The June Drop

The June Drop is so called  because ‘Apples naturally shed some fruit-lets in early summer, and this process is known as the ‘June drop‘. This may look alarming but, in fact, is not usually a cause for concern as a good crop of apples is often left on the tree.’ 

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However, as many Gardeners can attest to, I am working so hard I’m *almost* looking forward to winter. I’m fit to drop!  So far this June I have attended the inaugural RHS Chatsworth Flower Show. Press Day was quite exciting, and I got to meet Alan Titchmarsh as well as Mary Berry. However, the weather was atrocious and Press Day was cut short at 1pm. It was a welly and winter coat affair and hardly very Flaming June.

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There were six showgardens, of which a few really stood out for me.  I particularly liked the willow hurdling on Butter Wakefield’s gold-medal garden for Belmond.  You could see through the hurdling into the garden beyond, with the beautiful potager beds and wildflowers.

Butter’s neighbour, Paul Hervey Brookes, also won gold and Best in Show.  I particularly liked his brutal use of cor-ten and concrete juxtaposed with quite lush planting.

But my personal favourite was Sam Oven‘s garden for Wedgwood.  Its clever use of space, and stonework with copper beech hedging should, in my opinion, have had a greater recognised response.

Some other highlights:

Gearing up for RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, but in the meantime I’m cutting box, deadheading roses, planting perennials and trying not to get sunburned. I am however, the new owner of a logo!

Many thanks to Nick Stone of Starfish Graphic Designs in Norwich!

The Chelsea Chop

According to the RHS, the Chelsea Chop is “(so called because it is usually carried out at the end of May, coinciding with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show) is a pruning method by which you limit the size and control the flowering season of many herbaceous plants”. Plants that do well for a Chelsea Chop are later flowering summer herbaceous perennials, such as Echinacea, Helenium, Phlox and Sedum. By taking back the growth by a third, you get much stronger flowering later on.

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But for me, the Chelsea Chop is more about going to RHS Chelsea, taking 12,453 photos and then whittling them down to just a few. It was a very different Chelsea this year, with fewer showgardens, but I particularly enjoyed the BBC Radio 2 gardens, which I am guessing was brought in to make up for the lack of showgardens.

The gardens were broken down into three categories: Showgardens, Artisan and Fresh. Because I was working at Chelsea on behalf of Stark & Greensmith, I had access to the gardens before the show opened, and managed to get to see the gardens without the hustle and the bustle. Unfortunately, because I was working at Chelsea, I didn’t get a chance to have a good look at the Fresh Gardens.

There were trends this year, that many people have spoken about. The Lupins, the Geums, the Salvias, the Pinus mugo. Some people don’t realise that most of the showgardens are supplied by plants from the same two or three nurseries. For me, I’m not bothered by the trends, or how controversial a garden is, I want to see something that can be put into everyday use.

The Artisan gardens were particularly stunning this year. I really liked the planting of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, as designed by David Domoney. My favourite, however, was the Poetry Lover’s Garden. Its tiered layout, traditional planting with a contemporary water feature really did it for me.

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Of the Showgardens, I really liked the Breaking Ground Garden, which I was working opposite from. I loved the ribbons of colour running through grasses, and the attention to detail.

However, the Chris Beardshaw garden for M&G was for me the best. The planting was the most achievable in an everyday garden – Hostas, Primulas, Peonies, Alliums, Nepeta, Irises, Delphiniums – all plants that are found in most gardens.

The BBC Radio 2 gardens were all stunning, and there was much from each garden that I will take away from me.

Its always very sad when its over, and the sell-off is brutal. But come the 6th June I get to do it all again at RHS Chatsworth.

Some other bits of inspiration:

Continue reading “The Chelsea Chop”

The darling buds of May

The spring drought finally ended this week, with the much needed rain arriving on Thursday. The soil is so dry, we are going to need a significant amount. The rain brings freshness and revives the plants. On Friday I was asked by a local Garden Designer Lara Behr to pleach 5 hornbeams she had installed […]

The spring drought finally ended this week, with the much needed rain arriving on Thursday. The soil is so dry, we are going to need a significant amount. The rain brings freshness and revives the plants.

