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Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

img 2083 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

February is disappearing rather fast now with only one more Saturday left before we hit March. The mornings are certainly much lighter and as for the evenings,it’s almost light until 6pm now. Another month and the clocks will change and spring forward, at last we will be able to do a little more in the garden at home after finishing work. I still can’t believe the amount of rain we had, everywhere seems so water logged and it’s a surprise for us this Saturday, it’s the first one in 6weeks when I shouldn’t be raining, that is going to be so nice indeed.

Well it’s confession time, I was planning to do a six from a clients garden this week but I got caught up in the rose pruning so umm I didn’t get around to it sadly, so somehow I managed to get another six from my own garden, helped with a bit of sun I may add!

img 2075 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

Primroses to me signal the start of spring and even though this is a large flowering hybrid, it just looks full of promise and very delightful as well

img 2070 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

Ahh yes there will be a couple of snowdrops I think this one is called Sibbertorf white and it’s one of the pure white forms with only a tiny bit of green on the flower

img 2074 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

And then there’s Rosemary Burnham, one of my all time favourites, I love theses forms with green veining on the petals

img 2073 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

My paper white daffodils are nearly flowering, a tad earlier that I planned as they are under planted with some crocus, that Um where supposed to come up first and the paperwhites in end of April, oh well that’s gardening!

img 2078 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

My prostrate rosemary is just starting to flower once more I love having this in an old chimney pot, I think it really enhances the flowers and foliage,

img 2083 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

My beautiful Edgeworthii is now open and in full flower, the courtyard garden is filled with its stunning scent but it was totally amazing to see my first butterfly of 2018, a red admiral, land on it and feed on its nectar. Wow took my breathe way!

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from My garden. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden

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Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

img 4029 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

Though my blogging, I sometimes get invited to some special open days and it was a lovely surprise to be invited up to Nottinghamshire to visit the place that really ignited the winter opening of gardens for snowdrops, Hodsock priory. They have been opening for snowdrops here since 1991 and currently welcomes over 20,000 people to enjoy the 4 million snowdrops on this privately owned 800 acre family estate. It has been in the safe keeping of the Buchanan family for over 200yrs, with Sir Andrew Buchanan handing the management reigns over to George Buchanan in 2006.

img 4045 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

George Buchanan looking over the parkland

The snowdrops themselves grow in two main areas of the estate namely the garden that is 5 acres and the 12 acre Horsepasture Wood.

Horsepasture Wood is well over 400yrs old with some stunning 400yr old oaks and great beech’s trees mixed it. It is within this setting the snowdrops really carpet the woodland floor, followed by the slowly emerging bluebells, set in amongst the woods are some great tree stumps, used architectural within the settings, making a great back drop for the snowdrops. There is also an open fire, where everyday when the garden is open for the snowdrops, George meets people at 2pm and explains the estate and family history. As for the carpet of snowdrops, words in any form can not give justice to the spectacular display, so I won’t even both and let the photos do the talking

img 4027 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The walk into the woods

img 4029 Snowdrops of Hodsock Prioryimg 4032 Snowdrops of Hodsock Prioryimg 4042 Snowdrops of Hodsock Prioryimg 4043 Snowdrops of Hodsock Prioryimg 4053 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

img 4035 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The great warming fire! I think every garden should have one!

Over the past years they have moved the snowdrops from the fringe areas of the woodland into the middle areas where they can be enjoyed. This superb setting if the back drop for an outdoor theatre group, The Whispering wood Folk preforming the Snowdrop Queen over the 16th-18th of February.

The walk though to the main garden area from Horsepasture Wood is a walk of pleasure as you are flanked by sweet smelling Winter Honeysuckle Lonicera fragrantissima.

img 4125 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The main gardens are set in about 5 acres of land surrounding the main house, the use of water has been cleverly done so it reflects views of the house and garden. On your way into the main garden you follow this delightful stream, flanked with winter colour, provided by of course snowdrops, dogwoods and Salix all playing a part too.

