Gardening news and advice from award-winning designer, Angela Tolputt
Not too late for tulips
It's not too late to order and plant tulips. November is a good time since the risk of tulip blight is less when the weather gets colder. A firm favourite of mine is ‘Recreado’ which is deep purple with purplish stems and is quite perennial compared to many tulips (many are not reliably perennial, diminishing in number from year to year – planting more deeply is supposed to help). It’s also tall and late, flowering in April to May. Try it planted around Euphorbia polychroma - the purple tulips and acid green of the Euphorbia are a zingy combination. Last year I also used ‘Couleur Cardinal’ which has sumptuous deep red petals like the best and plushest velvet – it looks stunning with the orange leaves of Heuchera ‘Marmalade.’Other good tulips are ‘Ballerina’ since it is a beautiful orange, tall and elegantly lily-flowered with a sweet scent. Although it looks delicate it puts up with a lot of buffeting by wind and rain. Try ‘Prinses Irene’ in containers. She is short and orange but with a purplish tinge to the lower part of the petals and exquisitely scented. ‘Spring Green’ is always on my list – it has classic ivory petals with green flares and performs well in shade, unlike many tulips. It is also one of the most perennial tulips you can buy.Watch out for squirrels - although they reject daffodil bulbs they are partial to tulips. If planting in containers, use some chicken wire to put across a group of pots and anchor it down. In the garden you could try lengths of holly laid across the soil which may deter them.
Try the following bulb suppliers:-
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.