{pdf=images/pdf/plantingindryshade.pdf|600|600}

 

jplot garden design in surrey and berkshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alternatively, to see this month's gardening feature   CLICK HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February’s article was missed because we went to soak up some winter sun in Sri Lanka – sadly,  the weather didn’t cooperate and we were caught up in the floods.  Torrential rain, landslides and roads washed away…but still its a beautiful country, with lovely people, amazing flora and fauna, and excellent rice and curry!


Anyway, we have dried out now and are delighted to be home enjoying our beautiful Spring weather.  We’ve made  a few changes here over the winter – moving the mature beech hedge to give more space for the vegetable garden and installing a big new greenhouse (more details another day!)

 

 

 

The hedge was picked up with a digger and moved a couple of meters to a new trench well dug out and enriched with compost.  There was plenty of rain in January and February but the last couple of weeks have been quite dry so I will water the hedge this weekend than apply a thick mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture during the summer.  It will need a leaky hose to run along its length for ease of regular watering too…just in case we have a good summer!



Some of you may have a compost bin in the garden and now is the perfect time to turn it out and see what you have.  There should be some lovely black compost at the bottom to spread around your borders or dig into the veg patch.  I have a few compost bins dotted around the garden  - some are slatted timber, some are plastic from the RBWM special offer last year.  I find the plastic ones are the most effective because the slatted ones tend to dry out and then the composting process stops.


Composting is a natural process where nitrogen rich (eg soft green plant material, grass cuttings, kitchen veg waste) and carbon rich ( shredded cardboard, straw, stalks) material is broken down by microrganisms and aerobic bacteria.  There are numerous articles on how to make the best heap but the key elements are to have the correct balance of finely chopped nitrogen and carbon-rich material, keep the moisture level up, turn the heap once a month (optimistic at this house!) to allow air into the pile and put the drier material from the side to the centre.
http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?pid=444
http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/soil_makecompost1.shtml

 

If you don’t have the room or the inclination to compost yourself you can buy a green bin from RBWM which is collected once a fortnight and composted off site.
I visited Shorts green waste composting facility in Winkfield earlier this week to see how the experts do it!

Shorts take and process 10,000T /year of green waste on contract from local councils and landscape contractors, tree surgeons etc.  It is spread in the receiving bay for visual inspection and removal of plastic, rocks, pots etc – including the odd football!

It is then lifted and loaded into the shredder to be cut into material with a nominal size of 20mm.

 

Windrows (big piles of shredded material in the open air) are formed in the yard containing about 150T of material each and as each windrow is completed it is allocated a unique identifying number.  Over the next couple of months the windrows are turned by loading shovel until stable and sanitised, then screened to produce 20mm mulch or 10mm soil improver for sale to the agricultural and horticultural  industries.

Shorts use a state of the art Compost Manager computer system which monitors the essential parameters of the windrows –  oxygen, carbon dioxide, moisture and temperature, measured by inserting a probe into the pile at several positions.  The system calculates what is required to maximise the efficiency of the composting process and produces daily work sheets eg turn windrow 51, water windrow 53. 

The material becomes ‘sanitised’ after achieving 65deg C  for 7 days and is then turned a further 4 times until it reaches stabilisation and the temperature drops.

This system was adopted after a very successful trial period which resulted in a more stable product, fewer turns thus saving fuel and manhours, minimal odour release, better quality control and a fully traceable record system.  Shorts produce material meeting the  PASS100 industry standard, with various criterion for weed and sharps content, germination tests etc and are rightly proud of their 15year experience in green waste composting.

Their main customers are the local cereal farms, landscapers and the polo field but they will also supply the 10mm soil improver or 20mm mulch to domestic customers.  They can deliver a 1000litre big bag,  a 6 or 8 yard skip  or up to a 15T lorry load.


I have ordered an 8yard skip of 10mm product for delivery tomorrow – so that’s my job for the weekend – finger crossed for sunshine!


 

 

 

 

 

 

jplot garden design in surrey and berkshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A;ternatively, to see this month's gardening feature -  see the Pdf below. Or  CLICK HERE

{pdf=images/pdf/mulch.pdf|600|600}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see this month's gardening feature - Palm Trees and Pelicans, by Judy Bryant of JPlot, with beautiful photography from Florida see the Pdf below. Or  CLICK HERE

{pdf=images/pdf/palmtreesandpelicans.pdf|600|600}

jplot garden design in ascot

jplot garden design in surrey and berkshire

Andrew Wilson’s design for the new Rose Garden at Savill Garden – it is fabulous!

