“Women Garden designers, 1900 to present day” by Kristina Taylor

Leicestershire & Rutland Gardens Trust
Sunday Afternoon lecture and Tea

2.00pm on April 23rd
Hoby Village Hall, Leicestershire, LE14 3DT

kristina-2

“Women Garden designers, 1900 to present day” by Kristina Taylor

Kristina Taylor is a garden historian, researcher and writer. Born and raised in Edinburgh, her travels around the world have given her a love for landscapes and gardens worldwide. An expert on Japanese gardens, Kristina regularly hosts tours to visit gardens in Japan and is now looking to expand her tours to Scotland.

Kristina has also been involved in the recording and restoration of historic gardens, including the flower garden at Chevening House in Kent and writes regularly for a number of publications.

Her 2012 book Passion Plants and Patronage, co-written with Robert Peel, is an account of the gardens belonging to the Scottish family of the Marquesses of Bute and in 2015 she published Women Garden designers, 1900 to present day.

The lecture will be followed by afternoon tea (sandwiches, scones and cake) and the opportunity to visit Glebe House Garden.

Cost £12 please contact Elizabeth Bacon (0116 2705711) for tickets. Find out more about the Leicestershire & Rutland Gardens Trust

See map of location of Hoby Village Hall. If you can get to this talk I am sure you will enjoy the afternoon.

 

No room in the greenhouse!

At this time of year the greenhouse becomes an essential building in any garden, large or small.17_03_23_5111Despite having a relatively large garden the greenhouse is not very large. The location is not ideal either as it faces west and has a large wall to the south and east. You may well ask “why did you put it here?” I would say that the main reason was that we did not want to spoil the views down the garden and the only other sensible location was totally shaded by a large old apple tree. Actually the location does have the advantage that it does not get over hot in the middle of summer.

Nevertheless, at this time of year I am always wishing that it was a bit bigger.17_03_23_5105At the end are Osteospermum cutting that have been over wintered and a bay tree which I bring in to protect it from the winter frosts.

On the left you can see dahlia tubers that have been planted up in potting compost and about two weeks ago received their first watering. I tend to lift all our tubers as we used to get hard frosts which could be fatal for any left in the ground. After drying them off (in an upside down position so that any liquids can flow out) they are then potted up in dry potting compost and kept either in the garage or under the staging in the greenhouse. 17_03_23_5109There is not enough staging so some are started off on the ground.17_03_23_5108On the right as you enter there are even more! The issue I have is that I always end up with more dahlia plants than I started with and I am always reluctant to throw away anything that could make a good plant. The greenhouse just get fuller!17_03_23_5110It is amazing how quickly the tubers burst into life. This one is Dahlia Arabian Night a beautiful dahlia with large, fully-double flower-heads of dark burgundy-red.

In a few weeks the dahlias will all have grown to maybe 30 cm high and I will cut out the growing tips to encourage more bushy plants. However they will need to be kept in the greenhouse until the frosts have finished in May. This immediately presents an issue as during this time there are many seed to plant and grow.17_03_23_5106This is already underway with trays of cosmos and poppies and in the incubator tomatoes and many more exotic flowers. This becomes a huge juggling act and eventually the whole floor will be covered with plants and the scent becomes overpowering. The aconites and Anemone Blanda White Splendour have already been moved out and I described these in Aconites and others spring delights.17_03_23_5107Two trays that will soon be ready to plant out are Anemone Nemerosa Robinsoniana  which I treat in a similar way to the aconites.

There is a very critical timing when the tomatoes need their final potting up and need to be located in their final position in the greenhouse. To do this some of the staging is removed and I just have to hope that we can get the dahlias planted out at that time.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
12 621 16

Spring up close

Spring has certainly progressed this last few days with some warm 16c sunshine. You can almost see the plants (and weeds) growing. Although I do not have a macro lens I thought I would share with you some “up close” images of the flowers making their presence know.17_03_15_5092The spring standby, Primrose (Primula vulgaris). Not really a plant that is planted as it is quite happy to plant itself. April 19th is traditionally Primrose Day, marking the death of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli on April 19th, 1881 when Queen Victoria sent primroses to his funeral.17_03_15_5083The radiant yellow flowers of dwarf Narcissus Tête á Tête give a big splash of colour to any bed. One drawback is that the leaves take time to disappear so I plant them towards the back of my borders where the leaves can die back out of sight.17_03_15_5084Mahonia media Charity looking splendid. Mahonia, or Oregon grape are highly prized not just for the beautiful glossy foliage, but because they flower through the winter months.17_03_15_5088Ipheion uniflorum White Star is a small herbaceous perennial growing from a bulb and producing flat, shiny, green, hairless, grasslike leaves up to 30 cm (12 in) long. The stem grows up to 20 cm (8 in) tall and bears a solitary showy flower in spring. Not such a  common spring flower but easy to grow in a sunny position. Here they underplant some roses.17_03_15_5079The first tulip flower of the season. Variety unknown! However, the tulips are coming up all over the garden so we are expecting an excellent display later on.17_03_15_5089Anemone Blanda Atrocoeruleais a very free flowering Anemone, which quickly forms large clumps and multiplies year after year. Plant under trees for a woodland effect, with a carpet of violet-blue flowers appearing every spring. The blue is stunning.17_03_15_5090and Anemone Blanda White Splendour tends to flower a little later but is just as useful in the spring border.17_03_15_5081Prunus Kojo-no-mai is always early to flower17_03_15_5082and looks great for no effort.17_03_16_5097Ribes sanguineum White Icicle has also started flowering.17_03_15_5095This Aubretia, in a warm spot has burst into flower.17_03_15_5094Lastly the view over the garden fence where the lambs are continuing to grow.

