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Six on Saturday, 16th of June, 2018

img 3004 Six on Saturday, 16th of June, 2018

Ahh back to Saturday once more, it’s been a busy week to say the least and lead to not a lot of time spent in my own garden but that’s the delights for the time of the year, plants and ideas are there, just need to be added to the garden! I would do it this morning but off to work again this morning but at least I have fathers days off only thing that’s worrying me is the lack of rain, both my front and back gardens are looking a little tired already, even though I am watering young plants and recent planting’s, I won’t water the established plants as I hope they should be big enough to look after them selves, tough love

This weeks six comes from my own little space so I hope you will enjoy my little 6

img 3001 Six on Saturday, 16th of June, 2018

I have always had a soft spot for campanulas and it is many due to this lovely form called persicifolia and it’s a great form to grow with roses and in the front of the borders

img 3008 Six on Saturday, 16th of June, 2018

Rosa iceberg was in the garden when we started renting it about 8yrs ago now, was a rather poor specimen and now its stunning!

img 3003 Six on Saturday, 16th of June, 2018

Geranium palmatum is one of the half hardy hardy geraniums, confused? Well add me too that list, comes from the canary island but has been growing in mine for 4 years, could of been longer but it’s still going well. The foliage is stunning as well and evergreen!

img 3006 Six on Saturday, 16th of June, 2018

I have a huge soft spot for moss roses and this is one of my favourites, Eugenie Guinoiseau scented with a little bit of repeat flowering

img 3004 Six on Saturday, 16th of June, 2018

And how can anyone not love staychs Byzantina or lambs ear, these tactile plants to me are the unsung hero’s in my garden, their silver foliage does such great work in the borders and then it flowers

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Cat mints are another favourite of mine (really need more space to grow all the plants I love!) this is a slightly different form called nepata nuda and is new this year

well that’s me done for this weeks six, next week I shall hopefully finished a couple of things in the garden so hopefully will showcase them but that said it’s another manic week planned but I hope you all have time to enjoy your gardens and are time out to read about others too, the memes founder has some great sixes every week so why not pop over to mr propagators and take a look

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Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

img 2861 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

June! June! It can’t be be June already but the garden is proving me wrong, with so many of the June plants showing me it’s June, with the roses really starting to get going and their fragrance is starting to fill my garden. But what a week it has been, very hot and sunny and then it rained and boy did it rain! My glass left on the patio table, had 65mm in it after just being outside for 12hrs. This time last week I was heading up to Chelsea for the flower show and I had a great time there, so many stunning plants and gardens too see and inspire from. Not had to do much in the garden this week, it’s all just ticking by nicely, I do have some plants to add to the garden and now the soil is a little moist and I hopefully will get them in, I also need to plan and plant up my front door pots, just can’t decide what to put in there this summer, seen one plant I like to use and slowly adding a list together. One thing that has been decided is the removal of the forsythia in the front garden, that’s going by by this weekend!

Right enough waffling, I need my cuppa and weekend toast and the little one is of the same opinion! Again this weeks 6 is going to be a rose feast with a few others added but my roses are going away nicely now and need to be shown off!

img 2861 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

First one is a rose I planted last year and is just so beautiful to look at and the scent is stunning. Champion of the world is a Hybrid perpetual rose and that will repeat flower all summer long, it’s been around since 1894

img 2862 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Let’s have a poppy now, never sowed them, they just appeared in extension of the flower bed when I did it last year. Poppy seeds last for years and years in the soil, just waiting to be exposed and when it does, boom there they are!

img 2863 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Rosa iceberg is one of the most popular hybrid teas grown, this is one of the only plants now left in the front garden I haven’t added too

img 2848 1 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Now this little sod has been in my first alpine container for the past 3 years, just sat there doing nothing and now it’s decided to flower and how lovely they are indeed, if you want to grow it and wait for 3years, it’s called Bergeranthus glenensis

img 0771 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Rosa little Gem is a beautiful moss rose, bred in 1840, flowers Just once but the scent and flowers are amazing and it works well in shade as well as full sun

img 0772 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Now this is one of my favourite roses, flowers on and off all summer with these scented flowers, pretty disease free and tough as old boots. It is a rose that should be and deserves to be grown wider, such a great garden plant, it’s name is Amanade paternotte!

Well that’s my six for this week, I hope you enjoyed them and have a great weekend gardening, I know I will 😀 and enjoy the other six on Saturday over at the hosts site https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

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Six on Saturday 26th of May

img 2832 Six on Saturday 26th of May

Another busy week in the sun, well mostly sun and warm, ideal for hoeing off the weeds and dying in a few minutes, one of my favourite jobs is hoeing, that feeling of going though the bed, in a smooth calm action, with the sun on your back, only thing that beats it, is of course, hoeing a bed full of scented roses, total bliss!

