We had a lovely couple of days between Ciara’s departure and Dennis’s arrival and did lots of shrub pruning with the Certificate in Practical Horticulture (CPH) group. The Cotoneasters we planted before Christmas are now all looking a lot tidier. The group also created frames for training ivy and honeysuckle which will look great climbing the old bricks in the Walled Garden. The CPH group also learned how to do an important annual job this week, cleaning and sharpening secateurs. As ever, taking the secateurs apart is the easy part, getting them back together is harder. However, we do now have functioning, sparkling, sharp secateurs which makes pruning so much easier. And we’ll try to remember to wipe and sharpen the blades every time we use them.

Back in the greenhouse on a wet and windy day we sowed broad beans, aubergines and tomatoes. Most of our saved tomato seeds were eaten by the mice last autumn so we need to get more seeds, but we got a couple of varieties sown. We also had a sort out and packaged up some of the surplus seeds to the Norwich Seed and Plant Swap on Sunday. This annual event is a great occasion to share seeds (and a few plants) among local gardeners. We came away with some interesting varieties of vegetable, and hope to get some of them sown this week. One of them is Cherry Bomb chilli pepper. We hadn’t heard of this particular chilli and when we searched the internet for Cherry Bomb seeds the first thing which came up was a variety of marijuana!  A closer look at the seeds confirmed they were definitely Capsicum and a little more searching revealed a variety of chilli. So, we can confirm there will not be any illegal plants growing in our Rhino this year.

We have begun to lift some congested clumps of snowdrops. It is very easily done and rewards you with many more flowers in the following years. You lift the bulbs ‘in the green’, separate them into smaller groups of bulbs and replant (or give them away if you have no room). The same can be done with Narcissi in the coming weeks. You can tell if your bulbs are congested: there will be lots of leaves but few flowers.

Upcoming courses with availability:

Pruning Shrubs & Roses 25th Feburary
Gardening Under Glass 6th March
Border Renovation 10th March
Plants for Free - Propagation Workshop 13th March
What Needs Doing Now 14th March
Planting for Year Round Colour 20th March
Certificate in Practical Horticulture (10 week course) starting 29th April & 2nd May


Plant of the Week

Primula vulgaris - the common primrose coming out early spring

Primula vulgaris

The common primrose, so called from the Latin for first, primus, referring to the fact that it is one of the first plants to flower in spring. It is in the plant family Primulaceae, native to western and southern Europe, northwest Africa, and parts of southwest Asia. Primroses have been extensively cultivated and hybridised and there are now many forms and colours. However, it is the common primrose which steals the show, thriving in damp shade, but also happy in sun or semi-shade and providing early nectar for bees.


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Written by Ruth Darrah of NSG