Gardening news and advice from award-winning designer, Angela Tolputt
Bare root rose planting
Now is the time to plant bare root roses - from November through to the end of March is the rose's dormant season. On a chilly but sunny day it's very good exercise! I have just planted 22 bare root Wild Edric roses from David Austin Roses to make an attractive and scented hedge in front of a post and rail fence:-
Golden crab apples of Malus 'Golden Hornet' were still hanging on and looked great against a blue sky:-
Garden fit for a Wedding
When I met my client in September 2011 she wanted her garden 'sorting out' in preparation for her daughter's wedding. She had been tipped off that a proposal may be imminent and, sure enough, the proposal was forthcoming and the date was set for 7th July 2012. A central timber pergola would be where the bride and groom would walk through to the marquee.
The original pergola Pergola in March 2012 ready for planting
To cut quite a long story considerably shorter, the design was drawn up, the plants were put in place in March 2012 and then it was up to the weather to do its best to ensure that everything was in perfect bloom for early July!!
Pergola on the wedding day
There followed a scorching two weeks after planting, a very rainy April, hot weather in May and the wettest June on record, not to mention the wind which was detremined to bash everything down and Izzie the dog who made a path through the plants on a regular basis.
However, despite a deluge on the morning before the wedding and the radio broadcasting flood warnings all around the country, Saturday 7th July 2012 was a sunny, dry day and this is how the garden looked.
Chitting potatoes - why bother
Mid February is a good time to start chitting seed potatoes. Put simply, chitting is the process of growing shoots (chits) to give the potatoes a headstart and crop earlier than they might otherwise do. Put the potatoes with the end where you can see a number of 'eyes' uppermost in an eggbox on a sunny windowsill or in a sunny porch. The shoots that grow will be knobbly and purple/green and completely unlike the long, pale shoots which grow on potatoes left in the kitchen cupboard for too long.
Once the shoots are 2 to 2.5cm (3/4 to 1") long and the risk of frost has passed, the potatoes can be planted out. Dig shallow ridges of soil 45-60cm (18 to 24") apart and plant the seed potatoes into the ridges 12cm (5") deep and 22cm (9") apart.