A tour of the greenhouses in May, the cold winds and frosty nights dictate that tender plants have to remain inside. This time of year is always over crowded greenhouse time!
The tomato, Amateur, new to me this year, Amelia from https://afrenchgarden.wordpress.com mentioned it as a favourite of her fathers. I was attracted to it because he grew it as a bush tomato.
On the side shelf are trailing pelargoniums growing on for the hanging baskets. Pelargoniums are one of my favourite summer plants.
Pelargonium cuttings and three purchased P. Ardens on the heated propagation bench.
Alongside are Courgettes, Genovese Basil in pots. In the root trainers are Coleus, ‘Festive Dance’ seedlings. Thunbergia plata, ‘Susie Series’ White and at the back Hordeum Jubatum an ornamental barley that I first saw growing in Aberglassney garden
On the top shelf are climbing French and Runner Beans, Sweet Corn ‘Swift’ and Dwarf French Bean ‘Purple Teepee’.
Spinach and Rocket seedlings growing on ready to plant in the raised beds later on.
These are Dahlia Merckii seedlings pricked out into root trainers, a seed swap from Fiona Wormald at https://thegardenimpressionists.com two years ago. I did not manage to sow them until this spring, the germination has been fantastic.
The Dahlia tubers are proving to be a little slow to show this year, one of the Striped Vulcan, new this year, has started.
Rainbow Chard in root trainers along with Fennel. This is the first time I have grown bulb fennel.
These young Alstroemeria plants are from seeds collected by my brother last autumn from the ones in his garden.
In the raised beds are crimson flowering Broad Beans.
With Spinach, Sweet-peas on the obelisk and newly planted lettuce.
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.
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.
Orchards have long been a feature of the Worcestershire Countryside, apples for cider, eating and cooking and similar with pears and plums. The Vale of Evesham has a popular fruit blossom trail and because we are unable to visit it this year, I have created this blog post about the development of apple varieties in Worcestershire and a fruit blossom video trail of the fruit trees in Our Garden@19.
Following the Second World War government policy encouraged the grubbing up of orchards to grow more wheat, resulting in many old fruit varieties and orchards lost.
Today there is an increasing interest in restoring orchards with old local varieties of fruit, especially in village or community orchards. Hanley Swan and Welland both have a community orchard.
Worcestershire was responsible for the development of many varieties of apples.
This is the most well known of the county’s varieties and the only one still grown on any sort of commercial basis. It is believed to have originated from the pip of a Devonshire Quarrenden grown by a Mr Hale of Swan Pool, Worcester and was introduced as a commercial variety by Messers Smith of Worcester in 1874.
King Charles Pearmain
A dessert apple said to have been raised by Charles Taylor, a blacksmith of the village of Rushock in Worcestershire in 1821, is claimed by Hogg in 1876 to have been introduced commercially by nurseryman John Smith of Worcester. It is also known as Rushock Pearmain.
A late dessert apple whose name suggests an origin at Hindlip just north of Worcester, yet it was a Mr Watkins of Hereford who first submitted it to the RHS fruit committee in 1896.
(Hindlip Hall is now the Head Quarters of West Mercia Police).
This variety, as its name indicates, originates from the district of Newland just outside Malvern. According to the ‘Herefordshire Pomona’, the variety arose around 1800, supposedly from a pip that grew from a discarded pile of pomace (the pulp leftover from a cider press) at Newland Court.
This apple takes its name from Mr William Crump who was the one time head gardener at Madresfield Court near Malvern. He is credited with raising the variety and personally exhibited it in 1908 when it received an RHS Award of Merit. It is believed to be a cross between ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ and a ‘Worcester Pearmain’.
Another of the older culinary apples that were no doubt displaced by the ‘Bramley’. It dates from 1908 when it was introduced by Rowe’s nursery of Worcester. Having been first recorded in 1902 it is thought to be a ‘Blenheim Orange’ X ‘Golden Noble’ and won a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Award of Merit in 1903.
A quite different and distinctive russet, claimed by Herefordshire but associated with Pitmaston in Worcester. Some might be attracted to this particular apple by its reputation as being everything the supermarkets hate, being small, yellow and spotty yet with a fantastic taste!
It makes for a good garden tree with its moderately vigorous and upright growth pattern and the small fruit is ideal for children. The flesh is crisp, beneath a thick yellow skin with a russet of dots. Flavour is intense, being of a sweet, sharp and slightly nutty character and as the name suggests, with the slightest hint of pineapple.
