is suitable for a small garden. It has resistance to mildew, frost, and gall midge. The berries are large with good flavour.

BIRDS ARE ALWAYS THE BIGGEST THREAT Blackcurrants aren’t the favoured snack for birds. Maybe it’s the colour, or the strong aroma, but they would much rather go for gleaming redcurrants, strawberries or raspberries if available. But that’s not to say they won’t tackle blackcurrants, they will if there isn’t a more attractive option. So protect the bushes as the berries begin to ripen with netting, or various other bird scaring devices.



becomes scarce

Whether you are growing plants in pots or in the ground watering is an essential part of summer gardening. When rainfall dries up you’ll need a strategy on how and when to water. Watering is an essential and life dependent part of gardening in the summer. Water is vital to hydrate plant cells to aid plant processes including growth yet at the same time water is lost from the leaves. This is called transpiration. This means that plants rely on a good root system to constantly draw water from the soil. If we get any prolonged dry spells then watering becomes a real issue. In many parts of the southwest April has been one of the driest on record and many gardeners will be thinking their plants and vegetables are taking longer to become established because of the drier conditions. The visible effect of a drier few weeks depends on the type and maturity of plants and soil structure but soft stems of young plants will wilt if the soil dries. Mulching to retain moisture, incorporating organic matter to alert soil drainage and refining your choice of plants are all key choices. But there are also ways of watering which will help. Target water onto the soil rather than let it fall onto the foliage, so use a watering can without a rose. Make a dip in the soil around single plants and plant vegetables in troughs to channel water closer to plants as it soaks into the soil. Sink a cut down plastic bottle upside down into the soil next to recent planting to direct water down to the roots. 20

Collecting your own water Rainwater can be collected from the roofs of homes, garages, greenhouses and other garden structures as long as they have gutters and a drainpipe. Water butts are designed to collect water from either open or closed drainpipes. Closed drainpipes can be easily tapped into with a rainwater diverter kit. Remember to clean water butts to prevent disease spread and use collected water on established plants rather than seedlings. Local councils are still good places to purchase basic plastic water butts. It is easier to access the water if the butt has a tap at the base and sits on a stand, either ready-made or improvised with a pile of bricks.

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Re-using grey water Domestic wastewater (known as ‘grey water’) is an effective help in the garden. This may be from the kitchen, the washing machine or baths, basins and showers. Household soaps and detergents are harmless to plants, but water containing bleaches, disinfectants, dishwasher salt and stronger cleaning products should not be used, as they can harm plants and even damage soil structure if used long-term on soil. It is better to alternate containers used for wastewater and mains or rainwater, to prevent build up of potentially harmful residues and bacteria. It is also sensible to avoid using grey water on salads and other produce to be used without cooking. Grey water must be used as it is produced. If left, potentially harmful organisms might multiply.

Container gardening Plants in containers need almost daily watering, particularly in warm or windy weather. It’s time consuming and a problem if you are away regularly. They can’t rely on rainwater so need a separate plan. In warm, dry weather move containers into light shade and group theme together and remember to place on saucers to collect drainage water. Select drought tolerant plants such as supervivums for summer containers in the sun. Hanging baskets have very high water demands so have a think about how important they are in your garden before committing to a summer of daily watering. Add waterretaining crystals to the growing medium and if possible connect to a drip irrigation system. You can reduce evaporation from your pots (and thus the need for watering) by covering the top of the compost with a layer of plastic, leaves, woodchip, pebbles or grass, creating a layer of mulch.

LONGER TERM ACTIONS You can improve growing conditions so that plants are more able to tolerate drought or waterlogging • Improve the soils capacity to hold water by regularly digging in organic matter- this is specially helpful for well drained soils with a high sand or chalk content • Apply a layer of mulch to any bare, weed free soil after rainfall to reduce surface evaporation. Organic mulch will break down slowly and improve the soils water holding capacity • Plant in autumn when the soil is still warm, taking

Focus on the plants which need water the most. Plants which are not fully established need most attention when it comes to water. Trees, large shrubs and evergreen hedging that were planted less than 12 months previously will still need a thorough watering every week. Seedlings and young plants need watering before planting out. Target vegetable plants particularly when the crop is developing.

Keep soil disturbance to a minimum Soil water is lost from the surface by evaporation especially in warm weather and disturbance through digging, hoeing or pulling weeds can expose moist soil from below. Weeds compete with plants from soil so remove them quickly where they emerge, especially amongst seedlings or young plants in vegetable beds, around fruit bushes or in newly planted borders.

So can you cut down on watering and still have healthy plants? The current scientific view is that in many situations garden plants can continue to function and fulfil their growing role with significantly less water than we may assume. The rules of watering differ subtly for containerised and ground-grown plants but the general message is that plants have ways with coping with water reduction. For containerised plants this means regular daily watering but just to the point of running down the base. Water can be reduced by half in several plant species including petunia, heuchera, salvia and dahlias. Plants sense that water is being reduced and respond by closing their stomata (pores on the underside of leaves) to reduce water loss by transpiration.

Lawns will recover Don’t stress yourself about the state of your lawn during long dry periods. Lawns can be left to go brown without serious long-term harm but spiking it regularly is the best thing you can do, which will rehydrate it faster when it does rain.

advantage of the higher rainfall to encourage root development without the reliance of extra water • Select plants that are suited to your garden’s condition and soil type • Buy young plants in small pots for planting out as they will show more resilience and adapt more easily to changing soil water conditions • Used raised beds for sowing seeds and growing vegetables and plant trees on a slight mound to encourage water to drain from the soil surface • Spike lawns frequently to encourage surface drainage



So who is dealing with

JAPANESE KNOTWEED? Japanese knotweed is a nightmare plant for gardeners and any householder – here’s some advice from Mark Hinsley If you have not spent the last few years as an off the grid root-eating hermit you will be aware of the problems caused by Japanese knotweed. Recently insurance companies have latched onto this aggressive, invasive weed and situations have occurred whereby mortgages have been refused because houses, even with knotweed only identified next door, have been considered uninsurable. Put simply, if your neighbour has Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) in their garden your home could essentially be rendered worthless. Worried? – You should be! Last year we undertook a tree survey in a nameless southern city. During the course of this Japanese knotweed - a nasty survey we noted that our invasive problem client’s land was being invaded by Japanese knotweed from the derelict site adjacent. We widened our search and found that it was also encroaching into somebody else’s rear garden and out onto a highway verge. Being responsible citizens we informed the council tree officer that our client’s land was being invaded by uncontrolled Japanese knotweed from a neighbouring site. Nothing happened and this year it is already spreading further. So we thought ‘did we contact the right people?’ Seeking advice, we rang Natural England, but the site is not an SSSI and they were not bothered. So we tried the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency was helpful; they directed us to their knotweed website which included details of control methods and legislation that can enforce removal. They informed us that powers have been granted to local authorities and the police under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act to bring negligent 22

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landowners to heel and force them to clean up their act. They suggested that we contact the city environment services – so we did. We asked the city environment services people why, a year after the original notification, nothing had happened regarding the invading knotweed? They became quite aggressive; they told us it was not their problem and that it was the “Slope shouldered individuals (not the words they used but I have to consider my gentler readers) in trees”. So back we went to the tree officer, who responded with a screed about how difficult, time consuming and expensive it was to bring prosecutions under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, which was why they don’t do it. We pointed out that this was the reason Parliament had seen fit to give authorities the power to serve Community Protection Orders under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act on people behaving in such a thoughtless manner. The tree officer responded that they did not know how to serve such orders – so they don’t. You may recall that the police were also given powers to deal with this rampant menace. We tried telephoning; but nobody was in. So I went on the particular constabulary website, found the contact via an enquiry page, and duly enquired if they do anything about this problem with the powers they have been granted? To date I have not received so much as an acknowledgement of my inquiry. I do not know how many authorities in our area take their responsibilities regarding this problem seriously and use the powers they have been given. I’m sure some will, but how many don’t? I suggest that if you see it creeping towards your garden, you want to hope you live in an area that does, because Japanese knotweed is a nasty problem. So in the next few weeks, whenever some smartly dressed individual turns up on your door step with a smile and a brightly coloured rosette, you might ask them where they stand on the issue. Gardeners of the south – get militant! Mark Hinsley is from Arboricultural Consultants Ltd.

ITALIAN GARDEN HOLIDAYS Small group tours with guided visits of Italian gardens

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in our gardens It goes without saying. Water is the lifeblood of the garden. In dry years, which this one might be after an usually rain free spring, you need to preserve, collect and get wise about how you use water in the garden. And for many a garden a feature pond or pool has become the focal point of the garden. So we make no apology for turning the spotlight on the importance of water and its use in our gardens. Record numbers of gardens opt for a pond to attract wildlife Recent research has shown that in the last two years a record number of gardens have added a water feature, particularly a pond as part of their garden. And the main motivation is to attract wildlife. If there’s one feature in the garden guaranteed to attract wildlife with astonishing speed, it’s a pond. At a time when ponds have all but disappeared from farmland, it’s a hugely helpful thing to do. The reason ponds develop so fast is that many of the animals and plants are highly mobile. Within a short time your garden will attract birds, amphibians, insects, mammals and a host of mini- beasts you might otherwise never see. Even if you haven’t got room for a pond, a small water feature, even a bird bath makes a huge difference to the number and types of animals that will visit your garden.

many of us over-water our gardens

Keep your pond simple - and visible

how much recyclable water could you collect?

Your pond should be visible from your house, but not so near that wildlife will be frightened away. If the ground slopes, choose a lower corner in the garden: your pond will appear more natural here, as water naturally collects at lower level. A pool needs to be located away from any fruit trees or plants which may be treated with chemicals. An open , sunny site provides the best conditions for most aquatic plants but don’t site your pond near a frost pocket or exposed spot. This will restrict the plants you can grow in it and may mean that the pool requires protection through the winter. If you are interested in keeping fish make sure the pond is at least 80cms deep. Examine the water conditions in hot weather because the fish will suffer if the temperature gets above 25°C. The way we use and save water in the garden is becoming critical and there are common sense measures to take 24

This is not only wasteful, it means we’re doing more work than we need to. To check if you need to water or not, look at the soil about a spade-deep down. If it’s damp, it’s fine; if it’s dry, it’s time to water. If you have clay soil, it might feel damp whether it’s irrigated or not and sandy soil can feel dry, even if it has water in it. If this is the case, watch your plants and when they start to show signs of water stress – when leaves change position or get darker – note how the soil looks and feels. This way you can get more of an idea of what your soil is like when it has too little water. You should also water plants in the evening when it’s cooler, to reduce evaporation.

what’s the best watering techniques for your plants? Sprinklers have great coverage but you can’t target specific sections of your garden with them. Don’t be tempted the waste water on the lawn in dry periods- remember the old adage – your lawn will recover Hoses and watering cans: are labour intensive but have the great benefit of being precise, use these to water around plant bases beneath the leaves, and leave the surrounding soil dry. This limits weed growth and means all the water goes where it is needed.

Did you know you could collect 24,000 litres (5,280 gallons or 150 water butts) of rainwater from your roof each year. It’s simple to collect rainwater: just divert the water from your drainpipe into a water butt or a wheelie bin. There’s a huge selection of butts and rainwater systems available and many local authorities have taken the lead in encouraging gardeners to save water by offering good value products

will ‘grey water ‘ damage plants ? ‘Grey water’ is the domestic waste water from baths, showers, washing machines and the kitchen sink. A washing machine for example can use more than 50 litres - five watering cans. Grey water varies in quality: dishwasher waste is too polluted for the garden, while water used for preparing vegetables is

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ideal. Detergents from sinks, baths and showers can be filtered by most soils and compost, although avoid bleaching agents. Most plants will tolerate grey water for a few weeks in summer. Prolonged use might cause problems, however, so committed recyclers could try using fewer soaps and salts. For pond owners there are some great options when it comes to construction and servicing your water feature.

