January at Norfolk School of Gardening - Maintaining Flowerbeds

January at Norfolk School of Gardening - Maintaining Flowerbeds

Dealing with flowers - pruning established plants and ordering seeds for the coming season.

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This has been a week of frosts, snow, gales and rain as well as some lovely sunny days. Perfect gardening weather! The one snowy day gave us the perfect excuse for some armchair gardening, which means we finally completed our latest (probably not final) seed order and we are very much looking forward to more chilli and tomato seeds arriving shortly, as well as some seeds for Dahlia ‘Bishop’s Children’. We’ve not grown dahlias from seed before, but we know lots of people who have and we are really looking forward to the results this summer and autumn. Let us know if you have had success with these.

On the sunnier (or at least drier) days we have been out in the garden pruning and tidying. The Wisteria has had a much-needed haircut, and we have lifted some Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’ which had spread extensively and developed thick woody roots which were quite a challenge to dig up. We have also lifted an area of Iris sibirica which had been planted about four years ago but which had become very congested and the middle of the patch had died. The clumps we lifted will yield dozens of new plants for which we will need to find new homes, but we replanted a few of them in the same area and look forward to them coming up and flowering in a few months’ time. We also lifted some large clumps of Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ which were in the wrong place. These were easy to divide into piles of new plants, some of which we have planted in a different bed. It is a satisfying end to the day when the pile for the compost is fairly similar to the pile of new plants to be potted up or replanted.

The week did also bring wet and blustery days when we were much more reluctant to be outside but which gave us time to do more potting up in the polytunnel and Rhino greenhouse. Many of the plants we are potting up are hardy and would be perfectly happy outside, but a few weeks in the protection and relative warmth of the polytunnel will give them a head start and the opportunity to develop their roots before going outside. You may not be surprised to know that we are now fast running out of small, 9cm pots, so if you have a stash which you don’t want do let us know!

We may not have any upcoming courses over the next few weeks, but we will open again soon, so do have a look at the programme and book yourself a place and if you know someone who needs cheering up you could always give them a gift voucher for a future course. Get in touch to find out more.


Plant of the Week


Ruscus aculeatus

Ruscus aculeatus (also known as butcher’s broom or knee holly) is a bushy sub-shrub which grows to 75cm. It has glossy, lance-shaped, flattened, leaf-like stems called cladophylls which are 2.5cm in length and have a spiny tip. The spring flowers are insignificant but they are followed by glossy red berries on female plants in summer and autumn. Ruscus aculeatus grows in any soil unless waterlogged and tolerates deep shade. The dried stems may be used in floral arrangements.


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