Posts Tagged ‘Helenium Moorheim Beauty’

This year Hampton Court Flower show seemed even bigger than ever-or is it just me?  Mark Diacono, writing in the Saturday Telegraph, said that 2 days were best to see everything in the show- and I think he’s right! This year there was a massive leaning towards Growing Your Own. Marshalls Seeds had 4 greenhouses following the seasons with thoughtfully planted up growbeds (above) to illustrate the possibility of keeping veg production going all year. Very Encouraging.

I also discovered that Blackberry Loch Tay fruits every year on its current season’s growth, like an autumn fruiting raspberry. Just chop it down to the ground in Feb and fruit will follow in summer. Great find-especially for impatient gardeners out there!

The large conceptual gardens, as ever for me at the RHS flower shows, seem to take a back seat as I am wowed by the smaller gardens. This year, a few gardens particularly impressed me with so many creative touches within their designs. Above is the Wild in the City garden, designed by Charlotte Murrell. I love the way she has artfully sliced a pond into this small garden under the curvaceous seating area.

Set against the backdrop of a fab wooden log wall, Peter Bowers’ bird feeders, with their own green roofs, were also a great addition to Charlotte’s urban Eden.

The Stone Roses -‘a modern interpretation of an English garden’  by Greenes of Sussex also delighted with its lush planting and creative use of a small space.

Had a chat with Donna from Greenes about the British obsession with having a patch of lawn, however small it is. Working as a gardener, I hate mowing these fiddly areas and would much prefer to see flowers and veg in this space, although I did agree that an area of green can add an element of calm within a busy garden (and within our busy lives!).

Loved the sumptuous planting of red Achillea and Helenium ‘Moorheim Beauty’ on the Cinema Paradiso garden by Pod Garden Design,

and the purple of a Perovskia against background of yellow Hellenium (also Pod Garden Design)

I could have spent hours more in the Floral marquee, but here’s a whizz through some of the gorgeous plants on display. Above is a Sanguisorba tenuifolium grass on the  Harveys of Suffolk stand.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’ really grabbed my attention, but do I really want all those double petals when Hydrangea quercifolia is very appealing as it is? Will the heads just flop over after the first bout of heavy rain? Anyone out there grow ‘Snowflake’?

And look at the size of this Hydrangea Avantgard-wot a whopper!!

Loved the playfulness of the chives growing out of bamboo posts on th Potential Feast Small Garden.

In the Plant Heritage Marquee, thought that this Dahlia coccinnea Orange Form would be a great ‘back of border’ summer plant,

and really want to get a hold of this Rubus ulmifolius Bellidiflorus for a wild area in a client’s garden.

I was charmed by the mass planting of Bishop’s Weed -Amni major on the Garlic Farm stand,

and have decided that I must grow lablab beans (similar in growing habit to french and runner beans) next year for their stunning pink and lilac flowers (here next to the v. attractive Allium sphaerocephalon).

The generosity of thyme planted around these slabs was really appealing,

and I did wonder if I could repeat this allium planting by Warmenhoven around our local tree pits in Finsbury Park!! (more…)

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This time last year I went on a study day at Great Dixter in E.Sussex. It was one of the most enjoyable things I did all year. The next course ‘Preparing Your Border for Spring and Summer-The Practicalities’ is on March 28th.

Head Gardener Fergus Garrett (above) leads the courses which usually run from 10 -4.30, with lunch included and a 10% discount is offered on plants bought in the nursery. On this particular course ‘Fergus will show you how to cut down, split and replant perennials, thin out self-sowers, pruning, composts and working in the rain without ruining the structure of your soil. Essential winter maintenance work will be covered on this very practical orientated day.’ Sounds wonderful and you will learn a lot.

In the meantime, the gardens are open for 2 weekends for a viewing on ‘winter structure and winter interest including snowdrops, crocuses, hellebores and much more’ on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th February 2011 and Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th March 2011

The course that I attended last year in January was on successional planting-how to have interest in your garden all year round. Here are the highlights of the day for me.

Great Dixter in January

Had a wonderful day at Great Dixter in January 2010. I attended (with friend Lucy, and 8 other gardeners) a day course run by Head Gardener Fergus Garrett on successional planting . The morning was spent  (by a toasty open log fire) listening to an indepth talk on the borders at Dixter, illustrated by 200 slides of wonderful plant combinations-for example; Blue Amiable tulips with Mellow Yellow aquilegias- a riot of colour or Petunia ‘Purple Wave’ and Colchicums in flower together-rich and luscious.

Choosing good plants was another area he talked about. For example, when choosing a blue Geranium, varieties which have a long flowering season (up to 3 months) such as; ‘Russell Pritchard, ‘Mavis Simpson’ and ‘Jolly Bee’ are a much better option than ‘Johnson’s Blue’ which only flowers for 3 weeks.

Lucy enjoying all the expertise that Fergus had to offer

Or making sure that Hellenium ‘Moorheim Beauty’ is deadheaded after it has flowered in July so that come September you will have a second wave of flowers. He stressed avoiding competing  combinations so that plants can live together. For example, a Mahonia looks great in winter, but in summer Clematis triternata rubra-marginata is used to cover it to add more colour to the border. A different clematis, such as ‘Bill Mackenzie’ might overwhelm the Mahonia being more vigorous and having a longer flowering season. Fergus Garrett is passionate about his plants, and all that Great Dixter stands for and the talk was enjoyable,  informative and truly inspiring. Always approachable, Fergus welcomed and answered all questions with enthusiasm before we proceeded to lunch.

Galanthus “S.Arnott” in front of Arum italicum “Pictum”

All work is carried out on boards so as not to compact the soil or to disturb plants

After a jovial group meal in the lovingly preserved house, we were then shown around the garden by Fergus. As we walked he showed us areas where another layer of planting could be added, and described the borders in terms of a series of compartments that all have their own planting combinations.

Cyclmen providing winter interest under a tree and spreading all the way to the back of the border

He showed us areas where Cyclamen were not only planted in waves under shrubs and trees, but also going right to the back of borders, using their leaves to maximum decorative effect now even though their flowers would be obscured by other planting later on in the year.

The long border, full of structure , still with plenty of winter interest.Grasses soon to cut down to make way for spring bulbs to be seen.
The long border still providing plenty of interest in winter
Gorgeous Daphniphyllum macropodum adding colour and texture to the garden. The pink was really arresting.
Effective yet unobstrusive means by which plants are staked at Great Dixter

We spent a couple of hours exploring the borders and absorbing much information, then the day was finished off with a welcome cup of tea/coffee and time to wander around the nursery and to buy some plants.

Lucy and I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable day, going away with tons to think about and a heap of useful information inside our heads, in the notes we had taken throughout the day and in the form of a slide list in which all the plants Fergus had talked about were detailed.

Different course are held throughout the year and all the proceeds go to maintaining and developing the gardens in the experimental and joyous fashion of Christopher Lloyd and Fergus Garrett. Book now!!

Great Dixter, Northiam, Rye, E.Sussex TN31 6PH


tel 01797 252878

p.s. You can also read about my 4 days volunteering at Great Dixter earlier on this year (2011). A wonderful experience.

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