Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.

Making the most of my RHS Membership with a visit to the partner garden – The Sussex Prairie Garden

I remember seeing the Sussex Prairie Garden on Gardeners’ World in 2015 but had managed to forget it was on my ‘to visit list’. We had a spare afternoon when visiting family in Surrey so made the short trip to West Sussex.

This eight-acre garden focuses on prairie-style plants planted in large drifts through sweeping borders. The site is flat and it has wide grass paths for wheelchair accessible viewing. They have a cafe and terrace on site.

How to find the garden

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Where to find the garden

We took the A24 south from Horsham and onto the A272 where the brown tourist signs start. There’s free parking in a field adjacent to the site.

Useful information

Website: www.sussexprairies.co.uk

Entry Fee: Free for RHS members. £7 for adults with some concessions.

Opening Days and Times: Open 6 afternoons a week (closed Tuesday) 1pm -5pm

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Bendy straws of sanguisorba species

Main Features

  • Main garden with large borders
  • Cutting Garden
  • Tea Shop
  • Terrace
  • House Garden
  • Art Installations
  • Pigs!

Main Garden

The large open site at Sussex Prairie Garden is really impressive. We visited in the late afternoon in September which must be a peak for the garden. The sun was low and lit the borders beautifully. Most of the plants were in full display and the tapestry of colour and texture was a masterclass in prairie planting.

I like this style of planting due to its naturalistic feel and benefit to wildlife. It was popularised in the late 90s by Piet Oudolf and has since become mainstream.

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.

Looking back towards the cafe terraceWhilst the borders are wide and generously planted, there are narrower bark paths traversing them so you can get right inside the planting. This makes you feel enclosed and part of the garden. A very neat trick as it’s easy to feel that some gardens are tableaux to be simply observed and not experienced.

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Narrow bark paths take you into the wide borders

Garden Structure

Any loose style of planting can appear lacking without a good structure to contain it. I loved the structural elements of the garden for the formality they brought but also as great examples of planting and maintenance. These three Betula trees provide a steady rhythm to the scene and this tree was also repeated throughout the garden.

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Betula trees planted for structure

The hedges could have been left as rectangular boxes but the heights varied as you went down the central axis. This made them function as backdrop, concealer and framer all at the same time.

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Tapering hedges form structure in the garden
Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Ornamental grasses mimic the line of the hedges.

Key Plant Highlights

There’s always a few new plants to discover when visiting gardens. This time my eye was caught by Sidalca for the first time. This tall and airy plant provided contrast to some of the other, denser, specimens.

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Sidalcia ‘My love’

I was amazed to find that this startlingly bright plant was herbaceous. I had assumed it was a semi-tender tree. Apparently, it’s native to America, as are so many of the prairie plants.

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Phytolacca americana
American pokeweed

I have a similar Eryngium in my garden but this species has a more upright basal cluster and smaller, more numerous, flowering clusters.

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Eryngium pandanifolium forming strong silhouettes

Another bright pink shock amongst the planting was this Meadowsweet relative.

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Filipendula rubra, a pink relative of our native Meadowsweet.

I like Rudbeckia, not being one for the common aversion to yellow and orange in a garden, but I have become tired of reading about Goldsturm. My eyes almost glaze over when I see it listed as a recommended plant. Having seen it in this context and planted en masse I might have been converted. I’ve recently sown some Rudbeckia maxima for the garden but if I need a lower growing type it will have to be Goldsturm.

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’

Art in the garden

Art installations in gardens don’t often catch my interest much, there are plants to be seen after all, and the garden hosts a variety of classes and exhibitions that were placed amongst the borders.

Garden Visit: Sussex Prairie Garden September 2017. Prairie, prairies, prairie planting, perennial, grass, grasses, piet oudolf, american prairie, echinacea, rudbeckia, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, west sussex, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
The late sun lights the borders

 

I’ll be sure to make the trip to Sussex Prairie Garden again in the future, now I know where it is, but it would be good to see it at another time of year to assess how well the planting holds interest in other months.

