This week from Norfolk School of Gardening - Winter Prep

This week from Norfolk School of Gardening - Winter Prep

They've been preparing the soil and the plants for the months ahead. Find out what you can learn from these gardening experts.

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I don’t think anyone will have needed to do any watering over the past week. Even our pots got a good soaking in the weekend’s torrential downpours. The best thing about the rainfall is that it is now a lot easier to lift and divide perennials. Until now the ground was so hard you could barely get a fork into it. So this week we are starting to lift lots of perennials, dividing them and replanting ready for next year’s courses. The other benefit is that this has become an ideal time to mulch. We are getting as much Strulch on to our beds as possible while the ground is still damp. The idea is to keep the moisture in the soil and to prevent weeds from germinating over the coming weeks. Over the winter much of the mulch will be broken down by worms and other micro-organisms and incorporated into the soil which will improve it for next year.

We had our first Basic Tree Survey & Inspection course this week. It was great to have a hugely experienced arboriculturalist to share the key things to look out for if you have trees in your garden or are responsible for trees in your village or workplace. We were able to go out into the parkland at Ketteringham Hall and see for ourselves some of the signs of ageing, damage and disease as well as different fungi. It was good to find out at what point those signs become potentially worrying and it is time to call an expert. We will be running this course again next year so let us know if you are interested.

Over the past week we have been planning next year’s programme and have even added a few extra courses for this autumn (Care of Fruit Trees and Creating an Annual Maintenance Plan have both been added by popular request). There are all of this year’s popular courses but we have also developed new ones in response to feedback. We think Gardening Under Glass (in the Rhino greenhouse, surprisingly) and Gardening For A Changing Climate will be great courses, and we also have some specific flower masterclasses, including ones on dahlias and peonies. Have a look on the website for the full calendar.

One of our newest workshops is coming up next month. It is Plants for the Menopause and is designed for any woman going through the menopause, whatever stage she is at. We will look at herbs which can alleviate symptoms and how to grow, harvest and use them. We will make infusions, decoctions and tinctures for you to take home. We will also provide delicious homemade refreshments and lunch. Get in touch if you would like to know more.

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.


Courses with some availability in the next few weeks:

Pruning Shrubs & Roses 24th Oct
Renovation Pruning 1st Nov
Basic Bricklaying 2nd Nov
What Needs Doing Now 9th Nov
Care of Fruit Trees 12th Nov
Planting Trees, Shrubs & Hedges 14th Nov
Creating an Annual Maintenance Plan 15th Nov
Plants for the Menopause 16th Nov
Plants for Free: Propagation & Seed Saving 21st Nov
Floristry Workshop 4, Tablescapes 26th Nov


Plant of the Week


Oakleaf Hydrangea - Plant of the week from Norfolk School of Gardening

Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia is a spreading deciduous shrub. The large oak leaf shaped leaves turn from dark green to bronze, orange, red and purple in autumn. The creamy white flowers age to pink. It is grown in moist but well drained, acid to neutral soil and in sun or semi shade. It is often grown as a specimen shrub in a garden border, but also looks wonderful in a woodland setting, growing under deciduous and evergreen trees. The name refers to the oak-shaped leaves, quercus being the Latin for oak, and folium leaf. It was discovered in 1803 in the south east of the United States.

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