As a tree, it is notably scab resistant although very prone to biennial cropping, with huge crops thrown one year and virtually nothing the next. The variety is neglected because of the small size of the apples. They are ripe from mid-September onwards and if stored well will keep until December.
The variety is thought to have arisen from the pip of a ‘Golden Pippin’ and although recorded in Hereford in 1785 it was introduced by Williams of the Pitmaston district of Worcester, hence its inclusion in this county list.
Pitmaston Russet Nonpareil.
This dessert fruit claims (by name) to be the ‘Pitmaston Russet’ beyond compare. It was raised at Pitmaston near Worcester by nurseryman John Williams.
The variety first fruited in 1814 before being formally introduced in 1818.
The skin is a bright green with varying levels of russet over it. The fruits have firm flesh with a rich, aromatic flavour. Will keep up to Christmas and beyond.
You cannot write an article about Worcestershire fruit without mentioning:
The Worcester Black Pear
History of the Black Pear The iconic ‘Worcester Black Pear’ appears today in places such as the City coat of arms, the County Council crest and the cricket and rugby club badges, whilst an image of the pear blossom was borne as a badge by the Worcestershire Yeomanry Cavalry until 1956. The earliest reference to any pear associated with a crest is in relation to the Worcestershire Bowmen, depicting a pear tree laden with fruit on their banners at the battle of Agincourt in 1415. Drayton’s poem of Agincourt mentions the fruit, where it is referred to as the badge of Worcester: “Wor’ster a pear tree laden with its fruit”.
Tradition has it that during the visit of Queen Elizabeth I to Worcester in 1575 she saw a pear tree laden with black pears, which had been moved from the gardens at White Ladies and re-planted in her honour by the gate through which the queen was to enter the city. Noticing the tree Elizabeth is said to have directed the city to add three pears to its coat of arms.
The modern grafted Apple tree is well suited to any size garden. We have six in our Garden@19, Malus ‘Blenheim Orange’, ‘Grenadier’, ‘Hereford Russett’, ‘Kidd’s Orange Red’, ‘Rosette’ and of course Worcester Pearmain’. We also have the Cherry ‘Sunburst’, the Pear ‘Invincible’, a Plum, ‘Opal’, the ‘Cambridge Greengage’ and the Crab Apple ‘Golden Hornet’.
To view the fruit trees in blossom in Our Garden@19. Please turn up the sound select full screen, click play and enjoy.
With our gardening club’s meetings cancelled for at least the next three months and the majority of us self isolating for various health reasons, I decided to record a film, Spring Tour, ‘Our Garden@19’ to share with our members on what should have been our meeting day.
This is the first time I have done this using the video setting on my canon camera, therefore it is not very smooth and you will need the sound on your device on full to hear my dulcet tones!
You do not require a Youtube account to watch it, just click on the link below.
I now happily share it with my brimfields.com followers, enjoy and stay well.
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.
Vinca have a bad reputation with gardeners as being very invasive. This is more true of ‘major’, the smaller ‘minor’, known as the Lesser Periwinkle is, I think, an excellent plant for dry, shady areas. It is not often considered for planters, although it can look particularly good in urns or large pots, trailing over the sides like a green waterfall.
Available in colours other than blue, it can be a garden worthy plant.
The double blue, grows in ourgarden@19 in urns either side of the banana bench.
An attractive alternative is the purple form, here in a large terracotta pot.
A white one lives happily in a small Cotswold Stone pot in the White and Green garden.
The star of our Vinca family is ‘Jenny Pym’ with its delicate pink and white colours…
The plant family, Ranunculus, includes buttercups and lesser celandine, plants that most gardeners would not welcome into their garden. However with these looks and the name of ‘Brazen Hussy’, I have made an exception.
It was discovered and named by Christopher Lloyd growing in the woods at Great Dixter.
Here, enjoying the sunshine, it has brazenly self seeded into some cracks in the path. What is being ‘Brazen’ in your garden?
The churchyard at Birlingham, Nr Pershore in Worcestershire has long been a pilgrimage for snowdrop lovers in the area. Bulb Teas are held each Saturday and Sunday in February until Sunday 24th February in the Village Hall from 11.00am to 4.00 pm.
The Grade II listed church of St James with its 15C tower, which at one time contained a dovecote, sits in the middle of the village by a small green, with the old school, now a private house, and the village hall.
