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Great Haseley and District Horticultural Society - November 2016

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I’m writing this in late October (apologies to the editors)

and looking out of the window into the autumn sunshine while doing the washing up I can still see lots of colour brightening decaying foliage. When planning your garden, it is important not to simply buy what is in flower when you visit the garden centre on a lovely spring day.  If you do you will have a garden that is dull from midsummer.  Our garden was a blank canvas when we moved in 24 years ago and I was desperate to get started. The result was poorly prepared beds with large populations of perennial weeds and simply too many mismatched occupants.

Over the years quite a number of beds have been replanted, but still I put in too many plants.  This is not too serious if these are perennials as they can be easily moved or split and given away, but if they are shrubs it can be a big mistake; shrubs are more expensive and many don’t respond as well to being moved, not to mention the hard physical work of digging up large shrubs.  In general, less is more and gaps can be filled with low growing annuals while you wait for plantings to fill out (I would not recommend larger annuals as when they grow and lean they can damage the growth of shrubby plants as I have learned to my cost).  Fewer plants may mean your beds look ‘mean’ at first, but they will fill out given time and care and also cost less to plant.  Quite a lot of what is in my garden has been purchased at the church fete as I never come home empty handed!  I would encourage you to look at plants which are not in flower on that day as you will get good value; those of us who have been growing plants for the stall for many years know that it is very difficult to sell plants which are not in flower.  I often wonder if most gardens in Great Milton peak on the second Saturday in June!  Do purchase plants in flower right around the year to help your garden look fresh and floriferous (if, like me, flowers are what you want).

This summer I planted out a pot of a hardy Nerine called Isabel which I admit to having bought last autumn in flower and left by the greenhouse ever since (so it is definitely hardy as it did not succumb despite being in a plastic pot, a state which renders plants more vulnerable to cold).  Isabel is now in full flower with very bright pink flowers and I have been prompted to buy two more pots; unfortunately, one of them is a pale pink which is not so much to my taste and will have to be planted somewhere else as I have lost the receipt and so cannot exchange it.  This experience yet again illustrates the importance of buying plants in flower so you know what you are getting.  These bulbs need to be planted in a sunny spot, preferably against a warm wall so their bulbs are baked in the summer sun.  I can assure you, from bitter experience, they do disappear if you allow them to be covered.

Other plants in flower now are hardy Fuchsias which I love, but which do take a while to get going in the spring, although I think they are worth the wait with their beautiful flowers and arching growth.  Propagation from cuttings is easy so they are easy to share.  I also have quite a collection of tender Fuchsias which need protection over the winter, but give us so much late season pleasure.  Roses are still blooming and pots of Rudbeckia and Zinnia are still performing well; I especially like Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Sun’ with its beautiful yellow flowers with green centres and seems to flower rather later than other annual Rudbeckias.  The first flowers are opening on my Coronilla glauca ‘Citrina’; these will continue throughout the winter giving off a lovely fragrance on mild sunny days, helping brighten the winter months.

Liz Moyses,Membership secretary, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
01844 279875