Talk of the Month

Cancelled

Whats On in April

24th/25th April – Spring celebration including village open gardens.

What to do in the garden this month

  • Pinch out fuchsias to ensure bushy growth with plenty of flowers.
  • Deadhead daffodils and tulips as the flowers disappear but leave the foliage to die back naturally. Leave the flower heads on snowdrops and scillas so that they can self-seed.
  • Sow hardy annual flowers directly into beds and plant herbaceous perennials.
  • Feed roses, fruit trees and bushes.
  • Dig in a 5cm layer of compost or well-rotted manure into your vegetable beds.
  • Divide Hostas before they come into leaf.
  • Plant new asparagus beds.
  • Plant potatoes, shallots and onion sets.
  • Lift and divide perennial plants now to improve their vigour and create new plants for your garden.

Christmas greenery, straight from the garden

What could be more lovely than stepping out on a cold and frosty morning to pick home-grown Christmas greenery, straight from the garden? Graham Rice offers some expert plant suggestions.

It used to be that the only option for holiday greenery in the home was the Christmas tree, along with holly and ivy. Now everything’s changed, and very definitely for the better.

Today an increasing range of attractive evergreen alternatives for decorative foliage is available to use in wreaths, in table decorations and in long-lasting seasonal arrangements. And the great thing about so many of these alternatives is that you can grow them yourself at home. Here are ten options.

Numbers at the end of each entry refer to plant height and RHS hardiness rating.

Source: https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/articles/graham-rice/shrubs-and-climbers/grow-your-own-christmas-greenery

Winter heathers

More lime-tolerant than other heathers, winter heathers come in a range of foliage colours and with reddish, pink or white flowers. There are more varieties of Erica carnea, but E. × darleyensis is taller, with longer stems that intertwine better into wreaths. ‘White Perfection’ AGM has clusters of white winter flowers like the first snowflakes. 45cm (18in), H5.

Sharply shaped

Each individual dark green leaf of Euonymus fortunei ‘Wolong Ghost’ AGM is shaped like a dagger and features a ghostly white band along the midrib with spidery white veins. Carried on extending shoots which make good ground cover, ‘Wolong Ghost’ will also climb, clinging by aerial roots. The long branches are ideal to weave into wreaths. 30cm (12in), H5.

Edged in gold

The densely packed, upright growth of Euonymus japonicus ‘Ovatus Aureus’ AGM is a rich and shining green with the edge of every glossy leaf irregularly coloured in gold, brightest on the younger growth. Plant in a sunny situation to promote the best colour. Not the most vigorous, but creates sunny sparks in Christmas wreaths. 1.2m (4ft), H5.

Fresh and bright

The rounded foliage of Griselinia littoralis AGM has such a clean and shining look, noticeably paler and glossier than holly with its deep green colouring, that blending the two is a very effective approach. 3m (10ft), H5. ‘Variegata’ AGM features the addition of creamy or pale yellowish margins to the foliage although the plants are less vigorous and slightly less hardy, growing to 1.8m (6ft), H4.

Colourful ivy

You might have pulled some wild ivy from a fence or a tree trunk to help fill out your Christmas greenery, and it works well. But, like wild holly, the leaves are very dark. Variegated kinds, such as Hedera helix ‘Ceridwen’ AGM with its bold, three pointed leaves with bright yellow margins are far more colourful. Sometimes even the whole leaf is bright yellow. 2m (6½ft), H5.

Winter blues

The blue needles of this dwarf form of the Colorado spruce (Picea pungens (Glauca Group) ‘Hoopsii’) AGM make a bright, refreshing change from darker shades, bringing a lift of light to wreaths and table centrepieces. Avoid the dense dwarf varieties such as ‘Globosa’; they just don’t produce enough growth, and don’t expect your ‘Hoopsii’ to look elegant if you cut off branches every Christmas so plant in an out-of-the-way spot. 2.5m (8ft), H7.

Holly with a difference

The few holly varieties without spines are often recommended, for obvious reasons, but Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’ AGM goes the other way. Exceptionally spiny, even with spines growing out of the blades of the leaves, ‘Ferox Argentea’ has purple stems, creamy edges to the leaves and a mass of spines. Intriguing and effective, but no berries. Height up to 8m (26ft), but can be pruned to keep it much smaller. H6.

White Christmas pine

Planting a pine for Christmas greenery may be a surprising idea, but one with such beautiful long needles – reaching 15cm (6in) in length – is a very useful addition to our palette of seasonal decorations. The Weymouth or white pine, Pinus strobus, grows strongly (though it dislikes limy soil). Cutting boughs for Christmas is not going to improve its shape so choose its planting site carefully. 5m (16ft), H7.