Creating wildlife water havens in the garden is the number one priority for gardeners

Blakewell combine experience and great shopping Blakewell Water Garden Centre not only has over 25 years experience in the design, construction and maintenance of ponds, lakes, water features and bog gardens, they also have a large selection of plants, fish and pond equipment. In their pond shop as well as selected Koi, Goldfish, Comets, Golden Orfe and Shubunkins they offer pond goods from pumps and filters to liners, medication and food - everything you will need to build and maintain your pond. Their café has a selection of cakes, cream teas and coffee or their own smoked trout for a light lunch. They also offer fresh rainbow trout. Blakewell, Muddiford, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 4ET Tel: 01271 344533

PondMan provides pond service solutions Based in South Devon, Andrew Rawlins, The PondMan, provides a range of pond services from a one off or periodic pond cleaning and pond maintenance service through to a complete pond restoration service. Andrew has more than 25

years’ experience working with ponds and water features and operates within a 40-mile radius of Newton Abbot, Devon. Enquiries from further afield can be dealt with over the phone or by email. He encourages the use of The Pond Contract Service which offers regular visits through the year to cover pond cleaning, pond and equipment maintenance, plant and fish care and adding supplements as required in each season of the year. Tel: 07966 222602 Email:

Water Garden Centre

Muddiford, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 4ET

We have over 25 years experience. Large selection of plants, fish & pond equipment. • Design, construction and on-going maintenance of ponds and lakes - large and small • Water features • Bog gardens • Habit restoration • Extensive range of Plants and Fish Tel: 01271 344533

– Click on Aquatic Landscaping, Fish and Plants

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• Pond Cleaning & Maintenance • Pond Renovation • Consultancy • Filter & Pond equipment – supply & install • Pond Contract Service • Aquatic Planting Schemes Operates within a 40 mile radius of Newton Abbot, Devon. Call: 07966 222602 Email: 25

New plants

from old

Elizabeth McCorquodale delights in the pleasures of taking softwood and semi hardwood cuttings – with permission of course Gardening can be an expensive hobby and an avaricious one at that; there is always something new or charming or interesting out there that is just begging to find a place in our gardens, and one of the cheapest ways of satisfying this desire to acquire the new and the beautiful is to take cuttings from the plants that you come across whenever you’re out and about. What could be nicer than seeing a plant that you like and just by snipping the end off a branch or two, that plant is yours. It is a quick and easy way of increasing your stock of plants and for some purposes – laying a hedge, for instance,it is a wonderfully economical way of acquiring very large numbers of plants at no cost and very little effort. From a single rare specimen, to a whole border, taking cuttings is the way to go. Of course it would be rude to go about snipping the tips off other peoples plants without permission - and, if everyone snipped and clipped there would be precious little left of any public garden - however I have never been refused a cutting or two whenever I have expressed delight in a plant. Tired old pelargoniums, overgrown geraniums, woody herbs and uprooted trees, roadside shrubs and wild fruit will all come true and fresh from cuttings prepared in the right way. Fruit bushes are particularly well suited to being propagated from cuttings, but any favourite plant -one that holds precious memories, perhaps, or one that is growing old and becoming unproductive - are all ripe for the cutting. Essentially, taking cuttings is just a matter of selecting a suitable stem and giving it the conditions that will allow it to grow roots and leaves. The type of cutting depends on the plant; some grow easily from dormant branches while others grow quickly from fresh green shoots.


Semi-hardwood (also known as semi-ripe) cuttings are soft and green at the tip and slightly woody at the base and are often taken from fuchsias and older pelargoniums as well as fast growing shrubs such as blueberries, weigela and lavatera. Woody herbs like box, lavender, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, sage and bay are commonly taken as semi-hardwood cuttings, as are broad-leaf evergreens such as laurel and ceonothus and climbers like honeysuckles, ivies and clematis. Semi-hardwood cuttings are taken in summer when the green growth begins to harden. Softwood cuttings are usually taken in spring from the green and pliable soft tissue at the end of shrubby stems or from plants such as perennial geraniums, pelargoniums, dianthus and impatiens. Some shrubs grow easily from softwood cuttings, especially those plants that put on vast amounts of new growth each year. Like semi-hardwood cuttings, softwood cuttings need warmth (though not necessarily bottom heat) and good, but indirect sunlight to grow successfully.

Taking softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings 1. Softwood cuttings are made up entirely of soft green material, as is found at the tip of stems and this kind are usually taken in spring. Semi-hardwood cuttings are taken later in the year when the lower stem is beginning to grow woody. Unlike hardwood cuttings, softwood and semi-hardwood are always struck while they are in leaf, so extra care must be taken to ensure they don’t lose too much water through the leaf surfaces. 2. Trim your cuttings down to 10-15 cm, with the bottom cut just below a leaf node. Carefully remove all the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting and trim the upper growth back to four leaves. Tiny leafed plants such as box, or thyme can be left with more leaves, while very large leafed plants should have their leaves cut in half. 3. Dust the base of each cutting with rooting powder and gently push the cuttings half-way into prepared holes in a pot of cuttings mix, firm them in and water the soil without wetting the leaves. 4. Cover the pot with a plastic bag held away from the leaves with wire or canes. While some plants will tolerate the plastic resting on their leaves, others will immediately take offence and start to rot. Label and place the pot in a bright spot out of direct sunlight, watering as necessary.

Country Gardener

High summer planting specials Country Gardener and have joined forces to offer gardeners some exclusive high season plants. It’s a selection with great emphasis on colour and impact and many of our choices are both exclusive and great value. Each year bring new plants and bulbs to the market and are able to develop and showcase fabulous new products each season. We hope you enjoy the choices we’ve made.

Perfect Pompom dahlias Pompom Dahlias have always been very popular with dahlia growers. The iconic, bright colours and beautiful, rounded heads flower abundantly in summer through to autumn. They stand proud in all types of gardens winning them the prize position of plant of the month. Pompom dahlias, as their name suggests, have pompomlike flowers – the petals curve inwards to create stunning, intricate blooms up to five cms across. Ball dahlias have a slightly flattened top, with blunt or rounded petals arranged in a spiral pattern. For best results, grow them in a sunny spot in fertile, welldrained soil. Deadhead regularly and feed with a potash-rich fertiliser to prolong flowering. Lift the tubers after the first frosts and store them in a cool, dry situation until March. Then pot them up and keep them in a temperate greenhouse before planting out in late May. Remember how beautiful they are as a cut flower placed in a vase. Pack of five tubers £9.65 Pack of 10 tubers £14.95

Lily 'Queen of the Night' This Asiatic Lily (Lilium asiatica) 'Queen of the Night' is a unique lily with beautiful, almost black flowers, accented by stunning vermilion red stamens! Another advantage of this outstanding lily is its subtle fragrance that wafts through the garden for weeks. The Asiatic lily looks wonderful planted with other colours in your border. They also have a look of elegance in large pots on the patio! The lily is exclusive to Spalding–based Bakker. com. It released limited stock last season, but said 2017 will be the first year in which ‘Queen of the Night’ is widely available. Managing director Adrian Nind said: “It’s striking in the

garden where it will contrast well with other colourful border plants, or looks great on its own in a pot. “This exceptional lily makes a great cut flower – pick early in the morning and remove pollen to avoid staining clothing. Keep cut lilies away from direct sunlight and they last longer.” ‘Queen of the Night’ flowers in early-summer, lasting from June to August. Flowers have a “deliciously sweet fragrance”. Bulbs can be planted four to six inches deep in autumn or spring and prefer light, well-drained soil. They thrive in a sheltered corner between other plants in direct sunlight, and need watering frequently. Pack of five bulbs £6.95 or 10 for just £9.95

Hydrangea Rembrandt® 'Rosso Glory' Rembrandt® hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) are part of a new range of hydrangeas that are supplied exclusively by It has a compact growth habit, flowers abundantly and has firm flowers on sturdy stems with the added tendency of changing colour during the growing season. These hydrangeas are magnificent everywhere: in the garden or in a large planter on the patio or decking but will also thrive as a single plant on their own, directly in the garden. Between the months of May and September, the continuous change of colours offers an unprecedented spectacle. Hydrangea macrophylla Rembrandt® ‘Rosso Glory’ produces wonderful red flowers, green in bud, gradually opening with a wonderful red. The red petals retain a very picture green reflection which disappears at the end of flowering. The Rembrandt® 'Rosso Glory' flowers are then very red Height supplied 20-25cm, supplied as container plant Ø 9.5cm £9.95 each or £14.75 for two.

Hosta 'Purple Sensation' This unique plantain lily (Hosta 'Purple Sensation') is a beautiful variety with light green undulating foliage, the exceptionally pretty. The purple flowers have a light and delightful fragrance. This plant is the perfect variety for planting in a shady corner either in the soil or large pot. Plant several to give an amazing affect in a shady boarder where not much else would grow. Supplied as a bare-rooted plant. Pack of three: £8.95 To take advantage of these offers just go to



How ‘ORCHIDMANIA‘ gripped the Victorians by Vivienne Lewis In the Victorian period orchids were the ‘must-have’ plants and 19th century status symbols – and plant hunters were sent by nurseries to the ends of the earth in search of rare discoveries

Charles Darwin was fascinated by orchids and how they co-evolved between different orchid species and insect pollinators


We can buy an orchid plant in a supermarket. We can buy more unusual orchids from a specialist nursery. But in the 19th century these beautiful plants were so rare that men were sent all over the world to look for them and when they brought them back the prized specimens were sold for huge sums of money. Luxury was the watchword with orchids and just as in the 17th century when vast sums were paid for tulip bulbs in the ‘tulipmania’ period, so 300 years later ‘orchidmania’ gripped wealthy Victorians. The larger nurseries sent out plant hunters to the Far East in search of these rarities, and the trophies were to be seen in domestic conservatories, as corsages adorning ladies’ ballgowns, and in the dining rooms of wealthy families as the craze spread and fine collections of china and porcelain were decorated with orchids, often painted by ceramic artists from life. Just one per cent of orchid species are found in Europe. The Orchidaceae family is one of the largest of the flowering plants, but most of the 26,000 species grow in the tropics and subtropics, many areas of which were unexplored by Europeans or from other parts of the Western world. In the 1770s Sir Joseph Banks brought dendrobium orchids back from his historic voyage with Captain Cook, but it was in the 19th century that orchid growing in Britain really took off. Many plants had perished on the long homeward journey across the sea, and if they arrived, conditions were generally unsuitable, even the stove houses and orangeries of the time. Country Gardener

