Along with many garden owners, we originally decided not to open our garden this year due to the pandemic. However, with the improving situation, we have now held popup openings in June and September supporting the charity National garden Scheme. ngs.org.uk
During these days we have also sold plants for St Richards Hospice and at the village of Pirton church fair. These events have raised just over £1000.
We have to say a big thank you to all our visitors who purchased tickets, refreshments and plants. To the volunteers who manned the stalls and the staff at the National Garden Scheme for their support. The pictures are from the garden just before the September opening.
We are going forward with more confidence with five other gardens in the village joining us next year on the 4th and 5th June for the National Garden Scheme.
The beginning of November saw the planting of pots with, crocus, iris, narcissus and species rock tulips.
Two large pots either side of the banana bench were planted with Tulip ‘Abu Hassan’, Siberian Wallflowers and Forget-me-Nots.
When the rain finally eased I managed to complete planting my remaining tulip bulbs.
Those of you who regularly follow my blog will know that I rotate dahlias with tulips in the raised beds edging the patio. Last year I used three bulb saucers for the tulips as an experiment to see if it was any easier, when it came to lifting them in the spring.
I was suitably impressed to use them for all the tulips in these beds this year. I purchased extra ones to have four 30cm ones for each bed. One hundred flaming spring green tulip bulbs were shared out between the eight saucers, four pots of Camassia leichtlinii ‘Blue Heaven’ saved from last year, Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ planted around the edge with Wallflower ‘Vulcan’, grow from seed planted in July, in between the bulbs. Forget-me-Not’s will be added in the spring from self-sown ones from around the garden.
Hopefully they will all be putting on a show for our opening on the 2nd and 3rd of May, in aid of the village church, when we will have a plant stall to raise funds for St Richards Hospice, based in Worcester.
March is usually considered to be the ‘mad’ month of the year. Here at Brimfields.com, May qualifies due to so many ‘events’ taking place.
This weekend the Hanley Open Gardens takes place over the three days of the bank holiday weekend. Our Garden@19 will be open on the Sunday and Monday. (Spit and polish between the showers).
The following weekend is the RHS Malvern Spring Show described on their website as “Set against the magnificent Malvern Hills, our spring festival is packed with flowers, food, crafts and family fun.” A good introduction to the ‘Gardening’ content can be found here on the Chatty Gardener Blog We will be there, one day, helping on the National Garden Scheme (NGS) stand.
Winchcombe Gardening Club have invited me to give a presentation to them on the 16th, this is my sixth visit, they either enjoyed the talks or are trying to get their monies worth!
The following Saturday our gardening club, The Black Pear Gardening Club, is holding a Gardener’s Market, there is also a Worcestershire HPS meeting that afternoon which I would like to attend, timing will be tight!
The last weekend in May is another Bank Holiday and friends of ours are opening their garden in Worcester, for the NGS on two days, where we will be helping with teas and plant sales.
(Plant propagation has been an on going process for some time, preparing for the garden openings sales table).
June is a much quieter month, we only have our NGS opening to organise on the 9th and 10th June. (More spit and polish). It all adds up to make life interesting!
On Wednesday we replaced our Hats, Gloves, Scarves and Muddy Boots with our ‘Wednesday Best’ to attend the Worcestershire County National Garden Scheme AGM and lunch. ( This being a charity, garden owners have to pay for their lunch).
With the Chief Executive, George Plumptre, of the NGS in attendance, Our County Chairman, David Morgan presented an impressive report for the year.
Worcestershire NGS raised a total of £74,261.34 direct from garden owners opening during 2017, with a net total of £79,823.28, including advertising and donations. Nationally, the NGS donated over £3million to beneficiaries in 2017. You can see which charities benefit from this by visiting the NGS website Here
Before lunch we were entertained and informed by Darren Rudge, BBC local radio gardening expert on ‘Tea bags, bra’s and tights, – household items that can make gardening more cost effective!”
Following the AGM and lunch, we all collected our advertising material for the year, posters, direction arrows and signs to put around the garden.
County booklets are distributed around various garden centres, shops, tourist offices and any venue where the public can accesses them.
The Garden Visitor’s Handbook 2018, which covers all N.G.S. open gardens in England and Wales, is available from the NGS website. It makes an ideal companion for the holidaying gardener.
The Hats, Gloves, Scarves and Muddy Boots were back on the next day, we have a deadline to meet!