We visited on Sunday, in glorious sunshine, and with the snowdrops starting to go over, crocus and cyclamen were taking their place.
A Cherry tree just outside the church wall was in full flower with honey bees taking advantage of the sunshine to gather nectar.
A colony of bees have made their home in the tower…
In this hole under the old clock face.
The church was open and had been decorated with flower arrangements.
The teas and cakes were proving to be very popular on this beautiful afternoon in this charming Worcestershire village.
We visited the first National Garden Scheme, http://ngs.org.uk open garden in Worcestershire on Sunday. The garden, Brockamin, includes Plant Heritage National Collections of Asters and some hardy Geraniums. It opens for Snowdrops in February, Daffodils in March and Asters in September.
The 1.5 acre informal garden contains mixed borders planted with hardy perennials and shrubs, several of which were in flower or adding stem colour.
Hellebores, Crocus with an early Narcissi adding to the colour.
Then of course the snowdrops, all labeled for identification.
Tea and cakes along with plants for sale were there to tempt us. Was I tempted I hear you ask, lets just say I have always been attracted to gold!
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!
I am, sadly, old enough to remember Max Bygraves singing the cheerful song ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’.
Tulips along with Dahlias are a vital element to providing year round cheer and colour here in Our Garden@19
The dahlias are all now lifted and safely stored in the small greenhouse, this one is kept frost free. There are two electric tube heaters in here, with a new heated propagating sand bench, at the rear, containing some seedlings which I am hoping to carry through the winter. These have been joined by the Aeoniums, Cotyledon Orbiculata, Colocasia ‘Black Dragon’ and Pelargoniums.
The dahlias on the bench are labeled and waiting for the ‘head gardener’ to box them up in compost similar to the ones you can see on the shelf below.
The raised beds that edge the patio have been home, during the summer, to the dahlias and annuals, it is my nod to the Exotic Garden at Great Dixter. I wrote about the dahlias I grow here.
Tulip ‘Abu Hassan’, now follows into the raised beds along with a few Erysimum x allionii (Siberian Wallflowers) and Myosotis (For-get-me-nots.) Hopefully these will be putting on a show for the early May Bank holiday open gardens.
The pots contain more tulips to dot around the garden in the spring, they are wintered on the patio to help keep the squirrels away.
The Tulips carried over from last year are Tulip clusiana ‘Peppermintstick’, Tulip ‘Calgary’ ,Tulip ‘Orange Emperor’, Tulip ‘Prinses Irene’, Tulip ‘Red Riding Hood’, Tulip ‘Spring Green’, Tulip ‘Tres Chic’ Tulip ‘Queen of the Night’ and Tulip ‘China Pink’. These were lifted or emptied from their pots after flowering and laid out to dry in the small green house rotating with the dahlias.
Tulipa ‘ Ballade ‘ is left in the main borders.
These bulbs are new for 2017, adding to the ones already in the garden.
Allium ‘Beau Regard’, Allium Karatavience ‘Ivory Queen’, Iris reticulata ‘Polar Ice’,
Muscari ‘Siberian Tiger’, Scilla siberica, Narcissus ‘Thalia’ and Tulip ‘Angelique’.
Some tulip pictures to show what we are hoping for.
Queen of the Night
Have you planted any bulbs for a spring spectacular?
Our village of Hanley Swan has for the last few years held an open gardens during the Early May Bank Holiday weekend. I usually plant tulips in the garden and pots to provide colour and interest during the weekend. This year it looks as if my plans are in jeopardy due to the early spring weather. These pictures show some of what might still be on display.
The pictures are in order of flowering.
In the raised beds…
In the pots…
This year the tulips are two weeks earlier than previous years. I have moved some of the ones in pots into the shade to try and delay their flowering until the open weekend.
Either side of the Summer House doors.
In the White Garden.
In the Blue Border.
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew, Robert Burns 1785.
While enjoying the early signs of spring the head gardener has been preparing for the summer drought. The garden benefits from the borrowed landscape of the neighbours trees in the autumn, the downside is the amount of water required by such large trees.
Partial soaker hose irrigation was installed when we originally laid out the garden, it has now been installed into the rest of the garden.
Laying out a coiled roll of soaker hose without stepping on emerging bulbs and perennials was reminiscent of playing Twister. (You have to be of a certain age to know the game Twister!)
What has been causing you to perform a jig in the garden?