Norfolk certainly seems to be making up for the dry summer we have had, and water butts across the county must be overflowing after the last few days’ rain. Ours, in the Walled Garden, are certainly full, even after taking several watering cans for the tomatoes and cucumbers in the Rhino greenhouse and the salad in the Direct Plants polytunnel. We’re trying not to complain, though we do have a growing backlog of outside jobs which we need to get done this week.

We saw an interesting article in this month’s RHS The Garden magazine. It was about the changing use of greenhouses, and quotes the marketing manager of one UK greenhouse manufacturer as saying ‘the gardener with dirt under their fingernails and a dahlia collection isn’t our core market any more’. We were struck by this. We definitely have dirt under our fingernails and would like to have more of a dahlia collection than we currently have, but of course we also use our lovely Rhino greenhouse as a classroom, particularly for teaching propagation and seed saving. However, we are noticing an increasing demand for courses which help people to get more out of their greenhouse than a few months of tasty tomatoes. We are looking at how to meet this demand in next year’s course programme. Part of it is the growing trend for more house plants and succulents, but there is also the desire to grow one’s own vegetables, year-round. The article also refers to the demand for smaller, portable greenhouses for those who only have a balcony or patio, and who are in rented accommodation, so likely to move more often. We are really interested in teaching people how to get the most out of whatever greenhouse space they have. We may even have the perfect course for those who want to use their (larger) greenhouse as a dining space. Our next floristry workshop on 26th November is all about creating tablescapes and we think this could be the perfect for a candlelit greenhouse dinner. Watch this space and let us know if you would like to join us.

The squash in the Walled Garden are ripening and nearly ready to harvest, so we have been busy cutting back the vines. We have made sure there are no leaves shading the squash so that each one gets whatever sunlight there is in the final days on the raised beds. The combination of adding PlantGrow to the beds and Strulch mulch on top has given us an excellent crop this year and has minimised both the watering required and the growth of weeds. We will be doing the same again next year and trying it at home too. We will post photos of our harvest on social media in the next couple of weeks, so do have a look.

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 availability in the next few weeks:

Border Renovations 18th October
Pruning Shrubs & Roses 24th October
Renovation Pruning 1st November
Basic Bricklaying 2nd November
What To Do In The Garden Now 9th November
Planting Shrubs & Trees 14th November
Plants for Free: Propagation & Seed Saving 21st November


Plant of the Week

Cyclamen hederifolium - Plant of the Week from Norfolk School of Gardening and Rhino Greenhouses

Cyclamen hederifolium

A useful autumn flowering perennial plant. The pink, purple or white flowers appear before the ivy-shaped leaves. Cyclamen grow in well-drained soil which ideally dries out in the summer. It is perfect for underplanting deciduous shrubs and trees, including roses.

Cylclamen is a Mediterranean plant which grows from the South of France to Greece and Turkey. It was also called ‘sowbread’ as the tubers were a favourite food for swine in the South of France and Italy. Hederifolium refers to the ivy-shaped leaves, coming from the Latin for ivy, hederum and for leaf, folium.

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Written by Ruth Darrah of NSG