These winter months are the time of year I try to carry out any ‘estate’ maintenance along with completing the pruning of the climbing/rambling roses, wisteria, vines, the apples and pear trees.
These all require the use of a ladder, which in the past has involved balancing on the top of a rather unsteady step ladder. Having some time ago reached the age where I don’t bounce so well and not wishing to add to the queues at the local hospital A&E department I have invested in a Henchman ladder. This is one of the best investments I have made in garden equipment. The ladder is similar to the Japanese tripod ladders, with adjustable leg heights to accommodate different ground levels and a bar at the top that you can safely lean into, so long as you don’t go any higher than recommended. This feature doesn’t seem to appear on the Japanese ladders which was the deciding factor for me when making my choice. They are made in the UK from aluminium and therefore very light to carry and come in different sizes. I did feel very safe using it this year, it can also serve as a coffee table!
Two jobs required the help of a local builder, one has been the replacement of the walls to the raised herb bed. I originally built it, in 2004, with treated timber planks, as these have rotted away in places, I decided to replace them with new sleeper timbers.
This bed is also home to a climbing ‘Albertine’ rose, on the trellis, a red currant fan trained along the side fence and a standard red gooseberry in the centre. The new bed is not as big, therefore more of the herbs will be in either terracotta pots or the old galvanised bath and buckets.
The lawn just off the patio always looks a mess, especially at this time of year, it is not very wide and all the foot traffic passes through here ( human and animal ). I have had it edged with porous black pavers, to match the ones incorporated into the patio design. Wether the grass remains, in this small area, or is replaced with gravel, is yet to be decided. Another option is artificial grass, I am following Cathy at Rambling in the Garden’s progress, with interest, to see how she gets on with her small installation.
I have also edged the fence along the Green and White garden with the pavers to save having to strim the grass.
Our neighbour has a willow (Salix) tree right against the boundary fence by the Oriental garden. We have dropped several, so far unsuccessful, hints regarding keeping it pollarded to prevent it becoming to dominant.
I decided to remove the worst offending boughs, the main branches will be placed, in a corner of the garden, to become a wildlife sanctuary, with the whips along with some Cornus trimmings, being woven into a small natural edge to the bed behind the banana bench. The remainder will be chipped for mulching around the shrubs in the Oriental garden.
My compost bins are in a poor state of repair and need replacing. I have for two years, had one of the local authority garden waste recycling bins. This has reduced the need for so many bins here. I have replaced one with an extra leaf bin, this is such a useful garden by-product, either for mulching or adding to potting compost that I don’t send it away from the garden.
We have recently taken delivery of 400 NGS Worcestershire County booklets this month to distribute around local shops, libraries and any garden clubs we visit. We also have our county AGM and lunch this month, where we garden openers collect all the publicity material for our open days. It reminds us the clock is ticking ( I think I have heard that before with a french accent!)
We have been fortunate to have recently enjoyed some winter sun, thus enabling me to make some progress on the maintenance list, while enjoying the winter sunshine, entertained by bird song.
What winter maintenance projects do you have for your garden?
One problem for a gardener who chooses to go away on holiday in May is the work preparing to go away and then to catch up on your return. This is especially so when you have an open garden date looming in June. This also applies to catching up on reading and writing blogs.
Here is a quick tour of our garden@19 to see what is currently performing following the absences of the gardener.
The copper barrier has so far protected the Hostas, although we have not yet had any challenging slug weather. (warm rain).
Leading off the patio the white wisteria has survived the late frost and is now in full bloom.
The White and Green garden is home to Hosta Patriot, the white Hesperis matronalis…
…and Allium Mount Everest.
The Iris are at their peak, here in the front garden…
Also in the Blue Border along with Allium Purple Sensation and Euphorbia ‘palustris’ is…
The Iris sibirica are just stating to open, this is such an easy, beautiful plant to grow.
The Welsh Poppy cheerfully seeds itself around every where.
The last of the Rhodo’s to flower.
The Clematis are beginning to do their thing..
…along with a new Climbing Rose, which true to its name, it is the first to flower this year.
Whether Home or Away, take a seat for a moment and enjoy a garden. This weekend is the NGS Anniversary Weekend Open Gardens. May 27th to 29th is their 90th Anniversary weekend and will see over 370 gardens opening for a weekend of horticultural delight.
For information about the open gardens, where to find one near you and the charities they support please visit NGS
What is ‘Performing’ for you in your garden in May?