Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Wineberries’

Ever since I wrote about year round scent a few weeks ago, I’ve had it in mind to look our for some Iris unguicularis at this week’s show. ‘Mary Barnard’ is a tallish variety, up to 12inches in height and spread, and comes with a gentle scent too. I’ve planted these at the bottom of a south-facing wall as they like sun and poor, well-drained soil, and right by the back door so as they clump up over the years, I’ll have this cheerful sight and delicate perfume at the beginning of each year.

I saw these Irises along with the sumptuous and uplifting display of  Snowdrops on the Avon bulbs stand.

Helpful as ever and always supplying quality bulbs which return year after year, I also caught sight of the exquisite Crocus tommasianus and have written a note to self to order these in the autumn for a lush pink carpet in our community front garden come next spring.

Ashwood Nurseries always delight and I particularly liked the gorgeous simplicity of this Hellebore ‘Anna’s Red’,

shown en masse on their stand this year. Hellebores, Crocus tommasianus and snowdrops are also great for pollinators who will be on the hunt for food early on in the year so doubly worth planting.

Further back in the hall was Sea Spring Seeds, supplying a tempting selection of veg seeds which have been put through their paces in their own market garden. I picked up some interesting Japanese leaves, such as Red Knight Mizuna, Golden Streak Mustard leaf and Tatsoi Yukina Savoy and also got chatting about their comprehensive selection of Chili seeds. Chili seeds can be sown indoors now and into March and grown on indoors in a greenhouse or sunny windowsill. I also wanted to know if Sea Spring seeds supplied any varieties that could be grown on outdoors. Joy Michaud recommended ‘Super Chile’ as it’s such a fast grower and hopefully it will ripen out-of-doors if given the sunniest of spots. Worth trying as part of our community veg growing project this year for some neighbours who like it hot.

Further travels around the show revealed the creative use of recycled objects and pots on the D’Arcy and Everest alpine stand,

and I did purchase a few Sempervivum to try out some recycling of domestic objects at home too.

And finally, couldn’t resist buying a Rubus lineatus on the Crug Farm Nursery stand for its crinkly yet soft palmate leaves. Rubus is such a great family of plants including the Japanese wineberry, Rubus phoenicolasius, Blackberries, Rubus fruticosus and I did spot a rather intriguing plant,

Rubus ulmifolius bellidiflorus, wild, but with amazing pink pompom flowers, at the Hampton Court Flower Show last summer. Can feel an obsession coming on.

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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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I’ve been dipping into Alys Fowler’s ‘Edible Garden’ since summer and I think it’s a great book. It covers basics, such as soil fertility, making compost, how to sow seeds and plant trees and an A-Z of edible plants to grow, but then there’s so much more. Mixing ornamentals and edibles is the main thrust of the book, but it also includes foraging, seed saving, preserving, herbal teas, cooking and edible bouquets. In fact, it leans towards promoting a sustainable way of life, with a few choice recipes to boot. (Her mum’s jerusalem artichoke souffle is next on my list to try).

One of the many things I love about ‘The Edible Garden’ is the lists. Great lists Alys! Above are lists of fruit, veg and flowers in order of size. My favourite thing in the book and a wonderful tool for planning your beds/borders/growing space. There are also lists on edible flowers for both sun and shade, what seeds to sow where, best lettuces for eating and design, decorative and edible vegetables for pots and herbs that can be grown from seed. Written in an engaging and accessible style and packed full of useful information, innovative  ideas and enticing photos, Alys Fowler shares her extensive knowledge willingly with the reader. Great for both beginners and those with more growing experience, a really useful book if you want to have a beautiful yet mostly edible garden.

Another book that got me chomping at the bit this year to dig up the flower beds and try out something more unusual, was Mark Diacono’s ‘a taste of the unexpected’, where he encourages the reader to ‘make your garden unbuyable’. Instead of growing veg that can be easily bought, such as potatoes and carrots and other staples, he promotes using your precious growing space to grow unusual fruit and veg that you’ll never find at the supermarket or local green grocer, such as Japanese Wineberries (one of my favourite fruits this summer), Szechuan Peppers and Egyptian Walking Onions. Mark Diacono’s enthusiasm is infectious and even if you have a small space to grow in, options abound, such as growing dwarf peaches (1.5 m tall) in a large pot, or Fuchias (growing from around 1m tall) which will provide both fruits (which look like tiny batons) and edible flowers.

It was the less often seen fruit trees which grabbed my attention at first, such as Medlars (above ), Quinces and Mulberries, but there’s plenty more to discover in the very selective lists of soft fruits, nuts, herbs and spices, beans, leaves, edible flowers and some unusual roots. Each chosen plant occupies three or four pages in the book and alongside growing and harvesting information, has ideas for cooking/preparing and eating. I rather like the sound of Daylily fritters and Chilean Guava (cousin of Myrtle) muffins to try out next year.

Having been inspired by the ideas in his book, Mark Diacono has supplied a very helpful directory at the back of the book, so you can trot off and easily find these treasures to grow. Thanks Mark! I am now planning on digging up some old cherry trees (non productive) and replacing with a beautiful Quince tree over the next couple of months.

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