Archive for the ‘Jerusalem artichokes’ Category

I’ve just planted 200 Crocus tommasianus in our corner plot to pop up through the grass and can’t wait to see how they look come spring. I saw these on the Avon Bulbs stand at the RHS spring show, and thankfully remembered to write a note to self to order in September.

As the temperatures finally drop, people keep on asking me if I’ve finished working for the year, and I have to tell them, ‘not a bit of it’. Despite the depressing fact that the clocks have gone back and the nights are rapidly drawing in, there’s still tons to do. These last few weeks I must have planted thousands of bulbs and have a nice few calluses on my palms to prove it. I’ve even managed to get my act together to plant some of my own bulbs and this year I’ve plumped for a mass of pink parrot Rai tulips to appear alongside the dark curvaceous curls of a Black Parrot or two. A sumptuous combination hopefully. There’s still plenty of time to plant Tulips (up to the end of the year I’d say) and although Peter Nyssen are fast selling out of some varieties, there’s still lots of gorgeous bulbs online to tempt you.

Leucojum aestivum or Snowflake

I’ll also be planting some delightful Leucojum aestivum (summer snowflake) which will flower in April and May. Well after snowdrops have vanished for the year, these flowers are such a treat and at a foot or so high, seem to blend in well amongst most small shrubs and emerging perennials alike.

Once all my bulbs are in, I’ll be ordering some bare-rooted ‘Lord Lambourne’ apple trees from Blackmoor nurseries for a spot of training. I think I mentioned to Sue at Backlane Notebook that I’ll be attempting to train a one year old maiden up a coiling metal framework as I’d like to see how successfully apples will grow in a pot. She’s putting her allotment to bed for the winter, and this will be on my ‘to do’ list soon, although I still have quite a few Jerusalem artichokes to dig up and enjoy.

My leeks on the other hand have been rather disappointing, as quite a number have already started flowering, depriving me of one of my favourite winter veg. I didn’t water my crop when dry this year, and no doubt this, as well as our strange weather patterns, has prompted my leeks into premature seed production. My loss!

And last of my autumn jobs is to order some bare-rooted fruit canes. I’ve experimented with different varieties of raspberries this year, and although my old reliable ‘Autumn Bliss’ is still much-loved, I’ve found that Polka is equally (if not more) tasty, rather juicy and double the size (all this when grown in an old wooden wine box!). Again, available from Blackmoor Nursery.

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Photo: Sarah Cuttle

Gorgeous weather, delicious cake and a fine array of seeds and plants to give away made ‘Cake Sunday’ a really enjoyable get-together for neighbours participating in our community veg growing scheme. Over 100 households have now joined up to grow flowers and veg in their front gardens (and tree pits on the streets) and it was great to see lots of familiar faces as well as some new ones too.

Photo: Sarah Cuttle

This year we gave away purple French Beans, Swiss Chard, especially good for the less sunny garden, and wildflower seeds for tree pits all around our neighbourhood.

We also had masses of Hollyhock seeds, collected from Lindsey’s front garden to share, as these do surprisingly well in the inhospitable area around tree bases too.

Photo: Sarah Cuttle

Now in our fourth growing season, our green growbags and large planters are proliferating in front gardens, as neighbours are eager to grow a large selection of veg, including potatoes (as above), courgettes, tomatoes, Jerusalem artichokes and some very decorative rhubarb plants.

Photo: Sarah Cuttle

Front gardens are a great place to meet up with nieghbours on ‘Cake Sundays’, chat about all things horticultural and indeed anything else!

As part of the Chelsea Fringe this year, we’re inviting visitors to join us on Sunday May 27th 2013 for another bumper Cake Sunday, with all the trimmings. Amongst many metres of bunting, visitors can come sup tea and cake, and find out more about our community veg growing project. Our beans won’t be at the top of the poles by then, but we’ll  be holding edible window box workshops,

a topiary demonstration by Tim Bushe and hopefully a few heats of the Chelsea Fringe Edible Olympics. Cucumber javelin anyone?

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Although I ordered most of my bare-rooted plants weeks ago, new thoughts and ideas for myself and clients mean that there are more plants to order. So having done my last day of gardening work for this year, I can sit down and spend time perusing catalogues and websites again-a very pleasurable activity. I’ve plumped for Rosa ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ for a client wants a rose to grow up a tree and although not arriving for a few weeks yet, I could make the most of the promised mild days ahead to start preparing the ground for this scented beauty. The nice people at Peter Beales were happy, as ever, to give good advice about planting a rose near a tree. Try and plant at least 3 feet or more from the base of the tree to avoid competition from the tree roots and prepare the ground very well with loads of organic matter-home compost and well-rotted manure would be ideal. When planting, point the rose towards the tree and use a bamboo cane or rope to train the rose towards the tree. Next, wrap rope in a coil up the trunk to keep the rose stems as horizontal as possible as this will encourage the most flowers. Keep an eye on growth next year and tie stems in as they grow, as once the rose shoots up horizontally, it will be impossible to retrain without lopping off new growth. Paul’s Himalayan Musk is a Rambler, which means (unlike a Climber) that I shall have to wait a year before I see any flowers, as roses are formed on old wood. But I’ve chosen this variety as it’s a vigorous plant which will tough it out on poor soils and put up with a bit of shade, so with plenty of watering and judicious feeding, I will be rewarded with a wonderful skyward display in 18 months time!!

I’ve also just planted this wild rose (Rosa rugosa) as hedging in a neighbour’s front garden and hopefully will see the fruits of my labour this coming summer. There’s still plenty of time to order bare-rooted roses: Toby Buckland’s Nursery offers 10 well-selected cultivars, very reasonably priced wild rose hedging can be ordered from Victoriana Nursery and an abundance of roses can be easily selected on the very user-friendly Peter Beales website

On the fruit side, I’ve just ordered some ‘Joan J’ raspberries (from Ken Muir) to test alongside recently purchased ‘Polka’ canes and my ‘Autumn Bliss’ patch, for what I think is the best tasting variety.

And sweet, juicy Japanese Wineberries can be planted to fill the gap between your summer fruiting and autumn fruiting raspberries. Available bare-rooted from Victoriana Nursery, and Ken Muir.

And finally, I’ve been digging up Jerusalem Artichokes to eat for weeks now, but saving a few to replant in order to double my growing area for more of this delicious veg next year. The less knobbly Fuseau variety of tubers can be bought from Marshalls and can be planted from now until March.

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