Friday 1st May 2020


Lockdown continues.  As do Zoom meetings.  Friday Group remain supportive, encouraging and inspirational.  Photos provide proof.



Plant ident.

Tulbaghia ‘Purple Eye’


Known as ‘Society Garlic’, this Tulbaghia is a clump forming perennial with slender leaves and pale lavender flowers which have a deep purple centre.  Suitable for borders or containers – it is valuable as it flowers for a long time,  Full sun and fertile, well-drained soils suit it beautifully.

Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’


Scarlet flowers held on long stems bloom prolifically from mid-spring.  Regular dead-heading prolongs their lengthy flowering period – and, in fact, they may flower again later in the season.  Plant in full sun.  Good in most soils, including sandy ones.

Euphorbia x arendsii

A cross between E. walichii and E. griffithii ‘Dixter’, this splendid specimen flourishes and glows in the sunshine, which helps to develop its wonderful colour.  Clump-forming and fully hardy, grows to around 120 cms tall.


Astrantia ‘Buckland’


Masterwort is best grown in semi-shade. Compact umbels of pincushion-shaped flowers are surrounded by bracts – in this instance, the flowers are a delicate shade of pink, whilst the bracts are white with green tips. A good cut flower which dries well. Grows to around 90 cms.

Angelica taiwaniana


A spectacular architectural plant, with purple-bracted umbels of creamy white flowers which are followed by perfumed seeds.  Fabulous foliage. Will grow in sun or partial shade.  Monocarpic, which means it generally takes 3 years to flower, rather like Echiums.  Sets seed and dies after flowering.  Makes a real statement in the border – but why not try it in a pot?  Go mad in Lockdown and give it a go.

Tasks for the week:

Pull out Spanish bluebells
So inferior to our own dear native bluebells. The invaders have wide, strappy leaves and flowers all around the stem. The natives (see below) have slimmer leaves, delicate flowers on one side only, are a darker blue and more fragrant. Sounds like the judge’s reflection on Mary Archer in his summing up of her husband’s court case.
Plant out Gladioli
Not too late to order them from somewhere like Parkers’ Wholesale.  At Garden House,  ‘Espresso’ and ‘Plum Tart’ are being planted amongst Stipa tenuissima.  (Sounds like a particularly good coffee break.)  Also being used is Gladiolus papilio ‘Ruby’, a species glad.
Take tulips out of their pots
Once they have finished flowering and either a) get rid of them b) plant them into borders or c) put them into boxes to dry out to be re-planted later in the year.
Replace said tulips with summer bedding
First take out about 30 cms of compost, mix some new compost with organic feed such as pelleted chicken manure and put into the pots. Harden off bedding plants gradually before planting out. At Garden House, the magic date is 15th May, but other dates are available.
Pot on cuttings (e.g. of tender perennials) and seedlings 
Tender perennials include things like Pelargoniums, those prized potted plants posing in the Pelargonium Palace.  Don’t forget to water and label.  You think you’ll remember what they are.  You won’t.
Don’t plant Dahlias out just yet
However, do take cuttings if you so wish. Leave 5 stems on the original plant to promote better and larger flowers. Take cuttings from under a leaf joint, insert into gritty compost and they will hopefully develop and flower next year.
Time to give your grasses the Leonard of London treatment. Use an afro comb to channel your inner Teasy-Weasy and remove old thatch from the plants. Apply the horticultural equivalent of conditioner – a handful of pelleted chicken poo, and water well. Luxuriant and gorgeously glossy growth should result.
Sow beetroot and other vegetable seeds
Radishes, French beans and Runner beans.  Have a go at something new – Sweetcorn?  Squashes?  Sow half-hardy annuals: Cosmos, Zinnias etc.
Cut back the long growth of Penstemons and also Allium leaves
Tidies things up if they are looking tatty.
Now relax and enjoy it all.  Here we enjoy a beautiful Iris we fondly call Iris ‘Liz Bradshaw’
Well done, gardeners all! Time to head for the teapot and the Hobnobs.

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