Friday 22nd July 2022

The last day of the 2021-2022 season for Friday Group at Garden House. Time for reflection, celebration and planning for 2022-2023. Nothing stands still here!

Except occasionally, the gardeners

For this week’s plant ident, Leavers were given ten minutes to identify and talk about a favourite specimen from the garden. Ten Minutes!!

Ten hours later they reappeared, choices made.

Plant Ident.

Chamaenerion angustifolium ‘Album’

This is the classier, white form of the ubiquitous Rose Bay Willow Herb. A splendid presence in the summer garden, especially at Garden House, where it is located up on one of the terraced beds, giving a gorgeous display of green, lanceolate foliage and ephemeral white blossom. The flowers are loved by bees and other pollinators, and the leaves are a delicacy for the larvae of the elephant hawk moth. Birds love the seeds. Propagate this hardy perennial by sowing seed, division or by taking softwood cuttings from side shoots in spring. Likes moist but well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Ht. 1.5 m

Lovely stuff!

Artemisia ludoviciana ‘Valerie Finnis’

Named for the famous plantswoman, this Artemisia is best shown and grown in a Mediterranean-style planting scheme, so the new Dry Garden at Garden House is an ideal spot. The plant has elegant and aromatic silver-grey foliage which looks wonderful when planted alongside pink and purple flowers. The leaves can be dried for use in dried flower arrangements. Tolerant of drought once established. A.G.M. Ht. 0.60 m

Rosa x odorata ‘Mutabilis’

A truly, madly, deeply wonderful Rose, which is planted here next to the dark purple Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’. A terrific combo. A long-flowering China Rose, its flowers change colour (hence ‘Mutabilis’, changing) turning from pink to apricot. A lovely, informal and relaxed shrub, which fits comfortably among most border planting schemes. Ht. 2.0 m

Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’

Yarrow is a great summer plant, flowering for four months. The cultivar ‘Cloth of Gold’ has flat, golden-yellow flower heads which contrast well with feathery, green foliage. Bees, insects, birds, butterflies and moths love the nectar/pollen rich flowers and seeds. Good for wildlife and gravel gardens, it likes full sun and well-drained soil and can’t abide being waterlogged. Copes with most soil types. Ht 1.5 m

Melianthus major

The Honey Bush. For many, this wins the vote for their favourite year-round plant. Fabulous cut and serrated leaves (which smell of peanut butter when pinched!), gorgeous glaucous tones, amazing deep-red flower spikes, birds love it, it’s hugely architectural, the list goes on…..Now featuring prominently in the Dry Garden, where it should thrive. Not reliably hardy in the U.K., but in well-drained southern soils, it should survive the winter and sprout again from the woody base. Of course it holds a prestigious A.G.M. Ht. 2.0m

So, that’s five more plants to add to all our plant lists.

Jobs for the week

An hour’s work in the garden before we sat down to enjoy a shared lunch together. Committed? We should be.

Clear the fallen leaves of the Paulownia tree now carpeting the Dry Garden.

Pricking out, potting on, taking cuttings

Cut Geraniums hard back. Feed and water them. New growth should appear and, hopefully, more flowers too.

Observe plants which are performing well in the garden – for example, Gladiolus papilio ‘Ruby’, a bulb which produces elegant deep-crimson flowers around now.

As is usual on these occasions, lunch was delicious

Recipes were swapped

We spent a little time considering the year’s highlights –

There were ups

And downs

There was Christmas 2021

Wassailing in January 2022

The production of worm fertiliser

(Check the contents of that bottle)

We worked in colleagues’ gardens

Go Team Friday Group!

We learned how to make cakes disappear

As if by magic

We celebrated,

went on visits,

enjoyed working in the Cathedral Greenhouse

and helped to make the Dry Garden

in the wet

We acquired horticultural knowledge

by the barrowload

and were constantly monitored by the best in the business…

It’s all been enormous fun


very life-enhancing

So, until September 2022 – farewell!