Other Garden Visit Posts

RHS Wisley

Melbourne Botanic Garden

Le Manoir aux Quat’saisons

Gardens by the bay, Singapore

 

Blackberries

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The first nip in the air signals a change of season and the start of the blackberry harvest

The turning of the year as we travel through the seasons was a huge factor in pulling us back to the UK. The recent change in the weather, with its wonderful chilly bright mornings and nippy evenings, has warmed my heart. Whilst the other seasons have their appeal I can’t love them half as much as I love Autumn.

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Blackberries

Autumn is our season. The most potent memories of the last ten years with my wife belong to this time of year. It is the season of our wedding, of our first kiss, and of our first meeting. It also marks the onset of a series of celebrations and birthdays stretching all the way to Christmas.

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Mollie our Golden Retriever enjoys a foray into the green lanes

I am not a summer child; the sight of me in shorts should be enough to banish any misunderstanding on that matter. Instead, I am happiest in warm jumpers, walking boots, and damp woodland. Days spent walking the dog under a tree canopy are my favourite. Also at this time of year comes the bounty of hedgerow harvests. Already this year I have Crabapple Vodka and Sloe Gin steeping in the larder, all collected from the hedgerows and trees around our village. The other important harvest of the season is blackberries.

This year I read Alys Fowler’s book on foraging and I’m making an effort to note the harvest when it presents itself. Already this year I have Crabapple Vodka and Sloe Gin steeping in the larder, all collected from the hedgerows and trees around our village. The other important harvest of the season is blackberries.

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A view over the Devon hills

Blackberries

I think the ritual of blackberry collecting, bound up as it is in the season, might be even better than the fresh berries themselves. I’m working my way through a jar of blackberry and apple jam made 3 years ago which I find infinitely more alluring than the fresh berries. September signals the start of hunting season for blackberries.

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Not all the berries ripen at the same time

So, with my jumper on for the first time since moving home, we ascend a local hill to find the best berries. Jewel-like berries gleam from the yellowing hedgerow senescence. The bunches of berries carry both mature and immature fruits. The rule of foraging that states you only take a third of the crop you find (the other two-thirds being left for wild animals and someone else) reinforced by the plant itself.

The light prickling on skin reminds you that no harvest comes for free. This only intensifies the sensory experience. You feel like the proverbial child in the sweetshop picking only the choicest fruits between thumb and forefinger. The idea to bring surgical gloves comes to me as I notice the purple staining on my fingertips, as it does every year but is never remembered.

It’s not long before my cheeks are chilled and the light becomes thinner. It’s time to go home.

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Blackberry harvest

Garden Update 9th September 2017

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Garden Update 9th September 2017

The warm and wet weather in Devon this week has been great for the weeds. I’ve done two tidy-ups at the allotment and managed to fill my large bendy bucket three times. It’s also the end of my tomato adventure for the year.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 2nd September

Garden Update 19th August

Allotment Update

 

We were giving some new chairs from a family member and they’re perfect for the allotment. The weather wasn’t that great so we haven’t christened them yet.

Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
New seating at the allotment
Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
The squash plants have been tidied back on the borders to clear the paths

The squashes are really enjoying the damp and warm conditions and had spread over the paths. I wasn’t too bothered initially but they’ve got the point that it was hard to reach into the beds for harvesting. They also were concealing a lot of weed growth on the paths.

Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
Pak choi settling in

The module Pak Choi seedlings are doing much better than the directly-sown batch which has been munched to stumps. I think I’ll do more of this transplanting even thought it’s more work overall.

 

Garden Update 9th September. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, carrots, beetroot, chioggia, bolatardy, touchon, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog,
Chard seedlings planted out

I’ve also installed the Chard seedlings in one of the new beds around the perimeter of the allotment. I’m hoping they’ll give me some fresh greens to each over autumn and into winter.

Greenhouse Update

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Stachy byzantina seedlings

The Stachys byzantina seeds that I collected have germinated extremely well and very quickly from sowing. They’ve been pricked out and set into their own little module home.

