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Well it has certainly been seasonally chilly this week and like many of you we have been out photographing exquisitely frosted seedheads and cobwebs. The freezing fog at the beginning of the week turned the trees around us magically white and when the sun came out the effect was just stunning. The sustained low temperatures have killed off the annuals in the more sheltered parts of the garden and there has been quite a lot of clearing up to do.
We have also been gathering foliage and berries for the festive wreath making workshops which finished this week. It seems be a particularly good year for berries and one of our variegated holly trees is still laden with bright red jewels, providing plenty for both us and the birds. What we hadn’t noticed until we started cutting the foliage was that the tree was suffering quite a lot of reversion. There were whole branches of pale cream leaves and a few of solid green leaves. The cream holly leaves make for unusual and unique wreaths, so we have managed to get two jobs done at once: gather lots of interesting foliage while also pruning out the reversion which, if not pruned, could gradually extend across the tree. We shall have to go back with a ladder to reach the higher leaves when it is a little warmer.
Meanwhile in the Walled Garden we have had our first Wildlife Pond course and now have a lovely small pond in our wild area. We are really looking forward to finding out which creatures visit and make it their home. We have found several toads and newts under pots and bags of compost in the past few months, so they should be happy. Sadly the walls of the garden and the rabbit-proof gates will probably keep the local hedgehogs out, but we’ll let you know what visitors we discover. The next job is to plant it up with aquatic plants and marginals. There will be photos over on our social media pages in the coming weeks. The next in our series of hard landscaping courses are Basic Slab Laying on 13th January and Basic Bricklaying on 2nd March. Let us know if you would like to join us on either course.
And if you are looking for the perfect, locally sourced, Christmas present for the gardener in your life don’t forget that we offer personalised gift vouchers which we can email or post.
Upcoming courses with availability:
- Botanical Printmaking (6-week course) – 11th January
- Basic Slab Laying – 13th January
- Renovation Pruning – 22nd January
- Fruit Tree Care – 2nd February
- Border Renovation – 5th February
- Cutting Garden – 9th February
- Your Veg Patch – 12th February
Plant of the Week
x Fatshedera lizei
x Fatshedera lizei is an interesting intergeneric hybrid of a Fatsia japonica x Hedra Hibernica (an ivy, hence the ivy-like leaves). It is a really useful, medium-sized evergreen shrub which grows to 2m but can be bigger if trained to climb. It has large, leathery, palmately lobed leaves and small flowers in globose panicles in autumn. Suitable in areas with atmospheric pollution (so great for town gardens) and coastal exposure, and happy in sun or semi shade.