The breakthrough came with the invention of the Wardian case, a mini-greenhouse that revolutionised the transportation of plants on board ships (and continued to be used until the 1960s as freight on planes), and the improved methods of building glasshouses and conservatories along with the abolition of the punitive Glass Tax in 1845. John Lindley - an eminent The vast botanist and orchidologist improvements in industrial technology, with the invention of plate glass, frost-resistant waterproof cast iron and more efficient hot water systems, meant that vast glasshouses could be built, the greatest of them the Crystal Palace built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London’s Hyde Park, but there was also the Great Conservatory at Chatsworth and other marvellous glasshouses were built on private estates. Tropical and sub-tropical plants could survive in Britain from this time onwards. Plant hunters were sent out to find and bring back exotic plants including orchids by nursery owners such as Frederick Sander from St Albans (who was appointed Royal Orchid Grower by Queen Victoria) and the Veitch family who started their business in Exeter before one branch moved and established one of the most famous nurseries in the country, located in the heart of London. No private estate considered its collection

of plants complete without a selection of orchids. Entire glasshouses specialising in orchid growing became the rich man’s toy. The Veitch nursery in Exeter sent Thomas Lobb to find rare plants in the Far East; Lobb was a Cornishman who worked at the nursery with his brother William, who became a great plant hunter in North and South America, responsible for the introduction of some of the great trees that adorned Victorian gardens as well as many flowering plants. Thomas Lobb travelled in the opposite direction, going to the East Indies, sailing from Portsmouth in 1843 on an expedition that was to last four years, to Java and the Malay Peninsula, hacking his way through tropical rainforests where the trees reached 130 feet and formed an unbroken canopy. In harsh conditions he discovered lovely rhododendrons, pitcher plants hanging from branches – and trees draped with epiphytic orchids with sprays of delicate flowers. On his second trip in 1848 Thomas journeyed to the Philippines and Burma and was rewarded with finding more pitcher plants and tropical rhododendrons – but also a fabulous orchid, the fragile Vanda caerula with its lovely blue flowers marked with deeper blue tasselations on branching flowering stems. Many plants perished on the homeward sea voyage, but those that survived made a fortune for the Veitch nursery as the plants sold for £300 each. Thomas Lobb also introduced to Britain the Vanda tricolor from Java with its fragrant pink-lipped pale yellow and brown patterned flowers, and Phalaenopsis amabilis, a beautiful moth orchid that was the parent of many modern hybrids. He also introduced a natural hybrid, P.x intermedia from the Philippines. Exploration in Bhutan gave Victorians another exotic orchid, Cymbidium hookerianum named for Joseph Dalton Hooker, the botanist and plant hunter who became a great Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. Most of the orchid collections in Victorian Britain were species and for many years no one knew how to raise a hybrid. It was thought by some to be part of their charm and their exotic nature that they could not be hybridised. But an Exeter surgeon, John Harris, suggested to an orchid grower at Veitch’s nursery in Exeter the way that he thought that one orchid could be crossed with another. The grower was John Dominey. He followed the advice and the resulting plant was named Calanthe x dominyi, which flowered in October 1856. But hybridisation was slow to take off. An average sized plant might give thousands of tiny seeds but few were fertile and germination was poor. The simplest and most successful method was found to be in sowing the seeds on to the surface of a ‘mother pot’, either the parent plant or one containing a fully grown orchid with fairly new compost. Other methods of hybridising were tried but the problems associated with raising orchids in this period meant that they stayed at the high end of the market, rare and pricey. Charles Darwin was fascinated by orchids and researched the ways in which the plants had adapted over time, co-evolving between different orchid species and their individual insect pollinators. He first worked with British native orchids,

The fabulous and fragile Vanda caerula brought back by Thomas Lobb from the Philippines and Burma

Vanda tricolour

then tropical orchids, particularly the white orchid from Madagascar, Angraecum sesquipedale and concluded that it could be pollinated by a long-tongued moth. This insect was identified in 1903 but it wasn’t until 1997 that the moth was actually seen reaching the nectar down the orchid’s 10in nectary and picking up the pollen. John Lindley, the eminent botanist and orchidologist was acknowledged as the top authority on the classification of orchids and spent a decade writing The Genera and Species of Orchidaceous Plants. He described many orchid species and named them. More orchids have been discovered since Victorian times – even a night-flowering orchid as recently as 2011. Perhaps no one was ruined by orchid mania in the way that tulip bulbs had done for some people in the 16th century. Nurseries made a fortune, wealthy men built huge glasshouses for these amazing plants – the politician Joseph Chamberlain had 13 orchid houses at his home near Birmingham – and women wore them as a trophy. Orchids were the plant status symbols of the 19th century.




the June garden

It is suddenly the time of sweet peas, strawberries and summer sowing. June is a wonderful time in the garden, flowers are starting to appear in abundance and there's plenty to harvest in the vegetable patch. It’s pretty safe to assume the frosts are behind us so now is the time to plant out most things that have been brought on in the greenhouse. But still be cautious of rushing this, making sure your plants are well established before putting them through the transition to outside.

Make up the beds Summer bedding is an ideal way of providing a quick fix when it comes to colour and vibrancy in the garden. If you have not planted out pots and containers yet, there is still time, but use a loambased compost, as it has the guts to feed the hungry performers. It is also easier to keep watered than peat-based composts, which should be avoided for ethical reasons. Pelargoniums, petunia and most silver-leaved tender perennials like a bright position and will flower more profusely and over a longer period if rewarded with sunshine. Nicotianas, impatiens and even begonias can cope with a little shade, but keep them in a warm place until they are well away before putting them in the shade.

'TLC TIME' FOR YOUR ROSES Roses will be in full flower this month, so keep an eye out for black spot and aphid attacks and treat immediately. If your aphid population is small, squash them with your finger. For more serious infestations, use an insecticide, but don’t spray the blooms or you risk killing pollinators like bees. Black spot is a fungal disease and needs to be treated with fungicide. Deadhead any faded rose flowers to encourage fresh buds to grow and apply a rose fertiliser after the first flush of flowers. Keep weeds down to prevent them taking moisture from the soil around your roses.

Cut back the perennials Many of the early-flowering perennials such as Papaver orientale, Brunnera, Tellima and the May-flowering Geranium sylvaticum and G.phaeum will have already flowered and may well be leaving a hole. Cutting them back hard to the base as soon as the flowers are over will provide a fresh crop of foliage and in some cases a second round of flowers later in the summer when things lose that fresh green that is so plentiful now. If it is dry, water thoroughly immediately afterwards, and in a fortnight new growth will cover bare ground.

Plants need support in June Tall plants at the back of borders will need support as they start to grow vigorously. Support plants like delphiniums, hollyhocks and lupins with stakes or tie them to walls and fences. Or use netting over the top to allow plant stems to grow through the gaps. The side shoots of climbers should also be tied in to train them along trellis or wire supports. Keep the ties loose enough to allow the plant to sway in the wind. 30

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Tune up the tulips

Make sure you keep weeds down. They use up vital nutrients and moisture that are needed by the plants. Regular hoeing around the vegetable garden and borders will remove weed seedlings before they have a chance to take hold. If you ignore them, the weeds will flower and produce seeds, spreading around the garden and popping up everywhere. Remove them while they are young and you can keep on top of them.

The spring bulbs that occupied the pots before the summer bedding took their place should be dried off in the sun so that the remains of their foliage can soak up the goodness. As soon as the foliage withers, they can be cleaned and stored dry in the shed. Tulips rarely do as well in a second year. Feed them weekly with tomato feed after they have finished flowering to build up the bulbs. Most potgrown narcissus will come back year after year with this treatment, but work them into the beds where you can see some colour is needed earlier in the year if you decide not to store dry.

Eating in season Eating food that is in season is the best way to appreciate fruit and vegetables at their best. If you have recently planted asparagus, don't overcrop it until it is properly established in its third year, and don't be too greedy with older plants. Best to ease off now and let the plants replenish their energies for next year. Early spuds should be ready for cropping this month. Wait until the first flowers have opened before harvesting, and water well if the weather is dry, to encourage good formation of tubers. Keep vigil for blight if the weather is wet. Leaves will rapidly collapse if it hits. Cut off all foliage and burn. Do not compost.

Grow your own strawberries To help ripen strawberries and keep the fruit from getting splashed by mud, it is traditional to bed them down with straw. A bundle of fleece, placed under the fruit, will also work if straw is hard to come by. Wet weather, so often associated with Wimbledon and the strawberry season, is bad news for the fruit, so if you have a cloche or two to hand, cover them to prevent botrytis getting a hold. Alpine strawberries are far less interested in sunbathing and will keep you in fruit the summer long even in dappled shade. If you want to keep them in one place, seek out a non-running form such as ‘Alexander’.

Tie up your tomatoes Young tomatoes should be planted outside if they haven't been already. Pinch out side shoots and tie in loosely to canes. You will not need to start feeding until the first truss is set. In a greenhouse this should already have happened, so feed with a product high in potash, such as Tomorite, to encourage fruit formation and ripening.

P lus

• Thin out hardy annuals. Be brutal – most cornflowers, nigellas and English marigolds benefit from being one foot apart. More room means more root, leaves and photosynthesis, better flowers and a longer life. • Next spring's biennials, such as wallflowers and honesty, need time to establish. Both can be sown now, direct into a seedbed. Thin in three weeks and transplant to their flowering position in early autumn. • Fill any gaps in your borders with bedding plants, such as salvia, begonias and pelargoniums. Water them regularly, particularly in drier weather and in the days after planting. • Sow poppies – if sown direct now, many varieties flower within eight weeks. Poppies prefer to be sown direct rather than into a seed tray as they hate root disturbance. • Deadheading flowers as they go over this month can result in a second flowering. This is particularly worth doing for your hardy and half-hardy annuals, to ensure their one and only season lasts as long as possible. 31


The munTjac ThreaT

Known as ‘barking deer’, muntjac deer are the smallest deer in the UK – they look cute but can do a lot of damage to woodland and gardens They look like Bambi, especially the young fawns, small and cute. But muntjac deer are now widespread and increasing in number and range – and can damage the woodland areas and gardens they wander in. At least seven species of muntjac are known, from Pakistan to Java and north to mainland China. The Reeves’ muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) is named after John Reeves, who was an inspector with The East India Tea Company in 1812. Reeves muntjac were first introduced in Britain to Woburn Park in Bedfordshire and other estates more than 100 years ago. Escapes from these private collections led to feral populations of this species of deer around the country. Look out for short antlers and a hunched shape - this is because their haunches are higher than the top of their shoulders. Releases and escapes from Woburn and other places has led to the establishment of feral populations that have spread across south and central England and Wales (less so in northern areas at present). These small deer (only 20 in tall) like deciduous or coniferous forests, preferably with a good choice of plants to graze beneath the trees. They are also found in scrub and overgrown urban gardens and they can breed all year, so their numbers have increased rapidly. These high numbers of muntjac pose a serious threat to woodland management. They will eat almost any plant material that grows within their reach which has a knock-on effect on the natural habitat of many species of plants, insects and small birds. Agricultural and forestry damage is less than with much larger species of antlered deer, but a lot of damage is still done. Reeves’ muntjac are russet brown in colour in summer and grey/brown in winter. Bucks have short (10 cm) antlers growing from long pedicles. 32

to wildlife Antlers are usually unbranched but a very short brow tine is occasionally found in old bucks. They also have visible upper canines (tusks) suggesting that they are a primitive species. In contrast to all other species of deer in Britain, they don’t have a specific breeding period and the does can conceive again within days of giving birth. Capable of breeding at seven months old, after a gestation period of seven months they give birth to a single kid. Bucks can live up to 16 years and does up to 19 years, but they don’t often reach that age. Generally solitary or found in pairs (doe with kid or buck with doe), they don’t bond and stay together. Bucks will defend their territory against other bucks; does' territories overlap with each other and with several bucks. They are known as ‘barking deer’ from the repeated loud bark given. An alarmed muntjac may scream; maternal does and kids squeak. They are active throughout the 24-hour period but make more use of open spaces during the hours of darkness, especially at dawn and at dusk. Long periods are spent ‘lying up’, where the deer lies down to ruminate after feeding. Some people like to feed the muntjac deer that come into their gardens, but as they can cause plant damage this is not advised. Like any wild animal they are vulnerable on the roads and there have been many collisions with vehicles. Charities such as The Deer Initiative Partnership aims to improve the sustainable management of all wild deer in England and Wales.