img 4123 Snowdrops of Hodsock Prioryimg 4122 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The main pond used to be part of the old mote in past times and on a still day catches the house perfectly

img 4073 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The scent of winter catches you as you wander around the gardens with Sarcococca and Hamamelis providing the overtures. The garden is home to lots of other spring flowering plants like Iris reticulata, winter aconites, cyclamen, crocus and of course the Snowdrops! They have over 17 different forms of snowdrops in the garden including Lady Beatrix Stanley who happened to be Sir Andrews grandmother!  Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

img 4075 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

There’s also a huge fan of snowdrops in the main lawn, that sadly wasn’t out fully but will look amazing when it is!

img 4089 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The site of one of the old glasshouses was used to great effect,

img 4094 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The formal parterre area has standard roses planted in there

img 4086 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The gardens themselves are indeed full of little horticultural gems and the whole garden is a delight! It’s surprising to hear the main gardens and Horsepasture Wood are managed with just 6 part time workers including Sir Andrew and Lady Belinda. George did say this may change this year as 4 of them maybe retiring.

The gardens are a true delight of Nottinghamshire, they have a real family feel about them and it’s clear Sir Andrew and George Buchanan care deeply about the estate and its long term survival, long term plans include extending the woodland, producing cricket bat willow for production of cricket bats and expanding the wedding venue experience. This family pride really shines though on the estate and for me the 31/2hr journey seemed well worth it to see somewhere so special.

Hodsock priory is open for the snowdrops every day 10am-4pm until the 4th of March with the Whispering Woodfolk preforming this 16th-18th of February. There is also a couple of excellent eating points, the large heated marquee that produces rather excellent bacon rolls and another watery in the woods near the wood fire. Adults cost £5.00 and Children £1. Theres a £2.50 surcharge for the evening performance of the Snowdrop Queen.

For more information please see their website which is http://www.hodsockpriory.com/snowdrops/plan-your-visit/

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Changing world of plant names, confusion or clarity

aster little carlow 2 Changing world of plant names, confusion or clarity

img 0736 Changing world of plant names, confusion or clarity

The plant commonly known as the Iceplant, former Latin name sedum spectabilis ‘Autumn Joy’ now Hylotelephium Herbstfreude

Now we all need names for the plants and we all need to know what plant is meant by that name. Common names can vary so much not only from county to county but also country to country so it was very important to have a name form that everyone commonly understand. I can remember as a young trainee being told that Latin was the only name to learn and I have kept that up up today, nearly some 30 odd years ago.

img 0855 Changing world of plant names, confusion or clarity

Mexican feathergrass is the common name of is Nassella tenuissima formally know as Stipa tenuissima

The use of Latin names as we know it, was set up by the great botanist Carl Linnaeus, who is know as the Father of taxonomy. In 1735, he published the first addition of his famous works, Systema Naturae, which laid out his system of categorising plants into various family’s and groups. These where all named by their reproduction systems, Both in numbers and arrangements. This system has been used ever since. In 1867 the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) was first set up to carry on writing the guide lines for nomenclature and carried on this work until 2011 when it went under a big change and became International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN). The guidelines are used by botanists to write papers on why a particular plant should be changed, reasons including older names from which with Plant as first named but never caught one. International Association for Plant Taxonomy is the group that agrees the Plant name changes, these changes are written by botanists and have to have all the information and supporting documents explaining why the plants should change and now with the use of DNA, it can be proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the plant should be in its own family or indeed moved to another family. And it this DNA technology that is the reason we have so many plant changes happening over the past few years and I am afraid to say will be happening a lot more in the future.

Now I agree it’s right that plants should be known by the correct Latin name and like a true professional I will do my best to learn the new name, how ever difficult it is to say! A lot of these changes I can totally understand, Sedum speciblis ‘Autumn Joy’ so different from the smaller alpine forms so it does make sense to change it to Hylotelephium Herbstfreude but my gripe isn’t about it changing for me but the fact it causes so much confusion to the trade and general public that may of known this plant under that name for 20 odd years and suddenly it’s not there in one Nursery under that name but in another under its old name, magazines add to the confusion, taking ProLandscaper as a example, last year in one magazine, it had Stipa tenuissima Both as it’s old name of Stipa and it’s new one Nassellatenuissima again adding to the confusion. With more changes on the horizon like Iris possibly being spilt into 18 different names, this confusion is going to happen more and more. What we need if possible is some sort of agreement with trade, press and public gardens that each part of our industry agrees to put these new names in place within a certain timescale of say maybe 5 years during which the old name maybe is in brackets after the new one? Maybe better signage on sites would also let people know and get used to the new name. Changing anything let alone labels does cost so there’s always a cost involved, one well know Nursery told me they had a 60% drop in sales on the from aster family members that changed too Symphyotrichum and Eurybia.k

aster little carlow 2 Changing world of plant names, confusion or clarity

Was Aster little Carlow now Symphyotrichum ‘little Carlow’

