The new gardening book from the popular website ‘Gardenista’ has hit the shelves in good time for Christmas. Branding itself as the ultimate manual for making your outdoor spaces stylish it’s packed with ideas. No expense has been spared in the production of this book, it’s full of inspirational imagery which has no doubt proved popular on their website. This hardback is the ideal book to have on your coffee table to browse at leisure. Buy it today online at Amazon or better still go to Waterstones !
I’m sure regular readers of my blog must think that I spend half my life at Great Dixter, but if you had one of the world’s great gardens half an hour from home wouldn’t you? Anyway, I was there again on Sunday for the Plant Fair and a jolly good time was being had by all. It has become quite the social event, with gardeners from far and near meeting up and buying treasures to take home with them. My haul was quite restrained – for once. Two more ferns for the woodland area – Blechnum chilense and Athyrium filix-femina ‘Frizelliae’; a Persicaria ‘White Eastfield’ that will also do well in shade; a pink-flowered form of the hardy begonia Begonia grandis subsp. evansiana called ‘Claret Jug’ – and one mad purchase – Aristea ecklonii. The Aristea isn’t reliably hardy, but I loved its fans of iris-like leaves and stems that wave above the leaves with dainty bright blue star flowers. I will overwinter it undercover and then divide it up next spring, keeping some in a pot and planting the rest in the garden to see how it does in our mild coastal conditions. According to the seller, the always interesting Binny Plants, it also grows easily from seed.
The part of the garden that I slightly grandiosely think of as the woodland area has become increasingly gloomy over the past year. All the rain in early summer promoted lots of leafy growth which meant the canopy closed overhead. I knew it was time for action when even the Japanese anemones struggled to flower despite being a plant that verges on being a weed in this garden. So, I’ve thinned out the amelanchier and cut back much of the Viburnum opulus and the Stachyrus praecox – both looked beautiful last spring, but that was at the expense of everything else – the surviving branches will provide some flowers next year, while those that were pruned will start to put on new growth.
The existing hellebores, lily of the valley, and Japanese anemones will be much happier (and more visible) now and after a top dressing with leafmould and compost and some decent rain, I am adding more plants. There include cyclamen coum, a number of ferns (mainly evergreen), hardy begonia grandis evanisiana, persicaria virginiana ‘Lance Corporal, a couple of epimedium and some homegrown foxgloves and sweet rocket. All of these plants already grow happily (and sometimes self seed) in the garden, so I’m confident they will establish well.
As I’ve planted, I have upended pots over each plant before adding a good mulch of bark chippings. The pots stop the plants from being buried in mulch and once they are removed everything looks happily settled in their new surroundings.
If you need a colour fix before autumn-proper kicks in, there’s no better place to go than Great Dixter – and remember that their Great Autumn Plant Fair takes place on the 1st and 2nd of October from 11am-4pm each day. As usual there will be a wonderful gathering of nurseries, all personally selected and invited by Fergus Garrett. Entrance £8.50 including the garden.