Anyway I am writing this on Friday evening, excited like a excited thing that is indeed very excited, why you may ask, well I am off to The RHS flower show at chelsea, all thanks to those great people at Griffin Glasshouses, who ran a competition for a couple of tickets on Saturday and my name came out! It’s made my week! I have only been once and that was many many years ago. I am sooo excited I could crush a grape!

Right on to the first of the six and I was going to apologise for the amount of Geraniums in this weeks 6 but I won’t, why? Cause they are all brilliant that’s why,

img 2832 Six on Saturday 26th of May

Geranium Orkney Pink, how stunning is that!

img 2825 Six on Saturday 26th of May

Time for a quick rose, this was the first one to flower for me last year, second this year Louis XIV, stunning colour, stunning scent, doesn’t stop flowering all summer

img 2827 Six on Saturday 26th of May

This six puts me in dreamland well Geranium dreamland, cracking newish form, featured in last years 6 but what a little stunner

img 2835 Six on Saturday 26th of May

Allium aflatunense is just starting to flower, moving on from the purple sensations that are just going over, cracking looking plants, supplied by Geetee bulbs

img 2834 1 Six on Saturday 26th of May

Geranium renardii is one of my favourites, the leaves are so tactile and soft and as pictured here, the flowers are so loved by bees as well as us. It makes great groundcover as well

img 2829 Six on Saturday 26th of May

Penstemon artic Fox is one of my favourite white penstemons and it works so well as white foil to many plants, great form indeed.

Well that’s my six for this week, I hope you enjoyed them, right I am off to the train station to catch a train! Will catch up with you all later, have a great weekend and enjoy the other six on Saturday over at the hosts site https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

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Davidia involucrata

davidia involucrata 5 Davidia involucrata

Davidia involucrata is now in full flower with the white blooms covering the trees almost like white doves fluttering in the branches or handkerchiefs that have been picked up by a big gust of wind and spread them all though the tree.

davidia involucrata 3 Davidia involucrataI can imagine how thrilling it must of been to first clap your eyes on this tree growing wild and seeing the stunning flowers for the first time just like the first Europeans discovering the tree for the first time. It was one lucky chap , a French missionary called father Armand David who first came across it, flowering away in a Chinese valley in 1871 and sent specimens back to France. The seeds didn’t arrive in Europe for a few more years indeed it was the first plant hunting trip by one of the greatest plant hunters of them all, Earnest Wilson who in 1901 managed to send back seeds to Kew Gardens. This was despite being attacked by bandits, suffering a deadly illness and recovering and finally nearly drowning! Damn glad I don’t have to suffer like that to get my hands on one!

davidia involucrata 7 Davidia involucrata

Never-less this beautiful tree with heart shaped leaves and seed pods that look like Christmas baubles hanging from the branches, is well worth the effort of going to see one in the next week or so, just admire its beauty!

davidia involucrata var vilmoriniana Davidia involucrata

Next week I will highlight another plant that is looking beautiful

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Finding a gardener! Part 1- the first steps

img 0951 Finding a gardener! Part 1  the first steps

img 0951 Finding a gardener! Part 1  the first steps

We all get to the point of needing a little help in the garden, whether it’s a total redesign, rebuild or maintenance. All these tasks can be just a one off or a regular just just getting someone in to do the boring bits we don’t enjoy or even the bits we can’t do, either from not having the skill sets or equipment to things in the garden.

During this little series, I am looking at this from not only the customers view but also as mine, working as a professional gardener covering practical gardening as well as planting plans and consultancy. Hopefully this will give you a little more information about the right questions to ask, what to look for and how to make a good choice for your garden and you.

For me the first thing would be to sit down with some paper and spend a bit of time working out what work you would like done in a little bit more detail. What may seem common sense to you, may not to someone else, coming into the garden for the first time. If it’s a new garden you would like done, double check boundary lines, who owns which fence/wall, think about how much you have to spend and plants or ideas you like. If it’s landscaping, again think about the size of area you would liked done, materials you like, money you have to spend and with maintenance, there is a little more to think about, work out what jobs you would like done, with grass, how often you want it mowed, the height, feeding, scarification etc and even with hedges, what height to trim at etc. You aren’t looking to produce a timetable for works just a list of the tasks you would like to have carried out, all this saves so much confusion when walking around the garden and saves the opps nearly forgot that bit there, that happens regularly.

img 5130 Finding a gardener! Part 1  the first steps

This list can also help you decide what type of gardening service you need. There are so many types of services, it can be confusing what service that may best suit your needs. So here’s a rough rundown about what they are and what they do.