But I suppose my biggest problem with it, is my internal one, we advise people to learn the Latin names as that’s the name that everyone knows it as worldwide, common names differ in different areas of the uk let alone around the world. It also the most stable name for the plant, one that explains how it grows, who discovered it etc. But by changing in as big away as is currently happening, aren’t we just adding more confusion into the world of gardening? Plant names are hard enough to remember without changing. Seeing bits and pieces on social media and talking to people as well, it seems to me there’s a 3rd level of plant names occurring, botanical latin is the first, common names the second and the new one gardeners Latin. Gardeners Latin is the form when the old name is used instead of the new one. Whether you agree or disagree, that to me seems to be happening, maybe until it’s all sorted out a little more and the names become more we’ll known, that’s what is going to have to be done and let’s be honest, changing a name from a simple one to a more complex name is going to take a long time to catch on, we need to give it time and for everyone one supplying and growing the plant in the public domain to be on board, let’s be honest, that sadly won’t happen but let hope!

049 Changing world of plant names, confusion or clarity

Bleeding Hearts used to be called Dicentra spectabilis but is now Lamprocapnos spectabilis

Whatever the name or indeed how difficult it is to say or learn, don’t forget it is still an amazing form of life on our planet and the beauty is there no matter what tag with give it or call it. And names are just tags, given to plants so we can identify them, if you want to enjoy their beauty just as nature intended without boxing it in, well there’s no harm in that what so ever.

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Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

img 1990 1 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

img 1900 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

The plant of the week this week is a widely planted shrub that’s really starting to look great at this time of the year. And it rightly deserves this wide planting for its a tough plant

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ is a evergreen shrub that sometimes is called Silk tassel bush or Quinine bush. It is a native of USA where it grows in a couple of different areas, the first one is on the coast of South Oregon and into California very near the coast well within 20miles of it. The other place it can be found growing on the mountains around the Pacific coastline in areas like Montana and San Bruno mountain ranges. It tends to grow 200m above sea level in the more damper spots along the coast.

img 1990 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

It was first discovered by one of the greatest plant collectors of all America, David Douglas in 1828. Garrya was named after Garry Nichols. Garry Nichols was the deputy governor of the Hudson Bay company and managed the merger between them and North West Company. Hudson Bay Company controlled the fur trade throughout North America and is still going as a trading company selling anything from clothes to digital space. The cultivar James Roof was named after the director of Tilden botanical gardens, California where this form was found growing in amongst some seedlings.

img 1993 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ is an evergreen shrub with a sea green foliage. It makes a shrub that will reach 4m in height and width and makes both a great free standing shrub as well as a wall Plant. Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ makes a Great Wall shrub thriving on a north facing wall. It’s grown for its very beautiful greenish/grey catkins at start showing early winter and then open up around now to their full length of 20-35cm in the case of the male form James Roof. These catkins are really what this stunning shrub is grown for. Once they have finished flowering, they can stay on the shrubs for months after they have finished. It is pretty tough shrub, Hardy down to -15c but it will suffer a bit of browning on the leaves and some dieback at these temperatures. It prefers a soil that is pretty damp but is free draining, it will survive in drier soils but never does as well. It will quite take slightly acidic and alkaline soils, ideally in the PH range of 6-8. I have grown it on shallow soils over chalk without too many problems. It’s prefect for poor soils and coastal areas. Pruning wise it just needs a little shaping in April cutting the growth from last year down to a couple of buds on established plants and trim new growth on plants in training, down by half. Feeding is down using a compost mulch and vitax Q4 in around March time. Propagation is best done by semi-ripe cuttings taken in late summer. It is pretty disease and pest free, rabbits and deer don’t really like eating them!