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Geranium phaeum alba seedling

Another sowing that I made from home-collected seed was the Geranium phaem alba. I am the proud owner of one seedling!

The tomato story this year hasn’t been very successful. Blight has struck and the fruits that were threatening to ripen were being munched by slugs before they were harvestable. I’ve taken off all the tomatoes that were salvagable and cleared away the affected plants. The foliage is now in the council green waste bin. I think I’ll use the fresh border for either bringing on perennials over winter or some winter salads.

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Tomato harvest 2017

There’s nothing like an Instagram filter to make even a poor harvest look great.

Garden Update

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Overhead shot of The Far Garden

It’s been a while since I’ve shown what’s happening in the Far Garden. You can see the new boundary shed has a great grey colour that matches the furniture. The chillies are slow in the rectangular planters but I might get a harvest. My new Musa and Echinacea plants are looking awesome.

 

Zinnia: RHS Wisley Plant Trials 2017

Zinnia: RHS Wisley Plant Trials 2017, cut flowers, cutflowers, annuals, annual plants, drought tolerant, flower, pollinator plants, good for bees, good for butterflies, wisley, rhs, plant trial, varieties, plant comparison,

Taking a look at the Zinnia trial happening at RHS Wisley

As part of my recent visit to RHS Wisley, I made a point of visiting the Plant Trial Beds. These are where the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) plants are trialled and awarded the highest horticultural accolade. This year I was pleased to see the Zinnia and Echinacea trials in full bloom.

Zinnia: RHS Wisley Plant Trials 2017, cut flowers, cutflowers, annuals, annual plants, drought tolerant, flower, pollinator plants, good for bees, good for butterflies, wisley, rhs, plant trial, varieties, plant comparison,
Trial beds at Wisley

The Zinnia trial was planted this year, which makes sense when you consider that they are annual plants in the UK so they can’t run longer trials, and there are 100 varieties on trial. I’ve grown them a few time over the years. I try to find varieties that have bright, clear colours that age well. A lot of the plants on show had a muddy colouring and tend to have unsightly flower heads as they age. If you’re quick to dead-head that won’t be too much of an issue.

If you want to find out more about the current plant trials happening at Wisley then follow this link to the PDF.

RHS Plant Trials 2017-2019 list PDF

 

Zinnia: RHS Wisley Plant Trials 2017, cut flowers, cutflowers, annuals, annual plants, drought tolerant, flower, pollinator plants, good for bees, good for butterflies, wisley, rhs, plant trial, varieties, plant comparison,
The trial beds at RHS Wisley

Zinnia ‘Red Spider’

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Zinnia ‘Red Spider’

This one had really strongly coloured petals. It’s not the blowsiest of the varieties on offer but I thought the intense blooms were very special. The older flowers still looked good on the plant and it was nice and tall.

Zinnia ‘Zinderella Peach’

Zinnia: RHS Wisley Plant Trials 2017, cut flowers, cutflowers, annuals, annual plants, drought tolerant, flower, pollinator plants, good for bees, good for butterflies, wisley, rhs, plant trial, varieties, plant comparison,
Zinnia elegans ‘Zinderella Peach’

All the plants in the Zinderella breeding program were very strong contenders for my favourites. This burnt-orange flower was such an unusual colour I had to have it. The older blooms have a yellower tinge but they complement the fresh flowers well.

Zinnia ‘Envy’

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Zinnia elegans ‘Envy’

Envy was a variety known to me before seeing it at the trial beds. The clear, bright white flowers are large and impressive.

Zinnia Benary’s Giant White

Zinnia: RHS Wisley Plant Trials 2017, cut flowers, cutflowers, annuals, annual plants, drought tolerant, flower, pollinator plants, good for bees, good for butterflies, wisley, rhs, plant trial, varieties, plant comparison,
Zinnia elegans ‘Benary’s Giant White’

Another white variety is Benary’s Giant White, which has larger blooms than Envy, that has a creamy tinge when they age which is really pleasing on the eye.

