March at Norfolk School of Gardening - Pruning Courses

March at Norfolk School of Gardening - Pruning Courses

How, when and what to prune? Let the experts tell you.

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It has been another week of weather-dodging, but when the wind dropped and the sun came out it was absolutely glorious! There are signs everywhere of spring and lots of plants are a few weeks ahead of where they would normally be. That always makes pruning a bit stressful. No one likes cutting off healthy new growth, but we have spent two days this week doing just that. We had a Pruning Shrubs & Roses day looking at why, when and how to prune and then we spent a couple of hours showing participants just how much to remove and how brave they need to be. We pruned different types of rose, some Hydrangea and several other shrubs. Later in the week it was time to take more drastic action with Renovation Pruning and we tackled a very old, neglected apple tree, an over-grown Buddleia and a Rhamnus which was suffering from reversion. Again, it was good to show in a practical way how to reinvigorate the most neglected of shrubs and small trees. There is still much pruning to be done in most gardens over the coming weeks, and there is so much demand that we have added an additional Pruning Shrubs & Roses course on 24th March. Let us know if you would like to join us.

The improvement in the weather has meant it has been possible not only to get outside but to get into beds and borders to lift plants which needed moving or dividing. The upside for us is that it means we have had lots of shrubs and perennials donated over the past week. The challenge now is to find the right place to put them and it is definitely going to involve lifting more turf. The loam stack which we started last February when we lifted the very first turves is now 20ft long and growing in height. It appears to be home to several families of mice, but it is definitely progressing well and will be a great source of topsoil later in the year.

As ever the Rhino greenhouse has been the perfect refuge when the rain or hail showers have suddenly appeared, and we have been potting up self seeders from the garden. The first peas and broad beans are beginning to push up from the compost and the first Cosmos seedlings have also appeared. The race is on!


Upcoming courses with availability:

Border Renovation 10th March
Plants for Free: Propagation Workshop 13th March
What Needs Doing Now 14th March
Planting for Year-Round Colour 20th March
Dahlia Workshop 26th March
Basic Slab Laying 27th March
Introduction to Veg Growing 3rd April
Certificate in Practical Horticulture 10 week course starting 29th April & 2nd May


Plant of the Week

Ribes laurifolium - evergreen shrub against rustic wall


Ribes laurifolium

This lovely flowering currant is an evergreen shrub with yellow-green flowers in pendant racemes from February to April. Following on from the flowers there are red berries which turn black. This currant grows in most soils that are moist but well drained in a sheltered site in sun or semi shade. Usually grown as a small border shrub it can be successfully wall-trained to great effect. The plant was discovered in China and introduced by E H Wilson in 1908.


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