January at Norfolk School of Gardening - Winter Jobs

January at Norfolk School of Gardening - Winter Jobs

Keeping on top of winter jobs - bulbs coming up, seeds to plant, fruit trees to prune.

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It has been really cold and sometimes very windy but we have had some glorious weather in the past week so we have been making some progress in the garden. This time we have been concentrating on the pruning bed for course participants to practice on over the next couple of months. As well as lots of Buddleia, Weigela, Cornus and Fuchsia we have added Cotoneaster to provide a variety of different shrubs to prune, and to ensure we always have something which needs a haircut! We will be giving our new fruit trees their first prune in a couple of weeks’ time on the Caring for Fruit Trees course, and start to train some of them against the wall, attaching wire to the original Victorian fixings. We will also take a look at the old apple trees in the Hall’s original orchard. They are in need of renovation and we will start tackling them over the coming weeks.

Some of the bulbs are now well above the ground, with clumps of snowdrops coming into flower across the estate, and narcissi looking like they will not be far behind. It will be lovely to see what is in flower when we run our first seasonal Cutting Garden course in early February. Sarah Hammond will be looking at what we could be cutting now if we had sown the seeds or planted the bulbs last year, and what we should get into the ground or seed trays now for summer cut flowers. We have participants booked who are hoping to grow flowers for summer and early autumn weddings so it looks like it will be a busy course with lots of great advice. There are still spaces if you would like to join us.

Last week we started the latest Introduction to Garden Design course with a very enthusiastic cohort. As usual they are a mix of people wanting to redesign all or part of their own garden and others who already garden professionally but want to add to their skillset and be able to carry out design projects for their clients. It is a very popular eight-week course which gets great reviews for providing lots of excellent teaching and useful advice in a relaxed and collaborative environment. The next one starts on 23rd April.

Upcoming courses with availability:

Renovation Pruning 28th January
Introduction to Veg Growing 31st January
The Cutting Garden 4th February
Border Renovation 7th February
Caring for Fruit Trees 11th February
Lawn Care & Maintenance 14th February
Certificate in Practical Horticulture (10 week course) register interest for courses in April and September


Plant of the Week

Sarcococca confusa flowers and black berries in January with bee


Sarcococca confusa

This is a very useful hardy evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves which are inconspicuous for much of the year. In winter it has small white flowers which are sweetly fragrant followed by shiny black berries which last for months. The scent and the glossy dark green leaves probably explain the common name ‘sweet box’ and it is indeed from the same plant family as box. Sarcococca confusa grows best in semi-shade but tolerates sun if in moist soil. The origin of the plant is uncertain but thought to be from China.


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