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Showing posts from February, 2010

Last Ditch Planting and Family Affairs

My mother always laughs at me about gardening on the draining board. And it is true, I do. But what the uninitiated do not appreciate is that sometimes things need planting, as in, right now. And sometimes it is too cold, dark or busy to do it any other way. So far Broad Bean Aquadulce Claudia has been enrobed in a confit of compost in my kitchen (you see what I mean. This is an autumn sowing variety that really should have been in by January, but better late than never and they will probably be ok…). Sweet pea ‘Heirloom Bicolour Mixed’ has gone in too. I have some more sweet peas to do later – and some ordinary peas and mangetout as soon as I get a chance (the picture is of an ordinary pea). The old variety ‘Carouby de Maussane’ is good and I’ll grow ‘Purple Podded’ if I can find some. I also want to try my hand at growing grasses; they look good in swathes but this is expensive to achieve with garden centre plants. Teasing aside, my mother is a fine and deserving lady and as offs

Crimes Against Plants

I have decided to start a register of crimes against plants, as mostly perpetrated by municipal planters but it seems no plant is safe. First up: Rubus cockburnianus . In summer this blackberry relative is not really all that, but in winter it comes into its own. Powdery, mauve-white stems arch delicately and thornily across the border, a striking contrast to other seasonal gems such as Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ and early spring bulbs. Yes, it is a bit of a thug; and yes, the colour is best on young stems so it needs hard pruning, but I would suggest that it is generally better to do this in early-mid spring. Not to cut it back to six inches high well before Christmas, people. That is when you are supposed to be looking at it. It has been a busy few weeks. Went to the launch of the National Gardens Scheme’s illustrious Yellow Book – a directory of gardens open for charity. And mighty fine they are too. The picture above is Tithe Barn, Berkshire. Watched with mild awe as they gave some

Save Our Gardens

Settle down vine weevil, aphids go to sleep; one of the most pernicious and vexatious gardening pests to stalk the land is the garden grabber and I am not sure that there is yet a decent solution. Pellets, or something. Round the corner from me is an attractive and imposing Victorian house, one of the nicest in the neighbourhood with a large, landmark garden containing a protected yew tree. A few months ago, it went on the market and there was a genteel scramble as virtually every family in the neighbourhood with more than two children made an offer, keen to realise a dream. It went to sealed bids. It went to a developer at an inflated price. It then went back on the market only, this time, with less than half of the original garden and some rather ugly plans were submitted. The other part of the was bulldozed, plants, garage and summerhouse all flattened. The neighbours are pretty unimpressed. Objections are rife. This is an area with narrow roads and limited parking. We need plea