I have been doing the count down of Apple trees left to prune and this morning I went out to do some more and noticed another which I had forgotten about so I have spent most of the day pruning only to find my list is not much smaller than when I started this morning. Even though the sun was still shining I had to give up for the day as my back started screaming at me, it has not been good for a couple of months now though happily it is getting better.
I have been clearing the many piles of pruned material which is not a job I like but the grass underneath was suffering so I have to slowly do it as weather and energy permits.
I am hoping to find the time to take a walk down round the lower garden as I haven’t been down there for ages and I haven’t even taken any photos through January even though there are a lot of plants in flower.
Last year we planted Tagetes minuta which grow to about 6ft (1.8m), the leaves are finely cut and quite attractive but the flowers are insignificant. They are said to have root secretions which suppress some weeds including Ground Elder, I don’t know if this working but we have decided to order more seeds of them for this year. We are surprised that the plants are still standing tall and have not withered away over winter as with other Tagetes.
It was recently mum’s 92nd birthday so I took her to a tree nursery to take her pick of something she would like and it took me a while to steer her in the right direction and agree that she would really like a Acer davidii Viper, a Snake Bark Acer with a very distinctive white striped bark. At the moment she is busy perusing her latest gardening book she was given, Garden Plants of China and The Plant Hunters Garden about explores of today and their discoveries. Although we do have some of the plants mentioned they are still rarely seen in gardens as most gardens centres seem to lack the imagination to sell anything different. I have noticed one to put on my wish list, Triosteum pinnatifidum which grows in moist shade, it is from China and a honeysuckle relative though you wouldn’t think it by the picture. It has large jagged leaves, small flowers and white fruits that are held up above the plant. Described by plant hunter Dan Hinkley as “ beyond remarkable and mind boggling” - now that sound like my sort of plant. We do have 2 very good books by Dan Hinkley and I would like to see his garden but it’s a bit far for a day trip to Kingston USA.
Plant of the month: Crocus
There are about 80 species of Crocus as well as many garden forms and hybrids which are native to Europe, North Africa and temperate Asia. The goblet-shaped flowers taper at the base into a long tube which originates below the surface of the soil. The colours are of varying shades of yellow, white and mauve and may have darker veining. The foliage is grass-like and often with a silver-white central stripe. Our are starting to flower as I write this at the end of January and will continue through February and possibly into March as long as the birds do not pull off all the heads.
Plant in well-drained soil in full sun or semi-shade and they will spread quite quickly. If the clumps do become too overcrowded they can be divided. They can be grown from seed but may not flower for 3 years.
Ros. www.moorsmeadow.co.uk 01885 410318