Mid-September

The mini rush at the beginning of the month has now dwindled to tiny daily sales. There are still cheap plants to be had which could be a real benefit for anyone who has gaps in their garden or if anyone has a new garden. Among the plants which are just £2 are hardy geraniums, various shrubs, some dwarf agapanthus and a few grasses. There should be something for everyone.

The garden has now finished being open for the NGS for this year. In total we have raised almost £800 which is pretty good and I would like to thank all our visitors for their contributions. I had hoped it would be more but every bit helps. We hope to raise more money for Macmillan nurses on 26th of this month when we shall be taking part in their Biggest Ever Coffee Morning. We will be serving coffee and home made cakes from 10.30am-12.30pm. Do try and come and support this worthwhile charity.

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Grasses looking good

Miscanthus ‘Silberfeder’ with verbena

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Dry plants

We have had an extended period without any significant rain and the garden is beginning to suffer. There are  deep cracks everywhere I look. I don’t water it partly because it would cost us a fortune because we are on a meter and there aren’t enough hours in the day so the plants have to struggle. They almost always survive so I’m not too bothered.

The RHS recently sent out a questionnaire regarding plants which tolerate being waterlogged and then being parched. My list was rather long because there are so many plants which seem to cope with these extremes at Bridge Nursery. Admittedly I did lose some roses, they do hate sitting in saturated ground for half of the winter but that was unusual.

Yesterday I went with my father to one of the ‘shed’ chain stores for him to buy one or two bits and bobs. I couldn’t resist looking at some of their plants and wasn’t very surprised to see that most of them were so dry that they could only be rehydrated by dunking them in a bucket of water. More stock to end up in the bin or maybe a few beginner gardeners might buy them only to find that they will die within days. How many people return dead plants to get their money back I wonder?

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Bamboos for screening

Over the years we have sold rather a lot of bamboos to hide an eyesore of some kind or another. Sometimes people have neighbours who are putting up an extension, sometimes people need to hide an ugly garage.

Some customers today have a garden which is at right angles to a row of houses on their east side. A number of large conifers had recently been removed leaving them feeling open and exposed by the houses which overlook their garden. They had decided to put a line of bamboos in to give them some privacy. Good choice but they needed help choosing the most suitable plants for their space. In fact they first need to remove some paving slabs which go right up to the fence between the properties. There is a temptation to buy the biggest, quickest bamboo available but they rightly recognised that this could prove to be a problem in later years.

The bamboo I suggested as being most appropriate is Fargesia robusta. This is clump forming and could grow to 12 feet or so. They chose the 5 litre pots rather than the 10 litre and luckily for them they get 20% off during this month while our sale is on. I grow the bamboos on site, they are not imported from Italy and therefore they are hardened off and can be planted at this time of year. So, a deposit was paid and they will come and collect them on Monday after they have prepared the site. By this time next year they should have an effective screen from the neighbours.

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Sales

Yesterday was a significant day because Philip’s appointment for the results of all the tests was in the afternoon. After waiting for 3/4 hour to see the consultant we finally got in and she gave us the good news that everything is almost back to normal. He will have another check up in 6 weeks and then it could be a longer gap in between visits. Phew, such a relief, maybe we can get on with the rest of our lives now.

Earlier in the day we had some sales which is worth recording because this is unusual. Also it appears that some people do read this so I’m encouraged to write things again.

I need to put my brain into gear and suggest some suitable plants for 3 enormous mill stones which are placed in a car park at a local site which is due to be opened by a VIP later this month. Bamboos and grasses seemed the obvious choice to me but they want flowers so it might have to be hardy geraniums, crocosmia and erigeron. Maybe I will sneak in a grass or two. The trouble is that the holes are not very big so it could end up looking a bit naff. Anyway, that is one project for today. Also, if its not windy I might spray some thistles which are spreading rather quickly in part of the field.