The first lawn mowing of the season took place this week and there has been much time spent removing self set alliums.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
20 609 16

Aconites and others spring delights

After snowdrops Eranthis hyemalis winter aconites are one of the delights of spring. This woodland member of the buttercup family will swiftly multiply to form a glowing carpet of golden yellow flowers each spring. The cup shaped blooms of the winter aconite attract pollinating insects into the spring garden, and associate beautifully with snowdrops and bluebells for a spectacular woodland display. Virtually maintenance free, Eranthis hyemalis are ideal for planting in the dappled shade of deciduous trees, or naturalised in informal areas of grass.

However, I have found from experience they are hard to establish. The cheapest way to buy them is as small tubers but I have not had much success planting these directly in the borders. Maybe I was just feeding the mice but they seldom came up! However, I have found that planting in pots of compost in the autumn and leaving in a cool greenhouse is generally successful. 17_02_22_4980On the right the Winter Aconites and on the left  Anemone Blanda White Splendour which I treat in the same way. An additional benefit of this approach is that the greenhouse gets full of the scent of the Winter Aconites which is fantastic.

17_03_04_5026The border with the snowdrops beginning to fade.

17_03_04_5027The winter aconites ready for planting

17_03_04_5028The border now with a few splashes of yellow which will establish themselves into large clumps over the next few years.

Other spring delights

17_03_04_5031Everywhere you look at this time of year spring bulbs are bursting out.17_03_04_5032Crocus Pickwick coming back every year.

17_03_04_5035Borders of Helleborus Ashwoods Hybrids doing their own thing.17_03_04_5036

 

17_03_04_5037Crocus Joan of Arc under a row of step-over apples with tulips emerging behind.17_03_04_5038What could be more wonderful!

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
15 589 16

In a vase on Monday – Mumbai II

 

dsc01592Just returned from India and stayed a couple of nights at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. As is typical of hotels in Asia the floral displays in their reception are outstanding and this was no exception.dsc01593Actually it should be vases on Monday!dsc01591

With my thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme.  Do visit her to see masses of other vases to fill you with joy on Monday.dsc01590

Lambs and snowdrops

 

17_03_01_5009Spring had really arrived now. Over the years we have been splitting clumps of snowdrops to fill out the border down the lefthand side of the garden. This has been a real success with the spring bed looking absolutely gorgeous.  17_03_01_502317_03_01_5007From our back door the border is raised and you find yourself looking into the snowdrops.Which is really great to see.17_03_01_5024Looking down on the same part of the bed you can see the progress the tulips are making. These are mainly Red Impression and by April the whole of this left hand border will be full of Red Impression.17_02_22_4982The beauty of spring comes through with snowdrops, aconites,  Iris Histrioides Katherine Hodgkin and a small cyclamen. 17_03_01_5012Elsewhere the snowdrops set of the yew and box hedging.

17_03_01_5017The other arrival this week are the lambs in the field below our garden. The lambs are born in lambing sheds so when they are put out to the field they are quite strong. However, the day they arrived it turned cold and rained and I guess they wondered what it was all about. Certainly we could hear a significant amount of lambs crying out through the night.17_03_01_5016In a week or two they will be charging around the field like a group of adolescents!

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
16 574 16

All 16 hours were on the clean up following Doris. In particular, Diane did 10 hours of shredding so that we can recycle all the brushwood back into the compost heap through the year ahead. The shreddings have been bagged up and are ready to be moved to the compost area.

End of the Month View- February 2017

Spring is bursting out all over the garden but my attention has been on Doris! A disaster called Doris This End of the Month View I plan to update you on last week’s post.17_02_24_4998You will recall that storm “Doris” had caused considerable damage to an old apple tree. Despite the very poor weather this week we did manage to start the process of clearing up.17_02_26_4999Removing the mass of Rosa Rambling Rector  was not very pleasant and needed very good gloves and protection.17_02_26_5000A few logs will be added to our log pile17_02_28_5006and a large amount of rose and apple twigs destined for the shredder in the potting shed. Actually this is what was left after about five hours of shredding.17_02_28_5001So looking at the tree from the house it does not look too bad.17_02_28_5002From the east side it not great but probably will fill out a bit.17_02_28_5003From the south looking towards the house it is not bad.17_02_28_5004But from the main garden looking east we can really see the damage done.17_02_28_5005You can see on this photograph where the branch came from. Also you can see that the tree is showing signs of aging and rotting from the inside. Given that the tree is probably around 100 years old this is not surprising.

