From the website it looks like I did not garden ramble in 2021. Quite the opposite. Although I did not write about my garden, I probably spent more time in it. For those of us lucky enough to have a garden it was a place of refuge. It was lovely to read and hear how so many people discovered nature and gardening during the pandemic and how it has helped them to mentally cope with the situations they were faced with.
It is now mid May and the garden at Stoneydale is looking good. Something happened to make one group of daffodils appear inferior to last year. The tulip display did not let me down. I shall give short illustrated notes about this and more. Perhaps as the months go on adding them at the top of the page so you can read the latest items first. I will see how it goes.
20th May, 2022
When showing anyone round my garden I usually point out my specimen of Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'. This seems to cause some amusement, for what reason I could not possibly imagine. This photo of this unusual plant was taken on 6th May, 2022 andit will increase in size quite a bit more as the summer goes on. She is happy in the shade underneath an acer tree. Dies down to nothing in the winter and has not failed to make an appearance for me each Spring for the past 5 years or so.
19th May 2021
The planting of the new hydrangea bed is complete. Peter, who helps me with the garden has been working on the bed for some months ridding it of weeds and the dreaded couch grass. This week looked like a good one for planting due to the changeable weather. I have been growing on the hydrangeas in square pots for the past two and more years but got a shock when I came to removing some of them. The first was 'Camilla', a pink and white macrophylla type. She had vine weevil. I have had vine weevil in huchera before but did not know they favoured hydrangeas. They certainly do as a starred at them in amazement as the white grubs peered from the soil rotating their heads in a clockwise direction. Putting Camilla to one side I continued but had to stop again when 'Polestar' had the same problem. A paniculate hydrangea that opens white and then turns to pink and then an even darker pink by the autumn. The final plant to have the affliction was 'Runaway Bride' with white flowers flushed with pink. 'Runaway Bride' made the headlines back in 2018 when it was voted RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year. I disposed of the compost from the pots, cleaned the roots up of the three plants and put them into smaller pots. I shall now start spraying regularly.
New idea, planning, a lot of preparation and work but now completed. The Platinum Island Bed.
18th May 2022
Now is the time each year I try to rid my garden of bluebells. I know, a beautiful flower in the right setting, which is a woodland glade. Not an English garden where you are trying to grow lots of other plants that you like. I know that you are supposed to leave the leaves on daffodils and tulips so that the goodness of the leaves goes back into the bulb to help it to flower next year. You can also aid this by applying a liquid feed. Removing the leaves from growing bluebell does not seem to slow it down in the slightest.
My battle with trying to rid my garden of the English Bluebell fails each year. They can grow and spread to the most inconvenient places where they are difficult to dig up. I find that the bulbs can be quite deep
I remember one time at a meeting of the Christleton Gardening Club. The talk had ended and questions were invited. I asked "How do you kill bluebells"? There was a sudden hush except perhaps for a few low mutters. I don't think I got an answer.
So the battle continues. I see the RHS has a whole page on its website tackling the problem. So perhaps not such a stupid question. Now where did I put that stick of dynamite!
17th May 2022
Like all gardeners I pick up all kinds of bits of information by listening, reading, talking and watching. I was listening back in the early 1980's when Adrian Bloom was promoting island beds saying how good they were for displaying plants. When I moved to Stoneydale in 1977 a vast amount of the back garden was lawn. There was a rose bed full of the pink Queen Elizabeth roses. A large raised area growing perennial plants. An old rockery starting to be choked by shrubs, a vegetable area and one greenhouse.
That probably sounds quite enough to look after so it came as quite a shock to the family when I cut into the lawn one day and made a circular island bed. I planted it with quite a number of dwarf conifers, each some 6 inches tall. Only one of the original conifers remains in that bed now. Reaching some 25 feet tall and probably thinking of growing even taller. Must look up in the dictionary what is the actual meaning of dwarf.
A second kidney shaped island bed followed some years later for perennial flowering plants. Over the years it has been more difficult to look after with a never-ending war on couch or twitch grass. Looking to the future and wanting to reduce maintenance work I have decided to turn it into a bed purely for hydrangeas, Looking at the photo on the left of the now empty bed you would be quite right to say, to reduce work that the bed should be seeded and turned back to lawn.
Planting the hydrangea bed has started today. There have been some shocks.
14th May 2022
On the 11th of June Mintopia is holding an event to celebrate becoming a National Plant Collection. With well over 150 different types of mint being showcased it is one of the biggest collection of mints in the world. I’ll be on hand to chat about how mint can be used in a range of ways in the garden, or to help decide upon the best mint collection for you!
There will be food and refreshments available as well as plants for sale to help run the collection, but please note there are no public toilets or parking spots at the actual cottage nursery itself, so it’s best to park in the village. The post code below will take you to our front door, but that’s not the nursery, if you look on google maps, turn instead at the old Sandstone pub and you’ll find the nursery’s sign on Sherrington Lane.
Si Poole, Mintopia, Fullersmoor Cottage, Smithy Lane, Brown Knowl, Cheshire, CH3 9JY
From 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
13th May 2022
Following a meeting of the Christleton Gardening Club when a commercial plantsman with a nursery recommended Jack's Magic compost I decided to give it a go. That was quite a number of years ago and since then I hate to think how many bags I have used. It is made by Westland. A well known name in the gardening world.
The price of it varied quite a bit but I thought I had found an excellent source priced at £11.50 for three 60 litre bags. I noticed more recently some garden centres were selling 50 litre bags at a higher price. I kept using my source but on my last visit the price had gone to £16 for 3 bags and the size had decreased to 50 litres.
On a recent visit to Premier Plants I noticed they were selling a compost called Bloom & Gro. There are 56 litres in the bag and the current price is £12 for three bags. Have bought a total of 9 bags up until now. I quite like the texture so will see how things grow.
12th May 2022
Each month of the year brings its own special plants. Many have a such a small period of flowering which is why it is worthwhile planning so that you have a continuing show of flowers in your borders. The most expensive plant I can recall buying is a tree peony which has been in a container since last year. I bought it whilst watching the Virtual Chelsea Show during the covid pandemic. In a moment of weakness I ordered one from a specialist nursery. I see it has one bud on it at the moment.
Pictured is a peony in flower at the moment in my garden. There have been so many years when it has not looked as good as this owing to wind and rain. As yet I have not been tempted further into the Peony World .
CHRISTLETON GARDEN CLUB
11th May, 2022
Thanks to Jim and Judith Ferns the Christleton Gardening Club sprang back into life after being put away in the covid cupboard for the past two years. The first meeting on Monday 14th March was a talk by Ray Bailey titled "Twenty Ways to Improve Your Garden" . This was followed by the April Meeting on the 4th when Sue Nicholas came and talked about "Growing fruit and vegetables in small spaces". On the 9th May George Pilkington arrived with a amusing talk titled "The story of the birds and bees in your garden"
You cannot beat having a speaker who entertains and amuses you whilst imparting their knowledge on a subject you may know a little about or completely nothing at all.
On his visit to Christleton on 9th May when George Pilkington gave a talk on birds and bees in your garden he was wise enough to hand out his card to all the attendees. On it appears his website address www.nurturing-nature.co.uk. His site provides videos and an excellent reference including copius information on Birds, Bees, Insects, Worms, Hedgehogs to get you inspired about Nature.
Should his website spark your interest and you want to attract more nature to your garden George provides a large selection of products for sale that are certainly going to help you.
Before George starting speaking to the Christleton Gardening Club he remarked how nice it was to see us flourishing as interest groups such as ours are fast disappearing. Yes we know we are very lucky, thanks to Jim and Judith.