In Summary

If I had to choose from the 100 varieties on offer then this group of 4 plants would be top of the list. These can all be grown from seed so you might get some variation. The seed strains for some of the mixed varieties on trial contained good coloured forms but I struggled to enjoy the colour mixings all mixed together. I prefer just one type at a time.

Suppliers

Chiltern Seeds – Chiltern Seed list 25 varieties including all 4 on this page

Plant World Seeds – A local seed producer here in Devon lists 3 varieties.

Higgledy Garden – 3 varieties from a South West seed company

Garden Update 2nd September 2017

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Garden Update 2nd September 2017

Yesterday was the first day that I had time to get to the allotment for anything other than harvesting for some time. We had people visiting for the bank holiday weekend so nothing much was achieved in the garden.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 19th August

Garden Update 12th August

Allotment Update

Yesterday I spent over an hour at the plot and managed to fill two large bendy buckets with weed growth that’s now been put on the unofficial compost pile. We’re mainly plagued by dandelions and docks persisting as deep tap roots. They’re capable of regrowing after hoeing and have enjoyed the extra rain recently.

I don’t like to leave huge gaps in the beds for two reasons. Firstly, there isn’t much growing area as it is and dedicating space for hoeing seems silly when, secondly, weeds will colonise bare ground as well as between plants which you have to hand weed anyway. I use the hoe on any unused ground that’s waiting for the next crop or where there is space between plants in order to give them room to grow.

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Lots of Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato winter squash

The Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato winter squashes have been very prolific in number but I’m struggling to find a good kitchen use for them. Growing something to then have to hide it in food just to use it up seems silly. Roasted pumpkins should be used for roasts, soups and risottos but the bland flavour and silky texture of these leave me a bit disappointed. If I can’t find a use for them that I will look forward to next year then I’m afraid they’re off the plot.

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The root harvest begins

I’m glad to be getting a better carrot and beetroot crop at the allotment. This batch suffered in the early dry spell we had so germination and subsequent growth was slow and poor. I was then too eager to try them so picked some small offerings last month. This lot are more substantial but there’s better to be had. The carrots went into a beef curry and I am plotting what to do with the beetroot. We’re having a picnic tomorrow if the weather holds and I’ve been hoping to make a roasted beetroot, walnut, goats cheese and rocket salad since sowing the seeds earlier this year

We had a bumper picking from the three crops from the allotment I’m monitoring this year on Friday;

  • Yellow Courgette – 370g
  • Climbing Bean ‘Cosse Violette’ – 700g
  • Climbing Bean ‘Trail of Tears’ – 770g

I’ve cleared out most of the pea bed as they’re coming to the end of their productivity and the powdering mildew is making them unsightly. The Peas, mange-tout and broad beans are out. In their place, I’ve planted the Pak Choi seedlings which I started in modules last month. The other side of the bed will have winter lettuce.

Greenhouse Update

The tomatoes continue to be a complete let-down this year. I think I have blight. Initially, I thought it was some cold scorching on the leaves that poke out of the windowless opening in the greenhouse but it’s since spread. I’ve taken some evasive measures to cut away the affected fruits and leaves but it’s fingers crossed for the remainders.

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Chard ‘Pink Passion’ Seedling

The seedlings of the Chard and winter lettuce are growing well and are soon to be transplanted to the allotment.

For the ornamental side, the Stipa and Stachys seedlings are coming along well. I’m hopeful that my Penstemon cuttings have taken.

Garden Update

The new grey backdrop to the Right Border of the Far Garden is settling in well. I’ve bought some Echinacea Magnus Superb and Musa from Hill House Nursery down the road. I was inspired by my recent visit to Wisley where I had a good look around their Echinacea trials.

This part of the garden has always meant to be an exciting, bright, exotic garden but we’ve never achieved that. The Echiums did well but completely dominated the space so I’m hoping to introduce more exciting plants over winter that will mix well.