  • Landscape architects or designers. They design bigger spaces that are mainly almost without boundaries, like large estates, new building estates, ideal to use if you have a very large estate.
  • Garden designers. They design garden and garden spaces, from full gardens to small sections including planting plans
  • Garden consultants. These help you solving problems in the garden, no matter what size you garden is. They advise on problems and give solutions. If you have had substandard work carried out in you garden, they will give a honest neutral report it on as well as advising on a smaller aspects of your garden
  • Landscapers. They are the builders in the garden, anything you would like built from a whole garden to just a small part, these are the ones to go for. They differ from general builders from a much greater understanding of materials and how things work within the garden. Some landscape companies do offer design as well.
  • Lawn maintenance. These companies look after the feeding and health of the lawn, most don’t cut grass
  • Gardeners. Gardeners can look after your garden, all the above indeed can be classed as gardeners as they all work within the garden, but the term gardeners generally means they maintain and develop the garden. All gardeners are different, some are able to carry out all the above while others just prefer to cut grass or indeed work on the more skilled areas of gardening like pruning.

Some of these areas can be mixed up, with gardeners being able to do garden design, landscaping, lawn maintenance and consultancy, landscapers offering design, build and aftercare and designers offering to do planting and aftercare too.

They also have trade bodies that either test them regularly to ensure good compliance or have a strict entry criteria that the company has to pass to be come a member. These are set out below

  • Charted institute of Horticulture. This covers all the above groups. To become a member, you must meet a set amount of points depending of qualifications and experience. Fellows are the highest form of members with a few gaining Charted memberships. Members are allowed to use Chort for chartered members, FCIHort for fellows, MCIHort for members or ACIHort for associate membership.
  • Institute of Landscape Design is the body for Landscape designers. It has a very strict entry requirement and ongoing training for members so they can become chartered landscape designers. Only chartered members can use CMLI, fellows FLI and teachers AMLI.
  • Society of garden designers. Is the main one for garden designers. It has two main categories for qualified designers. Pre-registered members are qualified designers working towards becoming a registered member, registered members have their work assessed and approved by the SGD.
  • Professional Garden Consultants Association is designed for professionals who offer consultancy as part of their service. Members have to be a member of of the Charted Institute of Horticulture and one other like Society of Garden Designers, The professional Gardeners Guild, have at least 10yrs experience in their chosen field and pass a Admittance and Standards Training Workshop.
  • Association of Professional Landscapers is one of two trade associations. The members are mainly focused on the domestic market. The members have to been trading for 2yrs, have at least 6 references from clients, agree to follow a strict code and have paperwork and work inspected once per year, indeed it is the only trade body that checks it’s members so vigorously that they are accepted into the governments Trade Mark scheme.
  • The British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) covers landscapers, designers and maintenance. They cover all types of property from small gardens to big public areas. They have to agree to abide by a strict guidelines, have paperwork and quality of work checked, provide at least 10 customer and 2 trade references.
  • The Gardeners Guild is the only trade body just for those who provide garden maintenance and aftercare mainly focused on the domestic garden side. Most the members are sole traders or small companies. Each member has to prove they have a horticultural qualifications to at least RHS level 2.

These will have you understand the memberships they may have and can be a great place to find a new person that fits the bill perfectly. They are many talented people who aren’t members of any groups, they go by word of mouth many and are great if you here about them. But the above can be a good place to start. They all have member lists and also many of them have arbitration guild lines that will help you if there is a problem.

Next time I shall look into choosing someone or a firm to carry out the works you need, giving you clues on what to look for, what things the firms need to work legally in your garden.

img 1333 Finding a gardener! Part 1  the first steps

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Propagating dogwoods/Cornus from waste pruning

img 2369 Propagating dogwoods/Cornus from waste pruning

Well my job this week is pruning back the types of Cornus/dogwoods the delight us all winter with their stunning stem colours. Of course, one the delights from Cornus is that they tend to root petty easy from their stems just touching the ground. This trait means they are pretty easy to propagate from hard wood cuttings. Unlike most hard wood cuttings, an ideal time to to take these hardwood cuttings is just after you have pruned them, some of this waste material makes great cutting material and I have put together an easy step by step guide on how to do it

img 2366 Propagating dogwoods/Cornus from waste pruning

First of all choose your woody material, I prefer something that is about a year old, pencil thickness and straight. That’s not too say something thinner or thicker doesn’t work, it’s just I have found this size produces more plants

img 2367 Propagating dogwoods/Cornus from waste pruning

Then I make a cut at the bottom near a set of buds, a square cut us is fine but an angled one maybe better for the last stage

img 2369 Propagating dogwoods/Cornus from waste pruning

I like to have at least 4 sets of buds on each cutting, so I trim it down to just above the 4th bud and if the material is long enough, I sometimes can get a couple out of it

img 2370 Propagating dogwoods/Cornus from waste pruning

Next stage is to push the cutting into the ground, this is why an angled cut maybe easier to do. The ground doesn’t need to be too loose and can be even next to the dogwood you have just pruned down.

img 2373 Propagating dogwoods/Cornus from waste pruning

I push this stem down until it’s half between the 2nd and 3rd bud as per picture above, this leaves 2 buds under the soil and these buds are the areas the roots will grow from

img 2374 Propagating dogwoods/Cornus from waste pruning

A completed row, they don’t need to be in a row, can be done randomly around the area you require them but they are so easy to do and make such a great use of wood that would be burned or shredded. I would now leave these for a few months and when they are growing away strongly you know they have taken. Sometimes leaves break out and then die, this is the plant using up the stored water and then sadly dying afterwards. This also works with any Salix or willow with coloured stems

Good luck and I hope you get loads of free plants

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Monthly newsletter.

img 2325 1 Monthly newsletter.