Cantilevered platform over highly perfumed roses



Andrew’s spiral design cleverly winds multiple pathways inwards towards the central feature – a wooden walkway arching over the roses narrowing

to a steel Titanic-like prow.  The roses are  selected to become darker and more strongly scented as the centre is approached and the raised platform,

with grating underfoot, affords a perfumed panorama.


Andrew Wilson’s spiral design


The design has the look of a half open rose itself to me – overlapping petals with dark centre encouraging a nose towards the scent within – some

have compared it to a spinning planet with vapour trails, see what you come up with – but do go and see for yourself!

Rose gardens are often fairly dull and the Rose itself is not a beautiful plant - the blooms are beautiful for a few weeks but uninspiring for the rest of the year.

This design, though limited to Roses with the embellishment of flowering grasses for the autumn, will provide interest in itself for keen gardeners,

amateurs and families alike.  Pathways have different textured and coloured surfaces, the spiral is grounded by curved blocks of clipped yew which mirror

the adjacent Queen’s Jubilee garden and contain the space without enclosure.  Plenty of resting places are provided (though without backs perhaps to discourage long stay

visitors) and I sat happily beside ‘Jude the Obscure’ gazing at ‘Cornelia’.


Jude the Obscure


There are a total of 2,500 plants in the scheme but only 28 varieties ranging from white to deep burgundy red in the spiral and cream to soft

apricot near the herbaceous borders.  The varieties were chosen for their health and vigour, strong perfume and to flower all summer long

- the provenance of each rose is specified on the label in the garden with many from the David Austin nursery as identified below.  I don’t intend

to advertise for David Austin but the website is excellent and one of the world’s leading online resources of information about roses www.davidaustinroses.com  



The key to the scheme

Some of my favourites are Sceptre’d Isle, winner of several awards in the UK and Germany, and possessing a classic English Rose scent.


Sceptre’d Isle


William Shakespeare is the richest velvety crimson with a warm Old Rose fragrance.


William Shakeaspeare


Lady Emma Hamilton has deep red buds opening to a delightful peachy tangerine and the foliage is bronzy green.




Glamis castle – pure white.



Gertrude Jekyll, voted the nations favourite by BBC viewers in 2006, is perfect!  Large rosette flowers and rich pink colour with very strong

quintessential rose perfume here en masse behind the bench.

This area of the garden has been dedicated to roses since the 1950s and normally one would not replace roses with new roses for fear of

‘rose sickness’.  Clever project management swapped the soil from the lawn areas with the soil from the rose beds so the new planting went into clean soil – enriched with tons

of compost of course and roots dipped in Rootgrow mycorrhizal gel to give them a flying start.  The success is evident

– the plants are in rude health and bursting with bloom and vigour!


Curving pathways lead to the central platform


This week Savill Garden celebrates ‘The Rose’  with an assortment of rose related events – see the website for details www.theroyallandscpae.co.uk 

and even has a rose themed menu in the restaurant, a brass band at the weekend and opera on Friday evening – let’s hope it stays fine!

Savill Garden is always worth a visit anyway and the bog garden is looking spectacular with masses of Primula, Hemerocallis and Iris.


The bog garden




Giant Himalayan Lily already over 2m tall


Deep in the woodland is a giant in waiting -  Cardinocrinum giganteum – the unusual and giant Himalayan lily  which takes 5-7 years to produce an

enormous 6-10ft high flowering spike of scented white flowers.  I keep going to see if it is open yet…just a couple more weeks now I think!














 Cornus kousa var chinensisOne of the nicest things you can give to mark a special occasion is a plant which will ‘do it’s thing’ at the time of the event each year. 

There is a chance that you already have a plant in your garden that has a special significance; perhaps a cutting taken from Granny’s garden, a plant bought on a holiday or a gift from a friend.  It is a plant with a particular memory for you.

In our garden we have several such special favourites.

My husband was bought a Cornus kousa var chinensis for his 50th birthday by his mother that we kept in a pot on the patio for a while.  The pot cracked a couple of winters ago so the lucky Cornus was put in the ground and has enjoyed its new home.
It is a large and elegant shrub or small tree from Japan and Korea, worthy of a place on its own where it can be admired and allowed to grow slowly to its full size. The branches are open and spreading and are covered in early summer with slender-stalked flower heads of showy white bracts, which later produce strawberry-like fruits in a good year. The foliage catches fire in autumn, turning rich bronze, orange and crimson. A beautiful shrub that grows slowly at first, but eventually needs plenty of room. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).