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ is available in most good garden centres and can be seen in most public gardens and in a lot of private gardens as well

img 1879 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

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Six on Saturday 10-02-2018

img 2031 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

Well that was more like it! A cold week with plenty of frosty mornings. It’s wonderful seeing the plants covered in a fine dusting of frozen tiny water particles, adding a glittery shine to all that is touched. It is so nice also seeing the big round yellow think up in the sky, it just seems to turn the day around lifting not only our spirts but those of the wildlife we share the garden with. My highlight of the week was watching a red kite flying low over a field with a Kesteral in the forefront and 3 buzzards circling behind. Times like that, I find I have to just stop what I am doing and watch nature happening in front of me. This closeness with nature is one reason I just love what I do

Anyway moving back to topic and that’s of course 6 on Saturday and for the 3rd week in a row, it comes from my little patch in Hampshire. Not too sure how I managed it but I did!

img 2029 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

Let’s start with a Heuchura and their beautiful foliage, they can really add a depth of colour and interest into the garden at any time of the year but even more so now, I love some of the names as well, this ones called Sugar frosting. Just look at that shade of purple underneath the leaves, just stunning purely stunning

img 2015 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

So pleased with this galanthus called Spindlestone surprise, it’s really bulked up well in the pot and I am enjoying the 4 flowers I have, hoping to get a few more soon!

img 2019 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

One of the first ones I brought a couple of years ago called Chedworth, makes a fine specimen in a pot, one of my little jobs this weekend is to feed them all with liquid seaweed to give them a boast, also tempted to repot a few of the ones that have finished flowering adding a bit of blood, fish and bonemeal to them

img 2031 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

A little dwarf iris now one called iris danfordiae, it’s a lovely little scented plant on the verge of flowering! It belongs to the iris reticulata group (although I have heard horror stories they are not iris any more but Iridodyctium, but let’s only say that name after the 9pm watershed Mark!) Whatever the name, it’s still just lovely

img 2027 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

And now for a dwarf evergreen shrub that is way underrated, it’s tough, it’s beautiful, it’s Eurya japonica ‘Moutiers’! This shade loving shrub can be pruned and shaped but it’s the stunning leaves and stems that turn bright red in the cold winter that sets it apart from many other shrubs, hard to find but well worth it

img 2035 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018img 2034 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

A late addition to six on Saturday but I so wanted to feature this beautiful small climber, it’s Ribes laurifolium Amy Doncaster, it’s lovely member of the current family that flowering at the moment, Amy Doncaster is a form with red stems, selected by the great plants woman Amy Doncaster from her garden in chandlers ford. I only planted this out last year and is already proving me with its beauty.

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from My garden. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden

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Pruning Wisteria

img 2681 Pruning Wisteria

If that’s one plant that’s more than likely to get us into a tied up pickle on how to prune is certainly a wisteria. Wisterias seem to have long tentacle like growths that wrap around everything in its path indeed I wonder if J K Rowling thought about wisteria when she came up with Devils snare in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. Wisteria is actually pretty easy to train and prune, you just need to remember a few things to get the best from it

First the growth

wisteria tend to put on two types of growth, flowering growths that tend to be a short in length up to about 15cm maximum and extension growth. The flowering growths are indeed where the flowers will be borne from May onwards and the extension growth is what helps the plant to expand both in height but also these stems are designed to fit into rock spaces, expand and root and so forth produce another plant. This is part of the reason they love getting underneath slates and tiles.

img 1904 Pruning Wisteria

The shorter growths, these are the flower bearing growths

img 1903 Pruning Wisteria

The longer extension growths, these can be over 5m in length in some cases, also note the seedpods on the shorter growth.

knowing the differences between the two types of growth helps to know which ones to prune. It’s worth remembering also that wisterias can take up to 10 years to flower depending on how they are propagated, so if you can’t see any of the shorter growth on a younger Plant, it means it’s not old enough to flower yet.