I am delighted to announce that from the 1st of April I am doing a monthly newsletter that will be sent out using MailChimp.

This newsletter will be catching up with the blogs written over the month, jobs to do in the garden next month, talks and workshops happening in the next month, gardens that could be worth visiting in the next month and new items in my shop (and there’s lot planned there! ). Basically it will be full of advice and help for you and your garden.

img 2325 Monthly newsletter.

To celebrate this planned launch in a few weeks time, I am doing a little competition for all those who sign up for the newsletter before the 31st of March with the winner announced in the newsletter! The prize is a mixture of seeds, garden twine (not pictured yet) a few blank greeting card from my range and some other goodies to be confirmed

To sign up please just click this link here and it will take you though or just fill in the pop up form on my website and it’s a simple as that

I hope you will enjoy this new monthly newsletter

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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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Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

img 1713 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

Well one the last part, we looked at the science behind making pruning cuts and best ways of pruning using secateurs and loppers, this week we shall look at using the power horse of hand tools, yes the pruning saw! So what is a pruning saw and how does it differ from say a carpentry saw? Well it’s a much stiffer blade that those types of saws and most of the time cut on the pull. Some can be folded up to fit into your pocket or a fixed blade. Pruning saws are used to prune anything bigger than 15mm and up to well as big as you can cut! A bit like using secateurs, theres no right or wrong ways but there’s always better ways to reduce damage or risks to the tree or plants. First thing is to get the sharpest pruning saw you can get with a sharp clean blade, over the years I have found Silky pruning saws the sharpest and even with these, I tend to change the blade every year so I am using the sharpest I can.

img 1730 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

Now the angles of cut depending if the buds are alternate or oppersite are the same as for using secateurs on wood up to a couple of years old but they are a little more difficult to see in the older wood, almost looking for wrinkles in the Wood is almost a sign that buds are there hidden. That said in wood over 25mm thick, I prefer to do a straight cut across. The reasons are simple, the surface area on straight cuts are much smaller than cuts made at an angle, which means the plant has a smaller area to heal over. That even means on the junction of bigger branches. The pruning cut on these bigger branches to the main stem used to be done at an angle on the stem, the angle of the cut was always done just above the ridges or collar on the stem. It was thought these would heal quicker but it’s not really the case as the straight cut will heal a lot sooner.

Removing larger stems using a pruning saw is always best done in stages to reduce the chances of the branches tearing down the stem and causing a bigger damage for the plant to repair. Best way is to reduce the weight of the branch by either putting a cut on the underside of the branch to about a 1/5th of the width of the branch and at least 300mm from the trunk and then the main cut about 50mm above this. If you leave a bigger gap, the branch tends to trap itself in the bottom cut and doesn’t fall cleanly. The branch should snap cleanly off and fall down to the ground, then you finish off the cut neatly on the main stem . That cut is ideal for most pruning cuts. If there’s something underneath you that you don’t want the branch to drop off suddenly and hit, you can cut all the way though in one cut. This at times can cause a tear underneath the stems so I would make this cut at least 1000mm from the main stem in case the cut tears down. After this cut has been made and the branch had fallen down or been grabbed, the next cut needs to lighten the weight on the branch by cutting it down to 500mm before cutting the branch off at the main stem. All the cuts are pictured below

Last main pruning cut is removing stems from the base of shrubs and the key this here is to get the cuts as low as possible. Any stubs left will make the base of the plant look ugly and also mean next time you cut a stem out, you can’t get close to the base and it ends up even more snaggy

one other thing I don’t do is paint the cut area with wound paint. I prefer to let the wound heal naturally and found that the treatment tends to seal in the moisture and cause rot quicker

img 1720 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

Picture of a clean drop pruning cut

img 1724 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2img 1726 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

How it worked

img 1705 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

Cutting straight through

img 1709 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2img 1710 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

A straight though cut that shows the damage that it can cause

img 1703 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

The growing collar as described in text

img 1728 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2img 1729 Pruning cuts, how to get them right. Part 2

Taking the stump back to the tree at the smallest point, if you had gone back harder, it will result in a larger wound and will take longer to heal