 Cornus kousa var chinensis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have a vine, another family birthday gift, which turns the most fantastic colour at this time of year.  The grapes are not quite ripe yet but last year they were an excellent handful in October.  As I type the name I see it is Vitis Brant – just one letter short of Bryant – I have never noticed that before!

Vitis Brant
Vitis Brant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hydrangea macrophyllaWe have a lovely pink Hydrangea, bought by a dear friend to remember my Mum when she died, and this year it has been beautiful.  Hydrangeas are interesting plants because they change colour according to the pH of the soil which affects aluminium availability. Those with blue or pink flowers tend to be blue in acid soil conditions mauve in acid to neutral soil conditions, and pink in alkaline conditions. To get the best flower colour, choose cultivars that give the best colours for the pH in question.
White flowers, and also green-flowered cultivars, remain white or green regardless of soil pH.
Try to use rainwater to water hydrangeas, since mains hard water can affect the flower colour, turning blue flowers mauve or pink.
This Hydrangea defies the rules – we have acid soil but it remains a strong pink colour – oh well, I suppose my Mum was a redhead!



Hydrangea macrophylla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden centres usually have ‘plant of the month’ areas where seasonal specials are displayed but a few suggestions are

January            Chaenomoles japonica, flowering quince
February           Hamamelis, Witch hazel - scented
March               Viburnum burckwoodii – scented
April                 Magnolia stellata – fabulous white flowers
May                  Syringa, Lilac - try the dwarf Syringa palibin – scented
June                 Philadelphus or roses – scented
July                  Trachelospermum jasminoides – scented evergreen climber
August             Abelia x grandiflora – scented, evergreen
September       Hydrangeas
October           Acer, Japanese maple
November        Viburnum x bodnantense Dawn – scented all winter
December        Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ – small tree


Long time friends of ours recently celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary in January, not the easiest time of the year for plant material, but our gift for them was a Japanese maple, Acer Sango-kaku, which has bright coral bark through the winter – perfect to mark their Ruby anniversary.  Other red winter barked plants are the Cornus varieties or for early red flower colour there are Camellias.  The photo below was taken in March and you can see the Camellia Adolphe Audusson in flower behind.

New spring growth on red barked stems Acer palmatum Sango-kaku
New spring growth on red barked stems Acer palmatum Sango-kaku

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tragically, these dear friends lost their brave soldier son this summer following an explosion in Afghanistan, and they gave us a beautiful ‘Help for Heroes’ Rose to remember him.

Hilliers launched the rich-red Help for Heroes rose in aid of the Help for Heroes charity. They donate £3 from the sale of each rose at www.hillier.co.uk directly to this excellent cause.  The Help for Heroes rose bears a mass of fragrant clusters of deep red full-petalled flowers from late spring right through to the first frosts of winter.   Ideal for large containers, mixed borders or low hedging, the Help for Heroes floribunda rose grows 80cm tall by 60cm wide and has a strong, bushy habit and glossy, disease-resistant leaves.

Help for Heroes Rose
Help for Heroes Rose

Roses are good plants to use for creating scented summer ‘memories’.  There are many named for special events such as Rosa Golden Wedding, Ruby Wedding, and The Bride, and many with other appropriate names Anthony, Belinda, Celine, Daphne etc.  You could also give ‘Home sweet home’, ‘Congratulations’ or ‘Peace’ as appropriate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Exochorda x macrantha “The Bride’Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’ is a lovely plant for a Spring wedding. When in flower, this deciduous shrub is just gorgeous. For about six weeks in April and May, its arching branches are wreathed in open white flowers that almost smother the soft, green foliage. In autumn the leaves turn delicate shades of yellow and orange. This shrub has been given the Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society and although it will take some shade, it flourishes best in a sunny, open position. It can also be trained as a wall shrub.





Exochorda x macrantha “The Bride’

 

We have been invited to celebrate with friends next weekend – they have their 50th birthdays and their daughters are 18 and 21 this year!  I don’t think the girls will appreciate plants but I was thinking of perhaps 50 Camassia bulbs or a cloud pruned Ilex crenata with 5 pom-poms for the parents.  I gave my sister a 6 pom-pom Ilex for her 60th (and bought myself one for my 50th!)  I feel a trip to the nursery is needed for inspiration!

 

 

When planting gardens for clients I usually try to use a ‘special’ plant with a significant name.  Recent clients granddaughter is called Rebecca and Viola Rebecca is a delight – scented, sun or part shade, long flowering, easy.