The comma butterfly was in severe decline in the last century and but it has made a comeback and it’s now widespread in southern Britain

Early season butterflies Look out for butterflies that make an early appearance in our gardens – and some may have even spent the winter in your house The sight of a butterfly in early spring really lifts the spirits. How many can you spot in your garden? Some butterflies will have hibernated nearby – even inside your house. Small tortoiseshells, commas, peacocks, and red admirals as young adults, don’t migrate but stay tucked up somewhere for the winter. On mild days they may emerge for a while, which is dangerous for them as they can be caught out by a colder spell later. The orange-tip butterfly is a true sign of spring, one of the first species to emerge that has not overwintered as an adult. The males and females are very different in appearance. The more conspicuous male has orange tips to the forewings that give this butterfly its name, but the female doesn’t have the orange tip, so is often mistaken for one of the other whites, especially the green-veined white or small white. Another early butterfly is the brimstone, which has spread in recent years. When it roosts among foliage the angular shape and the strong veining of their wings look very like leaves. Some people think that the word ‘butterfly’ comes from the yellow colour of male brimstones. The familiar red admiral can be found anywhere in the UK from a mild winter’s day onwards, with its brown/black wings with red bands and white spots near the tips of forewings. Numbers have increased in recent years and it’s known that the species can overwinter in the far south of England. Starting each spring and continuing through the summer there are northward migrations, The brimstone, its angular shape variable in extent and the strong veining of their wings look very like leaves and timing, from

North Africa and Europe. The immigrant females lay eggs and fresh butterflies emerge from about July onwards. Ragged wing edges distinguish the comma butterfly with its orange and brown colouring. It gets its name from the undersides which are brown with a white mark shaped like a comma. The scalloped edges and cryptic colouring of the wings conceal hibernating adults amongst dead leaves, while the larvae are well camouflaged, flecked with brown and white markings. The comma was in severe decline in the last century and but it has made a comeback and it’s now widespread in southern Britain with its range expanding northwards. The painted lady is a long-distance migrant, which causes the most spectacular butterfly migrations observed in Britain and Ireland. Each year, it spreads northwards from the desert fringes of North Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia, to mainland Europe before reaching Britain and Ireland. The small tortoiseshell is one of our most-familiar butterflies, appearing in gardens throughout the British Isles. The bright orange and black wings with a white spot in the forewing separates it from the larger and much rarer large tortoiseshell. Unfortunately there has been a decline in small tortoiseshells, especially in the south. Numbers have fluctuated over the years and the cause of the most-recent decline is not yet known, although there are various theories. One is the increasing presence of a particular parasitic fly, Sturmia bella, thought to be due to global warming. The fly lays its eggs on leaves of the foodplant, close to where larvae are feeding. The tiny eggs are then eaten whole by the larvae and the grubs that emerge feed on the insides of their host, avoiding the vital organs. A fly grub eventually kills its host and emerges from either the fully-grown larva or pupa before itself pupating. Butterflies have suffered like other species from the loss of their natural habitat in the countryside, so gardens are important for their survival. Keep some wild corners in your garden for nettles and some other plants you may have thought to be weeds, grow a range of herbs and a variety of flowers and you could be seeing more of these lovely visitors to your garden from spring onwards.



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

Growing a wild flower meadow Native wild flower meadows do best in sunny places where grass grows thinly. Their ideal site is sheep-grazed downland or any impoverished turf. A lawn that has been mown for years with the clippings removed and no fertiliser added would be an ideal starting point. Modern lawns that contain ryegrass mixes are less than ideal. A wild flower meadow should not be cut until the seeds of the flowers have ripened in early August, and will then need a second cut before winter. All the mowings must be carted away. If left, they will add nitrogen to the site. If grass is too lush, yellow rattle sown fresh in September will help to control its growth. All coarse perennial weeds need to be removed before you start. If nettles, docks and thistles dominate, left to themselves, they will keep reappearing. It is difficult to weed a newly sown wild flower meadow. Don’t expect much from new ground in the first year; it will need to be cut early as well as late, although some mixes do include annual seeds of poppies and cornflowers for the initial stages. There are three ways to create a wild flower meadow. The cheapest option is seed, which involves a lot of labour. Expect to pay about £50 for an 80 per cent grass to 20 per cent flower mix to cover 30 square metres. If you are starting with suitable turf, wild flower plugs can be added to an existing sward. For that you could spend up to £100 to cover the 30 square metres. The pricey way is to buy rolls of meadow turf.

Dealing with late blight Late blight, a disease that strikes tomatoes and potatoes, can quickly ruin an entire crop — and provide a source of infection for other plants. Late blight is not like other tomato and potato diseases. Many other diseases affect these crops but most of them only affect leaves or cause 34

limited damage to fruit, and while they may reduce the harvest, they generally don’t cause a total loss. Late blight kills plants outright, and it is highly contagious. The fungus, (Phytophthora infestans), that causes late blight is aptly named: phytophthora in Latin means ‘plant destroyer.’ Infected plant tissue dies. Outbreaks spread quickly because the pathogen can produce huge numbers of wind-dispersed spores. Once a plant is infected, it must be destroyed.

Give plants space: If possible, avoid planting tomatoes and potatoes where you had them last year. Be sure to give plants plenty of space, based on recommendations for the variety. Maximizing airflow and light around the plants will help them resist disease. Avoid watering from above: Using soaker hoses or drip irrigation keeps foliage dry, which makes it more difficult for late blight — and other diseases — to spread. Avoid overhead watering techniques. Water early in the day so the foliage can dry before nightfall. Be alert: Learn to recognize the weather conditions that foster the spread of late blight. The disease spreads rapidly in cool wet weather, whereas dry weather tends to hold back the disease.

Propagating by heel cuttings A heel cutting is taken by pulling away a small side shoot from a woody plant so that it retains a ‘heel’ or small sliver of bark from the main stem. The inclusion of a

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heel encourages roots to form, as it prevents the sap from draining away into the soil — the sap flows down from the leaves to help form the roots. First, cut off a main shoot carrying several side-shoots, preferably without flowers. With a sharp knife, make a slanting cut into the main shoot beneath the junction with the side-shoot. Then cut in the opposite direction to remove the shoot. Heel cuttings should betwo inches long. If they are longer, trim from the tip. To balance any loss of difficult-toroot plants, it is wise to take a few extra cuttings. Once the cuttings have been taken — with or without a heel — fill a pot to just below the rim with a proprietary cutting compost. Make a hole in the compost, about one-third the length of the cutting. Insert the cutting and firm it with a dibber and your finger. Plant the other cuttings, then water them generously with a sprayer or a watering can with a fine rose. The cuttings need a humid atmosphere to prevent them drying out. One simple method is to construct a cover from galvanized wire and a polythene bag as for tip cuttings.

out of control. As the name suggests, rambling roses tend to produce vigorous rambling main stems, from which a multitude of smaller stems emerge and complete the tangle that is known as the rambling rose! It will have just a few flowers on this mass of intertwined rose stems. All ramblers produce this vigorous growth which must be managed properly in order to get the best flower out of your rose. The best flowers on ramblers are produced on the stems which were made in the previous season or year. If the rose is allowed to go unchecked, then there will be fewer and fewer new stems resulting in an eventual dearth of flowers. With your established tangle, the best way forward, is to reduce the number of stems at ground level to around five or six. These should be young vigorous growths. Older stems which support a huge network of ‘tangles’ further up the rose should be cut out carefully. It will probably take quite a few cuts to rid yourself of the tangles - but it has to be done. This remedial treatment can be carried out in summer or autumn. Give the rejuvenated rose a feed of any rose fertiliser that you fancy. Once you have managed this first stage with your overgrown rambling rose, and now have five or six strong stems, you can proceed as you would prune any other rose.

Treating magnesium deficiency Magnesium is one of the major elements essential for plant growth. Among other functions it is part of the green element chlorophyll which is essential for photosynthesis. Magnesium deficiency is more common on light, sandy soils and where high-potassium fertilisers such as tomato feed are overused. Potassium competes with magnesium uptake by plants.

Controlling rambling roses Rambling roses are of course beautiful and dramatic additions to any garden . But if they have a fault it is they can ‘run away’ with themselves and become rampant and

The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are yellowing between the leaf veins with red-brown tints, first on older foliage and then spreading progressively, The deficiency is common in tomatoes, apples, grapes and raspberries but it can also affect chrysanthemums, cherries and plums. To correct the deficiency apply magnesium kieserite to the soil around the plant at about one ounce per square yard or half as much again of Epsom salts in autumn or winter. Epsom salts as a foliar feed works quickly in summer when diluted 20g per litre of water. 35


for free Elizabeth McCorquodale delves into DIY fertilisers and looks at what and how to make your own successful homemade plant foods Gardening can be a very expensive pastime – or not! There are numerous ways to save your pennies and avoid garden centre queues, starting with seed and plant swaps and home composting and ending, perhaps, with making your own fertilisers from scratch. All plants will do much better with regular feeding, but those that we ask a lot of, such as vegetable plants, annuals and anything in a container, will repay the time and trouble of making fertilisers by producing better growth, more fruit and flowers and they will suffer from fewer pests and diseases. Raw plant foods can be found all over the home and garden and though it might be a little more time consuming than reaching for a packet of manufactured fertiliser, a homemade plant food is both free and sustainable with no adverse affect on the wider environment. This cannot be said for commercial feeds such as potash and phosphorus coming, as they do, from massive open cast mines or for commercial nitrogen, which is produced through an environmentally costly, energy intensive process. Almost all plants in the world require the same sorts of nutrients, although some are hungrier for some nutrients than others. There are six macro-nutrients (so called because they are needed in relatively large quantities) and these are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulphur. The first three - nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium - are listed on commercial feeds under their elemental symbols N, P and K, while the others are usually lumped together with the six essential micro-nutrients (socalled because they are required in smaller amounts): boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. Whether it is a micro or macro nutrient, all these elements are vital for healthy plant growth. Contrary to popular understanding, no particular element is solely responsible for any one part of plant growth. Healthy growth is a partnership between all the nutrients, with a network of interconnections between microbes and fungi and the chemical exchanges between the plants themselves, so a balanced feed is always going to be more beneficial than a concentrated dose of any single nutrient. 36

Homemade fertiliser ingredients

It is impossible to be precise in determining the nutrient levels in homemade plant foods because the source of the material, its age, moisture content and many other factors will all influence the amount and availability of any nutrient, but a glance through the following list will offer a general idea about the nutrient content of some of things that can be sourced from around the home. These items, composted together or used on their own, will release their nutrients over several weeks or months. They are arranged, as on commercial fertiliser packets, in the ratio of available N,P and K. Coffee grounds 2:0:1 Wood ash 0:1:7 Bone meal 4:20:0 Grass clippings 3:1:2 Feathers 12:0:0 Comfrey 2:5:6 Seaweed 2:1:5 (collected off the beach, never taken from the sea) Kitchen and garden compost 1:1:1 Leaf mould (composted leaves) 1:0:0 Eggshells 1:38:0 (crushed and soaked in a mild vinegar solution) Hair and fur 14:0:0 Shoddy (waste wool or cotton) 10:0:0 Human urine 11:1:2 (this is sterile when fresh) Banana skins 0:4:41 Tea leaves 4:1:0 Worm compost (made from kitchen waste) 1:1:1 Composted sheep, pig, horse and cow manure 1:1:1 (this can vary greatly depending on its age, how it was stored and what it is mixed with) Dried poultry manure 4:3:2

Country Gardener

P lant teas and liquid feeds

Unlike the slow release of bulky organic composts, liquid feeds are quickly absorbed through leaf and root surfaces and so they are fast acting. Liquid feeds can be made in several ways but the simplest way is to fill a bucket full of your chosen plant material (nettles, comfrey, dandelions, seaweed or other plants) , top it up with water, cover it and allow it to soak for a week or two. A brewing bin with a tap is the easiest way to dispense this feed. An alternative (but smellier) way is to cram the plants into a large bottle, pierce a hole into the lid and upend the bottle over another container. As the plants decay the concentrated juice drips out of the hole in the lid, ready to be diluted. Manure teas made by hanging a bag of hot-composted manure in a bucket of water can be used as a fast acting drench around the roots of plants. You can reduce the pong of nettle and comfrey teas by using them sooner rather than later. Have two lots of tea on the go and use the first one after a week, while the second one is brewing. As soon as you have emptied the first bucket, refill it with more greens and let it sit for a week before using. This way you will always have a supply of ready-made liquid feed to hand. The strength of plant teas depends very much on the dilution rates. Comfrey is especially high in potassium and nettles are particularly high in nitrogen, but both offer a complete feed rich in trace elements. Nettle tea is an excellent tonic for encouraging green growth and comfrey tea is an excellent tonic for tomatoes in fruit. Serve up these liquid feeds diluted to the colour of weak tea and spray them on foliage as a foliar feed.

