Friday 15th November 2019

All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey…

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…except for the leaves of the Field Maple, which are a bright buttery-yellow.

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Plant Ident.

This week, the focus was on trees.  Garden House finds Barcham’s ‘Time for Trees’ to be an excellent reference book.

Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’


An attractive, small, deciduous tree with large, purple, heart-shaped leaves.  Fertile, moist but well-drained soils suit it, and it likes a sunny or partially shaded position.  Looks great contrasted with lime-coloured plants.  Can suffer from wind damage as it is a little fragile.  A.G.M. (h. 8 m)

Acer campestre


The tough, native Field Maple is frequently used in urban plantings as it is resistant to air pollution.  Deciduous, it has small, five-lobed leaves which are dark green, but turn a beautiful butter-yellow in the autumn.  It makes a good informal hedge and is a fantastic tree for wildlife.  (h. 7 – 10+ m)

Cercis siliquastrum


The Judas Tree.  It loves chalk!  Heart-shaped leaves are preceded by pink/purple pea-flowers which bloom on the branches – a stunning sight in the front garden at Garden House.  Flattened pods follow later in the year. Deciduous. (h. 3 – 8 m)

Betula utilis var. jacquemontii


The Himalayan Birch.  With its distinctive white trunk, this is a tree that sparkles at this time of year.  Good as a standard, or multi-stemmed; good planted as an individual specimen, or in a group.  Visit the National Trust gardens at Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge to see a magnificent glade of them, with their shimmering white bark against blue skies lit by winter sunshine.  Makes you go all poetic.


Cornus Mas

The Cornelian Cherry.  Deciduous.  Wonderful for its tiny yellow flowers in the bleak days of February, followed by small, red, cherry-like fruits.  Doesn’t grow too big.  Nice shape.  Lovely bark.  A good alternative to Witch-hazel. Plant early flowering Narcissi underneath to complete the golden glow.  (h. 3-8 m)

Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’

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Also known as the Coral-Bark Maple.  A large deciduous shrub or small tree, its stems and branches are coral red.  Looks glorious at this time of year with the additional bonus of the beautifully coloured autumnal leaves.  Not good on chalk.

Arbutus unedo

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The Strawberry Tree, named for its large red-berried fruits.  The fruits from the previous year ripen in the autumn, at the same time as tiny, white, bell-shaped flowers appear.  All-year interest is guaranteed as it is evergreen and sports a wonderful rough, brown bark which peels away in strips to reveal coppery-orange colours underneath. (h. 4 – 8 m)

Malus robusta ‘Red Sentinel’

A lovely tree for the garden.  Beautiful and numerous bright red crab apples decorate this tree in the autumn, often remaining well into winter.  Tolerates a range of soil conditions, including clay. (h. 3 – 7 m.)

Prunus serrulata ‘Tai-haku’ 


The Great White Cherry.  Much loved by Garden House.  Makes a magnificent specimen tree, bearing large single white flowers in the spring alongside coppery-coloured foliage.  This tree was thought to have disappeared for many years, until ‘Cherry’ Ingram found one growing in a Sussex garden in 1932, after which it was re-introduced to its native Japan.  (h. 7 – 12 m)

Jobs for the week:

Pot on propagated annuals in the greenhouse


Fill pots right to the top with compost then strike off the excess with one hand. Tap the pot so that the compost settles.  Leave space for watering.  Its important that each pot should be similar to its neighbours so that the same plants will receive exactly the same treatment and grow at a similar rate.

Plant the bare-rooted roses (ultimately destined for the Rose Meadow) into large pots 

The selection chosen are: R. ‘Hot Chocolate’, R. ‘For Your Eyes Only’, R. ‘Cafe’, R. ‘Eyes For You’ and R. ‘Belle Epoque’.  All hybrid tea roses.  Prune hard back.  Label and water, of course!


They look snug

Plant clematis and roses on the back bed.

It’s cold, it’s wet it’s… hey! Where’s my planting companion off to?


I’ll be right back…


I’ve been espaliered!

Continue planting bulbs


And more and more and more….


And plant species tulip bulbs in pots



These will be used as part of the Little Dixter display.  The pots, not the ladies.

Check the Pelargonium Palace

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We think the ladies would be terrific as part of the Little Dixter display.

Dead-head all Pelargoniums; remove any damaged or diseased plant material.  Water.

Plant Narcissi in winter border


Plant up large pots with Tulipa ‘Chinatown’

Add some winter bedding on top for seasonal interest


Divide Allium ‘Ozawa’ and re-pot


Pull the clumps apart gently.  Pot up clusters consisting of about 4 of these summer-flowering bulbs.  Firm in well; label; grit; water. Put them into the cold frame.


She looks rather pleased with herself

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the garden…


Ooh, a nice quiet moment

I’ll just sit here for a while


Hang on a minute


What is that?

I don’t believe it


Believe it, baby!


It’s OK, puss, there’s an ally nearby…


To the rescue!

Prick out Californian Poppies and re-pot

Re-pot them quite deeply, ensuring their lowest leaves are resting on the surface of the compost.  this keeps them firm in the pot and ensures they will grow away better.

Remove the strawberry plants from the metal containers and move to fruit beds


Cut the plants back and re-plant around the edges of the fruit beds.  A berry good idea.

Sixteen apples sitting on a wall


What if one should accidentally fall?

The leaves of Prunus serrulata ‘Tai-haku’


‘Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.’

(Robert Frost)





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