Viola Rebecca
Viola Rebecca

Another client’s daughter was Charlotte and a good clump of Anemone japonica Queen Charlotte was a bright addition to a semi shaded border.


 Anemone japonica “Queen Charlotte’
Anemone japonica “Queen Charlotte’



Astrantia ‘Astrantia ‘Sunningdale variegated’ in a shady borderAstrantia ‘Sunningdale Variegated’ commemorates our local area.
A. 'Sunningdale Variegated' has yellow markings of varying intensity on the leaves and is highly esteemed in connoisseur circles - and is correspondingly priced. It depends how much you like plants with variegated leaves and whether you have the right position - it will light up a corner where the shade is not too great.  There is also an Astrantia ‘Ruby wedding’!
 
Astrantia ‘Sunningdale variegated’ in a shady border

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my niece’s 10th wedding anniversary and a move to new home this summer I bought them an Acer palmatum Bloodgood (there’s always a good excuse for an Acer!)  Those of you who know me may smile because I can justify an Acer for every situation (and try to give most of my clients one!)

Acer Corallinum, ferns and Hostas

Acer Corallinum, ferns and Hostas

My lovely husband is 60 in a week or so and I have planted Acer Corallinum in an area I have cleared of old Rhododendron ponticum and Gaulteria and surrounded it with ferns and Hostas – a perfect place in the shade of the oaks.

May it live long and flourish!

 

 

 

 

         jplot garden design in ascot

Plants for special occasions

 

One of the nicest things you can give to mark a special occasion is a plant which will ‘do it’s thing’ at the time of the event each year.  There is a chance that you already have a plant in your garden that has a special significance; perhaps a cutting taken from Granny’s garden, a plant bought on a holiday or a gift from a friend.  It is a plant with a particular memory for you.

 

In our garden we have several such special favourites.

 

My husband was bought a Cornus kousa var chinensis for his 50th birthday by his mother that we kept in a pot on the patio for a while.  The pot cracked a couple of winters ago so the lucky Cornus was put in the ground and has enjoyed its new home.

It is a large and elegant shrub or small tree from Japan and Korea, worthy of a place on its own where it can be admired and allowed to grow slowly to its full size. The branches are open and spreading and are covered in early summer with slender-stalked flower heads of showy white bracts, which later produce strawberry-like fruits in a good year. The foliage catches fire in autumn, turning rich bronze, orange and crimson. A beautiful shrub that grows slowly at first, but eventually needs plenty of room. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

 

Macintosh HD:Users:judithbryant:Desktop:DSCN4052.JPG

Cornus kousa var chinensis

 

We have a vine, another family birthday gift, which turns the most fantastic colour at this time of year.  The grapes are not quite ripe yet but last year they were an excellent handful in October.  As I type the name I see it is Vitis Brant – just one letter short of Bryant – I have never noticed that before!

 

:::Desktop:Vitis Brant.JPG

Vitis Brant

 

We have a lovely pink Hydrangea, bought by a dear friend to remember my Mum when she died, and this year it has been beautiful.  Hydrangeas are interesting plants because they change colour according to the pH of the soil which affects aluminium availability. Those with blue or pink flowers tend to be blue in acid soil conditions mauve in acid to neutral soil conditions, and pink in alkaline conditions. To get the best flower colour, choose cultivars that give the best colours for the pH in question.

White flowers, and also green-flowered cultivars, remain white or green regardless of soil pH.

Try to use rainwater to water hydrangeas, since mains hard water can affect the flower colour, turning blue flowers mauve or pink.

This Hydrangea defies the rules – we have acid soil but it remains a strong pink colour – oh well, I suppose my Mum was a redhead!

Macintosh HD:Users:judithbryant:Desktop:DSCN6067.JPG

Hydrangea macrophylla

 

Garden centres usually have ‘plant of the month’ areas where seasonal specials are displayed but a few suggestions are

 

January                                    Chaenomoles japonica, flowering quince

February                      Hamamelis, Witch hazel - scented

March                          Viburnum burckwoodii – scented

April                            Magnolia stellata – fabulous white flowers

May                             Syringa, Lilac - try the dwarf Syringa palibin – scented

June                             Philadelphus or roses – scented

July                              Trachelospermum jasminoides – scented evergreen climber

August                         Abelia x grandiflora – scented, evergreen

September                   Hydrangeas

October                      Acer, Japanese maple

November                  Viburnum x bodnantense Dawn – scented all winter

December                   Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ – small tree

 

 

Long time friends of ours recently celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary in January, not the easiest time of the year for plant material, but our gift for them was a Japanese maple, Acer Sango-kaku, which has bright coral bark through the winter – perfect to mark their Ruby anniversary.  Other red winter barked plants are the Cornus varieties or for early red flower colour there are Camellias.  The photo below was taken in March and you can see the Camellia Adolphe Audusson in flower behind.

