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Six on Saturday 13/01/2018

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It doesn’t seem possible does it? Already 2 weeks into January, almost halfway though the month! But what a mild week it has been, the grass seems to be growing, certainly put on a bit of growth in the weeks between my visit to one site, hoping we get a little bit of colder weather to slow it down! One thing I hate is those winter days where it’s just dull all day, makes me feel very inclosed and we had a week of those, only day it was bright and cheerful was on Wednesday when I had the pleasure of taking a pruning workshop for a small group at Waterperrys in Oxford, the gardens there are always wonderful and it was lovely taking time to spend basically talking about a job I love doing, pruning roses. Taking about pruning let’s delve into my sin on Saturday for this week, again coming from a clients garden in the new forest.

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First one of the 6 this week has to be pruning these beautiful espalier apple trees, not had much pruning done for a few years, had to do a little corrective works on them to get them into a little more of a shape but very happy for the finished works, will be summer pruning them next time.

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Ahh yes a simple pot marigold or calendula, been flowering non stop since the summer! A massive ray of sunlight on a dull January day and also the first time I have seen on flowering this late in the season

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Ahh still some rose hips about, almost like Christmas baubles left on the Plants, forgotten by all, for some reason the birds have left these alone but how lovely is it to see them on the plant this late on in the season. No idea on the rose yet, not seen it flower properly,

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Rosemary and I am guessing this form is Miss Jessop upright, well the straight upright stems are a little bit of a giveaway! One plant we never think about using as a wall shrub, it makes a great espalier if grown on a sunny wall or 6ft fence panel! Takes a few years to get there, but well worth it, sorry got lost on another line of thought! Yes flowering remarkably early this year.

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I just had to add this Sarcococca into the mix, the smell from its tiny white flowers just filled the whole garden with its scent, again without the planting plan, the size of the shrub along with the leave shape leads me to believe its hookeriana var Humilis. Great for a small garden and the scent is just out of the world!

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Another pruning shot, this time of a pear tree that’s been fan trained, not seen many fan trained pear trees, normally it’s the stone type fruit trees that get fan trained, once again though these trees need a bit of work to get them back into a little bit of shape, felt happy with them now I am done, will summer prune umm in the summer 🙂

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from My clients gardens. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website 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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Cutting back Hellebores

015 Cutting back Hellebores

As we head towards Christmas, one of my last jobs I like to do in the garden is remove the leaves on helleborus orientalis and H. x hybridus type hybrids. These are the hellebores that shoot up the flower buds from the base of the plant while others like H.niger, H.argufolius, H x sternii etc all bear the flowers on the leave stems and these should be cut back when they have finished flowering. Helleborus orientalis are also know as Christmas roses as they start flowering roundabout Christmas time and carry on to March. Cutting back the Hellebores helps to show the flowers off much better then they bloom, on some forms, the flowers can be hidden from view by the leaves and again it makes them visible. Another advantage of pruning them back now is removing the old leaves reduces the chances of the new foliage getting hellebore leaf spot (Microsphaeropsis hellebori).

Here’s my step by step guide

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1)A group of Hellebores ready to cut back

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2) pull back the leaves to show the crown of the plant

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3) the red circled bits are the flower buds coming up, these are the ones you want to avoid cutting with the secateurs.

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4) now carefully start cutting down the stems as close to the ground as you can

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5) I find it best to clear any old stems and leaves out from the crown of the plant as I am cutting back as it makes it clearer to see what I am cutting back and avoiding the buds

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6) the finished clump!

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6) and in flower!

It’s a nice and easy job to do and one perfect for this weekend!

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Plant of the week- Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’

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The plant of the week this week is from a group of Plants I am not too keen on, I just find most of the vincas a bit too, well something of nothing, yes they provide good groundcover in the case of V.minor but what on earth does V.major do? So yes I was hard on this group of Plants until I saw this one in flower a few weeks ago! And Jenny Pym changed my views of this plant in a few seconds, Why you may ask, Just look at the flower! How stunning is that! It’s amazing you can change your view of Plants by just seeing one particular good form.

vinca difformis jenny pym Plant of the week  Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’

Vinca difformis or the intermediate periwinkle as it is more commonly know as, is a native of Southern Europe, countries like Italy, Sardinia and Iberia where it is found growing in damp woodland areas. As it comes from the more warm parts of Europe, it’s thought to be semi tender in some parts of the uk with the Hilliers manual of trees and shrubs stating it may become herbaceous in more colder areas with the plant dying to the ground and coming back in the spring. however it’s certainly doing well in most areas without any real damage to the plant. It does prefer a shady spot in the garden but will quite happily grow in some sun as well, it does take most soils rather well, apart from very water logged soils. Like all vincas (depending on view of thought!) it makes very good groundcover, producing a dense growth up to around 30cm tall and spread can be about 60cm+ over time, something that makes it great ground cover. Growth wise, unlike other forms of Vinca, difformis puts on 2 forms of growth, a long arching form for growth and spreading about and a shorter growth of about 30cm which is from where the beautiful flowers are borne. It starts it’s main flowering in October but keeps on flowering right up to February/March but also will throw out flowers all year around. The name Vinca comes from Ancient Greek word Vinco meaning to bind, whether that’s the roots binding the soil together or the stems being used to tie things together, no one is sure which one it is, same with difformis, some thinking it means the odd shape of the flowers, other schools of thought, think it’s the 2 different types of growth from where the name comes from. Not managed to find out where the name Jenny Pym came from… anyone out there who can advise me

vinca difformis jenny pym 2 Plant of the week  Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’

Planting is simple, plant into a well prepared bed, I now prefer to fork the bed over removing all weeds as possible and then add a planting mulch of composted green waste on top, nice square hole with a handful of Vitax Q4 added and that’s it. For good groundcover, try and plant about 6 of these per m2. They don’t need too much aftercare, trimming to shape in early summer if needed, reducing the long stems if they start becoming a problem. If it starts spreading too much a sharp spade is all that’s needed to reshape it, cut around the shape you require, leave the middle bit and carefully remove the rest using a fork. Pest wise, not much causes it problems, deer and rabbit proof.

You can but this plant from Dorset Perennials and Botanica. It can be found growing in many different gardens including Sir Harold Hillier Gardens where it can be found in the winter garden

2YnoBk1500924993 Plant of the week  Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’