It’s very easy with all this very long growth to just tie it in to the height that you want the plant to get too in the end. This ends up with a bare middle and all the growth at the top. It is worth taking time to allow the plant to fill up the gaps and build a frame work of branches up. This is done by reducing the young stems down in length to between 30-60cm. Why do this? Well whatever plant you prune it is the first 2-4 buds that will break. Having them break lower down the plant, will give you a chance to build up a frame work of branches over time. This pruning down to 30-60cm can carry on until the plant has cover the space with each new break treated the same. Once it has a good framework up or indeed the plant is already got a established framework, the extension growth should be pruned down to 3 buds above where it started growing last spring. This is done during the dormant season from December to end of February. If you need to summer prune from July onwards, prune back to 5 buds above the breaking point each time but when pruning in the winter, take these shoots hard back right down to 3 buds from where in broke in the spring. It may seem hard but by doing this, you will encourage more shorter flowering stems to form. If the plant is more established, just forget the 30-60cm training bit and cut straight to the pruning down to 3 buds. The buds on Wisterias are indeed opposite so need a slanting cut away from the bud, more information can be found on my pruning cuts blog here and part 2. Right enough words and onto the photos on how to do it

img 1906 Pruning Wisteria

New growth being cut down to 30-60cm to help form framework branches from the base up. When planting it’s also worth untwisting all the stems as eventually they will strange each other

img 1909 Pruning Wisteria

The extension growth being pruned back to 3 buds on an established framework branch.

img 1902 Pruning Wisteria

A plant before pruning with all the extension growth going a little mad!

img 1912 Pruning Wisteria

And afterwards with the extension growth pruned back to 3 buds and any new framework branches being trained in and cut back to approx 45cm.

img 2681 Pruning Wisteria

This is why we prune them as per above, this is the same plant in flower, every cm of it is covered in flower without one area being bare. It took me 4 years to get it looking like this and it was planted about 6yrs ago now. Taking time to build the framework up is very important.

img 1919 Pruning Wisteria

With older plants that haven’t had as much work done on them in the past, it is worth thinning out the older stems. I find it easier to compare them and after taking out the dead ones, remove the stems with the most length of bare stem or with the smallest amount of branches on. On a plant like this I would be looking at removing 2/3rds of the existing wood to open it up more and then start training in younger stems as a framework into the gaps. Some of the existing large branches can also be bent down to fill in the gaps as well.

img 1923 Pruning Wisteria

The finished plant and you can see how much clearer and managed it looks now. It will take about another 2-3yrs to get the plant to its best

I hope you have found this blog on pruning wisterias helpful, if I can help any more, please feel free to comment below and I will try and answer the query as soon as I can

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Plant of the week-Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

phyllostachys aureosulcata f spectabilis 1 Plant of the week Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

phyllostachys aureosulcata f spectabilis 3 Plant of the week Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

Well it’s time for another large group of plants I haven’t featured before, bamboos. They are a very useful group of plants as well, even more so at this time of year, as their bright canes help to enhance the winter garden and there is no bamboo that can do this better than Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectablis.

phyllostachys aureosulcata f spectabilis Plant of the week Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

Phyllostachys aureosulcata is also know as the yellow-groove bamboo. It is a native of Zhejiang Province, Eastern China and was introduced in the USA in around 1901. In its native sites, it grows on the edges of woodlands and into woodland glades. Bamboos are normally divided up into clump forming and runners. Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectablis is a clump forming bamboo and can make a very big plant up to 7m in height and well over 3m wide. Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectablis has stunning yellow stems, that unlike others in the family, has a green strip in the distinctive groove in the back of the canes, hence the common name. They also sometimes make Zig Zag shape kinks in the canes as well. When the new canes emerge from the ground they are called Colms. With Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectablis they emerge with a pinkish tinge to them and are quite beautiful indeed. The name Phyllostachys is derived from the Greek phyllon meaning ‘leaf’ and stachys meaning ‘spike’. Aureosulcata is derived from the Latin aurea meaning ‘golden’ and sulcus meaning ‘furrow’.

phyllostachys aureosulcata specabilis 4 Plant of the week Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectablis is a pretty tough bamboo, it will grow in most soils but it does prefer to be in sun or semishade. Even though it is a clump forming bamboo, it still can send out underground stems called rhizomes that help it spread into new areas. It is best to encase the bamboo in a root barrier, leaving enough room for the plant to grow. These clump forming bamboos tend to spread if they run out of food and water, so the best idea to keep them from spreading is to mulch once per year in the spring with garden compost, green waste and ensure that it has enough water during the dry spells. Each cane or colm, grows to its maximum height within 1 year. It is a good idea in each spring to remove a few of the older weaker canes from the clump to keep the clump looking young. It also give the new colms room to grow within the clump. The worse thing you can do is try and control the spread by removing the new canes, this will make the plant want to spread even more as it feels it’s under threat in this space. In the autumn it is also worth removing the lower leaves on the stems up to 5ft to let the stems shine though. Only other maintenance required is cutting back any rhizomes that spread from the plant. It is pretty disease free and is only propagated by dividing up the main clump.

