We started today with a demonstration by Bridge of how to plant narcissi bulbs for a stunning indoor display to brighten up the house over the winter months. Bridge planted Narcissi Paperwhites
However, lovely alternatives are Narcissi ‘Avalanche’ which have flowers growing all up the stems.
Or Narcissi Grand Soleil d’Or
Bridge put grit mixed with a little compost in a wide glass bowl. However, she has also used jam jars which look lovely all grouped together. The bulbs were placed in the bowl about a centimetre apart and put in a cool place so that the bulbs don’t grow too quickly. Once the green shoots are established, the bulbs will be brought in to the house where they will grow at a much faster rate and bloom in seven weeks time.
The ident today concentrated on conifers which have gradually come back into fashion in recent years. Bridge mentioned the amazing conifers at Bressingham Gardens in Norfolk where some of us were lucky enough to visit in the summer.
Ginkgos are deciduous gymnosperms which are plants whose seeds are not encased in an ovary unlike angiosperms which are plants which produce seeds within an enclosure – in other words are fruiting plants. Their seeds have been found in fossils dating back millions of years and are one of the only plants to have survived the Hiroshima atomic explosion. They are very good at soaking up pollution and so are a good choice in city gardens. Their fan-shaped and bilobed leaves turn a lovely buttery yellow in autumn before falling.
Thuja plicata ‘Zebrina’ – Western Red Cedar ‘Zebrina’
These trees have flat, aromatic sprays of leaves which produce small knobbly cones. They can growm higher than 12 metres and are often used as hedging.
Cryptomeria japonica – Japanese cedar
These large evergreen trees have a conical habit and change colour from dark green to red in the autumn.
Juniperus scopolorum ‘Skyrocket’ – Rocky Mountain juniper ‘Skyrocket’
These are narrow columnar evergreens which have grey-green foliage and grow to approximately six metres. Junipers in general incuding Juniperus communis are good in coastal gardens and can come in all shapes and sizes. However, care should be taken when handling the leaves as they may cause skin irritation.
Pinus sylvestris – Scots Pine
These large majestic trees can grow up to 25 m. They have distinctive grey-green needles and can produce large cones of 5cm in length.
Taxus baccata – English yew
These medium-sized evergreen trees can be bushy in shape if not kept clipped. They have very dark evergreen leaves and produce small flowers, followed by red fruits on the female plants.
Jobs this week:
- Planting broad beans and onion and garlic sets in pots. Sets tend to do better than onion and garlic seeds in cooler climates.
- Continuing to plant foxgloves and tulip bulbs underneath the arches.
- Pruning jasmine and climbing roses over the arches.
- Working on Little Dixter – planting crocus and Iris reticulata bulbs in pots ready for a pretty spring display.
- Preparing the bed next to the green house for an espaliered cherry tree and rhubarb. All the nasturtiums needed to be ripped out and the ground dug over.
- Clearing out of the long rhubarb bed, replacing with wallflowers and tulip bulbs.
- Planting euphorbias in the tulip beds near the greenhouse, along with black hollyhocks and sea stocks.
- Planting tulip bulbs on Lil’s bed
- Emptying containers in the Top Garden of all their summer bedding and replacing that with tulip bulbs, heucheras and violas.
All in all, a lovely day in the garden preparing for next next year’s delights!