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At the time of writing we are nearing the end of a very busy first day at the Royal Norfolk Show. It has been great to meet so many enthusiastic gardeners, some with years of experience, some just starting out with their very first garden. It has been lovely to say hello to some readers of this column and others who follow us on social media. We were delighted to be awarded a Silver-Gilt for our very first show stand and we have met up with lots of other exhibitors who we only previously knew online. Then there are our partners. Sarah Hammond from English Peonies (she teaches our Cutting Garden and Floristry courses) provided stunning informal arrangements of garden flowers for the stand in a couple of vintage watering cans, and our friends PlantGrow and Rhino Greenhouses had stands just outside the marquee. The world of gardening is full of lovely people! We look forward to being back next year.
A lot of the week was taken up with preparations for the Show. Several debates about which pots and containers to bring with us (we ended up with a total of 25, some large galavnised buckets full of perennials, some tiny pots of succulents), lots of leaflets to finalise and get printed, 10 plants to choose and cut for an identification competition (we seemed to pitch it about right with most people knowing most but not all of them), a couple of trips to the Showground to assemble the stand, a beautiful foliage garland to collect from Petite Verte. Happily it has all been worth it.
Back in the Walled Garden we have had very exciting news this week. We have been talking to the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh (RBGE) for some time about collaborating and have just agreed to run their Certificate of Practical Horticulture starting in September. It is a unique course that focuses on the essential skills needed by horticulturalists today, whether professional or amateur. Students will learn key practical skills, taught by our team of experienced and enthusiastic horticulturalists. The theory behind the practice is explained, then most of the time is spent learning practical skills. Subjects covered on the course include Soil Care, Feeding & Watering, Seed & Vegetative Propagation and Growing Media. At the end a certificate is awarded by the well regarded RGBE. The course will be run one day a week over ten weeks from 11th September. We anticipate that this will be a popular course and plan to run it twice a week from January.
Courses with availability in the next few weeks:
Better Borders 5th July
Planting for Year Round Colour 12th July
Floristry Day with Sarah Hammond of English Peonies 13th July
All You Need to Know about Composting 7th July
Planning a Winter Cutting Garden 10th September
Certificate in Horticulture starts 11th September (10 weeks)
Introduction to Garden Design starts 12th September (6 weeks)
Lawn Care & Maintenance 14th September
Planting for Winter Structure & Colour 16th September
Plant of the Week
The Passion Flower, Passiflora caerulea, is native to South America. It is a strong growing deciduous or semi-evergreen climber with twining tendrils. Grown in sun or partial shade it needs moist, well drained soil and a strong support for it to climb. This relatively hardy Passion Flower may produce fruit which is edible when fully ripe.
The plant represents the mysteries of Christ’s passion. The central column is the cross and the five anthers the wounds He received. The crown of thorns is represented by the filaments that radiate from the base.The symbolism of Christ’s passion was first described by a seventeenth-century Italian monastic scholar who was given drawings by Jesuit missionaries. In the years following this prayer cards were often decorated with images of the flower, as were the bindings of prayer books.