This picture, taken at Gresgarth Hall in Lancashire shows how a vigorous vine such as a rambling rose or a Clematis montana can be encouraged to grow against a tree.
The soil at the base of a tree is often dry and impoverished. Dig a hole for the plant two feet (60cm) or more away from the trunk of the tree. Mix in a little organic matter such as leaf mould or compost to enrich the soil
If the plant came in a pot, gently tease out the roots over the hole. Mix the soil that falls from the container in with the planting soil too. Plant the rose or vine aiming for the soil level to be about the same as it was in the pot. Water in well.
Use a sturdy cane ladder to train the plant back towards a lower branch of the tree. The smaller canes the plant came with can be tied or woven in to the ladder.
As the vine grows, weave the pliable young stems around the cane, tying them in if needed.
If wild animals such as rabbits or deer visit the area and may be tempted to nibble the lower stems of the plant, use chicken wire to protect them.
Auriculas have an old-fashioned quality: something about the green flowered and mealy grey flowered ones on display at this year’s N.A.P.S. show mades them seem as if any decent Renaissance poet ought to have written a verse or two in their honour. Continue reading
One of the nicest things about blogging is the ability to share a peek into a magical place. I’d not be surprised to hear that even some of the people who have visited Cothay Manor have left without experiencing the courtyard garden. I happened upon it as if by mistake on my second or third circuit of the garden. It seemed such an intimate space that I asked the lady quietly gardening there whether visitors were welcome.
She assured me I was welcome and we talked a little about roses. The walls of the manor are clothed with roses and other vines, including Rosa mutabilis trained as a magnificent climber which I had not seen done before. We’d missed seeing most of the roses in full flower, but there was plenty more to admire. Continue reading
The Eutierria Show Garden (pronounced you tee air ia), designed by Neil Sutcliffe and built by Creative Roots, drew inspiration from the cliffs of the River Trent. It was part of the mindfulness category of mood-enhancing spaces at RHS Chatsworth that demonstrate how access to nature and our wellbeing are interlinked.
Shade tolerant plants supplied by Miles Nurseries channelled the margins of woodland, but with gardenesque touches. White anemone ‘Ruffled Swan’, bronze ajuga, claret astrantia, blue geranium and a froth of tiny, chartreuse yellow alchemilla mollis flowers provided pops of colour against a green, textural planting of fern, moss, hosta, tiarella and brunnera. Trees and shrubs added architecture.
This post about hardy geraniums, popularly called cranesbills, (not the pelargoniums) is the second in my series on companion plants.
What are companion plants?
Companion plants complement the showy ornamentals society loves – roses, peonies, delphiniums and hollyhocks – filling in the gaps in the flower border and helping it flow. They’re pretty enough on their own terms and happy to mingle in, above or below other plants. Good neighbours, they will not compete too aggressively for food, water or space.
Their presence encourages a healthier ecosystem by attracting beneficial insects which is why companion plants are often recommended for kitchen gardens. To find out more about what makes a plant a good companion, check out the first post in the series, on astrantias.
If you show me a decent sized English garden that doesn’t have a geranium, I’ll show you a garden that is missing a trick. Suppliers variously describe them as forgiving, easy, undemanding, generous and enduring. I don’t have a horse in the race, but I’d agree with them.
Remember the days when the Town Hall was the place to go if you wanted ‘further particulars’ about an event? How life has changed since then! At this year’s Southport Flower Show, we had no horse leaping events, but we did have heritage animals, courtesy of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, including a pig that was more rare than a giant panda (and much the same size).
The cultivars may have changed over the last 90 years, but gladioli like those shown on the 1929 poster were on display in 2019, together with just about every August flowering plant you could hope for.
Amongst so many choice plants, this solitary, perfect, innocent-looking, pink Japanese anemone caught my eye. Continue reading