It really is harvest time at the moment in everyone’s vegetable patch, and as well as picking runner beans, courgettes and tomatoes daily we are also enjoying some very fat, tasty sweetcorn and eyeing up the various different squash we have grown from seed. It looks like it will be a really good year for squash with lots of fruit and some huge specimens. We have grown Crown Prince, Butternut Hunter and Uchiki Kuri, so we have squash colours ranging from bright red-orange to pale creamy-orange to green, plus the yellow and green striped courgettes. We will also be lifting main crop potatoes in the next few days, leaving them to dry off for a few hours so they keep better over the coming months.

Over in the cut flower beds the sweet peas are continuing to flower and the Cosmos ‘Purity’, C. ‘Dazzler’ and Amaranthus ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ are also doing very well. The Cosmos sulphureus ‘Polidor’, which we had never grown before, continues to astonish us. The colours are so vibrant and the flowers are so plentiful. We will certainly grow them again.

The lovely late August weather has meant lots of watering each evening. There have been days when pots have needed watering at least twice, and even though the Rhino greenhouse has very effective shades on the outside, which do keep the temperature down, the cucumbers in particular have been very thirsty.

This is the perfect time to begin to improve your lawn and to plan what you need to do over the coming months. Sean Coyne from Apeiron Lawn Care will be teaching our Lawn Care & Maintenance workshop on 14th September and has some really interesting, innovative and environmentally sustainable ideas for healthy lawns. There is still some space on this course if you are interested.

Another course which is particularly timely is What To Do In The Garden Now on 21st September. We run this course four times a year, looking at what is going on in the garden now and what needs doing over the next two-three months. We will include things like propagation and perennial division as well as cutting back and pruning. It will be a packed day with lots of useful information and tips.

All of our courses in September (and beyond) are now filling up. We only have a couple of spaces on the Composting course, one on the Winter Cutting Garden course and a couple on the next Introduction to Garden Design (click here to read a blog about the design course). So do get in touch if you would like to book a place, including the Christmas Wreath workshops in early December.

 

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 (8 weeks)
Lawn Care & Maintenance 14th September
Planting for Winter Structure & Colour 16th September
Floristry Workshop 1 - Hand-Tied Bouquets 17th 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

Itea ilicifolia - Plant of the Week from Norfolk School of Gardening, Rhino Greenhosues

Itea ilicifolia

A medium-sized evergreen shrub with glossy holly-like leaves, as the name suggests (ilex being the Latin word for holly). The Itea ilicifolia has tiny greenish-white flowers in drooping, catkin-like racemes which can be up to 30cm long. The flowers are honey scented, with their fragrance strongest at the end of a sunny day. It flowers from mid-summer and continues well into the autumn.

The plant is native to China and was first introduced by Augustine Henry in the late 19th century. It grows best in full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil and is most often grown trained against a wall for support. The reflected heat of the wall encourages flowering and better growth. It can grow to 4m in height, and there is a wonderful example on the south facing wall of Tudor Lodgings in Castle Acre, which is open a couple of times a year as part of the National Garden Scheme.

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Written by Ruth Darrah of NSG