Feeds for specific purposes

The best slow release fertiliser is a well made compost based on a rich mixture of kitchen and garden waste with the addition of animal manures. If it is hot-composted it will be relatively free of weeds and pathogens and will be suitable for spreading directly around plants and used to top up baskets and containers. However there may be times that you want to offer your plants a tonic to fix a problem or to give them a boost. Keep in mind that any compost is only as nutritious as the stuff it is made from. A high nitrogen feed is easily made of grass clippings, nettles and composted manure with the addition of any of the other high nitrogen ingredients from the list. Soak the lot in twice the volume of water and leave it to stew for a week or so. Strain and water the soil around your plants. A good high phosphorus feed similar to the bloom boosters offered by chemical companies can be made from mixing four parts coffee grounds, one part bone meal and one part wood ash by weight. This can then be incorporated into the soil around new or existing plants.

There are few mat erials that are higher in potass ium than banana peels so adding these to your compost heap will help to bring the ratio up. For an immediate po tassium boost th ere is nothing better than a drench of comfrey tea. Liquid feeds are fa st acting, but shou ld never be sprayed directly on the ed ible portions of plants before they are harvested for the table.

A good mix for your own compost

Comfrey plants-high in potassium

Decomposed leaves make ideal fertiliser




this summer! There’s a theme of long summer days about our special feature this month highlighting our own selection of events, venues, gardens for you to enjoy. From abbeys to stunning Cotswold villages; from rare plant fairs in idyllic surroundings; from arboretums to wonderfully romantic gardens -there’s some sensational places to visit this summer. We are spoilt in the variety and beauty of where we can organise a day out to. One of the pleasures of being a gardener is the chance to see how others do it by visiting the many stylish open gardens for charity at this time of year or the grander great gardens alongside great houses. The long summer nights mean special emphasis on open-air events and there’s a great choice when it comes to alfresco music events, open-air theatre and art in the garden. It’s also the time of year when couples are looking to book wedding venues and a summer wedding brings with it a fantastic opportunity to choose a venue from some spectacular and varied romantic settings-where the garden can makes all the difference.

gardening situations. Old cottages, roses round the door, sit beside elegant country houses. You’ll find gardens which are small and large, mature, developing and newly-created. Add in lavish home-baked teas, an award winning café, wellstocked plant stall, school summer fair and an art gallery Chalford and France Lynch Open Gardens Trail. Postcode GL6 8NW

Cerney Gardens If you are looking for atmosphere in a garden then Cerney gardens is a romantic ‘secret’ garden in 40 acres of Cotswolds parkland with a walled garden. A riot of colour is now to be

Glorious gardens in a stunning Cotswold setting Over 45 gardens open over two days which started 30 years ago make the Chalford and France Lynch Open Gardens Trail one of the biggest and oldest events of its type in the country. The event takes place on Saturday, 24th and Sunday, 25th June. The cottages tumble down the hillside into Gloucestershire’s ‘Golden Valley’. Hilltop gardens tiered and terraced hillside gardens and sheltered gardens in the valley offer a wide range of

Cerney Gardens – open seven days a week

seen throughout the garden as the herbaceous borders head towards their best. In the walled garden, the roses with their heady fragrance are coming into full bloom. The vegetable and soft fruit garden starts producing and the lavender

n ay y pe id a O y Fr h M t er 5 ev om fr

June Fairs 4th June High Glanau Manor, Nr. Monmouth NP25 4AD 11th June Hanham Court Gardens, Nr. Bristol BS15 3NT

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

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

season ticket £12pp Member of Historic Houses Association

CADHAY, OTTERY ST. MARY, DEVON, EX11 1QT 01404 813511 38

Country Gardener

25th June Waterperry Gardens, Nr. Oxford OX33 1JZ Please visit our website for full details of admission fees and times of opening.

walk starts flowering. The garden is alive with wildlife especially the birds whose song you can enjoy while relaxing with a cup of tea/coffee and homemade cake in the tearoom. Open seven days a week. 10-5pm. £5 adults, £1 for children. Dogs on leads welcome.

pursuits as well as wildlife spotting opportunities. Bed linen is provided free of charge and there is parking for two cars. Visitors assured a clean cottage and very warm welcome. Please call Mrs. Crane on 01794 340460 for further information.

Thirty gardens to enjoy in Cotswolds village setting

Rare Plant Fairs in June

The Worcestershire village of Eckington is holding its flower festival and open gardens on Saturday, 17th and Sunday, 18th June, 10am to 6pm with over 30 gardens opening, including Eckington church which will be displaying its usual stunning array of floral displays themed on ‘Hobbies and Pastimes’. There will be a wide range of activities such as classic cars, stalls, pudding parlour (cooked by the villagers), refreshments with home-made cakes, a plant stall and much more. Free car parks and transport around the village. Marked disabledfriendly gardens.

Thatched holiday collage in idyllic setting Set in three quarters of an acre of beautiful landscaped gardens, surrounded by fields and nestled within easy reach of the market town of Romsey, Hampshire, this cosy, self catering homely thatched country cottage provides a peaceful location, ideal for a really relaxed holiday break for up to five people. Many places of interest are within easy reach such as Mottisfont Abbey gardens and the New Forest National Park which offers ample walking, cycling and other outdoor

There’s a busy programme of Rare Plant Fairs in June, with three events during the month, all held in unique gardens. The first is set in the beautiful Arts and Crafts gardens of High Glanau Manor, near Monmouth, on Sunday, 4th June. These gardens, lovingly restored by the present owners, featured on BBC Gardener’s World three years ago and offer spectacular views over the Vale of Usk. Fifteen exhibitors will be showing the Fair, which runs from 11am-4pm. There’s a new fair at Hanham Court Gardens, near Bristol, on Sunday, 11th June. The gardens were developed over 15 years by renowned garden designers Julian and Isabel Bannerman, and they created a deeply romantic and scented garden. The fair is open from 11am to 4pm, with 19 exhibitors. Then there’s the world famous Waterperry Gardens, near Oxford, on Sunday, 25th June. The gardens date back to the 1930’s when the estate was home to Beatrix Havergal’s famous School of Horticulture for Women. This fair runs from 10am-4pm, with 21 exhibitors. Visit for details of all the events, including a list of the exhibitors.

Hartland Abbey & Gardens A special day out in a spectacular, wild corner of North Devon Enjoy magical summer walks... amongst the beautiful wildflowers. Browse our fantastic range of plants, gardening supplies and gifts and soak up the sun from the deck of the Garden Terrace Café. A perfect day out for all the family – dog friendly too!

Visit this historic family home with its fascinating architecture, collections and exhibitions. Beautiful 18thC walled and woodland gardens and wildflower walks to the beach. * Delicious light lunches & cream teas * * Dogs welcome * Holiday Cottages * House, Gardens and Café: until Oct 1st Sun to Thurs 11am - 5pm (House 2pm - last adm. 4.15pm)

For all information and events see Hartland, Nr. Bideford EX39 6DT 01237441496/234 (Only 1 mile to Hartland Quay)

Visit for details on our forthcoming events BATSFORD ARBORETUM AND GARDEN CENTRE Batsford, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 9AD

One of the finest gardens in Britain

Tel: 01386 701441 E: BatsfordArboretum


Buckland Monachorum, Yelverton, Devon PL20 7LQ 01822 854769



Summer at beautiful Batsford Arboretum Batsford is the perfect place to escape the crowds and soak up the natural beauty of the surrounding Cotswold countryside. Relax and unwind in the sunshine on the lawns; follow the meandering waterways or simply escape the heat in the cooling glades beneath the tree canopy. The arboretum stages ‘The Jungle Book’, on Thursday, 27th July, at 6pm and there’s the chance to take along a chair and a picnic and join Mowgli, Bagheera, Baloo and friends in this open-air theatre production of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale Batsford Arboretum & Garden Centre, Batsford, Moreton-inMarsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 9AD. Tel 01386 701441. Email

Outdoor lifestyle at Hartland Abbey June sees the start of the outdoor theatre season on the lawns at Hartland Abbey with an exciting programme to look forward to. These performances from travelling theatre companies are a lovely opportunity to visit the house and gardens (on regular open days), looking their best in June, during the day and to then settle into a comfortable picnic chair and enjoy an evening of entertainment. The Sweet Chilli Beef Company will be providing beefburgers and hot dogs with delicious accompaniments and there will be a Pimms and

Wine Bar; or you can bring your own bring picnic. All details of performances are on

A year of photography in the garden At The Garden House on Dartmoor you can join ‘resident’ photographer and ecologist, John Richmond, as he reflects on a year spent photographing the wonderful ten-acre garden. It is one of the finest gardens in Britain and John has had unrestricted access to photograph the plant and wildlife through the seasons. John will be hosting two evenings; a slide show with a ‘Q&A session’ and also a practical photography session out in the garden. They will be relaxed, informal and informative. It’s a chance to learn more about the garden and also practice photography with an expert on hand. The evenings are on 25th May and 1st June and cost £10 or £8 for members. See website for booking and details of this and other classes for 2017.

Cadhay - a manor house for special memories Described as one of the most romantic Elizabethan manor houses in the country, Cadhay House and Gardens offer a perfect space to celebrate a wedding - whether the ceremony is held in the Granary, the small, walled water garden, the rustic Old Apple Store or inside the Manor House itself, the magnificent gardens always act as a wonderful backdrop.

Sponsored by

01749 988 111

To be opened by Alan Titchmarsh

The Garden Festival returns to The Bishop's Palace for the third year and it will be bigger than ever! Talks, stalls, demonstrations, refreshments, entertainment and top gardening personalities will inspire you on how best to use your garden. Featuring Matthew Biggs, Anne Swinthinbank, Alan Power, Cleve West and more! TICKETS: Adult: £6.99 advance £7.99 on the door Conc: £5.90 advance, £6.90 on the door Child (5-18): £3.35 Under 5's: FREE Palace Members: FREE 40

Country Gardener

Cadhay House and Gardens, with its Tea Room, are now open every Friday between 2pm and 5pm, and will also be open over the late Spring Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday, Sunday and Monday). Groups are welcome by prior arrangement - call 01395 222382 or go to

American Garden secluded haven at Powderham Castle

The festival takes place on Saturday, 17th June and Sunday, 18th June at the Showground, Trafalgar Way, Axminster.

Castle Drogo planning for a spectacular summer

A warm welcome awaits visitors and their dogs to the family home of the Earl & Countess of Devon at Powderham Castle just a few miles outside of Exeter. There’s entertaining guided tours, delicious cream teas and beautiful gardens to explore. The American Garden is open to enjoy until 1st September. Created by the 3rd Viscount, this is a secluded haven of peace and tranquility with its exotic trees including the first Wollemi pine in Devon and beautiful castellated summerhouse. Open until 27th October; Sunday to Friday 11am to 4.30pm 50per-cent offer on admission for National Trust and English Heritage members. Gardens only admission is available. Visit for full details.

Hidden behind the immaculate yew hedges at Castle Drogo stands a unique Lutyens designed terraced formal garden. With its patchwork rose beds in full bloom, fragrant beds of lavender and herbaceous borders bursting into life summer is the perfect time to explore. You can also pay a visit to the castle where the project to save the castle is continuing, giving you the opportunity to see behind the scenes of a major conservation project. This summer the garden will be the venue for some very special outdoor events and tours, visit the website or ring for more details. Visit or call 01647 433306

Axe Vale Festival – a date worth keeping

Hinton St Mary - gardens open 2017

Axe Vale has won itself a deserved reputation as a family friendly two-day festival. For enthusiastic gardeners, the floral marquee full of colour and scents is a delight. Crafts of great variety and skill will amaze, toys and hobbies will intrigue, art, antiques and collectables will tempt and the mouth-watering fare in the food marquee is not to be missed! The main arena is host to an exciting programme of events

42nd Cerne Abbas

Hinton St. Mary Gardens Open

Open Gardens

Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th June 2pm to 6pm

About 25 Private Gardens Open

In aid of St Peter’s Church

17th & 18th June, 2-6pm Day ticket to all gardens Adults £6.00 Ticket for 2 days £10.00 Accompanied children free Teas in St Mary’s Church Plant Stall Free Car Park (DT2 7GD) from 11 am Proceeds divided equally between: Cerne Valley Young People’s Trust & The Miss Bush Riding for the Disabled Group

The picturesque village of Hinton St Mary celebrates its Gardens Open Weekend to raise funds for St Peter’s Church on Saturday, 17th and Sunday, 18th June from 2pm to 6pm on each day. The Manor House Gardens will be open and 20 other gardens. This event takes place every two years and its financial success is essential to the future of the church. Cream teas and home-made cakes will be served in the Tithe Barn, and there will be plants, collectables and second hand books on sale.

