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Well the grass is beginning to look like it is August. Luckily we would never claim it was a lawn, but this may be the time to look seriously at how we can turn part of it into a drought resistant wildflower meadow. Maybe some of you are looking out at your parched lawn and thinking along the same lines. Happily there are plants which are loving the heat and the prairie bed is certainly beginning to flourish. Grasses have put on growth and the Verbena bonariensis and Echinacea purpurea have filled out. However several weeds have also appeared and we need to hoe them off in the next few days.
Beds which we planted last year are almost too full now for any weeds to sneak in. The perennials have become well established and the Strulch mulch we applied back in the autumn definitely helped suppress the weeds. We have been doing more mulching this week. In the nursery area we have trees and shrubs in new beds which will be used for planting practice and for taking cuttings by students on the Certificate in Practical Horticulture. This week we gave them a good drenching then added a thick layer of Strulch to minimise water loss and reduce weeds. This will be good for the plants, reduce our workload and has the added benefit of looking great! There are photos on Instagram and Facebook.
Watering has been one of our main activities this week with so many plants and seedlings in pots at the moment. The water butts outside the Rhino are already empty and there is no sign of rain in the near future. So our priority will be to get plants out of the greenhouse and into the ground or to new homes elsewhere. We are still pricking out and potting on and it is not too late to sow more seeds. Many flowers and veg still have time to do their thing this summer, and we will be planting more peas and Florence fennel this week as well as radishes and salad leaves.
Our plant sales have continued for a third week, but we are now taking a short break to allow more plants to be ready to sell the following week. There will be lots of vegetables and annual flower available on the next list, as well as many interesting perennials. We really look forward to meeting more of you when you come to collect your orders or we drop them at your gate.
We are beginning to look at ways to start courses again in a safe way. We’ll keep you posted about our plans over the coming weeks. Do let us know you if you are interested in joining us on any of our courses. We’ll add you to our mailing list and let you know when courses can be resumed.
Plant of the Week
Viburnum sargentii 'Onondaga'
This is a large, deciduous viburnum, with maple-like leaves which emerge deep bronze-purple in spring, maturing to green in summer, and then turning purple again in autumn. Lacecap flowerheads with pretty reddish buds and white florets appear in May. For best results, grow in full sun to partial shade, in moist but well-drained soil. Prune in late winter if necessary.