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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Two spectacular trees and a hint of things to come

Two standout springtime trees, basking in the evening sun.

 One for its fringe like fragrant flowers.

The fragrance being noticeable when the air is still.

The other for its yellow leaves

which turn green later in the year.

Here pollarded to keep it around 15 ft, rather than the usual 50ft.

Sunday, May 27, 2018


I layered this oak leaf hydrangea last fall. over the winter the stem has produced roots and new leaf growth has emerged. I will leave it attached to the parent plant  until winter dormancy and then cut the old stem, dig up and replant.

This Spring I have layered several choice shrubs, including the Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple". First find a stem that can be bent to the ground without damage, then wound the stem by scraping away the outer layer of bark to expose the green cambium layer.

Scrape a channel in the soil, bury the wounded area of the stem, cover with soil and weigh down with a medium size stone, or other similar weight.

Other shrubs that we are layering.

Duetzia, right foreground

Rosa Rugosa

 worth propagating for its fragrance.

Viburnum horizontalis

Here past its best, but still an exceptional shrub.


Sometimes no assistance is required, if the stem is resting on the ground it will produce roots as with this Cotinus.

This self sown seedling is of a different Wigela cultivar, but it may not come true to type.

These seedlings from the spirea back center may also show variations from the parent plant

At first I thought this must be a seedling from the parent rose

But it is an off shoot from a root. I've never seen this before on a rose.

Shades of green

 Nine years in the making.

Over the years, as the Junipers have grown, we have re-sited all but the front row of Boxwood.
With the addition of the Vinca to our entrance planting, we now have four shades of green including the Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca'.

We probably will never see the mature magnificence of this stately tree, but hopefully some will.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Eye Protection

The stone chip hit the bottom of my safety glasses and ricocheted in to my cheek. A colleague, when I asked why he did not did not wear eye protection replied "It's all in the blink" my response "Let's hope so , or it's all in the eye" I don't think my eyelid would have offered much protection.
When working with stone always wear eye protection.  

Monday, May 14, 2018

Salix & Cercis go together like...

Every year I hope that the cream and pink colouring of the Salix 'Hakuro Nishiki' will be on full show before the flowers of our Cercis canadensis fade and die.

this year is coming  pretty close, but no cigar.

I should not complain, as the new leaves of the Cercis give a whole new colour combination with the Salix.

Feed the pollinators: Fruit Garden

The early blooming apricots, are susceptible to late frost or a lack of pollinators. With the prolonged cool weather throughout April, it was the very end of the month before the flowers opened. The last frost was a week past and the pollinators were out and about. Hopefully there will be plenty of fruit to share with the squirrels, birds etc. 

The nectarine is usually the next to flower, being self fertile, only one tree is needed to ensure fruit.

To have any chance of a cherry harvest, netting the trees to prevent bird predation is essential.

For cross pollination, we have two varieties

The peach, this one given to us by a neighbour as a seedling he germinated from a pit, always flowers reliably and sets fruit. 

After waiting five years, this is the first time our Damson plum tree has flowered and only half a dozen or so at that. Not enough to make a whole lot of jam, but there is always next year.

Our Asian pear is only four years old and this is the second year of flowering. The fruits have to be thinned to get reliably good sized fruit.

The Bartlett pear will quickly grow to a formidable size and the fruit unreachable, unless pruned regularly.

Best to keep it confined to a bottle.

The 14 espaliered apples which surround the enclosed fruit garden were bought as whips and trained along the fence. A time consuming, but worthwhile endeavour. 

Each espalier is a different variety of apple, resulting in a varied display of flowers and fruits.

 Inside the enclosed fruit garden, we cultivate black currants,

red currants

and gooseberries,

 along with blueberries, which are presently flowering.


and blackberries complete the cycle.