Castle Hill

FILLEIGH, NR SOUTH MOLTON, DEVON EX32 0RH Tel: 01598 760336 (ext 1)

Over 20 Gardens Open including Manor House Garden Cream teas in Tithe Barn Plant and Collectables Stalls Exhibition of sculpture Adults £5.00 Children Free No dogs

Explore 50 acres of stunning landscape on pathways leading to follies, statues and temples. River walk and panoramic views from the Castle. Dogs on leads welcome. Tearoom offering light lunches and delicious homemade cakes. Host to numerous events and a picture perfect wedding venue.

Open daily except Saturdays Adults £6.50, Seniors £6, Child (5-15) £3, Family £15.50, Groups (20+) £5.50 41

GREAT PLACES T O V ISI T Hinton St Mary has a number of thatched and listed cottages, one mile north of Sturminster Newton. It is well known to archaeologists for the important Roman Mosaic discovered in 1963, which is now displayed in the British Museum and is considered to be the world’s first depiction of the head of Christ. There’s ample free parking and disabled facilities. Admission £5,children free. No dogs.

Kingston Maurward Open Day promises to be best yet This year’s Kingston Maurward Open Day on Sunday, 11th June is set to be the biggest and best yet. You can visit the 18th Century Mansion House, terrace, stunning lake and gardens; enjoy live music, dog shows,

Kingston Maurward Open Day

browse trade stands, buy locally produce from the Dorset food and drink vendors and watch student demonstrations. There’s the opportunity to stroll through the beautiful gardens to the Pimms tent on the croquet lawn and through to the Animal Park for circus skills, bouncy castle, soft play area and meet the animals. Doors are open from 10am to 5pm – and admission is free. Visit or call 01305 215000

Friars Court celebrates with summer garden openings Friars Court, on the edge of the village of Clanfield, Oxfordshire, home of the Willmer family is celebrating 100 years of their residency this year. Owner Charles Willmer is opening his gardens to share their beauty throughout the summer. Friars Court dates back to the 12th century when it was established as the first Hospitallery under the Monastic Orders of St John in Oxfordshire. The Willmer family have been in the house since 1917. Designer Jeffrey Cleaver and gardener Kris Hellard have divided the grounds into a series of ‘garden rooms’. These areas include the moat ponds, fire border, the rainbow bed, a rose garden and privy garden. The gardens are open for the National Garden Scheme on Monday 29th May 2pm until 6pm then re-opens


ly nd ils rie eta g F for d Do ite ry bs Ve e we

Chalford and France Lynch

Open Gardens Trail Stunning Cotswold hillside and valley setting


45 plus gardens, large and small, cottages to country houses

SATURDAY 24TH AND SUNDAY 25TH JUNE 12.00 - 6.00 Teas, award winning café and plant stall





Wander Add some colour to through the your weekend this autumn at Gibside summer garden at Castle Drogo

Visit the Earl of Devon’s 600 year old family home Entertaining Guided Tours for all ages. Friendly Animals, Deer Park Safari, Adventure Play Castle & Zip Slide, Treasure Trails and much more! Famous Themed Weeks and Special Events all Season.

Go crunching through fallen leaves and discover a forest teeming with wildlife and autumn colours, with walking routes for all ages and abilities.

Open 1 April to 27 October 2017. Sun to Fri 11.00 to 4.30. 8 miles from M5 Jctn 30/Exeter on the A379 Dawlish Road. TEL: 01626 890243 42 Call 01647 433306 for details When you visit, donate, volunteer or join the National Trust, your

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

Country Gardener

Thatched Self-Catering Cottage Sleeps 3-5 Peaceful surroundings near Romsey, Hampshire. Near New Forest and other places of interest. For details phone Mrs Crane on

01794 340460

every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon during June, July and August. Visitors can enjoy these peaceful gardens at leisure and follow their transition through the years in the new museum and exhibition with pictures and historical artefacts on show. or call 01367 81020 Friars Court, Clanfield, Bampton OX18 2SU

Cerney House Gardens A Romantic English Garden in the UK Cotswolds 46 acres of Cotswold parkland Romantic secret garden * Wildlife and woodland walks * Plants for sale * Walled garden with roses and herbaceous borders * Refreshments available at the old Bothy Open from Saturday 28th January 10-5pm Admission: £5 adults, £1 children Dogs welcome

Telephone 01285 831300 Cerney House Gardens, The Garden House, North Cerney, Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 7BX

Gardener If you like Country bsite we r ou ve lo l you’l www.countrygarden The peaceful gardens at Friars Court

Whichford Pottery – quality handmade flowerpots Established in 1976 by Jim and Dominique Keeling, Whichford Pottery is a family-run business with a worldrenowned reputation for making handmade British frost proof flowerpots. Whichford pots are designed, hand thrown and decorated at the Pottery by over 25 highly-skilled craftsmen and women. The flowerpots are practical as well as beautiful, from longtoms to seedpans, from huge jars to hand-pressed urns – all made from Whichford’s very own clay blend, giving their pots a 10-year frost proof guarantee. You can choose from their full range, meet the team, be inspired by the romantic courtyard garden, shop British in The Octagon and enjoy home-cooked food at The Straw Kitchen. The Pottery are offering readers of Country Gardener a free Poppy Pot (worth £20) when you spend £40 or more on full-priced flowerpots. Offer ends 30th June . See website for full terms and conditions . For pottery and café opening hours visit

• New and exclusive on line features on gardening skills, garden visits and events • In depth profiles on local gardens


Charity No. 1130829

Trade stands - hobbies - art - live music - vintage, retro & antiques...

Fifty acres of privately owned gardens offering wonderful views punctuated by follies, statues, rivers and temples all set amongst a myriad of magnificent plants, trees and shrubs. It is perfect for both families and keen gardeners; intertwined pathways lead through the Millennium Garden to woodlands, terraces and water features. The sham castle gives views of Exmoor, Dartmoor and Lundy Island. Castle Hill plays host throughout the summer to a season of Outdoor Theatre shows, concerts and entertainment and charity fun runs and family fun days. The tearoom serves light lunches and refreshments. It’s also a picture perfect venue for weddings and celebrations. Castle Hill, Filleigh near South Molton, Devon,EX32 0RH Tel: 01598 760336 (ext. 1)

Arena events - floral marquee - crafts - food hall - children’s activities

Castle Hill, Filleigh

There’s much more to add to your Country Gardener experience when you visit our improved and regularly updated website.



Bishop’s Palace ready to celebrate garden festival A traditional three day English Country Garden Festival in spectacular surroundings takes place at The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens in Wells, from Friday, 9th to Sunday, 11th June. 10am-5pm The event, which opens between 10am and 5pm each day, is a celebration of the horticultural heritage held within the plantsman’s paradise of the palace and gardens. Visitors can experience the award winning gardens, which recently featured on BBC Gardener’s World, filled with talks, stalls, hands-on demonstrations, refreshments, entertainment, top gardening personalities, a full schedule of activities and inspirational ideas on how best to use and enjoy their gardens. Other activities will include a range of ‘have a go’ skills and crafts including flower arranging, felting, card crafting, a ‘Gardener’s SOS’ giving advice on all nature of gardening problems and issues, barbeque food on the South Lawn, live music and an ‘English Country Ceilidh’ on Saturday afternoon. Tickets are £6.99 in advance and £7.99 on the door (Concessions £5.90 and £6.90) and available from the Palace Shop, by telephone on 01749 988 111 or on the website. The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens, Wells, Somerset. BA5 2PD. Tel: 01749 988111.

Twenty five gardens waiting to open at Cerne Abbaas The charming and quaint Dorset village of Cerne Abbas celebrates its Open Gardens weekend over the weekend of 17th and 18th June, the proceeds going to local charities. About 25 private gardens which are normally hidden from view will be Beautiful setting for Cerne Abbas gardens open open from 2pm to 6pm. It’s the 42nd opening weekend in the village. Day ticket for entry to all gardens costs £6, accompanied children free, tickets available in the car park (open from 11am) or in village square from 1pm. All the gardens are within easy walking distance of free carpark (postcode DT2 7GD). Tea and cake served in the church from 2pm and an excellent plant stall in the village square from 1pm. 44

..................................... KINGSTON MAURWARD .....................................




Food, stalls & fun for all

..................................... FREE ADMISSION FOR EVERYONE 10AM - 5PM

..................................... Satnav: KINGSTON MAURWARD, DORCHESTER, DORSET, DT2 8PX

Come and Visit...

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

Pottery Workshop

Handmade Flowerpots

Courtyard Garden The Straw Kitchen Whichford Pottery, Whichford, Nr. Shipston-on-Stour, Warks, CV36 5PG Tel: 01608 684416

FREE POPPY POT (worth £20) when you spend over £40 on full-priced flowerpots. Offer ends 30th June 2017.

Please quote: Country Gardener. For full T&Cs please see our website.

Country Gardener

CLASSIF IED Accommodation Somerset, Spacious Scandinavian log cabin in quiet country lane near village. 2 double bedrooms plus large sofa bed. Fully equipped. Suitable for disabled. Open all year. Pet friendly. Tel: 01278 789678. email: 32ft caravan sleeps 4. Set in two acres of Worcestershire countryside overlooking lake. Central heating. Hot tub,log burner. Private garden. Details on Sunbrae B&B site or ring 01905 841129 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 Cornwall, near St Just. Chalet, sleeps 4, heated indoor pool, open all year – near gardens/coast, golfing nearby. Prices from £260 pw. 01736 788718

Bosworlas near Sennen/St Just, Cornwall. Cosy Cottage, rural views, Sleeps 2-4 01736 788709

Delightful cosy Shepherds Hut for 2 on Cotswold Farm Pretty villages, Bustling market towns excellent walking NT and gardens Tel: 01242 604189

Carmarthen Bay South Wales

Gloucestershire, Cosy annexe for two

non-smokers, lovely garden, beautiful countryside. Pets welcome. Tel: 01452 840531

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

Accommodation Abroad

Beautifully romantic cottage for two Sidmouth, Devon Lovely self-catering house. Sleeps 4. Undercover parking. 10 mins walk to seafront. Tel: 01934 862840 Email:

In sunny SW France just 30 mins from Bergerac airport.

