Norfolk took quite a battering last week and some of our students talked of tree damage worse than in October 1987. It is terrible to see ancient oaks split or felled by the wind, as well as apple trees still laden with fruit and trees which have a particular personal connection, whether planted in your garden or part of your daily landscape. We got off lightly in the Walled Garden, with a few annual flowers toppled, but even the dahlias were still standing when the storms finally left us. Many of you will have been less fortunate and it has been a disheartening start to autumn. There are still lots of plants in local nurseries offering autumn colour and structure, so it’s not to late to go out and buy something to fill a new gap or a collection of pots to cheer you up.
In the worst of the weather this week we have been doing some tidying up in the Rhino greenhouse. There have been dead leaves to compost, growing medium to sweep up, used plant labels to clean ready for their next plant, pots to wash. We have discovered quite a bad sciarid fly infestation and while the little black flies are not themselves more than an irritation, their larvae can do a lot of damage to roots. So we have just treated the greenhouse pots with a sciarid-specific nematode from the Green Gardener. The soil needs to be about 10C so there is still time to do this if you have the same problem. Next Tuesday we are running Gardening Under Glass which is a great course for anyone with a greenhouse, conservatory or cold frame. We will be looking at good ‘greenhousekeeping’ as well as all the wonderful plants you can grow inside year-round. There are still a couple of spaces if you are interested.
It has been a really busy week in the classroom as well as out in the garden. Our new Botanical & Textural Printmaking course got off to a great start. We will run it again next year and hope to do some festive decoration workshops in early December. We propagated dozens of plants from seeds and cuttings on the sell-out Plants for Free. There are still a few places on the November course.
Upcoming courses with availability:
Gardening Under Glass – 6th October
Gardening For A Changing Climate – 13th October
Border Renovation – 16th October
Composting Made Simple – 20th October
Autumn Flowers Workshop – 23rd October
Renovation Pruning – 6th November
Plants for Free – 17th November
Planting for Year-Round Colour – 19th November
Christmas Wreath Workshop – 27th November, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 10th December
Certificate in Practical Horticulture (10-week course) – 20th January
Plant of the Week
Cyclamen hederifolium is a tuberous perennial with ivy-shaped leaves patterned with silvery-green. The pink or white flowers appear before the ivy-shaped leaves for which this Cyclamen is named (hedera means ivy). It is a native from southern Europe – from southern France to Greece and Turkey. It grows best in well-drained soil in partial shade and is perfect for underplanting deciduous shrubs and trees. Cyclamen were also called sowbread as the coums were fed to pigs in southern France and Italy.