I don’t know about you, but with the beautiful weather over the past week it has been the easiest thing in the world to stick to the Government’s advice to stay at home. The hard bit every evening has been accepting that sunset meant it really was time to go inside. Everything is growing at such a pace and the early, mid, late tulips seem to be opening in very quick succession. Only the very late ones are still tightly closed. Like many others I seem to be noticing these things much more than usual. It is as though our circumscribed way of living is forcing us to be more present in our daily surroundings. I wonder if we will be so observant this time next year.

Wildflower meadows are increasingly popular but much harder to achieve than they appear to be. For the moment we leave about a third of our lawn unmown. At this time of year there are usually fritillaries, fading Chionodoxa, Narcissi, native Tulipa sylvestris and Camassia in amongst the grass. They are all still there, naturalised and spreading each year, but this spring we also have lots of tulips. It was an experiment which has worked. We took the bulbs from last year’s pots and containers and scattered them in the grass (then buried them about 4” deep). The result is like a lovely impressionist painting: dots of colour in the vibrant green grass. This is no wildflower meadow, but it is a little spring bonus and we will add more used bulbs to it this year. Over in the Walled Garden we plan to create a wildflower meadow in the orchard area this year and spring bulbs will definitely feature along with lots of native wildflowers. We are planning a course to show you how to do this in your own garden, so let us know if you would be interested in joining us later in the year.

The prairie bed is now planted and we have also been busy installing three new raised beds from Rhino Greenhouses this week. They are lovely sturdy steel beds which are painted in the same shade as the greenhouse itself. At 6x6ft they will create real impact alongside the greenhouse and we are planning the planting scheme this week. There are photos of the new beds being installed on our social media pages.

We don’t know how long this crisis will last but we would love to hear from you if you are interested in joining us later in the year on any of our courses. We will add you to our mailing list and keep you posted when things begin to return to normal.


Plant of the Week

Iberis sempervirens

Iberis sempervirens

This is a low, spreading evergreen sub-shrub with pure white flowers from late spring. The flowers are dense heads up to 4cm in width, flattish at first, later becoming rounded. Commonly known as perennial Candytuft, it is a member of the Brassicaceae family and grows best in full sun in alkaline or neutral soil. Iberis comes from the Greek, indicating the plant originates from the Iberian Peninsula, Spain and Portugal. Iberis sempervirens is ideal for rock gardens and growing on walls.


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Written by Ruth Darrah of NSG