This week we welcomed visitors into the garden as we hosted a Macmillan Coffee Morning, raising money for cancer support. The rain stopped just in time for the opening and there was a steady flow of visitors throughout the morning.
As the nights draw in and autumn is well and truely upon us, our minds turned to which bulbs we’ll be planting over the next few weeks. Earlier in the year, Bridge visited June Blake’s garden in Ireland and was really impressed by her tulip collection. They were planted randomly in drifts and made an amazing display. Bridge thought it would be good to do something similar here in the garden and so Lil’s Bed will be devoted to many different varieties of tulips planted en masse – more details later on. We’ll also be planting Tulipa ‘Red Shine’ and Camassia ‘Blue Melody’ under the arches so they will perk up the display there next spring.
As we’ll be opening in early March for the first time next year, we want to make sure that the garden has plenty of winter interest for our visitors. So we’ll be planting with that in mind: Under the Griselinia (which Mary and Christian pruned so beautifully last week), we’ll be planting Cyclamen and Crocus x cultorum ‘Jeanne d’Arc’; we’ll be planting hyacinths amongst the rhubarb and the cherry tree at the back of the veg bed will be espaliered – which will introduce a different feature to that part of the garden.
Leading on from our discussion about bulb planting, we talked about all the different types of bulbous plants. These are plants where a part of the plant is made up of a swollen food storage organ which enables the plant to survive when it is dormant. There are four main types of bulbous plant:
Bulbs – eg Tulips and Narcissi.
These are made up of fleshy leaves or leaf bases which are attached to the basal plate to form concentric rings of scales. Often there is a papery outer covering to protect the bulb as with Narcissi.
Corms – eg Crocus and Gladioli.
These are modified stems. The “mother” bulb dies and produces new babies which are taken off the mother bulb and planted.
Rhizomes – eg. Cannas and Day Lilies.
These are swollen underground stems which grow more or less horizontally.
Tubers – eg. Dahlias and and ornamental Sweet Potatoes.
These are often confused with rhizomes.
This very rare form is a species petunia and the seeds were collected by Derry Watkins in Brazil. It is pollinated in Brazil by hummingbirds and is part of the potato family. It should be grown in a container and kept in a sheltered spot or conservatory in winter. In mild climates, it will continue flowering right the way through winter.
This litte perennial is native to Kenya and will grow to 0.5m over a period of two years. It likes to grow in full shade in well-draining soil and during the winter it should be kept in a frost-free environment or covered with a good layer of mulch to give it protection.
Helichrysum bracteatum ‘Dargan Hill Monarch’ or Starflower
These little flowers are popular with flower arrangers and if the earlier flowers are cut just before opening fully and hung upside down, they will make a very attractive dried flower. They grow well in full sun in pretty much any soil and will reach up to 90cm high.
These bushy perennials will grow up to 1.2m and have bright, aromatic downy leaves. Their rich purple flowers will last through the summer up until the first frosts.
Eucomis or Pineapple flower
These exotic-looking plants from South Africa are frost-hardy and can be grown quite easily in southern parts of the UK. In other areas, they should be grown in containers and moved to a frost-free place during the winter. They should be grown in a sunny spot and not shaded by other plants – otherwise they won’t flower as well. They should also be kept well-watered during the summer to ensure good flower development.
Jobs this week:
- We carried on planting out Sedum hanging baskets.
- The Pittosporum pyramid was clipped tightly.
- The veg plot was cleared in readiness for new planting.
- Chrysanthemums were planted out in the greenouse. These will be kept under cover where we’re hoping they will flower from mid-late November until Christmas.
- We planted winter-flowering plants under the griselinia.
- The rockery was weeded and new plants added.
- The Green Roof was weeded and thrifts planted on the roof.
- Potting on plants from the greenhouse.
- The wisteria and climbing rose were pruned on the back wall.
- The summer-fruiting raspberries were pruned and the old support canes were removed.