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Accommodation: Holiday Cottages

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. Dogs welcome! Tel: 01291 641826 Shakespeare Country/Cotswolds. Sleeps 5. Dogs. Brochure Tel: 07757 784074 Wye Valley/Forest of Dean. Fully equipped 4-star single storey cottage. Two bedrooms both en-suite. Central heating/bedlinen provided. Rural retreat with shops/pubs one mile. Short breaks available. Warm welcome. Tel: 01594 833259 Lanlivery near Eden and other Cornish Gardens lovely woodland lodge 2/4 people www.poppylodgecornwall. 01726 430489 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 holidaysat55@ Devon, Culm Valley, Well equipped rural cottage for 2. No Pets/Smokers 01884 841320 45

CLASSIF IED Northumberland Luxury self-catering cottage, sleeps 2. Rural location. Near to major tourist attractions inc Hadrian’s Wall 01884 841320

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

Pembrokeshire, Wales 4 star luxury cottages in idyllic surroundings. Fully equipped, open all year. Children & pets welcome. Tel: 01239 841850

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

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


Sidmouth Devon Holiday bungalow in AONB overlooking Donkey Sanctuary. Sleeps 4. April – October. Ideal for walkers, nature lovers and children. 07842 514296

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

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

Bed & Breakfast

4 Star Gold Award B&B in Stoulton, Worcestershire. Luxury accommodation in beautiful surroundings. Perfectly situated to visit Worcester, The Malvern’s, Pershore, Cheltenham and Accommodation With Cotswolds. 01905 841129 Beautiful Gardens North Devon near Clovelly. 3 delightful Country House B&B Ideal location for cottages situated in 12 acres of idyllic Malvern Autumn Garden Show countryside. Sleeps 2-4. 1 Wheelchair and surrounding gardens. Visit friendly. Prices from £190 p.w. Brochure: or 01237 431324 Tel 01885 482471 for details. 46

Home Farm B&B in beautiful Cotswold village nr Chipping Campden. Close Hidcote and Kiftsgate - phone 01386 593309 Charming B&B in garden cottage annex. Double with en-suite. Village location near Jurassic Coast, Bridport. Tel: 01308 488177 Explore Devon and be spoilt. 2 nights DBB £190 per couple. Farmhouse hospitality. Great trip advisor reports. 01566 783010 Somerset 5* Restaurant with Rooms. Close to many NT Gardens, Houses and Dorset Coast. Countryside Location with Lovely Garden. Pet Friendly 01935 423902 Quality B&B Truro Cornwall. Ideal for visiting beautiful cornish gardens and coast. £40 pppn 01872 241081 Paignton, Devon, 4* B&B. Ideal location for coast, countryside and NT gardens. En-suite rooms, garden, parking. Green Tourism Gold Award. 01803 556932

Country Gardener

AA 5 Star Gold Award B&B SE Cornwall Ideal location for many gardens. 10% discount use code CG10, min 2 nights, ex July/Aug Tel: 01579 321260

CLASSIF IED Garden Buildings Leigh Goodchild Ltd

Garden Buildings SIMON BUNCE

Taunton Farmhouse B&B/ Granary Conversion Nearby Hestercombe Gardens, Willows and Wetlands Visitor Centre. Tel: 01823 443549/ 07811 565309

Superior cedar greenhouses by Gabriel Ash. Free survey and quotes; all work undertaken.

Call Leigh 07971 251261

Garden Furniture UKs leading supplier of Teak Furniture for the Garden

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

Mill House Fine Art Publishing, Bellflower Gallery, Market Place, Colyton, Devon EX24 6JS

Tel. 01297 553100

Fly Screens

Gardens To Visit

IA GARDENS AUREL Open every weekend and Bank Holidays 10am - 4pm ♦ ♦ ♦ Tea Room ♦ ♦ ♦

Aurelia Gardens, Newman’s Lane, West Moors, BH22 0LP Tel: 01256 809 640 sales

Garden Services

Burrow Farm Gardens


Professional Garden Services Services include Consultations, Garden Design, Borders, Orchards & Meadows. Specialist Pruning; Climbers, Fruit & Topiary. Supply of Trees, Plants & Bulbs. Talks on Gardens & Plants.

Tel: 07546 874083 / 01643 818092

For group bookings and coaches please call: 01202 870851


We sell to both individuals and trade. No order too small. Contact us for your free 2017 catalogue

FdSc Hort. MCI Hort. 01626 836279 / 07903943757 Garden Design | Tree Services Garden Maintenance Based in Bovey Tracey

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

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

Dalwood, Axminster, EX13 7ET



Fruit Trees

Adam’s Apples Apple trees from £8 Over 100 varieties Dessert, juicing, cider & cookers to suit your farm, garden or smallholding Many other fruit trees & bushes. Discounts for wholesale, community projects & schools. Advice and free catalogues.

Tel: 01404 841166

Drystone Walling and Paving

Advertise here...

Mortared work also undertaken. Patrick Houchen - DSWA member. Tel: 01963 371123

Call on 01278 671037 for details, or email:


CLASSIF IED Home & Garden Show

Water Lilies

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

Buy online at or visit our gardens in Weymouth

This traditional English Garden Show brings together specialist nurseries, beautiful crafts and artisan food producers from throughout the South West. Garden admission £6.00 (children under 14 free) Dogs on leads are very welcome Coombe Trenchard, Lewtrenchard, Devon EX20 4PW 01566 783179

Putton Lane, Chickerell, Weymouth DT3 4AF

Polytunnels Growers of many plants suitable for coastal areas including hedging plants


All propagated and grown in Devon Established suppliers to landscape designers

Polytunnels from £345 available to view by appointment 01363 84948

Property Services Agricultural Tie Specialists, Removal, Lawful Use. Tel: 01386 554041

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



UK’s largest selection of established, pot grown water lilies; Speciality hardy exotics, tropical waterside, marginals and moisture loving bogside.

Landscaping & Design Service.

Tel: 01935 891668


Forton Nursery Top quality Perennials, Shrubs and Trees. Located in Forton village, near Chard TA20 4HD Tel 01460 239569 Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 48

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

Tel: 01884 266746

DULFORD NURSERIES SPECIALIST TREE & SHRUB GROWERS Growers & suppliers of the widest range of Native & Ornamental Trees, Shrubs & Hedging in the West Country

Tel: 01884 266361 Dulford Nurseries, Dulford, Cullompton, Devon EX15 2BY

Westcountry Nurseries

Tel. 01684 574865 Mob. 07443520040 Email.

Specialist Nurseries & Plants

Thornhayes nursery

Devon’s specialist supplier of herbaceous perennials. Holders of the National Collection of Lupins.


Wide range of plants on offer mail order; plus climbers, ferns, grasses and alpines.

Visit us at Kitley Farm, Yealmpton, PL8 2LT Or order plants at

Open weekdays by appointment March to June only. Mail order all year round. Tel: 01752 881180 Country Gardener

Chelsea Gold Medallists

Free colour brochure quote CTRYGAR17. email:


Wanted/For Sale 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

Country Gardener Editorial Publisher & Editor: Alan Lewis Tel: 01823 431767 Time Off: Kate Lewis Distribution Pat Eade Tel: 01594 543790

Wholesale Nursery

Wanted Old Radio Valves And Audio Valves. Tel: 02392 251062

Advertise here...

Cath Pettyfer Devon & Dorset Tel: 01837 82660

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


Call on 01278 671037 for details, or email:

Advertising Sales Ava Bench Somerset & Classified Tel: 01278 671037

Tel 01404 41150

Trimplant Nursery, Combe Raleigh, Honiton, Devon

Corina Reay Cotswolds Tel: 01823 410098 Rob Houghton Hampshire & Sussex Tel: 01614 283230

Design & Production Aidan Gill Gemma Stringer

Accounts Sam Bartholomew Tel: 01823 430639

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.

April Country Gardener

competition winners

Love your garden?

John Deere Run 46 Mower winner; Dean Gordon, Poole, Dorset.

Love Country Gardener

Our readers say*... “I can’t wait to pick up my copy every month.“ “I doubt if there’s a better gardening magazine.” “A lovely read, well written and I love how local it is.” Issue No 137 Spring



Twelve winners Fiskars scissors: Helen Bostock, Salisbury; Lesley Hinde, Honiton, Exeter; James Prescott, Kidderminster, Worcs; Nicola Stocken, Lynmouth, Devon; Janice Ellis, Exmouth, Devon; Cybil West, Southampton; Brian Potter, New Milton, Hants; Roy Gillard, Wells, Somerset; Margaret Liff, Bridgwater, Somerset; Di Baker, Cheltenham; Paul Webb, Alcester; John Deans, Chichester.


s Captivating cornu to welcome in spring JOBS TO DO NOW FOR CROPS THIS SUMMER ‘Tunnel vision’ - growing inside a polytunnel visit this spring The first gardens to events Back in action - garden Devon galore throughout

to grow this year spice • What potatoes PLUS Saffron the English Devon’s modern day plant hunter • Your health in the garden

Take a Look Inside for Money Saving Vouchers

Country Gardener produces editions covering THE COTSWOLDS, DEVON, DORSET, HAMPSHIRE, SOMERSET and SUSSEX. Available at over 650 LOCATIONS throughout our circulation area. To find your local pick up point go to

* 2014 Readership Survey




Here’s a selection of gardening events to look out for during the next few weeks throughout Sussex. Send us details of your event at least ten weeks before publication and we will publicise it free of charge. Make sure you let us know where the event is being held, the date and include a contact telephone number. We are keen to support garden club events and we will be glad to publicise talks and shows held during the year where clubs want to attract a wider audience, but we do not have space for club outings or parties. We suggest that garden clubs send us their diary for the year for events to be included in the relevant issue of the magazine. Please send to Country Gardener Magazines, Mount House, Halse, Taunton TA4 3AD or by email to and copy to We take great care to ensure that details are correct at the time of going to press but we advise readers to check wherever possible before starting out on a journey as circumstances can force last minute changes.





3rd/4th FLORAL FRINGE FAIR Knepp Castle, West Grinstead, Nr Horsham, West Sussex RH13 8LJ



Country Gardener


8th FARNBOROUGH FUCHSIA & PELARGONIUM SOCIETY ANNUAL SUMMER BBQ Details on 01276 36392 WINCHESTER FLORAL DESIGN SOCIETY LUNCH AT WOLVSEY PALACE Details on 01962 851699 11th OPEN FARM SUNDAY Farms across Sussex open their gates to show what farmers actually do. Details on 024 7641 3911 DRIFTWOOD, 4 MARINE DRIVE, SEAFORD, BN25 2RS 6TH ANNUAL MAYOR’S OPEN GARDEN TRAIL Details on 01323 899296 ROPLEY, SO24 0DU OPEN GARDENS IN AID OF ST PETER’S CHURCH & THE ROSEMARY FOUNDATION 2pm – 5pm. Assistance dogs only Details on 01962 773603 12th MIDHURST GARDEN CLUB PLANT SWAP 14th GRAYSHOTT GARDENERS ‘ORCHIDS’ – TOM HART DYKE Details on 01428 722000 TOTTON & DISTRICT GARDENERS’ SOCIETY ‘DAHLIAS’ – NICK GILBERT Details on 023 80292761 15th/16th FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER Details at







24th ALTON HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY SUMMER SHOW Details on 01420 544119 November 2015


Issue No 118

Are you part of a garden club or society?



combat plants can mn How fruiting greys of autu the sombre

Issue No 82

Winter 2015

Please send us your diary for the year we’d love to include your talks and shows

ls ing perennia late flower ING ING AND COP UNDERSTAND IN THE GARDEN TS WITH FROS ts galore ening even Autumn gardthe Cotswolds throughout


in Jobs to do www.countryga en winter gard

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sessio urgeon. fun drop-in with the Barber-S and crafts. for these tion half-term medieval medicine Experience w. Fossil identifica centre October 2-4pm. Rock and Fossil Roadsho Tuesday 27th 1-4pm. www.cotswoldsaon 29th October GL54 3JH Thursday Gloucestershire,

Join us in

Fosse Way,


Issue No 1

Spring 2016

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It’s free!


DEN IAS WIT H GAR SUC CEED s to come g of snowdrop n and dirty Getting dow vegetables er re wint with out Hampshi ts through even g nd Gardenin as - and beyo to Christm

or by post to: Mount House, Halse, Taunton, TA4 3AD.


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Mirror, mirror

in the garden!