Garden Visit: RHS Garden Wisley August 2017

I’m making the most of my RHS membership for a day out at RHS Garden Wisley

 

As we are members of the RHS we get free entry into the four main RHS gardens. There’s nothing better than a day out to see RHS Garden Wisley and to watch it evolve from one year to the next. This visit was special as it was the first visit for us with our new daughter to the garden.

My last post about RHS Garden Wisley

There have been some big changes around the garden. The new Exotic Garden was top of our list to see.

The new Exotic Garden

Garden Visit: RHS Garden Wisley August 2017. RHS, garden, garden visit, horticulture, sunflowers, runner beans, gardening, garden blog, exotic garden, sculpture, plant trials, garden tourism, hortitourism, pumpkins
The fountain sits at the centre of the Exotic Garden

The former rose garden was re-landscaped and planted earlier this year. We saw it in April when the old layout was still visible but the roses had all been removed.

Garden Visit: RHS Garden Wisley August 2017. RHS, garden, garden visit, horticulture, sunflowers, runner beans, gardening, garden blog, exotic garden, sculpture, plant trials, garden tourism, hortitourism, pumpkins
Leaves of Amica zygomeris
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Bananas form a grove at the lower end of the garden

It’s impressive to see how much work has been completed in such a short space of time. The garden will fill in and mature over the years.

Garden Visit: RHS Garden Wisley August 2017. RHS, garden, garden visit, horticulture, sunflowers, runner beans, gardening, garden blog, exotic garden, sculpture, plant trials, garden tourism, hortitourism, pumpkins

Dahlia imperialis in a mixed exotic border

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The main central axis of the Exotic Garden

The site of the new centre for horticultural science and learning

Garden Visit: RHS Garden Wisley August 2017. RHS, garden, garden visit, horticulture, sunflowers, runner beans, gardening, garden blog, exotic garden, sculpture, plant trials, garden tourism, hortitourism, pumpkins
A large planting of pumpkins and sunflowers

At the top of the hill where there used to be a large lawn, is a new planting of pumpkins and sunflowers. They’re informally planted with meandering paths between them. The varieties are well labelled and there are signs showing the different types being grown.

There were kids running around the site, clearly excited by all the different types of pumpkins.

Trial Beds

I love seeing the AGM planting trials that are always taking place at Wisley. I have two special posts looking at the Zinnia and Echinacea trials taking place coming up.

The runner bean trial was interesting as I’m still researching the varieties I’m going to try and grow on the allotment next year. I’m always drawn to edibles that have ornamental value. These two runner beans had large straight pods with healthy foliage and attractive flowers.

I’ve only grown Zantedeschia once; when we lived on the Isle of Wight. It hasn’t really caught my imagination since. That was until I saw these two varieties growing in the trial beds. ‘Montevideo’ had blood-red stems and a fun drooping flower spathe. ‘Sumatra’ had cherry-red spathes.

The glasshouse gardens

I’m on the lookout for new plants to go in the Far Garden at the cottage and we’re looking for bright / exotic plants. I would like some more tall perennials and Rudbeckia maxima caught my eye from meters away.

Other botanical garden visits

Queens Park, Toowoomba

Singapore Botanical Garden

Melbourne Botanic Garden

A plant for the month of August: The Japanese Anemone

#japaneseanemone #anemone #whiteanemone #whitejapaneseanemone #pinkanemone #pinkjapaneseanemone #pinkflower #whiteflower #herbaceous #herbaceousperennial #summerflower #cottagegarden #garden #gardening #gardenblog #gdnblogger #gdnbloggers #gardenbloggers #gardenblogger #devon #courtyardgarden

Japanese Anemone: A varied herbaceous perennial that’s synonymous with the late summer borders in a cottage garden

 

Whilst I have always admired these plants when seen in other people’s gardens, to my knowledge I have only introduced one into my own. You can imagine my surprise then when, this year, I can count three or four types of Japanese Anemone bursting into flower.

