February at Norfolk School of Gardening - Late Winter Shrub Plans

February at Norfolk School of Gardening - Late Winter Shrub Plans

Days are getting longer, which means more time in the garden. Norfolk school of gardening are out tackling the shrubbery and pests that survived the winter.

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The days seem suddenly to have got noticeably longer. On brighter days this week we have been working outside until nearly 5pm, which makes it feel like we are through the depths of winter. We certainly hope for the plants’ sakes that we won’t have a really cold late snap. So many plants are in bud or even in flower very early and we have seen ladybirds out in the Walled Garden this week. Less good was the discovery of vine weevil larvae in a pot of Geum and slugs in the brassicas. It would have been great to have had some very cold weather to kill off last year’s pests, but by this stage it would do a lot of damage.

We have been taking advantage of the milder weather and doing lots of tidying up in the herbaceous borders. We have not cut everything back yet, but we have cleared dead leaves and collapsed perennials as well as the annual weeds which are already in evidence. We have added Strulch mulch to try to keep the weeds down and are keen to see if it does discourage the slugs, as many people say. We have planted more shrubs where the new shrub border is developing. A group of Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ are showing off their red-orange stems to great effect and a bright yellow Salix alba var. vitellina is looking equally impressive. This time next year we hope to have a varied winter border with plenty of interest.

This has been a busy week with a Renovation Pruning course packed with enthusiastic gardeners wanting to learn how to tame neglected shrubs and some equally keen would-be vegetable growers looking at crop rotation and what to sow when on the Introduction to Veg Growing day. We have also met our very first cohort on the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s Certificate in Practical Horticulture course. There are professional gardeners adding to their qualifications, career changers, early retirees wanting to learn how to look after their own garden better. It is a great group and we are really looking forward to the next 10 weeks which will be packed with practical advice and hands on learning out in the Walled Garden. This first course was a sell out and we are already taking booking for all three courses later this year. Get in touch if you would like to find out more.

Upcoming courses with availability:

The Cutting Garden 4th February
Border Renovations 7th February
Caring for Fruit Trees 11th February
Lawn Care & Maintenance 14th February
Pruning Shrubs & Roses 25th February
Certificate in Practical Horticulture (10 week course) new courses starting 29th April and 2nd May

Plant of the Week

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' arrowwood

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'

There are over 150 different Viburnums but this one is a fine hybrid raised at Bodnant Garden in Wales in 1935. It is a medium sized deciduous shrub of strong upright growth. ‘Dawn’ was the first named clone from the Bodnant hybrid and produces clusters of fragrant white or pink flowers during late autumn and winter on bare stems. The common name of Viburnum is arrowwood, referring to the prehistoric use of the long straight stems of Viburnum for arrow-shafts.

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