It’s height and size makes it prefect to block off not so pleasant views from the garden so is excellent as either a specimen plant or as a screening plant.

It can be found at Both Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and round RHS Wisley. It can be brought from many Nurseries including The Big Plant Nursery and Burncoose of Southdown.

phyllostachys aureosulcata specabilis Plant of the week Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

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Six on Saturday 3-02-2018

img 1849 Six on Saturday 3 02 2018

Where did it go? January I mean! Doesn’t seem like yesterday it was the end of Christmas and we were looking forward to the new year, now we are the second month in already! Spring is really slowly coming apon us, daffodils are poking their heads up, bluebells again, just poking their green shoots out, teasing us even more. Even more so, the spring work is slowly starting to pick up momentum. Most of my fruits trees I manage are now all pruned bar a couple and I have moved on to wisterias and roses, a real sign for me that spring is just around the corner!

My six on Saturday this week is from my own little patch in chandlers ford, Hampshire for the second week in the row, some kind of miracle there but I hope you enjoy my 6 things happening in my garden this weekend

img 1913 Six on Saturday 3 02 2018

Yes yes even us professionals get things wrong! Iris George is a beautiful little purple iris that ummm has disappeared amongst the purple and yellow pansies, yes yes I know I should of put a pale pansy underneath but I wasn’t thinking ok, but never mind, I still love these dwarf irises !

img 1914 Six on Saturday 3 02 2018

Finally after 3 wet Saturdays I have managed to finish off the tiling on the front of our children’s new playhouse! All I need to do now is fix the flooring in, add the plastic to the window and build a shelves of their toys and we shall be all done until I start doing the green alpine roof! It’s getting there!

img 1777 Six on Saturday 3 02 2018

Haha fooled you all! I bet you hoped there would be no snowdrops in this one but there is and this one is called green brush and I love theses ones with green on their petals, can’t wait for this one to bulk up!

img 1916 Six on Saturday 3 02 2018

My Edgeworthii is slowly opening and my tiny space is full of its beautiful scent! It’s one of my little treasures in the garden but that said they are all my little treasures really! Can’t wait until it’s all fully open.

img 1849 Six on Saturday 3 02 2018

Another new dwarf iris for me, this ones called painted lady. It goes look rather stunning but did come up rather weird, rather twisted and odd, wasn’t too sure about it but now it’s fully opened I love it!

img 1779 Six on Saturday 3 02 2018

Well it’s not exactly my garden but spotted this clump in the middle of another massive clump of G.nivilis near a road the other day, just stood out, not sure on name or indeed if it has one, looked nice so I grabbed a couple of bulbs to see what

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from My garden. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden

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Step by step guide to Rootballing shrubs and small trees

img 1827 Step by step guide to Rootballing shrubs and small trees

Yes we all do it, plant a plant in the wrong spot or a spot that for various reasons, ends up being the wrong spot in the end. But what to do with it? The cost of mature plants is a fair bit of £££ now and it’s such a shame to lose such a beautiful plant, and there’s that new perfect spot, Just there in the corner, it’s a perfect size, will cover that item you would like to hide quite nicely but the plants just too big to put a spade around it and heave it up. So what’s the best way of moving it and giving it the best choice of surviving. The answer is of course is to lift it with a root ball attached. This rootball is a area of fibrous roots still in their soil just lifted carefully. The key work is fibrous root system, plants that produce more of a tap root or fang type root system. Tools needed for this job are a digging spade and fork, a border spade and fork, a sheet of hessian sacking and if you are doing a lot of them, a sack needle and 4ply string.