These are easy to grow and yet impactful additions to mixed borders. They have most interest at this time of year so I would always plant them in a mixed border with other plants that can keep the show going. Some of them can be a bit thuggish and form large clumps. What a problem to have! The flowers are beautiful and are improved by mass planting.

I apologise if some of the images are a little blurry. It was a windy day and these tall flower heads like to waft in the breeze. I only wish I had the name labels of these. If anyone has any ideas which varieties these are please get in touch.

My purposely introduced Japanese Anemone

We had been to a plant nursery on the day our little Blue cat was run over. It seemed appropriate to mark the place where we buried her by placing a plant on top. This diminutive, pink Japanese Anemone only reaches 30cm high but the colour is deep and intense.

#japaneseanemone #anemone #whiteanemone #whitejapaneseanemone #pinkanemone #pinkjapaneseanemone #pinkflower #whiteflower #herbaceous #herbaceousperennial #summerflower #cottagegarden #garden #gardening #gardenblog #gdnblogger #gdnbloggers #gardenbloggers #gardenblogger #devon #courtyardgarden
A compact Japanese Anemone marking the spot our little Blue cat was buried

The others

There is a white Japanese Anemone that seems to be in two places in the garden. One is in the Immediate Garden and is following the rules of the colour theme. The other is gate-crashing the Left Border in the Far Garden which is supposed to be a brighter scheme. I like that it has a semi-double flower.

 

Another plant is in the sunny Right Border and is 5ft tall and has a clear hot pink to the face. Its back side is a subtle mauve where it meets the stem. I think the flower buds are just as exciting as the flowers themselves and the seedheads are attractive too. You really do get a lot from these plants.

There is another patch that has just one flower this year. This looks very similar to our memorial Japanese Anemone, mentioned above, and sits under the crabapple tree in the Immediate Garden.

#japaneseanemone #anemone #whiteanemone #whitejapaneseanemone #pinkanemone #pinkjapaneseanemone #pinkflower #whiteflower #herbaceous #herbaceousperennial #summerflower #cottagegarden #garden #gardening #gardenblog #gdnblogger #gdnbloggers #gardenbloggers #gardenblogger #devon #courtyardgarden
A very short pinky lilac Japanese Anemone

Garden Update 19th August 2017: The harvest floodgates open

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Garden Update 19th August 2017

I have been triumphantly carrying back the harvest from the allotment this week. I’ve had two good picking sessions. We’ve been munching through two types of climbing beans, two types of mange tout, peas, broad beans, asparagus pea and courgettes.

 

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My first large harvest from the allotment this year

Previous Updates

Garden Update 12th August

Garden Update 5th August

Allotment Update

The amount of veg harvested from the allotment is really exciting. I’m keeping a tally of what I harvest on some of the crops. I haven’t grown the Climbing green bean ‘Trail of Tears’ before so I’m comparing it to ‘Cosse Violette’ which I have grown in the past.

#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
Mollie dog is getting the hang of allotment etiquette – the pumpkins aren’t

The totals this week from 2 pickings;

  • Yellow Courgette – 388g+110g = 498g
  • Climbing Bean ‘Cosse Violette’ – 200g + 212g = 412g
  • Climbing Bean ‘Trail of Tears’ – 300g + 280g = 580g

Not only is Trail of Tears a very tasty variety but the amount of harvest is even beating Cosse Violette. I like this variety and think I’ll save some seeds to keep growing it. I’ll still keep Cosse Violette going as it’s such a beautiful plant and still tasty. I’m really impressed with the yellow courgette. I think I’ll not bother growing a green one next year as they tend to be more watery and not as useful in the kitchen. I’m going to try a patty pan type one instead.

It’s not all about the veg. The cut flower patch is getting colourful with some Dahlia, Anemone, Ranunculus and Gladioli.

Greenhouse Update

I’ve given the greenhouse a little spruce to tidy up the various tools and instruments. Instead of taking up valuable work surface space, they are now hanging handsomely on the wall.