Silver charmer

The combination of small, neat foliage, splashed with cream and held on slender but stiff shoots, plus a tolerance of pruning, makes Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Irene Paterson’ AGM an ideal shrub for garden use and for cutting for indoors. Its vigour held in check by this regular pruning, at this time of year the foliage often develops a pink tinge. 2.5m (8ft), H3.

Longest lasting evergreen

Ruscus aculeatus, butcher’s broom, is probably the evergreen that lasts longest when cut and still looks good, even without water, weeks after cutting. The variety ‘John Redmond’ AGM has the bonus of producing bright red berries and, unlike most other forms, without the need of an additional male plant. It’s also tough, resilient and will grow in dry shade. 75cm (30in), H5.

Did you know?

Herbs

Lockdown has encouraged many of us to spend more time in the kitchen where we invariably reach for one herb or another as they are used for flavouring or garnishing food. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs from spices. Herbs generally refers to the leafy green or flowering parts of a plant (either fresh or dried), while spices are usually dried and produced from other parts of the plant including seeds, bark, roots and fruits.

In botany, the noun “herb” refers to a “plant that does not produce a woody stem”, and the adjective “herbaceous” means “herb-like”, referring to parts of the plant that are green and soft in texture.

Herbs can be perennials such as thyme, sage or lavender, biennials such as parsley, or annuals like basil. Perennial herbs can be shrubs such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), or trees such as bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) – this contrasts with botanical herbs, which by definition cannot be woody plants. Some plants are used as both herbs and spices, such as dill weed and dill seed or coriander leaves and seeds. There are also some herbs, such as those in the mint family, that are used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

Here are RHS chief of horticulture, Guy Barter’s tips to remember when growing herbs:

  1. Herbs can be grown in any reasonably fertile, well-drained soil. Where drainage is questionable, create raised beds or plant your herbs in pots.
  2. Good, all-weather access is vital to growing herbs. If a hard path of light-coloured, reflective paving can be created, so much the better. At RHS Wisley, pebble/concrete panels are used in the herb garden, which reflect light back into the plants, and create warmth to ameliorate chilly nights.
  3. Herbs generally need little fertiliser and crop well without much feeding. Over-feeding can in fact decrease the concentration of flavours.
  4. Most herbs need a neutral to alkaline soil.
  5. High levels of sunlight are particularly important for obtaining good herb flavour, and so herbs should be planted in the best lit area of the garden and some of the favourite herbs are:

French Tarragon – A delicious herb and great paired with chicken and fish. Also add a few sprigs to flavour vinegar to make a superb salad dressing.

Chives – Much loved for their fresh, delicate, onion flavour. Complements many dishes, including salads and sauces.

Lemon Thyme – A wonderful and unique flavour adding citrus notes to meat and fish dishes. Looks very attractive grown in pots and window boxes.

Garden Mint – The traditional garden mint, full of flavour and superb for making mint sauce or adding to new potatoes when cooking.

Purple Sage – Strong, aromatic flavour and much famed for adding to stuffing, especially with pork or poultry. The evergreen foliage looks great in the garden year-round.

Curled Parsley – A good dark curled leaf variety, great for so many dishes and highly nutritious.

Sources: https://www.countryliving.com/uk/homes-interiors/gardens/advice/a760/best-herbs-to-grow-in-your-garden/

https://www.mr-fothergills.co.uk/

Annual Membership

The cost of annual membership remains at only £7 per person, which entitles you to free admission to our interesting monthly talks held in Kilmington Village Hall on the second Friday of the month.
Application Form

KILMINGTON KIDS' CORNER

Don’t forget that if you have any gardening stories or photos to share with us, we would love to hear from you!
Have you thought of growing some herbs or vegetables in your own garden? There is nothing quite like picking fresh salad ingredients or strawberries and then having them for your supper. The taste is so much better than shop-bought produce. Why not have a look at this website for inspiration?

Source: https://www.thompson-morgan.com/kids-grow-gardening-with-children

 

Happy gardening!

Upcoming Visits And Events

Upcoming Talks

Contacts

B. J. Lewis (President)

01297-35159

Gill Gibbs (Chair)

01297-33121

Jean Falconer (Secretary)

01297-33708

David Bromley (Treasurer)

01297-631801

Beverley Perkins (Membership Secretary)

01297-631801

Lesley Rew (Talks Organiser)

07900-827689