October 20th, 2013
We inherited some beautiful mature trees when we moved to ‘Charnwood’. To make sure we continue to enjoy them and pass them on to the next owner in good shape, we occasionally ask a tree specialist to help us to look after them. It’s always money well spent: to see an expert lift and thin the crown of a big old tree is like watching a sculptor make a work of art and the result is at least as good. No cruelly shorn lollipop style trees are allowed here!
September 1st, 2013
This is a good time to take some cuttings of your favourite tender perennials. It really is very easy and you get lots more plants, more or less for free. Because they are new they are often more vigorous and free flowering than their older ‘parents’. Geraniums, salvias and penstemons can all grow well from tip cuttings. As long as you are prepared to keep them watered and frost free over the winter there is little else to worry about.
August 25th, 2013
Rosa 'Biddulph Grange'. Gorgeous, single red repeat flowering rose. Planted next to a purple aster.
Blue Agapanthus 'Headbourne hybrid' next to Crocosmia 'Lucifer'. The agapathus survived the last winter outside.
Pink buddlleia with red leaved berberis and an emerging miscanthus..
All taken early August 2013 at Charnwood.
August 11th, 2013
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.
July 21st, 2013
Have any of you bought any multi- purpose compost lately? Are you detecting a change? I’ve got some from 3 different sources over the last few months (Wilkos, Moores and B & Q) and it has all been different from last year’s, not so free draining. It is also an odd texture – feeling as if it’s been shredded and shoved straight in a bag rather than properly composted. It will be interesting to see how our plants fare in it – let me know how yours get on. So far I’m not overly impressed and have been adding a lot of grit to it to get the texture right for the plants to thrive.
June 7th, 2013
As you read this the final preparations are being made here to make sure ‘Charnwood’ looks at its best for when we open to the public on the afternoons of Sunday 23 and 30 of this month. One thing is for sure, I will be panicking about something! I guess in many ways it may seem a bit odd to invite everyone into your private space, but in my experience it is always worthwhile. To share your precious plants with like -minded folk is a real pleasure; the community of gardeners is unfailingly both appreciative and generous spirited. If you don’t believe me go to a Tollerton Garden Club, such lovely folk..
May 31st, 2013
Left to right - Peter loves his wisteria and has carefully pruned this standard over several years.
Gibbs the fleabag mongrel chewed my fav wellies so I put them to a different use in the seaside garden.
Classic combo of pink cow parsley and Allium 'Purple Sensation'.
A longer view of the back border.
We open on the afternoons of 23 and 30 June through the NGS - please come and see us!
May 18th, 2013
The garden is looking lovely, if a bit fluffy round the edges but I don't mind that. Everything is moving so quickly, its as if it is trying to make up the time lost in early spring when nothing seemed to move at all. We are so relieved we didn't open in April this year. Visitors - assuming some braved the cold and rain - would have been looking at sogginess and mud!
We spent today weeding and mulching the woodland garden with home made compost, a really satisfying spring job!
Photos l to r - apple blossom, fern fronds unfurling, wisteria in bud, Exchordia. All taken at Charnwood 17 May 2013.
April 1st, 2013
In an effort to keep our new large dog in the garden we’ve had to have some new fences built. It does make some of the garden feel different, so I’ve been thinking of ways to use the new structures to good effect. One idea I’m toying with is to plant a native hedge next to the fence. When I say native, I really mean natural looking – I’m not about to plant a scruffy, boring row of shrubs. My hedgerow would also have to have some really pretty climbing plants.
March 1st, 2013
I can’t write about the March garden without mentioning daffodils; such easy, generous plants. There is a daffodil to suit more or less every taste from the big, bold and blousy to the small and sophisticated. ‘February Gold’ is one of the easiest and most reliable, it stands about 1.5 feet tall, increases and naturalises well and never fails to flower. ‘February Silver’ is a paler version, comes a little later. Despite their name neither actually flower in February here but no doubt they do further south. ‘Tete a tete’ is a small, dainty daffodil, perfect for a pot or a rockery. It lasts for ages and multiplies well, so if you buy a little pot of it from the garden centre for your windowsill, plant it out afterwards and it will appear every spring for you. ‘Thalia’ is a beautiful and elegant white daffodil, at its best in April.