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Bargains

Each time I’ve done the watering during the last few months I’ve caught myself wondering why there were so many unsold plants in the sales beds. Then I’d remember that there have not been many people coming to buy them. I have two theories about this. Number one is that it was a mild winter so people didn’t lose any plants to winter frosts, also its been a fantastic year for tremendous growth on everything, therefore gardens are full. The second reason (maybe) is that all the supermarkets have had plants to sell outside their entrances. They may not be in the best of health but they are generally cheap and its so easy to pop a plant or two in a trolley when doing the weekly shop.

As a result of having too many plants left over this year we have decided to have a grand sale. There are lots of plants which are just £2 each, some of them are quite large specimens although I suspect that they will be scooped up very quickly. Then there is 20% off everything else. One customer today filled the car with 17 shrubs which cost her the grand total of £34! It grieves me to have to let things go so cheaply but I need to be grown up about it and offer all of you who read this (is it 3 or 4 people? I have no idea because I get no feedback) the opportunity to grab some amazing bargains.

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A wonderful rose

It was maybe three years ago that my friend Felicity gave me a rooted cutting of a rose which she had rooted successfully herself but had forgotten the name of it. It is a super plant with seemingly disease resistant leaves which are glossy green. The large cluster of flowers are pale apricot colour at the bud stage and then open to white. There is a hint of pink as they fade. They are scented (why have roses with no scent?). Mine has grown into a large shrub and has been oblivious to all the extremes of weather and is doing very well on our heavy clay soil. Today we had visitors to the garden and the name has now been revealed by one of them as Rosa Sally Holmes. I shall definitely take some cuttings so hopefully there will be some for sale in the nursery.

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Garlic

Today was the day for digging up the garlic and weeding at the same time. When I planted it way back in the autumn the ground was extremely wet and soggy and I half expected them to rot away. But no, they grew well and, although they aren’t as large as last year, there is plenty for our needs. I shall sort out some of the bigger ones to hold back to plant out this coming autumn. My veg beds are really rather neglected and so there are plenty of sow thistles and annual rose-bay willow herb, also a lot of groundsel too so it felt quite good to be getting rid of these weeds. I had to call a halt though because we had a few of those rare species known as customers who kept coming in and needing help. So some of the weeds are still there, waiting to self seed and annoy me next year.

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Hot

Temperatures yesterday were in the high 20′s. We shared doing the watering and then did very little else except lurk in the shade. Had quite a few customers, very small sales though but we’re grateful for anything right now.

There was a little bit of rain in the night which won’t have been enough to water the sales beds but might have freshened up the garden.

A visitor who went round the garden said it was ‘random and informal’, I’m still trying to work out if that was a compliment or not. He expanded by saying he was bored of some of the National Trust gardens and their formality. I feel that our garden sits easily in its surroundings, there is a blurring around the edges where the less managed bits blend into the wild areas. There’s a trend for encouraging wildlife and we do that without trying.

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Rain

I hadn’t realised that the sky was ominously dark over to the east and south because I had my head down weeding in the garden. We packed things up at 4.30 and got home just before a heavy downpour happened. If we’re very lucky it should mean that we won’t need to do any watering tomorrow.

The plants continue to grow with gusto, the verbena are taller than they’ve ever been, the day lilies are flowering extremely well in spite of the gall mite on some of the buds (which I picked off and burned) and some of the bamboos have sent up very tall canes. This is the time of year when many plants need trimming so I’ve filled many wheelbarrows of clippings from various shrubs, also spent flowers of foxgloves and poppies. There are still many plants which have yet to flower including asters, helianthus and heleniums not to mention the ornamental grasses which should start to put up the seed heads next month. Lots to look forward to.

I did a total of the donations we’ve had so far this year for the National Garden Scheme and it comes to approximately £500 which is pretty good. It would be brilliant if we could double that before the end of the year. We do appreciate those of you who have put their £2.50 in the box.

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