#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
Secateurs, trowels and watering cans are now hanging up all tidy

The battle to ripen these tomatoes continues but the modules of winter leaves are coming along well.

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These tomatoes are refusing to ripen
#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
Cut and come again mixed salad leaves
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The winter leaves after a heavy dowsing – they did look much better before.

 

Garden Update

The neighbours have finished the shed at the back of the garden so we have a secure boundary again. Now comes the challenge of incorporating the change into the look of the garden. I still haven’t decided on whether I am installing a new boundary wall / screen etc.

#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
The right border now has a new backdrop
#allotment #allotmentlife #allotmentsofinstagram #growyourown #gyo #edible #edibles #herbs #vegetables #fruit #gyoherbs #gyovegetables #gyofruit #growyourownfruit #growyourownherbs #growyourownvegetables #gardening #gardenblog #allotmentblog #allotmentblogger #allotmentbloggers #gardeningblog #gardeningblogger #gardenblogger #gdnblog #gdnblogger #gdn #vegpatch #homegrown #seedlings #seeds #plants #instagarden #fromtheallotment
The left border is getting colourful

The Buddleja, Phlox, Japanese Anemone and Nasturtiums are flowering their socks off. The right side of the picture shows the impact shade can have on flowering plants. The overhanging hedge is casting a lot of shade.

 

Making more Pelargonium plants: How to take Pelargonium cuttings

Making more Pelargonium plants: How to take Pelargonium cuttings.Pelargonium cuttings, pelargonium, geranium, cuttings, plant propagation, plant, plants, gardening, greenhouse, terracotta pot, gravel, mulch, garden blog, gardening blog, gardening

Making more Pelargonium plants: How to take Pelargonium cuttings

As part of the new houseplants that I have recently taken on, one was a white Pelargonium, which needed some TLC. It came out of its pot with not much by way of roots. I’m not sure how well this will cope, or even survive, with this transplant. So, I have taken some cuttings in order to increase my chance of keeping this plant alive.

Pelargonium cuttings, pelargonium, geranium, cuttings, plant propagation, plant, plants, gardening, greenhouse, terracotta pot, gravel, mulch, garden blog, gardening blog, gardening
The original white pelargonium plant

Pelargoniums

There’s a lot of confusion about the naming, or nomenclature, of Pelargoniums. They are commonly called Geraniums, partly because they do belong to the Geraniaceae family, but also because of some confusion when they were brought to the UK. Apparently, one plant writer used the incorrect term and was more famous than the chap who was doing it correctly. What’s silly is that the true Geraniums get called ‘Hardy Geraniums’.

The Geraniums I’m talking about are the Pelargoniums, which come from South Africa, and are frost-tender and have a more succulent appearance.

Taking Pelargonium Cuttings

I chose some short side-shoots from the main plant for my cuttings material. The standard advice with all succulent cutting material is to allow it to dry and slightly callus before putting it into the potting media. This way there is less chance of the cutting rotting before it has the chance to root. The other difference from standard soft wood or semi-ripe cuttings is that you don’t enclose the tops in a plastic bag to increase humidity. The extra humidity can also cause the cuttings to rot so they are instead left out and dry.

I cut below a node, strip excess leaves from the stem, and remove large leaves to reduce water loss. Then I leave them to sit on a dry bench to callus.

Pelargonium cuttings, pelargonium, geranium, cuttings, plant propagation, plant, plants, gardening, greenhouse, terracotta pot, gravel, mulch, garden blog, gardening blog, gardening
Small pelargonium cuttings

The first time I took pelargonium cuttings I did enclose them in a plastic bag and didn’t leave them time to callus. They took anyway, which was probably luck, but just goes to show how keen they are to take.

Aftercare of Pelargonium Cuttings

Once you’ve taken the cuttings, and they’ve had some time to dry a little at the ends, put them in a gritty potting mix. I have some new (old) terracotta pots that I find work really well for cuttings. You don’t need terracotta pots, however, as cuttings will work in most containers. Where excess moisture is particularly dangerous to cuttings, exactly like it is to Pelargonium cuttings and other succulent cuttings, the porous nature of the terracotta helps.

