11 August 2013 - 1:21pm

The very sad loss of our Golden Robinia

Walking and driving around over this last few weeks I’ve noticed many of you have lost your Golden Robinia trees. After a little research I discovered the problem, well described by a knowledgeable gardener on the Gardeners World website: Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia' is currectly suffering from a countrywide disease…. Dry, flakey bark with a canker-like appearance will show it is in fact the virus. There appears to be no cure. We planted ours in 1990 and it has been a lovely feature but it has now definitely popped its clogs. Standing at around 8 metres it’s not going to be much fun to remove, but hey, ho. A dead plant, even a treasured, mature one like this, is a planting opportunity. Just be careful if you decide to do the same, it’s a brittle, spikey tree and could do your bare arms and face serious damage. The garden here at Charnwood is moving to what I call its blousy phase. Lots and lots of colour with perennials and annuals stuffed in closely planted borders for maximum impact. I like to feel completely enveloped by the garden so have many tall plants, some in quite small spaces. A favourite in flower now and one much commented on when we opened the garden is Inula Magnifica. A huge plant, it has large bright green leaves and big, fat yellow daisies. Standing about 2 metres high when fully grown it prefers damp-ish soil but apart from that isn’t fussy. Not what you’d call elegant and no good if you like neat plants, but I love it and it is definitely hard to ignore. Another plant admired by garden visitors here is the tobacco plant. I put several in a large pot in a sheltered place and the colour and perfume are both lovely, especially in the evening when the scent fills the whole back garden. I bought plug plants from T and M and can’t fault them. Tobacco plants and other annuals are also good fillers where there were gaps from early flowering shrubs and perennials. It’s been a good year for roses. One variety new to us at Charnwood is R. ‘Biddulph Grange’, bought on a visit there a couple of years ago. The single flowers are clear red and in clusters with yellow centres. It seems to be pretty disease free and repeat flowering. It looks lovely right now next to the rich purple/blue lavender ‘Hidcote’. Many thanks to everyone who helped on the day and visited ‘Charnwood’ when we opened in June. Over the month we had over 250 visitors and raised £1000 for several national charities and including sizeable cheque to South Wolds Academy. A special thanks to the talented music students from South Wolds who played and sang so beautifully during the 2 Sunday NGS openings; garden visitors loved it and so did we. We gave a small donation from the proceeds straight to the students music council in appreciation.