When we mention the word ‘mirror’ few of us think of their use in the garden landscape. Just as mirrors can make indoor spaces appear larger, they do the same outdoors, along with reflecting light

by Anne Coleshaw

Your garden should be able to mix as much reality in with your illusion as you can. For example, I have attached an open gate next to a full-length mirror, with a stepping stone path going up to it, which creates the illusion of an entire garden beyond. With our full-length mirror and stepping stone path, we cut the last steppingstone in half and placed it right next to the bottom of the mirror so that a full steppingstone was reflected back. How to correctly place a mirror in your garden Placing a mirror correctly in the garden is actually much harder than you might think. The reason for this is that you have to be very careful what the mirror reflects back. So if you place the mirror at the end of the garden and it only reflects your house or utility area back, then that probably won’t be ideal. A quick tip is to take one of your house mirrors out into the garden and try it out in different locations to get a feel of where is the best place, if it isn’t obvious, like at the end of a path, for example. That way you can see what is reflected back. A trick to help you get the best view from your mirror If the view reflected back in the mirror isn’t that good, the good news is, often, you can cheat! If you place something behind the mirror that angles it like a piece of wood, then you can completely change what is reflected back, in a lot of circumstances. It’s useful actually, to angle the mirror slightly anyway, so as you walk towards it, you’re not immediately reflected back in it, and spoil the illusion of having a garden beyond. What type of mirror should you use? The type of mirror I recommend you use, will go against 52

conventional advice. My suggestion is that you use the best internal mirror you can afford to put in. Yes, there are mirrors specifically designed for outside use. The problem with exterior mirrors is that they are usually either made from plastic or polished metal. Forget the metal ones. The plastic outdoor mirrors are a little better, but they do tend to look like they’ve come out of the fairground house of horrors, you don’t get a perfect reflection back and it ends up looking a little bit warped, which does ruin the effect somewhat. So, I’ve found if you use a good quality interior mirror, they will look good and last longer than cheaper mirrors, outside. They won’t last forever, and yes when you go to purchase one there will be a lot of tutting and head scratching and ‘that won’t last outside dear’ type of comments from the mirror supplier! The main problem with using a mirror outside is that the water gets in and separates the reflective surface from the glass. In the past, I’ve used a flexible metal-like tape over the top of the mirror to help prevent the water getting in. If you ask in the mirror place, or builders merchant, they will hopefully know what I’m talking about and be able to supply you with some, once they’ve stopped telling you what a bad idea it is to use a internal mirror in the garden! Another issue can be glue. If the mirror is glued in place, the glue has a nasty habit of working its way through the mirror’s reflective surface and causing a darkening in the glass – especially, if the mirror is repositioned during glueing. One last thing on placement of mirrors Be aware of the sun! You need to place your mirror out of the sun so you don’t end up accidentally setting fire to your fence or neighbours garden with the reflection from the sun.

Country Gardener


a King

Polygonatum or Solomon’s Seal are refined woodland perennials with a real charm producing graceful, arching stems with precisely paired, oval leaves along their length joined by dangling, green-tipped, white bells that persist throughout early summer. The nodding bells of Polygonatum are one of the classic sights in a woodland garden. These are plants that enjoy woodland conditions and love a cool, shady, humus-rich border surrounded by spring flowers such as corydalis and dicentra. Their stems and foliage remain eye-catching even after the flowers are over. Solomon's seal also looks superb with hardy ferns to create a combination that lasts all summer. Forms of Solomon’s seal have been grown in British gardens for centuries and, once established, the common garden form (Polygonatum x hybridum) becomes a woodland stalwart living for decades or longer. The rhizomes ramble a little when happy, but this is part of their charm. The common - and easiest to grow is Polygonatum x hybridum. Most are two feet high and have arching stems with pairs of leaves giving rise to another common name 'Ladder in Heaven'. The flowers, which are most often ivory-white, hang downwards in clusters from the leaf joints and they are often edged in green and slightly fragrant. Sometimes black berries appear after the flowers. There are arching double-flowered forms of Solomon's seal, others with variegated cream and green foliage and narrow-leaved upright polygonatums as well. All Solomon's seals add structure to woodland or shady borders. Find a well-grown Solomon's seal specimen and place in a cool position in dappled shade. Choose a place that isn’t disturbed, because the thick shoots emerge late from just below the surface and they are easily damaged in areas that are regularly dug or walked on. Solomon's seal are lovers of cool soil and will not thrive in hot positions, although they don’t seem to mind dryish shade once established, especially if leaf litter covers them in autumn to provide a humus-rich mulch. Sometimes you have to move polygonatums around the garden before finding a spot they are really happy in, but they are worth it. Once a suitable area has been found, they will spread, but not invasively so. If you do have to move

them, do it in spring as they start into growth. A good clump of Solomon’s seal takes time and patience but, once established, they are undemanding. Keep the soil moist in summer as this produces large clumps more quickly. Plant Solomon's seal from young plants in spring. Although it is possible to grow from seed it can take up to four years before your plant would be large enough to flower. Divide Solomon's seal in spring as the buds break from the rhizomes. Then chop them into sections, making sure there’s a bud at the top. Re-plant in friable, humus-rich soil or pot up and plant the following autumn. Solomon's seal produces dainty white and cream bellflowers in early spring. Leaves provide architectural interest until the autumn. WHAT TO GROW WITH THEM… Polygonatums need equally green, cool plants to shine and you can use them with hardy British ferns, including forms of Polystichum setiferum, Polypodium australe, Dryopteris filix-mas or Dryopteris wallichianum. They also look handsome with the green and ivory-white Viridiflora tulip ‘Spring Green’. Or use them behind hostas, or among hellebores and wood anemones. In all there are 60 species found in Asia, America and Europe. Britain has three native species. Polygonatum multiflorum (Solomon's seal) is the most common, being found in lowland woods containing ash and field maple on chalk and limestone. Polygonatum odoratum (Angular Solomon's seal) is a plant of limestone pavements and cracks, so it is disappearing. Polygonatum verticillatum (Whorled Solomon's seal) is an uncommon plant of wooded gorges and river banks, mainly in Scotland. These plants are increasingly popular and good nurseries now stock a full range of polygonatums and their close allies.


POTTING ON PLANTS Plants grown permanently in containers will need special care and repotting, potting on and proper feeding regimes are essential to keep plants healthy and flourishing Most healthy container garden plants eventually outgrow their pots. Most will need repotting every other year into a container that is about a third larger. Recognising when it's time to repot is the first step. Often a plant simply looks top-heavy or as if it might burst out of its pot. Other tell tale signs of when a plant needs repotting are yellow, fading leaves, growth slowing to a stop, pots becoming difficult to water or keep watered or roots disappearing through the contained drainage holes. The best growing medium for permanent plant pots is John Innes No 3 which has coarse grit which roots can anchor and peat that improves drainage. The best time to repot most plants is when they're actively growing, in the spring or summer. However, plants can usually handle repotting whenever the situation warrants it. Getting a potbound plant out of its pot can be difficult If a plant is rootbound, it helps to water the root ball thoroughly in advance. For plants in small to medium pots, invert the pot and support the top of the root ball with one hand. Put your other hand on the bottom of the pot and use a downward throwing motion with an abrupt stop. Many plants will slip out after one or two throws. If not, knock the edge of the pot against a sturdy surface, such as a potting bench, still holding the pot with both hands. It may take a few good whacks to release the plant; be careful not to break the pot. A plant ready for repotting should slide out with the soil in one piece. If much of the soil falls free of the roots, the plant may not need repotting. If it does, there will likely be a solid soil-and-root mass in the shape of the just-removed pot. Roots should be white or light-colored. Black, dark, or foulsmelling roots are usually signs of a serious problem, such as fungal disease.

To pdressing plants

Topdressing is wor th doing every ot her year between repotting. Tip the pot on to its side and with your fingers or a hand fork gently tease among the roots remove the two th to ree inches of old co mpost. Place the pot upright and co ver the roots with John Innes No. 3 and water in.


Root pruning vs root teasing Pot bound plants with tightly encircled roots present a real problem when it comes to making sure the plant gets a new lease of life. There are two options, Root teasing seems best suited to encourage plant growth and re-establishment. Teasing is a light, manual spreading of the roots outside the original confines of the pot. No cutting is involved although some roots will break when you try and spread them apart. The other option is to prune the roots to encourage root production. This involves light pruning by cutting off a small proportion of fine roots around the edges of the rootball encouraging new growth. Of the two options latest research by the RHS shows that pruning is now thought to be more effective but only with light pruning – not more than 20 per cent of the roots.

Trim off the bottom of the root ball and make some vertical cuts up the sides. Roots packed tightly in a pot don't take up nutrients efficiently. To promote good nutrient absorption, trim the roots and loosen up the root ball before replanting. Use a sharp knife or pruning shears for this job, removing as much as the bottom third of the root ball if necessary. Don't be surprised if what you cut off is a thick tangle of root tissue. Also make three or four vertical cuts about a third of the way up the remaining root ball. Cut through any roots growing in a circular pattern to help prevent the plant from strangling itself with its own roots as it grows. If the roots are thick along the sides of the root ball, shave or peel away the outer layer. Or gently untangle the root ball with your fingers as if you were mussing someone's hair. Do this along the top edge of the root ball, too.

Country Gardener

We’re delighted to bring our hugely popular free gardening magazine to the gardeners of Sussex. Every month throughout the gardening season our high quality editorial and helpful advertising will make a huge difference to your gardening. You can pick this popular and colourful specialist gardening magazine up from a growing number of outlets throughout Sussex. For details on where you can find the magazine go to

S u ss e x

Welcome to Sussex Country Gardener!

Issue No

more editorial, more colour and importantly more local news and events

in six editions covering Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Hampshire, the

Cotswolds and now Sussex. It is published nine times a year and provides an inspirational mix of practical and authoritative editorial featuring some of the top writers in the West Country. It features all aspects of gardening from the pleasure of garden visits and gardening events through to gardening know how, plants and planting, eco gardening, wildlife, growing techniques and lots of local gardening news.

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Duringreturn reliably year en and summ Spring bulbs are great r in the garden. drygre the growth with when rathhot ions they er tha red which vigou the sun condit and increase hitspreval and new life and ent in the UK, .” www.sutt are the fru cold wintersnunder not it it proof and will flower ions idiot ons t condit year. almos those .co .uk They are also after year but to flower year after easy to get them little attention. year on year with hence it simply isn’t flourish even more RIGHT more care they can NG THE TIMING But with just a little ner believes. FEEDING – GETTI send down some garde to do in winter is need helps bulbs newly times than the average thing right The only you can feed and watering at the the bulbs do this, dose Feeding, deadheading ess’ - refusing to flower. new roots. To help balanced fertiliser that has a good a ‘blindn to prevent flower planted bulbs with it. AND OFTEN h of phosphorous in DEADHEAD LITTLE its way down throug fade, spoiling the good at working attraction as they are added to the be to Phosphorous isn’t needs it Most bulbs lose their beds, borders and containers, and effective, rather of layers of soil. To be reasons. the surrounding soil, overall appearance ver, there are other hole or worked into er growth and planting best removed. Howe strong top. on into y led directs energ , than just sprink reserves for food, Regular deadheading flowers are pollinated, seed heads are using their own the h and Although the bulbs lot of energy and will be pulling more flowers. Once at the expense of further growt a form they are expending pods or capsules soil. t. nutrients from the than waiting until flower developmen ER? in the season rather FLOW S early such a er BULB G fertilis a So use se spring bulbs have WHY DON’T SPRIN work planting bulbs have faded, becau y. g after all the hard after the blooms be will prolong the displa It’s very disappointin to flower the next year. There can g season and this growin blooming short fail they that most spring only to find of bulbs. to keep in mind is thing for different types s last 7.0. reason One are nt and differe pH between 6.0 ce no flowers they bulbs prefer a soil into leaf but produ can access the most If daffodils come in which the bulbs ils. The causes are: d your soil if your ial This is the pH range known as blind daffod soil. Test and amen on cause it is essent w is a most comm nutrients from the despite your best efforts at Planting too shallo d at least twice or three times their bulbs are struggling, of cause on that bulbs are plante comm This is the most feeding them. height into the soil. ng. daffodils not floweri its a good idea if times cause blindness and Very dry soil can a minimum of three soil to plant deep planting into dry t. planted the bulb heigh be in the soil and daffodils need to Planting too late; Slugs and snails can attack flower buds as they which by mid-September. over crowded, in appear from the ground. daffodils can get a feed. Mature clumps of t. If all else fails, apply replan and divide Unusually short stems bearing flowers can be case lift, S TULIP due to late planting or mild winters. ON in ERS year and NO FLOW to flower year after tulips to get to have easy will Other flowering problems can be caused by bulb ils. Many It isn’t that are different to daffod they t diseases such as eelworm or narcissus bulb fly. respec this ls. should and e be treated as annua to diseas tulips may succumb November. Planted too early late October early not be planted until love them. Mice and squirrels

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