Pelargonium cuttings, pelargonium, geranium, cuttings, plant propagation, plant, plants, gardening, greenhouse, terracotta pot, gravel, mulch, garden blog, gardening blog, gardening
Pelargonium cuttings in a gravel mix

I water them in and then leave them in a bright, dry area of the greenhouse. It will take a couple of weeks for them to root. I wait until there are plenty of roots coming from the bottom of the pot and some sign of new growth before potting on. If space is tight you can leave them, rooted, in the pots over winter before potting on in Spring.

How to take Basil Cuttings

Other cuttings taken recently

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,

Garden Update 12th August 2017

It would be nice to be able to say something other than how wet things have been. We’ve had another damp week in Devon (well the green rolling hills don’t get that way without some of the wet stuff).

We’ve been helping to clear out an elderly relative’s home this week so I’ve had a few new additions to the house and garden. It’s nice to re-home plants and items that have been well used and give them some new life. There’s nothing worse than landfill!

The house is now home to more African Violet Plants that need some TLC. A new Moth Orchid, a Maidenhair fern and a Fig plant. We have new (old) terracotta pots and a new (old) trowel and hand fork. I’ve rescued a white Pelargonium and taken some cuttings from it. I hope they all thrive in their new home.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 5th August

Garden Update 29th July

Allotment Update

Not much to report from the allotment this week. I haven’t had a great deal of time to get up there as we’ve had family visiting.

Greenhouse Update

Even though light levels haven’t been great and temperatures have cooled, we still have some progress in the greenhouse. The seeds of Geranium phaem ‘alba’ have germinated and I now have one little seedling. The plant was a bit tight with viable seed so it’s going to be a slow job to bulk up the numbers.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Geranium phaem ‘alba’
Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Pak Choi seedlings
Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Winter greens – Lettuce and Chard

My plug trays of winter greens have germinated well and been thinned to one plant per module. These are on a high shelf in the greenhouse for maximum light so they don’t get too leggy but it does mean it’s harder to keep track of the watering. I took these photos on tiptoes. These were well watered soon after taking.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Teucrium cuttings (label spelled incorrectly)

I’m pleased with how well the Teucrium cuttings have taken. I’m hoping for some mass planting of these in the Far Garden.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Stipa tenuissima seedlings

Also destined for the Far Garden are some Stipa tenuissima seedlings. They’re hard to photograph due to being quite spindly when they first come up.

Garden Update

Having tried, and then tried again, to get the garden furniture we brought back from Australia to fit in, I think I’ve got a layout I’m happy with. I think you should be able to access all seats without feeling that you’re squeezing past. The set might be a little too big for the space and may not have been purchased over here for that reason. Now it’s in place I like it. I just need to ignore the state of the borders.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Finally rearranged the furniture in the Far Garden

I’m getting little surprises coming up around the garden. I now have 4 small clumps of Japanese Anemones springing up to provide colour and interest later into the season. This garden has always seemed to hit its stride in May and June with nothing coming through for later on.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Pink Japanese Anemone

Also extending the season of interest are the Hydrangeas. I have three types in the garden; one came from a cutting from my in-law’s garden and the other two were bought to surround us where we got married. The garden where we got married had to remove all the Clary Sage that was planted around the ceremony site leaving bare earth. We bought Hazel trees and Hydrangeas for a simple backdrop and they looked amazing. Our family members all have a tree and some Hydrangea bushes in their gardens too!.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Hydrangea putting on a pink blush
Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ in the background

These Holly bushes have always struggled to thrive in their last pot. They put up spindly growth and fruited fine but the plants themselves were always looking dry and unhappy. When repotting them this year I discovered that they still had the plastic pots from the nursery attached! How embarrassing. Needless to say, now they can get their roots out they’re doing much better with healthy new growth. I think they’ll be much denser plants from now on but we’ll see if they still fruit as well.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Holly Bushes