What next?

We are not going to rush into removing it completely but will live with it for a while and see how it developed.  In the meanwhile we will be looking for mature apple trees to be a possible replacement. So the future is yet to be determined. Its very sad but gardening has never been totally predictable. I guess that is part of the enjoyment.

End of the Month View

Do have a look at Helen The Patient Gardener’s blog where you fill find links to other gardens at the end of February. Thank you to Helen for hosting this meme.

A disaster called Doris

The weather in the UK is generally rather benign. However, on Thursday a storm described as a weather bomb was predicted to cross the country. The storm was called “Doris”.

A weather bomb is an intense low-pressure system with a central pressure that falls by 24 millibars in a 24-hour period. There are around 60 weather bombs globally each year, although they are infrequent in the UK.

The Met Office extended its amber – be prepared – warning covering Wales and much of England to London, where winds were expected to reach 60-70mph. It said damage to structures, interruptions to power supplies and widespread disruption to travel networks were likely, and there was a danger of injury from flying debris. Trees were likely to be damaged or blown over, it said.215842Glebe House is just into area one and we were expecting high winds. The garden is very exposed to the south west, the direction we would expect the wind to come from.

17_02_24_4998The predictions were right with an old apple tree losing a significant branch.17_02_24_4992On inspection it is probably worse with a second branch being split and almost certain to be lost.The tree is an old apple tree and had a splendid Rosa Rambling Rector growing up it. 17_02_24_4993Actually the rambling Rector was part of the issue as it made the tree too top heavy.

This is a significant loss to the garden.2010_20100624_505This is the tree in June with Rambling Rector looking incredible.16_12_29_4619And in winter the tree was a real focal point.

So, out with the chain saw this weekend and we will see what it looks like with the broken branches removed. The apple tree was old and dying off in places so I suspect it is going to have to be removed completely. There then remains the question of what to do next!

17_02_21_4966On a much happier note we had two other annual visitors.Each year Mallard Ducks turn up in the garden looking for good nest sites. Some years they have been successful and reared a batch of chicks. They then disappear from the garden only to be back the following year.

She is going to have to decide which of the men she likes best!

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
8 558 16

In a vase on Monday – Mumbai

17_02_02_4720

Just returned form India and stayed a couple of nights at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. As is typical of hotels in Asia the floral displays in their reception are outstanding and this was no exception.

With my thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme.  Do visit her to see masses of other vases to fill you with joy on Monday.

Neeleshwar Hermitage Garden

17_02_07_4838For the last three weeks we have been away from Glebe House staying in the Neeleshwar Hermitage Hotel in Kerala, South India. Neeleshwar Hermitage is hybrid of a boutique hotel and an Ayurvedic wellness centre. Its 18 palm roofed villas are scattered across the garden, their porches cooled by spinning ceiling fans, and at the rear of each is a large outdoor bathroom with a tub set in a small walled garden. At the seafood restaurant, tables spill out into the beach.17_02_06_4823 I often think that a the percentage of guests who have stayed before is a good measure of how good a hotel is. This was our third visit and I would estimate that 50%of the guests had been before. This is despite the fact that it is not an easy hotel to get to. We flow from London Heathrow to Mumbai, then from Mumbai to Mangaluru and finally a two and a half hour car ride!17_02_10_4901We first stayed about six years ago when the Hermitage was relatively new. Since then the gardens surrounding the villas has grown significantly and are still being developed.17_02_10_4886Being next to the beach the soil is very sandy and unless watered plants soon dry out. At this time of year the temperature is typically 33c with no rainfall.17_02_10_4904The gardener explained that they plan to clear this area of dried up plants and plant the area with pineapple plants which would then provide fruit for the restaurant. Needless to say in this temperature I did not volunteer to help him.17_02_09_4870The garden is kept alive watering and the cattle egrets love it as the water brings the insects out.17_02_10_4903Around the garden  there are a number of small pools which as well as providing attractive features bring more wildlife to the garden.17_02_07_484117_02_10_488917_02_12_4921This part of the Kerala coast is very underdeveloped and the wildlife is stunning.17_02_12_491717_02_09_4859

The garden is by its location a tropical garden and the following is a selection of plants flowering when we were there.

The other feature worth mentioning is the swimming pool.17_02_15_4952The pool has become part of the garden as well as providing a fantastic amenity for guests.17_02_15_4954At 7 o’clock in the morning the air temperature was around 26c and the water was perfect for a swim looking out over the infinity edge to the beach.

We have now had 13 holidays in India and have traveled over much of the sub-continent. This trip was purly for winter sun and relaxation and the Neeleshwar Hermitage delivered 100%.

Glebe House Garden

No work on the garden for the last few weeks. We arrived home late last night. However, I was very pleased to see a bed full of snowdrops this morning.

Gardening Hours
This week Total since June 19th Average per week
0 550 16