The method is pretty easy but does take time and practise to perfect it, this is a roughly how I do it

img 1867 Step by step guide to Rootballing shrubs and small trees

Working out the size of the rootball can be tricky, there’s no method that allows you to work out the size but more comes down to the age of the plant and how long has it been in there for. For this size shrub that’s been in the ground for a few years, I went big at just over a length of a spade. Bearing in mind it’s the fine fibrous roots you are after and they are normally found on the drip line of the shrub/tree. Once I have worked out the estimated size of the rootball, I go around the outside of the plant a little bit bigger than I require, with a spade, pushing the spade into the ground to the full depth all the way around. This is to cut though any roots that are there

img 0620 1 Step by step guide to Rootballing shrubs and small trees

Next step to work out the exit point ie the point where you want to remove the plant from the hole. It’s important to think of it now before you start digging. Once that’s worked out, start digging a trench around the outside of your spade cut that you have made already. The areas shaded red in picture above.

img 1821 1 Step by step guide to Rootballing shrubs and small trees

You can see the trench is formed now and the exit point has been kept clear. You need to go down a couple of spades deep. This area is your working channel for the next bit

img 1824 Step by step guide to Rootballing shrubs and small trees

Now using a fork, gently tease back the soil until you hit the fine roots like in the picture, this bit takes time, it’s best to do a little at a time and work your way around the rootball doing this. Once you have teased some soil away, clear it out of the trench. You have to tease the soil away without putting any pressure on the rootball, so it’s almost like a flick away more than a tease. As you do this around the plant, it is also time to start going underneath as well. This is more tricky but follows the same method of going around the outside but this time you are going under! Using the curved in part of the fork, start making a slight V shape underneath the plant, again flicking the fork rather than put pressure on the rootball. Dig under the bottom of the V to give yourself a little more room. Just keep on going around until you are at least a third (preferably a bit more like 4/10ths) under on each half. Any roots can be either cut with a saw if big or just a sideways movement of the fork will snap them

img 1827 Step by step guide to Rootballing shrubs and small trees

img 1133 Step by step guide to Rootballing shrubs and small trees

Then you should get to a stage when the plant will be able to start moving slowly and should be able to break free of the ground. This is the time you need to be very careful of any cracks forming, these cracks can quickly destabilise the rootball making it fall apart. The stop them, it’s a case of reducing more soil from around the cracked area and so reducing the pressure on that part.

img 1868 Step by step guide to Rootballing shrubs and small trees

Next part is to get a sheet of hessian sacking that’s approx 1m bigger in length and width than the root ball you are lifting the roll the width up until 2/3 or 1/2 way up. Then fit it underneath the rootball so the rolled upside is soil side and the flat side is rootball side. Then push this under the rootball as far as it can go, gently push the plant over slightly onto the hessian, clear a bit of soil from underneath section that was still attached and unroll and pull the hessian though, having it rolled side down makes it so much easier to pull through!

img 1135 Step by step guide to Rootballing shrubs and small trees

Then grab the two left hand corners of the hessian and wrap together until it’s tight to the rootball and then do the same of the other side and there it is ready to lift out!

img 1137 Step by step guide to Rootballing shrubs and small trees

If it’s too heavy to lift out of the hole, you can either make a ramp to drag it out or lay the plant on its side, add a bit of soil underneath the rootball and then push it over on top it’s opposite side and add more soil, keep on doing this until the plant is at top of the hole and can be slid out onto boards

img 1829 Step by step guide to Rootballing shrubs and small trees

It’s not an easy job, indeed it can take many years of trail and error to get right but it is certainly a skill that’s worth mastering in the garden!

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Plant of the week-Helleborus x hybridus Walberton’s Rosemary ‘Walhero’

helleborus walbertons rosemary walhero Plant of the week Helleborus x hybridus Walbertons Rosemary Walhero

helleborus walbertons rosemary walhero Plant of the week Helleborus x hybridus Walbertons Rosemary Walhero

Well it’s been just about a year since I started Plant of the week and there are so many plants left to feature and some that surprise me I haven’t featured before and hellebores fall into that. It surprises me as I do love love hellebores and this one has become a firm favourite during the past few years since I first saw it.

helleborus walbertons rosemary walhero 3 Plant of the week Helleborus x hybridus Walbertons Rosemary Walhero

