Derry at Dixter
For the second year running this fair snuck up on me, but at least this time I knew before rather than after the event. It was an absolutely glorious hot autumnal day with many wonderful plants, bulbs and seeds for sale. I resisted most because of the building work creating chaos in the garden – but I did succumb to a purple leaved Silk Tree Albizia ‘Summer Chocolate’ which will go in the bed which is due to be totally replanted.
De Jager bulbs have donated 100,000 bulbs for the Spring tulip festivals at six of the finest historic houses and venues in England and Ireland. De Jager staff will be at the festivals to give advice and information on selection, planting and care. With everything so much later this spring, it is worth checking whether the tulips are in bloom before you set off.
The Alnwick Garden – Saturday 10th April through to Thursday 15th April www.alnwickgarden.com
Chatsworth House and Gardens (as part of their Spring Florabundance) – Saturday 1st May to Thursday 6th May
Leeds Castle – Tuesday 20th April to Tuesday 27th April www.leeds-castle.com
Lost Gardens of Heligan – Monday 26th April to Monday 3rd May
Waddesdon Manor Gardens on Thursday 1st April to Friday 30th April
Powerscourt, Ireland – Wednesday 14th April to Sunday 18th April www.powerscourt.ie/gardens
In the garden: I spotted the first hellebore buds this week and all over the garden the tips of bulbs are beginning to push through the soil.
Not the 17th century variety that had people speculating vast fortunes on a single bulb, but the effect of attempting to resolve the annual problem of too many bulbs and not enough pots to put them in! Last year this was sorted out by planting them in the borders, but since I discovered that badgers dig tulips up and feast on them, that is no longer an option. They had a go at the newly planted iris reticulata bulbs last week, but they are obviously not as tasty – there were several chewed bulbs lying on the garden path. The rest of the iris are now planted in pots on ledges, tabletops and windowsills. Having badgers in the garden is a bit like having toddlers in the house – everything has to be put out of their reach!
The greenhouse benches are filling up with autumn sown seedlings.
These hippeastrum bulbs (also known as amaryllis) should sprout soon and flower around Christmas.
Containers of miniature bulbs have been planted ready for spring.
Freshly potted up, these auriculas will spend the winter in the coldframe.
Rosehips festoon the garage wall – they remain this lovely amber colour.
Leonotus leonurus has only just come in to flower but is worth the wait for its bright orange flowers.
On taking a closer look at the large mushroom growing in the garden I discovered the surrounding area was covered with small fungi.
The nerines look particularly vibrant against the backdrop of an ivy clad wall.