All posts tagged: garden

The Dulwich Society’s Spring Gardens Talk

This year, the Dulwich Society’s Spring talk will be given by Helen Yemm, who writes the weekly Thorny Problems column in The Telegraph. Helen’s talk, “The modern cottage garden” builds on her experience of establishing gardens in both London and in West Sussex, where she now lives.  Helen’s books include the RHS Grow your own flowers and Gardening in Pyjamas: horticultural advice for obsessive dawn raiders. After the talk there will be an opportunity to meet Helen over a glass of wine. Tickets are £10 each (including a glass of wine) and may be purchased through www.eventbrite.co.uk (search “Dulwich Society”), or by sending a cheque payable to the “Dulwich Society” and SAE to Jeremy Prescott, 142 Court Lane, London SE21 7EB. Enquiries to CarolBritton cjebritton@gmail.com Spring Gardens Talk 7.30pm on Wednesday 10thApril at Alleyn’s School, Townley Road, London SE22 8SU

Garden Talk: In praise of snowdrops

There’s something magical about snowdrops with their dainty white heads appearing in dreary mid winter, giving us a reason to be cheerful. The most common variety, Galanthus nivalis – roughly translated as ‘milk white flower ’ has a single flower and green v- shaped markings on the inner petals, and G. nivalis ‘Flore Pleno’ is a frillier double version.But there are hundreds of cultivars with subtle differences in size, markings and colouring. Snowdrops are woodland plants and thrive in moist, well-drained soil, in dappled shade. They look wonderful naturalised in grass or carpeting the ground under trees.  But they also work in drifts in borders or underplanting shrubs or multi-stems such as silver birch. Pick a spot, such as a front garden or somewhere visible from a window, were you can appreciate them easily. Companion plants Aim for naturalism by planting snowdrops in little clumps of three, five or seven, with about 20 or so in total for impact. Snowdrops look stunning interplanted with tiny pinky purple Cyclamen coum or other delicate early spring bulbs …

Garden Talk: Your January to do list

Giving the garden a tidy up, on a nice bright day, is a good way to start the year. Even in mid winter there’s plenty to do from pruning to planting – and any work put in now will pay off when the busier spring season arrives. Prune: Prune tatty looking perennials left for winter interest such as sedum – avoiding new growth. And remove old hellebore leaves to make flowers more visible. Cutback ornamental grasses to within a few cm of the ground before the new growth arrives Many deciduous trees, shrubs and hedges such as beech and hornbeam can also be pruned throughout the dormant period. (Exceptions are evergreens, tender plants and prunus species (cherries, plums, and apricots) as it makes them more susceptible to infection). Cut roses back just above an outward facing bud and remove crossing or dead braches and thin weak stems – I remove branches thinner than a pencil. Prune to the height you want creating an almost vase like shape with an open centre. Prune apple and pear …

Winter window boxes

Now’s the time to smarten up window boxes for the winter season. Here’s how: Make a plan A visit to your local garden centre is a great way to get inspiration, but do some planning first. Measure your container for a rough idea of how many plants to buy. And think about the style and colour of your house – exterior and interior – you might fall for an orange plant, but will it clash from inside your sitting room? Thrillers, spillers, fillers You could block plant a simple row of white cyclamen or dusky pink heather– contemporary and stylish. But for more variety, it’s useful to think ‘thrillers’, tall evergreen plants for structure, ‘spillers’ like ivy to trail down containers and ‘fillers’, for the gaps. Compact evergreen shrubs such as pretty small-leaved hebes make good structural ‘thrillers’ as does Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’ – go for symmetry here, one or three. For something bright and festive Skimmia japonica ‘Nymans’ has jolly red berries, Gaultheria Procumbens pink ones and Solanum Capsicastrum has cheery orange …

Give your garden the autumn wow factor

The warmth of summer may be a distant memory, but autumn can be a spectacular month – especially on those bright clear days when everything glows. It’s a joy to see autumn trees in the park or countryside but there are plenty of smaller trees and shrubs that’ll light up your own garden with fiery shades of red and gold. There are shiny hips and berries a plenty in October too. Here’s my pick. Trees My new favourite tree for autumn colour is Parrotia Persica (Persian ironwood) whose large leaves turn from yellow to brilliant orange and pink– followed by clusters of bright red flowers. It also has striking grey peeling bark when mature and looks particularly stylish as a multi-stem. It’s spreading and can eventually get quite big (up to 6m) so it does need space. Amelanchier lamarckii is a smaller and more easily sourced tree that is also grown as a multi- stem. As well as stunning golden orange autumn leaves, it has white spring blossom and summer berries. Similarly acers (Japanese maple) …