Our nearby town always puts a lot of effort into its floral displays, on approaches into the town and in the main park at the foot of the castle, and is regularly the winner in its regional category of Britain in Bloom. Most of the plants used are annuals, but they do use some perennials of which I have been known to take the odd cutting or two. One year I decided to regularise this and emailed the local council to ask what they did with their plants at the end of the season, and if I could take the occasional cutting. It transpired that there is no longer such a thing as a ‘parks department’ and no facility for growing on or protecting plants; young plants are bought in, planted straight out and composted at the end of the season.
This year, part of their display in the banked beds at the foot of the castle included a whole row of the wonderful salvia shown above. Throwing them away at the end of the season seemed criminal to me, so I had been thinking of cuttings or, if I happened upon a team working on the borders, asking if I could possibly have a plant when they took them out. I do not visit the town centre frequently but had an appointment during the week and was walking across the park when I spotted a team removing plants from the display. I had time to spare before my appointment so took the plunge and spoke to the team leader. It transpired that it was no longer economic for them to raise annuals themselves, but the perennials were removed and retained. I asked if I might have cuttings of the salvia (confirmed as S ‘Mystic Spires’) before they were removed, so was taken aback to be asked if I wanted a plant instead! Although I had no means of carrying one, it was worth the effort to go to a shop and purchase a
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An elegant wool coat for chilly winter walks, a show-stopping candelabra for the New Year tablescape, a brand new trowel or a cosy pair of cotton pyjamas: Christmas is the perfect opportunity to treat the gardener in your life to the tools, accessories and treats they’ll cherish for years to come.
If you hate raking your yard during the fall, you might be in luck. The appropriately named «Leave the Leaves» initiative says it’s better to avoid touching the leaves in your yard, instead leaving them to decompose naturally over the winter.
Welcome to the 10th anniversary of IAVOM, a meme which commenced on an inauspicious November Monday, with the sole purpose of encouraging me to pick flowers or other material from the garden on a regular basis. It must have worked because, ten years and 520 vases later, it is still going. My favourite vase from each of the last 12 months is shown in the collage below – July presented the hardest choice!
Both day and nighttime temperatures are dropping here, although nights have only been down to about 3°C so far. I note from my garden diary that I bubblewrapped the greenhouse this week last year, and the Coop soon afterwards; that certainly won’t be happening this year, but I am keeping an eye on the weather forecast for the next fortnight and if need be I will abandon other jobs on my job list and bubblewrap instead. The lower temperatures have certainly made an impact on leaf fall, as leaves are beginning to accumulate around the garden, and the witch hazels by the streamside (above) have become all but bare in recent days, although that is not the case with all of them.
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