Normally a this stage I would tell you about the plant and where in the world it came from but this hellebore is a cross between H.niger and H.x hybridus. It’s not often these 2 hybridised, indeed it was only the second time it happened. This hybrid was found here in the uk by David Tristram, Walberton Nursery, West Sussex in 2000 but wasn’t released until 2009. It was named for his wife Rosemary. Helleborus niger and helleborus x hybridus hybrids have been hybridised in Japan before but have never really been commercially available until this form was bred. The name helleborus comes from Ancient Greek words, Helen meaning to injure and bora meaning food.

helleborus walbarton rosemary1 2 Plant of the week Helleborus x hybridus Walbertons Rosemary Walhero

Helleborus x hybridus Walberton’s Rosemary ‘Walhero’ makes a excellent garden plant. It needs a good fertile soil with some moisture retention, it’s quite happy to grow on most Ph soils as long as it doesn’t dry out or get too waterlogged. But unlike most hellebores, Helleborus x hybridus Walberton’s Rosemary ‘Walhero’ is more happy in light semi shade and full sun than shady spots. Helleborus x hybridus Walberton’s Rosemary ‘Walhero’ starts flowering about now and will flower for a good 4-8 weeks depending on the weather. The flowers themselves are sterile meaning they don’t set seed, the best way to propagate them is by division. This is best carried out in the autumn or after they have finished flowering. Here’s my blog on dividing perennial plants. The wonderful this about hellebores is that deer and rabbits don’t like them at all and will leave them alone. They do suffer from a few other pests as well like hellebore aphids, hellebore Black Death, hellebore leaf miner and hellebore leaf spot. It does seem a lot of problems but they are pretty easy to look after and don’t often suffer with many problems. The only maintenance they need is their old leaves and finished flowers to be removed. More information about how to do that can be found here. It is worth giving them a feed of Vitax Q4 after they have finished flowering and also a good mulch of garden compost or recycled green waste.

Helleborus x hybridus Walberton’s Rosemary ‘Walhero’ can be seen growing well at RHS Wisley as it is here and many other gardens. It can be brought from the great hellebore nursery Ashwood Nurseries and Hardys Cottage Plants

helleborus walbertons rosemary walhero 4 Plant of the week Helleborus x hybridus Walbertons Rosemary Walhero

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Six on Saturday 27-1-2018

img 1769 Six on Saturday 27 1 2018

Well another stormy wet week with a Wednesday so wet and windy, I was glad to be indoors. The ground around me is almost at saturation point now and needs a good few days of drying out, I dread to think of what it will be like if we get another downpour like Wednesday. Work wise managed to get a bit done despite the weather, basically just pruned apple trees for most of the week, so lovely being up a large apple tree, looking for miles on a dry and sunny day.

The six this week mainly come from my little battered garden, my bulbs are the thing that give me so much pleasure in January, they brighten my garden up. As we only rent our place, they are mainly in pots in case we have to move. I would hate to forget one and leave it behind!

img 1766 Six on Saturday 27 1 2018

Ahh yes sorry I should of added a snowdrop warning earlier, I do grow a few all in pots, this is a new one I brought in the autumn as a bulb and it’s done rather well. It’s called snow fox.

img 1769 Six on Saturday 27 1 2018

Another group of plants that’s really starting to grab my attention are dwarf Irises particularly the reticulata types, I planted quite a few in the autumn and this one is called Splish Splash

img 1774 Six on Saturday 27 1 2018

This is one of the first snowdrops that turned my head and made me look at them in a new light and funny enough it was one of the first ones I brought and it’s bulking up quite nicely now, it’s name is Wasp

img 1771 Six on Saturday 27 1 2018

This was my most expensive reticulata hybrid I brought and the bloody slugs have managed to avoid the sharp gravel and take chunks out of my flower. Bloody things! ‘One was not amused’ anyway, I hope it bulks up for next year, oops forgot the name it’s called Orange Glow.

img 1775 Six on Saturday 27 1 2018

Yes you guessed it another snowdrop but a double this time and it’s indeed another new one for my collection, added in the autumn after I had seen it growing in a garden. it’s name is Dionysus and never ever ask me to say it! Still a lovely addition!

img 1773 Six on Saturday 27 1 2018

Nope not finishing this week of a shot of our bins, a good photographer always removes the clutter around the subject they are photographing, lack of time or laziness prevented me moving the subject but the key thing is that the Venus flytrap has put on a flower spike! Very excited to see what happens when it opens, never seen one in flower before!

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from My garden. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden