Friday 30th April 2021

We’re gradually moving out of lockdown. Won’t be long before hotels will be able to welcome back visitors…

This hotel can’t wait

And, with May around the corner, the time of blossom is upon us

Even the espaliered fruit is in flower

It’s a zingy, springy thingy

Plant ident.

NemesiaSundae Blueberry Ice’

A top tender perennial, usually grown as an annual, particularly brilliant to use in containers. Buy one and get loads free by taking plenty of cuttings (cut below a leaf joint). Takes root easily. The blueberry-coloured snapdragon-like flowers are scented. Full sun and well-drained soil. Pinching out the growing tips will encourage a bushy habit.

There are plenty of Nemesia cultivars – there’s a particularly good white variety which smells of vanilla. Delicious, delightful, delovely. We call it Nemesia ‘Lizii’, because our Friday Friend Liz introduced it to Garden House, but it’s probably Nemesia ‘Wisley Vanilla’.

Pulsatilla rubra

The Red Pasque Flower is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial which flowers in early to mid-spring. It produces beautiful, wine-coloured flowers on short stems, at the centre of which is a circle of bright golden-yellow stamens. Good in alpine sinks, where its feathery filigree delicacy can really be appreciated up close, and also in rockeries. Spreads happily. Likes full sun or partial shade.

Aubrieta ‘Hamburger Stadtpark’

There’s nothing wrong in giving time and space to some of these rather old-fashioned plants; they have been popular for decades for good reason. Great ground cover, and reliable and prolific flowering from early to late spring make these great garden stalwarts. Members of the Brassicaceae family, as indicated by their cruciferae flowers with 4 petals, they are evergreen and mat-forming. This one is Aubrieta ‘Hamburger Stadtpark’, a gorgeous purple/deep mauve. Cut back after flowering to encourage dense, compact growth. Suitable for rock gardens, containers and for trailing down walls and banks. Height and spread around 10 x 30 cms

Artemisia ludoviciana ‘Valerie Finnis’

Named by Beth Chatto after the remarkable Valerie Finnis, who taught at Waterperry Horticultural School for Women and helped to make it a highly respected and prestigious establishment. She was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour in 1975 by the RHS.

This is a semi-eversilver perennial grown for its fantastic aromatic foliage. Much used in dry garden plantings, as it likes a light well-drained soil in full sun. 70 x 60 cms. A.G.M.

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’

Another very attractive Artemisia, which can get leggy if not clipped back regularly. Its foliage is finer and more feathery than A. ludoviciana, but it is also aromatic and equally good in a hot sunny border – or even in a container. Cut back hard in the autumn.

Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’

A Marmite plant. You either love it or you hate it. Grown for its leaves, which are maroon with darker maroon and white markings and held on bright red stems. Looks particularly good when grown next to plants with a contrasting colour – perhaps one of the Artemisias above. Its foliage looks good in late spring/early summer, provided the soil doesn’t dry out. Then it can just look messy and dessicated. Great name though. Roots very easily – even in a glass of water.

Progressing the Dry Garden

Liz brought us up to speed on what’s happening. The area has been measured carefully and the plants which are to remain have been mapped. Discussions as to the final shape are ongoing, but this is one of the possibilities –

There’s a lot to think about: the functions of different areas, shapes, destinations, path surface materials… A list of suitable plants has been compiled, and Liz has checked heights/colour/flowering period. Check this out for painstaking work!

There are three pages of this, no less. Let’s hope it’s not too breezy today, or she’ll be three sheets to the wind.

Today’s job is to check and note down how many plants we already have for the dry garden – and of which type.

There are quite a few, and this is just the tip of the iceberg

Topic for the week

There are many seedlings and plants which need potting on; Bridge gave us a Masterclass in exactly how to go about this.

Not a magic wand. A dibber.

Fill your chosen pot or tray right up to the top with peat-free compost. Make sure it is only a little larger than the container your plant is currently occupying. Strike off any overflowing compost with your hand. Remove the plant or seedling carefully, holding it by a leaf, not by its stem. (It has several leaves, but only 1 stem!) Using a dibber, make a hole in the centre of the pot, big enough to take the plant, and gently settle it into its new home. Make certain the roots have room to drop into the hole, and be sure to plant deeply – right up to the first set of true leaves. Tap the pot to settle the compost carefully around the transplanted seedling – there’s no need to press hard down on the surface!

Don’t forget to water (very gently) and remember to add that label!

Sometimes seedlings get rather leggy. What to do? Lay the seedling on the surface of the compost with the root out behind; lift the plant up by a leaf

then fold the stem of the seedling gently into the prepared hole.

Tuck the roots in behind, and push them down carefully. Again, plant deeply. Essentially, you are ‘folding’ the seedling. Sounds harsh, but it should grow on perfectly well.

Hey presto!

Jobs for the week

Prick out seedlings and pot on plants as necessary. We potted on Nasturtium ‘Tip Top Rose’, as the seedlings are jostling for more living space

And, of course, we did a ‘Tip Top’ job!

Quality control this week was provided by…..

Scary!

Replant alpine sinks

The utmost delicacy is required for this kind of work

Planting herbs

Check all is shipshape in the greenhouse

Aye, aye Captain

Work in the veg garden

Stake Broad Beans

Oooh! Crimson-Flowered Broad Beans?

Plant out lettuces

No sign that Peter Rabbit has been in this garden

Let’s zoom in on those Radishes

One does relish a good Radish

Harvesting. The best bit!

Fabulous Tulips, in fruit salad colours

Delicious

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