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The last of the indoor tomatoes are still ripening (and heading into soups and sauces), but we are keeping a close eye on the vines: the damp weather and the shorter hours when the Rhino greenhouse doors are wide open have led to blight developing on some of the fruit, whether green or red. When this happens, we remove the whole plant as quickly (but also as gently) as possible, trying not to shake clouds of spores on to other plants. We put it into an old compost bag and take it off site to be burnt. We can’t add it to the compost heap and risk the fungi spreading further in the garden.
An important seasonal job is emptying pots and containers of the summer arrangements and planting them up for winter. We ran a bespoke course this week for a professional association which wanted to offer this as a social event for their members. They chose Planting Pots & Containers, so this was the perfect reminder to get on with our own pots! There are so many plants which continue to look good and even flower through the winter, and those on the course chose lovely combinations from a selection of small conifers, variegated ivy, Cyclamen hederifolia, velvety violas (large and small flowered), Ajuga, grasses such as Amemanthele lessoniana and Stipa tenuissima and a variety of miniature narcissi bulbs. These will provide interest with the variety of heights, leaf shape, texture and colour plus flowers. And best of all, these are all perennial plants which can be planted out in the spring or reused in another container arrangement. We will run this course again several times next year, looking not only at what and how to plant but also how to care for plants in containers to keep them looking good longer, and what pests and diseases to look out for. Let us know if you would like to join one of these courses.
Do you ever wonder whether you are doing things at the right time of year in your garden – or do you realise too late that you should have done something last month? We have just launched a new course to address this common issue. Developing an Annual Maintenance Plan is the perfect course for anyone with a garden, whether they have help or not. It takes the guessing (and sometimes panic) out of gardening and helps you keep on top of what needs doing when. We will look at all aspects of gardening, from lawns to paths, from veg to perennials, from pruning roses to cutting hedges and we will look at every month of the year. Most importantly you get the chance to personalise the plan to cover what you have in your garden. It is a packed day with lots of practical advice and you will leave at the end of the day with a plan for the coming year. Do get in touch if you would like to join us on 15th November (and again several times next year).
Don’t forget to book your place on one of our Christmas Wreath and Christmas Table Decoration workshops in early December. Some of the days are nearly full, but we do have spaces left.
Upcoming courses with availability:
Pruning Shrubs & Roses 24th October
Renovation Pruning 1st November
Basic Bricklaying 2nd November
What Needs Doing Now 9th November
Care of Fruit Trees 12th November
Planting Treese, Shrubs & Hedges 14th November
Developing an Annual Maintenance Plan 15th November
Plants for the Menopause 16th November
Plants for Free: Propagation & Seed Saving 21st November
Floristry Workshop 4: Tablescapes 26th November
Floristry Workshop 5: Christmas Wreath 3rd December
Plant of the Week
The Euonymus europaeus or spindle is a deciduous shrub or small tree that spends most of the year attracting little attention in hedgerows or garden borders. In autumn this all changes: the leaves turn a dramatic red followed by four-lobed pinky red fruits which split open to reveal bright orange seeds. It is one of those astonishing colour combinations which nature rarely produces, but when it does you just have to stop and admire. Grow in sun or semi-shade in well-drained soil.