Kiss & Go is an old Somerset name for mistletoe. The RHS has an interesting tip if you are contemplating trying to grow some of the berries once they have done their kissing duty. The famous plantsman Graham Stuart Thomas swore by Sellotape. After you have found a suitable host (apple, hawthorn, lime or poplar) pick a dry day and secure a fresh whole berry to a branch using the Sellotape. (It is important not to use old and dry berries). In about 2 years’ time (not a task for a gardener in a hurry) keep an eye open for little green shoots which will indicate that the mistletoe has taken. Recognise the red bow on my mistletoe? It was recycled from the Burgon & Ball Kneelo.
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As this is my final 2009 blog it seems appropriate to look back on the year. Without doubt the most dramatic event happened on March 17th when I became one of those ‘garden accident’ statistics. Walking down the steps below the greenhouse carrying a tray of seedlings I managed to miss my footing, fall awkwardly and break both feet! Fortunately I had the phone in the greenhouse and was able to call an ambulance, but the result was that my right ankle had to have a plate attached with several pins to hold it all together. I was off my feet for six weeks just when the garden was most in need of attention. There’s nothing like a determined gardener though, so little by little over the months I increased what I could do in the garden and enlisted help and now I’m pretty well back on form with no long-term damage. Which is a good thing because there’s an awful lot of catching up to be done next year. Happy Christmas and safe gardening.
Only four days to go to the shortest day and then the days will begin to lengthen and we will have turned the corner and be heading for the new gardening year. Hooray!
This Christmas see the RHS garden at Wisley in a magical new light. Spectacular light installations have transformed late winter afternoons with a burst of colour that illuminates the grandeur of some of the iconic trees and structures. As the daylight begins to fade, the Lumière is brought to life.
Follow the garden trail to discover 18 artistic installations. See the eight-bauble tree, with glowing orbs delicately suspended among the branches.
Marvel at the Glasshouse transformed into a treasure-trove of shapes and shadows playing on exotic palms. Take in the floating rings of light on the Canal, and dance around the historic oak tree to trigger the swirling change of colour. More details on www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley
Woottens Plants have put together a collection of four different named varieties of Wilgenbroek oriental hellebores. They are already showing bud and have been gently forced so that they will be in flower in time for Christmas, making them a perfect gift.
The combination of falling leaves and wet paths can make the garden hazardous. Keep the paths clear and bag up or stack the leaves for future leafmould.
Plant paperwhite narcissi for Christmas flowering.
Close the greenhouse at night and ventilate during the day.
Remove branches and stems broken by gales, leaving a clean cut