Friday 26th September

The Garden House held a workshop on roses last Saturday which Cathy described as an inspirational day. Feedback from the day included a reminder that now is the time to prune ramblers and climbers. Rambling roses usually flower once whilst climbers repeat flower during summer and autumn although there are exceptions to this. Climbers also tend to have double flowers and ramblers look more like wild roses and are more vigorous. Climbers are best grown over arches and up walls and trellises whilst ramblers are best grown through trees. Both climbers and ramblers tend to flower better if they are trained as this promotes more flowering shoots. So in autumn stems can be bent into shape,tied and looped around arches or other supports. Ramblers can be pruned by cutting out old wood at the base (removing one in three of old stems) and fanning out the stems, climbers need the main leaders reducing and pruning back the side shoots to about 6″. It is from these side shoots that the flowers will grow. It is good to give the plants a boost after pruning by adding a mulch of manure and compost and feeding again in spring. One tip for planting a rose in a site where an old rose has been taken out is to dig a cardboard box sized hole and plant the rose in the box surrounded by lots of compost.

We also looked at some rose hips. Rosa rugosa can have white or pink flowers and can be grown as a hedge. Ramblers don’t need dead heading and have attractive hips.

Rosa Rugosa

Rosa pimpinellifolia has creamy white flowers and blackish hips.


Plant identification:

Paul brought along a wonderful selection of plants that look great in the garden now including a number of asters. The purple/blue of asters combine very well with yellows and oranges of rudbeckias. Asters are very flexible plants for late summer and autumn with their foliage often looking good before the flowers emerge. They also flower for a long time. They like sun but can survive well in semi shaded areas.

  • Aster laterifloris horizontalis has stiff stems with small dark green leaves and tiny silvery flowers with pink centres. It looks lovely in naturalistic or more formal planting and can grow to 60cm.

aster l h

  • Aster turbinellus has arching growth and grows to about 5’or 6′ feet tall. It can loose leaves lower down and flowers at the top so is good at the back of the border.

aster tur

  • Aster blue star is more compact growing to max of 4′ with lovely lavender blue coloured flowers.

aster blue star

  • Aster Kylie is very sprawling with masses of semi double tiny pink flowers

aster Kylie

  • Rudkeckia triloba is a very reliable self seeding biennial and gives a long display of flowers. It is very attractive to butterflies.


Activities in the garden this week:

  • Cutting back the large Phormium ( New Zealand flax)
  • Further work on developing a woodland garden in top garden
  • Continued work to clear, cut back and weed under the arches and in large borders
  • Potting up jasmine and fuchsia cuttings in greenhouse and continue to sort out pelargoniums for over wintering
  • Planting up newly bought roses in pots


                             Paul’s plant stall


Bridge describing to Ann her plan for woodland garden

Bridge and Ann




                                  Mandy foraging


                         Ruth and her favourite heleniums

Sue and Formium

                  Sue cutting back the Phormium


Friday 19th September 2014

We had some discussion about our favourite plants or flowers at the start of the group. A favourite of Clare’s is Hesperantha or Schizostylis as they used to be called (common name is river lily). They are plants native to S. Africa and Zimbabwe and are great for late summer and autumn colour. They need a sheltered sunny place with moist but well drained soil. Plants can be divided every 2/3 years in the spring.


hesperantha 2

We looked at a range of bulbs. Now is the time to plant alliums outside and forced hyacinths for indoors if you want hyacinth flowers for Christmas. Other spring bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, muscari, tulips should be planted outside either in beds or in pots from October to December before first frosts. A bulb is essentially a collection of modified leaves which contains all the food that is necessary for growth – which is why hyacinth bulbs for example can be grown just with their roots in water.


  • Cyclamen hederifolium are the easiest of cyclamens to grow and are frost hardy. Cyclamen corms can be planted in autumn or spring. A corm is an adaptation of a stem. The corms should be planted when in growth and the tops of the corms should be level with the soil or only just submerged. Cyclamens do best in shade as they are essentially a woodland plant.

cyclamen 2 cyclamen corm

  • Fritillaria imperialis grow to 3′ and need full sun and is part of the Liliaceae family. Plant in autumn and they flower in April and May.


Activities in the garden this week:

  • pruning back and tidying the area underneath the arches and other beds near the steps
  • maintaining the ‘Little Dixter’ display outside the garden room
  • sorting out and potting on the baby sempervivums in top garden
  • taking cuttings of dianthus
  • taking out old lavender plants from top garden under cherry tree and taking lavender cuttings
  • potting up violas and taking cuttings
  • autumn lawn care – scarifying, aerating and mowing plus edging the lawn


Elaine cutting back the outdoor lightsKaty

cake cake 2 (2)

cake 3 (2)

Happy Birthday Clare


Friday 12th September 2014

Welcome to the first Friday gardening group blog of our new gardening year.  It was good to see the garden again, catch up with returning group members and  welcome new ones and get going with our gardening discussion and activities for 2014/15.

We discussed planned projects in the garden for the year ahead which will include replacing the old shed and landscaping the area around the shed and making a woodland garden around the cherry tree in the top garden. There is also a plan to prune back the large hawthorn hedge to try to improve the light and drainage in the big borders. A new development will be a ‘hot box’ for the greenhouse to help with propagating and Bridge will be giving advice on seed collecting and propagation techniques. There will be a number of open days throughout the year including plans to open for the National Garden Scheme, the Garden Gadabout and our own Friday Group charity event in July.

Plant ident:

  • Tulbaghia ‘Hazel’ Tulbaghia is a South African genus and is commonly know as Society garlic. It is a bulbous or rhizomatous perennial with linear leaves and umbels of star shaped flowers. It can be planted in beds or pots and propagated by seed or division in spring. It is known to be snail proof. Tulbaghia ‘Hazel’ has pale brownish pink flowers and flowers from June to the first frosts. It can grow to a height of 60cm. The more common variety is Tulbaghia violacea which has pale purple flowers.
Tulbaghia 'Hazel'
Tulbaghia ‘Hazel’
  • Cobaea scandens  This climber is commonly known as the cup and saucer vine. It is a vigorous perennial climber which is usually grown as an annual as it is quite tender. It has fragrant bell shaped flowers which change from greenish- white to purple and show themselves from August until the first frosts. It comes from Mexico and needs a sheltered sunny wall or trellis. It is pollinated by bats.
Cobaea scandens
Cobaea scandens
  •  Tagetes ‘Cinnabar’ A tall, branching marigold with finely cut deep, rich green leaves. It has copper orange bordering on rusty red single flowers which are produced from July to October. It is a half hardy annual and grows to 70cm. Can look very good with dahlias.
Tagetes Cinnabar
Tagetes ‘Cinnabar’
  • Ilex crenata ‘Golden Gem’ or Japanese Holly. ‘Golden Gem’ is a low-growing, compact dwarf evergreen shrub of spreading habit with small, golden yellow leaves.
Ilex crenata 'Golden Gem'
Ilex crenata ‘Golden Gem’


Activities in the garden this week:

  • Weeding, dead heading and tidying up the borders
  • Sorting out pelargoniums and putting them in the greenhouse to overwinter
  • Cutting back the summer  fruiting raspberries
  • Dividing sanguisorba plants
  • Cutting back ivy and sorting out plant display in front of garden room

Ruth on division duty


Lil and Dinah


Sharon and Val

Katy and Dawn


A weekly account of the activities of the Friday Gardening Group at the Garden House in Brighton