Well are enjoying a bit of an Indian summer and the tomatoes, courgettes and cucumbers are loving the daytime heat as much as we are. As the light changes the colours in the garden intensify and while the late summer flowers are still looking fabulous, we are really noticing the flashes of colour in the raised beds as the squash ripen and seem to grow by the hour. Some of the butternut squash are over 40cm long and the diameter of others is more like 50cm. The cabbage white butterflies are finally leaving the nasturtiums alone and they are having a late surge. Gorgeous yellow, red and orange flowers amongst lime green leaves. All this colour and the leaves haven’t even started to turn. It looks set to be a glorious autumn.

We have sown the winter salad and realised that some of the disruption in the raised beds is not from rabbits but from a couple of squirrels. They have been spotted with sweet chestnut cases in their mouths (despite the prickles) and are probably burying them in our freshly tilled compost. They seem to get in and out of the garden via some tall ladders which are leaning up in the corner, so they should be easy enough to deter, until they find a new route in.

We had the first of the new series of Floristry Workshops on a beautiful warm day this week. We were able to get out and cut some Cosmos, Amaranthus, Nicotiana and Bells of Ireland (Mollucella laevis) to add to the flowers Sarah Hammond had brought from her flower farm in Knapton. At the end of the workshop it turned out that everyone had chosen a different colour theme for their hand tied bouquet, with a wonderful range of flowers and foliage to choose from. There are photos on social media if you would like to see the results, and there are still places on some of the remaining workshops if you would like to join us.

If you have trees in your garden, or are perhaps the village tree warden, you may be interested in our new Basic Tree Survey & Inspection course. We will help you to identify any hazards and risks as well as diseases. There will be a practical element to the course, carrying out inspections on a variety of mature and younger trees on the estate at Ketteringham Hall. The course is on 4th October and will be taught by one of Norfolk’s leading arborists, Carl Ansell.

This week saw the start of the latest Introduction to Garden Design course. This is the fourth time we have run this course and following feedback from the first groups we have now extended it to eight weeks to enable participants to spend more time on planting plans. It is a very popular course and we will run it again starting in January. Let us know if you are interested. (Read more about Georgie’s experience on the course here.)

Don’t forget to book your place on one of our Christmas Wreath workshops in early December. Some of the days are nearly full, but we do have some spaces left.

Courses with availability in the next few weeks:

Floristry  Workshop 2 - Foam Free Arrangements 24th September
Floristry Workshop 3 - Large Urn Arrangements 1st October
Basic Tree Survey & Inspection 4th October
Border Renovation 18th October
Pruning Shrubs & Roses 24th October

Plant of the Week

Cockspur Thorn - Plant of the Week from Norfolk School of Gardening, Rhino Greenhouses Direct

Crataegus persimilis 'prunifolia'

A small broad crowned deciduous tree, with long thorns and glossy leaves which turn to vibrant red, yellow, purple and orange in autumn to complement the deep red fruits. Flowers in spring are white and fragrant.

This is a member of the hawthorn family and is quite hardy and easy to grow, since it will be happy in any soil that is not waterlogged and will put up with cold winds, hard frosts and air pollution. It is best in a sunny place but will tolerate some shade. It does not need pruning.

The common name is Cockspur Thorn. Crataegus comes from the Greek name for a tree meaning strength. This refers to the hardness of the tree’s wood. Prunifolia alludes to the similarity of the leaves to those of the Prunus family.

Contact us via www.norfolkschoolofgardening.co.uk or follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

Written by Ruth Darrah of NSG