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We have spent much of this week tidying the Walled Garden. This has included tidying up the beds: a bit of weeding in the stock bed where we are growing plants for use elsewhere in the garden (the creeping buttercup has crept back, and the brambles against the wall clearly never really went away), some overdue staking of Cosmos Purity in the cut flower beds, more tying in of sweet peas, emergency action to stop runner bean supports collapsing and quite a lot of sorting out in the polytunnel.
We set out with the intention of bringing no new plastic into the Walled Garden, and while inevitably we have had to buy a few things made of new plastic (trugs and buckets for example), we have not bought any plant pots, seed trays or plastic plant labels. Not surprisingly we have had many donations of pots and seed trays, and we have happily stacked them up, and put many to good use already. However it was time to have a sort out. Many of the pots needed a wash, and they all needed organising in size order so that students can easily find the right pot for propagation and potting up later in the year. We now have lovely neat rows on the lower shelves of our newly acquired galvanised benches (second hand too) waiting for the first propagation course on 6th September. We have also been scrubbing used plastic plant labels with wire wool so we can reuse them. We use wooden lollipop sticks as labels inside the Rhino greenhouse. They don’t last forever, and felt pen becomes blurry, but a biro works well and they too can be reused a couple of times.
We have now created a bed for teaching pruning and propagation. This means we have rows of similar plants (a couple of rows of Buddleia, one of Fuchsia, one of Weigela and several of different varieties of Cornus) with enough space between the rows for students to get in and practice pruning or take cuttings for propagation. The benefit is that they won’t need to get into the decorative borders and beds to reach the plants, potentially damaging other things and possibly leaving unsightly shrubs after repeated pruning of the same specimen!
The new floristry workshop series has now been finalised and is on the website. There will be six workshops between September and December. They can be done individually or the whole series can be booked. They will cover everything from hand tied bouquets to Christmas table decorations. We also have the dates and times for our Christmas wreath workshops and bookings have started to come in. Do have a look. If you are quick you just may be able to book a whole festive workshop for you and your friends!
Courses with availability in the next few weeks:
Plants for Free - Propagation & Seed Saving 6th September
All You Need To Know About Composting 7th September
Planning a Winter Cutting Garden 10th September
Introduction to Garden Design starts 12th September (6 weeks)
Lawn Care & Maintenance 14th September
Planting for Winter Structure & Colour 16th September
Floristry Workshop 1 - Hand Tied Bouquets 17th September
Planting Pts & Containers 20th September
What You Need To Do In The Garden Now 21st September
Better Borders 23rd September
Floristry Workshop 2 - Foam Free Arrangements 24th September
Plant of the Week
An evergreen shrub with small aromatic ovate leaves. The white flowers are followed by purplish-black berries. Myrtus communis grows best in full sun in a sheltered spot which is south or west facing, in moist well drained soil.
Myrtus appeared in Roman mythology, with Venus being offered a myrtle bush to protect her when bathing. Roman brides wore sprigs of myrtle in their hair in honour of Venus, goddess of love and marriage.
Myrtus, commonly called myrtle, has been grown in England since the seventeenth century and became a popular plant with the Victorians as a garden and indoor plant. It was planted at Oswald House on the Isle of Wight when Queen Victoria was young, and cut for her wedding bouquet. Sprigs from this same bush have been used in royal wedding flowers ever since, including the Queen’s and most recently Catherine Middleton’s when she married Prince William. Norfolk florist Sarah Hammond from English Peonies continues this tradition, including myrtle to add fragrance in Norfolk brides’ bouquets.