 

Macintosh HD:Users:judithbryant:Desktop:DSCN3573.JPG

New spring growth on red barked stems Acer palmatum Sango-kaku

 

Tragically, these dear friends lost their brave soldier son this summer following an explosion in Afghanistan, and they gave us a beautiful ‘Help for Heroes’ Rose to remember him.

 

Hilliers launched the rich-red Help for Heroes rose in aid of the Help for Heroes charity. They donate £3 from the sale of each rose at www.hillier.co.uk directly to this excellent cause.  The Help for Heroes rose bears a mass of fragrant clusters of deep red full-petalled flowers from late spring right through to the first frosts of winter.   Ideal for large containers, mixed borders or low hedging, the Help for Heroes floribunda rose grows 80cm tall by 60cm wide and has a strong, bushy habit and glossy, disease-resistant leaves.

 

Macintosh HD:Users:judithbryant:Desktop:00124941-large.jpg

Help for Heroes Rose

 

Roses are good plants to use for creating scented summer ‘memories’.  There are many named for special events such as Rosa Golden Wedding, Ruby Wedding, and The Bride, and many with other appropriate names Anthony, Belinda, Celine, Daphne etc.  You could also give ‘Home sweet home’, ‘Congratulations’ or ‘Peace’ as appropriate!

 

Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’ is a lovely plant for a Spring wedding. When in flower, this deciduous shrub is just gorgeous. For about six weeks in April and May, its arching branches are wreathed in open white flowers that almost smother the soft, green foliage. In autumn the leaves turn delicate shades of yellow and orange. This shrub has been given the Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society and although it will take some shade, it flourishes best in a sunny, open position. It can also be trained as a wall shrub.

 

 

 

 

Macintosh HD:Users:judithbryant:Desktop:DSCN5713.JPG

Exochorda x macrantha “The Bride’

 

We have been invited to celebrate with friends next weekend – they have their 50th birthdays and their daughters are 18 and 21 this year!  I don’t think the girls will appreciate plants but I was thinking of perhaps 50 Camassia bulbs or a cloud pruned Ilex crenata with 5 pom-poms for the parents.  I gave my sister a 6 pom-pom Ilex for her 60th (and bought myself one for my 50th!)  I feel a trip to the nursery is needed for inspiration!

 

When planting gardens for clients I usually try to use a ‘special’ plant with a significant name.  Recent clients granddaughter is called Rebecca and Viola Rebecca is a delight – scented, sun or part shade, long flowering, easy.

Macintosh HD:Users:judithbryant:Desktop:Resized_ViolaRebecca.jpg

Viola Rebecca

 

Another client’s daughter was Charlotte and a good clump of Anemone japonica Queen Charlotte was a bright addition to a semi shaded border.

 

 

Macintosh HD:Users:judithbryant:Desktop:DSCN6251.JPG

Anemone japonica “Queen Charlotte’

 

Astrantia ‘Sunningdale Variegated’ commemorates our local area.

A. 'Sunningdale Variegated' has yellow markings of varying intensity on the leaves and is highly esteemed in connoisseur circles - and is correspondingly priced. It depends how much you like plants with variegated leaves and whether you have the right position - it will light up a corner where the shade is not too great.  There is also an Astrantia ‘Ruby wedding’!

Macintosh HD:Users:judithbryant:Desktop:DSCN5734.JPG

Astrantia ‘Sunningdale variegated’ in a shady border

 

 

 

For my niece’s 10th wedding anniversary and a move to new home this summer I bought them an Acer palmatum Bloodgood (there’s always a good excuse for an Acer!)  Those of you who know me may smile because I can justify an Acer for every situation (and try to give most of my clients one!)

Macintosh HD:Users:judithbryant:Desktop:DSCN6254.JPG

Acer Corallinum, ferns and Hostas

 

My lovely husband is 60 in a week or so and I have planted Acer Corallinum in an area I have cleared of old Rhododendron ponticum and Gaulteria and surrounded it with ferns and Hostas – a perfect place in the shade of the oaks.

 

May it live long and flourish!