On Friday I was asked by a local Garden Designer Lara Behr to pleach 5 hornbeams she had installed in a local garden last year. I spent the day tying in the laterals, and pruning out the verticals.

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After a couple of years of judicious pruning it will be possible to remove the supports and the client will be left with some really effective screening from his neighbours. Very easy to achieve! Also in the garden was a very beautiful Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ flowering its socks off.

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At this time of year THE MOST EFFECTIVE thing you can do in the garden to make it look good is the edging. If all you’ve got time for in the garden is keeping your lawn edges neat you can get away with a lot.

Before:

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After:

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Only a week to Chelsea Flower Show! Here’s what is looking good now.

The darling buds of May

The spring drought finally ended this week, with the much needed rain arriving on Thursday. The soil is so dry, we are going to need a significant amount. The rain brings freshness and revives the plants.

On Friday I was asked by a local Garden Designer Lara Behr to pleach 5 hornbeams she had installed in a local garden last year. I spent the day tying in the laterals, and pruning out the verticals.

IMG_0059

After a couple of years of judicious pruning it will be possible to remove the supports and the client will be left with some really effective screening from his neighbours. Very easy to achieve! Also in the garden was a very beautiful Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ flowering its socks off.

IMG_0062

At this time of year THE MOST EFFECTIVE thing you can do in the garden to make it look good is the edging. If all you’ve got time for in the garden is keeping your lawn edges neat you can get away with a lot.

Before:

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After:

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Only a week to Chelsea Flower Show! Here’s what is looking good now.

Boxing clever

The first week in May – gardens, green, getting about and going solo.

At this time of year there is not really much down time with two jobs and two kids.  However, I could not pass up the opportunity on Sunday to visit Philippa Burrough’s beautiful garden at Ulting Wick for one of her spring Open Days.  Philippa has a stunning garden and is a must-see (Ulting Wick).

It was Grand Designs Live this week and S&G were exhibiting their panels.  I worked solo on Tuesday, but with help on Thursday I managed to have a nose around the exhibition and came across Niwaki‘s stand with glee as I had been lusting over some new Japanese topiary shears and they had a show discount.  I very happily parted with my money and took it home as I was clipping a parterre the very next day.

The shears were an absolute dream to use.  I clipped all these box hedges in 3 hours and they look so much better for it.  Traditionally, box hedging is supposed to be done on or after Derby Day, but I think a judicious prune in May in dry weather with no risk of frost is absolutely fine.  Always remember to clean your shears after using them to avoid the risk of spreading box blight.  I cleaned these shears with diluted bleach.

Finally, I took a moment to take a quick photo of another client on Friday.  I have been working in this garden for just over two years now, and I am so chuffed at how good it is looking.  I had to dig out the before photo of my first day to fully appreciate the difference I made.  I love my job!

Here’s what is looking good now:

Its still April people!

Its been another busy week and I’m well and truly into the busy season. The weeds are going bonkers, all I seem to be doing is digging up alkanet (Pentaglottis), cleavers (Galium aparine) and herb Robert (Robertiella robertiana).

The flowers of the alkanet are so pretty thought – for such a brute – quite like a forget me not. But once its in flower you’re doomed, dig out before they get to the flowering stage as they are self seeding.

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But things are beginning to look very spring like at the moment. There are Aquilegias flowering

Ceanothus is in bloom

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Alliums are bursting

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And Geraniums are flowering.

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We’re not out of the frosts yet, as discovered this week. A lot of moaning about the weather/frost/hail, without realizing we’re still in April people. Another month and we should be fine.

Next week: Grand Designs Live!

My first blog!

My first post incorporating the first Flower Show, weeds, headless chickens and gold

My first update!  Welcome to Back to the Fuchsia.  Its a busy time of year and I’ve been running around like a headless chicken keeping old clients happy and greeting new clients, as well as my Other Job at Stark and Greensmith.  The weeds have gone mental, in spite of the lack of rain, and there has been a large amount of cleavers pulled.  On Thursday night I popped up to Harrogate with S&G for the Harrogate Spring Show as our panels were a feature on a gold winning showgarden.  Lots of palms were pressed and new contacts were made.  But there’s no place like home :))