Spring (ing) into action!

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This winter in Our Garden@19 has been busy with ‘Estate Maintenance’. I previously posted about replacing the trellis and fence in the white and green garden, then as now my brother Derek has been my right hand man.

Replacing the entrance to the propagation area was the simplest of our recent efforts. We gave it an oriental look.

Continuing with the oriental theme, our neighbour’s fence at the back of the oriental garden started to fall over with the weight of the ivy and snow. I decided to cut back the ivy and erect a new fence on my side.

Note the badger path underneath the fence.

Then painted it black to tie in with the rest of this area.

A moon window was added to look into the room.

Next on the list was rebuilding the raised beds.

The old obelisks I built when we came here were dismantled and rebuilt, hopefully with more style, to a design by Geoff Hamilton.

Broad Bean Scarlet Flower and Sweet Peas started in pots now planted out.

These early spring bulbs and flowers have been cheering me up on sunny days. Please click on gallery pictures to enlarge.

Back to the oriental garden.

In the rest of the garden…

The pollinators have also been taking advantage of the sunshine.

What is springing you into action this spring?

Garden visiting…..remember that?

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Aston Pottery Garden.

Having read some impressive reviews about the garden at Aston Pottery, Aston, Oxfordshire, we visited in August 2016.

On this occasion, they were open in aid of the National Gardens Scheme charity.

Created by the owners since 2009 and set around Aston Pottery’s Gift Shop and Cafe, borders flower from June until November.

In the spring 5000 tulips are planted in pots around the shop and cafe, these are then followed by lilies and agapanthus. They created a wonderful pot display when we visited.

The Garden.

60 hornbeams flank the 72-metre Hornbeam Walk, opened in 2012 by the local MP David Cameron, planted as a year-round garden with a summerhouse at the end, and a mix of perennials and annuals which are enjoyed by pollinators.

You then arrive at the 80-metre Hot Bank with kniphofia, alstroemeria, cannas, dahlias and salvias.

There are stunning Double Dahlia Borders 5m deep with over 600 dahlias and grasses edging the back. 

New in 2015 was an 80m x 7m deep Annual Border full of over 5000 annuals grown from plug plants.

A traditional Perennial Border with over 50 different perennials offers a wonderful view from the country cafe.

The garden has featured in the Telegraph, Country Living, RHS The Garden and BBC Gardeners’ World. They have been producing pottery for over thirty years suppling Liberty’s of London.

When garden visiting begins again, this is a garden I would recommend, it is a stunning riot of colour. They are planning to open for the National Garden Scheme this year on the 21st and 22nd of August and are normally open seven days a week except over the Christmas period. The pottery shop and cafe make it ‘A Grand Day Out’.

I have created the video below from photographs I took during our visit, to remind us all of the joy of Garden Visiting! 

Please select full screen.

A seasonal delight – in winter.

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Guest Publisher Leonie Creighton.

Leonie is a knowledgeable and enthusiastic gardener she is the minutes secretary to the Black Pear Gardening Club. I have invited her as guest publisher for this seasonally appropriate article she wrote for the club newsletter.

IRIS UNGUICULARIS.

One of my favourite plants at this time of year is IRIS UNGUICULARIS (I.stylosa) Algerian Iris.

This lovely flower is native to Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey , Greece and Syria where it grows in light scrub,open pine woods and rocky places.

It flowers from late autumn to early spring when so few plants are in flower. The flowers are beautifully scented, in shades of lavender to deep violet with a yellow throat.

This winter flowering Iris is easy to grow in well drained soil in full sun. Plant near a wall to help maintain the soils heat. I grow it in a raised bed that’s in full sunlight for most of the day, but that said I also grow it in a woodland area in partial sunlight and it is still happy but doesn’t flower quite so well. It is also useful to grow at the base of clematis as they like their heads in the sun and their roots in shade and it helps to hide the bare base of the clematis and keep its roots cool.

Plant it so that the rhizomes are just below the surface of the soil and 10cm (4in) apart.

It produces an evergreen mound of narrow, arching grass like foliage. This foliage does become brown and bit untidy but can easily be trimmed back to keep it looking good.

A top dressing of bone meal or potash in either autumn or spring is beneficial but look out for snails hiding among the leaves.

It dislikes being moved, but if you have to disturb it do it in spring after flowering. It may sulk for a while before it starts to flower again.

This is a long lived plant. I grow the species variety from divisions taken off my mother’s plant that has been growing in her garden for probably fifty years.

Two other very nice named varieties are ‘Mary Barnard’ which has a lovely velvety blue-purple flower, a much more intense colour than the species.

‘Mary Barnard’

Also, ‘Walter Butt’ a ghostly pale grey-blue , but with a heavenly scent.

‘Walter Butt’

Flowering: November-March

Hardiness: Fully hardy

Height: 30-45cm

Did you Know : Iris was a Greek goddess, the personification of the rainbow, which she used as her pathway though the sky.   

Leonie Creighton.