Diplomacy, Deluges and Discoveries.

Dispute resolution, This week the challenge was a particularly tricky one. Not only as I had to reduce the height of a Holly tree but due to the location of the tree itself. I was called in by the owner of the tree to prune it down so her neighbours view was less obstructed to the river below. Whilst the client and the garden neighbours on the other two sides wanted to maintain as much privacy as possible, and my client also wanted to keep the Holly making a statement at the end of her garden. So privacy, views, and a statement shrub!!! Sure I can do that with one tree! After negotiating to find some common ground the prickly leaves didn’t seem that spikey.

It is always hard to mediate between neighbours when one party sees a beloved tree and another just sees a lack of sunlight and a lot of leaf sweeping. It is important to ensure that you have done your research before you plant any trees or large shrub and you know what size it will become to avoid problems down the line. As we are increasingly building houses closer together with reduced outside spaces planting appropriately will be crucial. There is a wealth of information on website such as the RHS and nursery sites like Crocus so do you research before you buy and reduce the stress in the long run.

We have had lots of weather thrown at us in the last week from sheets of sideways rain, very strong winds and snow which settled very quickly and disappeared with the same vigour. in the gaps in between the storm systems it was wonderful to look outside and see the resilience of the flowers which have had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them still standing tall and looking beautiful.

If you have done any planting of bare root or rootballed plants this winter make sure you go and have a check they may well need heeling back in with all the wind.

Amaryllis, Hippeastrum, I had never tried to grow one before but a garden centre trip last November found me in a weak moment and I thought I would give it a try. Full of hope it would be in flower for Christmas I planted it with some forced Hyacinths as a centrepiece for the festive period. Well as I have mentioned here before , nothing was in flower for Christmas. The Hyacinths flowered nicely for my partners birthday in early feb and the Amaryllis had two lovely fat buds on it, one of which has opened this week,whilst I am away from home and not able to appreciate it! Hopefully I will get to enjoy the other flower on my return. I have been researching how I should care for the bulb once it has finished and what I need to do differently next year to try and achieve my table centerpiece for Christmas Day.

Once the flowers have finished I will remove them but leave the stem to die back before removing that too. I will continue to water and feed the bulb for the next 6 months and then water less and wait for the leaves to die down before removing them back to a couple of inches from the bulb. At this point it should look the same as when I bought it. I will then place it in the fridge for 6 weeks and hopefully take it out the end of October or the first few days of November and replant. Fingers crossed with the dates added to my diary we may have more luck this time around.

Brain Teaser time.

This months collection of flowers. It is a bit trickier than I intended, mainly because of the rubbish photo but see how you get on. There are 9 plants in there. There was supposed to be 10, with a few flowers off a Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ which is one of my favourite trees as it looks so pretty between November and March. Another delicate flower that braves the weather.

I did want to have made a trip to Cambridge botanics winter garden and Anglesey Abbey to walk though their winter gardens but for the second year on the trot I have been foiled by other demands on my time. Hopefully next week there will be a little write up about Dunraven Walled Garden and some Welsh Daffs from my half term expedition instead.

Other things that have caught my attention recently include an article in Gardens Illustrated Feb 2020 issue about Jenny Barnes artistic approach to training roses. they look beautiful.Last Autumn I actually trained some roses into domes. The roses in question are in a bed by the front door. They inherited beautiful repeat flowering David Austin roses but they they are vigorous large shrub roses and a good example of wrong plant wrong place. So I took the overlong stems and trained them along some hazel poles I had made into arches. In theory all along the stem flower stems should break out this summer and not just one flower at the end of the stem. Mine are nowhere near as pretty or intricate as Jenny’s but I am hoping the principle will work. I will post pictures on here of the progress and I am inspired to tinker with my creations to make them more aesthetic.

https://www.plant-world-seeds.com/store/view_seed_item/6528

Reading another gardeners blog, who writes from America, I have fallen in love with a type of Liatris I had not heard of, Liatris ligulistylis, which has a more open flower than the bottle brush variety, Liatris spicata, you mainly see grown in the uk. I have ordered some seed and I hope as they grow in poor dry soil, they may add something to the bank in the front garden.

Well, I will leave you to try and avoid getting blown away or flooded as we settle in for another weekend of wind and rain.. Hopefully you don’t end up with anything too exciting getting blown in to your garden from the surrounding neighbourhood. Happy Days in the garden when you can get in it. x