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In a week of sun, rain and wind we still seem to have spent most of our time out in the Walled Garden. Although this is sometimes considered a less busy time in the garden there is still plenty to do. The rain has meant that both weeds and grass have been growing strongly and we have been hoeing beds and cutting the edges to keep them tidy. The Strulch we added as a mulch a few weeks back is definitely keeping the weeds down, though some bindweed keeps appearing which was clearly in the grass before we lifted the turf. We are continuing to hoe it every time it pops up and will gradually weaken it without resorting to chemicals.
We have just started a regular volunteering day in the garden and earlier in the week we spent a really productive rainy day in the Rhino greenhouse pricking out annual flower seedlings for next year and potting on shrub and perennial cuttings which we took a few weeks ago and which are already rooting strongly. It is fantastic to have some extra pairs of hands to help and it is a good way for the volunteers to practise things they have already learned during courses and to pick up some new tips in a relaxed way.
It was wonderful to see lots of new faces in the School this week for Planting for Year-Round Colour. This is always a popular course, but this year, with lockdown coinciding with early summer when most gardens are at their best, followed rapidly by the midsummer fade as roses and early summer flowers go over and many gardens look a bit jaded, many people have been in touch to ask for help and inspiration. We spent a packed day looking at how to create colour and interest in a garden all year round, using tree and shrub stems, bark, blossom and berries as well as perennial and annual flowers, grasses and bulbs. This course runs again in September and is already filling up. By popular demand we are now developing a follow-up workshop so everyone can put their new knowledge into practice and fill those colour gaps. Watch this space!
Upcoming courses with availability:
Pruning Shrubs & Roses 24th October
Renovation Pruning 1st November
Lawn Care & Maintenance 2nd September
Introduction to Garden Design (8-week course) 10th September
Composting Made Simple 11th September
The Cutting Garden 15th September
Certificate in Practical Horticulture (10-week course starts) 16th & 19th September
Planting for Year-Round Colour 25th September
Botanical & Textural Print Making (6-week course starts) 28th September
Plant of the Week
Myrtus communis, or myrtle, is an evergreen shrub with small aromatic ovate leaves and white flowers which are followed by purplish-black berries. It grows best in full sun in a sheltered spot which is south or west facing, in moist, well-drained soil. Myrtus has been grown in England since the seventeenth century and became a popular plant with the Victorians. Myrtus was associated with Roman myth of Venus being offered a myrtle to protect her when bathing. Roman brides wore sprigs of myrtle in their hair in honour of Venus, goddess of love and marriage, and Royal brides still carry a sprig in their bouquets in a tradition started by Queen Victoria.