May at Norfolk School of Gardening - It's hotting up!

May at Norfolk School of Gardening - It's hotting up!

With unprecedented heat already upon us, the gardeners at Ketteringham Hall are keeping an eye on the watering and the pests.

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What a beautiful week! At times it has been almost too hot to garden and our main concern has been keeping pots and seedlings watered. It seems very early in the year to find ourselves watering twice a day, but the greenhouse plants in particular have been drying out in just a few hours. In a bid to keep the humidity level up and the temperature down (a little) we have been spraying the floor in the greenhouse and keeping several trugs filled up with water. It has certainly helped, as have the blinds on the outside of the Rhino which amazingly keep the temperature low enough to work inside the greenhouse.

We have again spent much of the week preparing plants for sale, making sure everything is labelled as well as continuing to prick out and pot up seedlings. The response to the plant sale has been great and we have released an updated plant list this week. It has been lovely to see some of you from a distance and to hear how you are coping with lockdown by gardening. Some people have made major changes to their gardens which they would never normally have time to do and others have just been relishing being in their gardens so much more than usual, noticing the birdsong and the insects as well as the exuberant onward march of spring through their veg beds, borders, pots and trees. However we have spent these extraordinary weeks I don’t think we will forget that it was the most beautiful spring we could have asked for.

We have also been busy tidying up, sorting and stacking the pots we have been given by customers, cleaning used plant labels and ensuring that the greenhouse is as clean as possible to keep pests and diseases to a minimum. We have been lifting and dividing grasses this week, many of which have been added to the new prairie bed and we have continued to sow seeds in the greenhouse (salad and more beans and squash) and in the borders (annual flowers). Lily beetles and vine weevil are both very active at the moment so we have been on the look out for any tell-tale signs of activity.

With the news that social distancing may continue for months we are beginning to look at ways to start courses again in a safe way. We will keep you posted about our plans over the coming weeks. In the meantime we would love to hear from you if you are interested in joining us on any of our courses. We will add you to our mailing list and keep you posted when there is news to share with you about courses being resumed.


Plant of the Week

Cornus kousa var chinesi


Cornus kousa var. Chinensis

TThis spectacular small bushy tree or shrub produces a profusion of large white flower bracts that slowly adopt pinkish hues as they mature. Cornus kousa var. chinensis flowers in May and June. The foliage is dark-green and oval with a pointed tip. It turns vivid orange and red in autumn, when strawberry-like deep pink fruit clusters are also produced. It prefers to be planted in a sunny position avoiding poor or shallow soils, but will still do well in partial shade.


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