Garden School:


Garden School:
Teaching this week: Rose pruning (as always!) and leaf mold.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Thurs: Back to longs, boo!

Well, it was only 3 degrees this morning (chorus of "When will I see you, again") (I was singing it in my head all morning...) so I went out in longs, and it stayed cold and quite damp all morning. However, that didn't stop me doing a lot of lifting and replanting, which is always satisfying.

As Bob Flowerdew - you remember, the one with the extremely long plait - used to say, if a plant isn't thriving, give it a ride in the wheelbarrow. He meant, move it elsewhere until you find the right place for it.

And that is very much what the client and I have been doing here: lots of plants have moved around, and the designer came in on Friday and finished off the job on what used to the Left Hand Shrubbery: it is now a neat area, covered in bark, with turf making a new - and much improved - front edge. I completely forgot to take a photo - I'll try to remember next week. Although it is a complete and startling change from how it used to be, the client and I both agreed that actually, the bare, minimalistic look was, well, quite nice!

Now the Sad Tale of the Penstemons: is it me, or are they over-breeding them? Penstemons used to be tough as old boots, they flowered for months on end, lovely.

Now they are all colours of the rainbow, but they can't survive the winter. OK, I know the last two winters have been harsh, but still...

So this is where they ended up: yes folks, another bonfire pile. Not quite "all my own work" but nearly...

Then there were more leaves to be cleared - yes, in March! Ridiculous, I know. Blame the snow: it held all the leaves down through the worst of the winter, then left them in sodden masses, so instead of blowing away, they have remained in sulky heaps, and I have had to clear them up wherever I have been working.

After lunch I was working in the garden next door, and do you know, I could still smell the bark...

Despite that, I evicted an old Viburnum tinus which has been unsatisfactory for many years: the client and I agreed that it had had every chance, and it was time for it to go. The leaves were completely riddled with beetle holes, despite our regularly spraying it. So it had to go.

And when I dug it out, guess what I found? A rotted stump, riddled with honey fungus, yuck! It would appear that the plant was a side-shoot from an original plant that died off some years ago, and the infection seems to have weakened the modern plant, which might explain why it was never able to fully recover from beetle damage twice a year.

It's gone now.

And at 2.30 when the sun suddenly came out, I really regretted wearing longs. Perhaps I'll go back to shorts tomorrow...

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