Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Tuesday 3 April 2007

Where is the waldsteinia?

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 7:39 pm

I have continued to be extremely busy with work. I have two jobs: I work in public health part-time, and I am also a private maths tutor. At this time of year there is an enormous demand for the tuition, and I have to take the work while I can, so the garden will just have to manage as best as it can. I have the Easter weekend from Friday to Monday completely clear of work, so as long as the weather is all right I can do a few hours of gardening each day.

For my public health job, I work in an office with a small landscaped garden at the back. I don’t know what all the plants are, but there is some lavender and rosemary, both of which are on my list for my renovated garden, so last week I took in a margarine tub, a kitchen towel, and a pair of scissors. I damped down the kitchen towel and put it in the tub, and added several sprigs of lavender and rosemary, so they could keep nice and damp while I completed the 30 minute cycle ride home. Of course, I should have asked the landlord’s permission before doing this, but I doubt if he is very interested, and anyway the shrubs badly need trimming, so I am doing him a favour really. I don’t think this is the best time of year to take cuttings, but my job is not secure at the moment, and I could be out of there before the best time comes along, so I decided to try taking the cuttings now and see what happens. I have promised to give plants to any of my colleagues who want them if we are both still in a job by the time they root.

This morning I had to travel to see a maths pupil, and since I was going past Junction 3 of the M3, I called in at Notcutts on the way back. Sadly, they did not have a waldsteinia after all, but they said they would order one for me. So I will have to go back to collect it in a couple of weeks, but I don’t mind as I think I would enjoy looking around the garden centre again when I have more time. I asked about the cornus alba sibirica, and they said they had run out, and that it was really the best one, the one that everyone wants. It has bright red stems. So that will go very well with my bright orange Midwinter Fire and my deep purple Kesselringii. I also asked about the campanula portenschlangiana, and they suggested that I go to Wisley for that. What a good idea. I haven’t been to Wisley for ages. While I was at Notcutts, I saw a wisteria “Black Dragon”. I bought one of these about ten years ago, but it died, so I bought a replacement, but it was a normal wisteria, not a Black Dragon. Now I am afraid that the replacement wisteria has died too. If it has, it is probably because I didn’t water it enough during the long hot summer in 2006. So I bought the Black Dragon and I will work out where to put it later.

My Thuja plicata atrovirens arrived today. In case you are wondering how plants in pots can possibly be posted, I can tell you that the nursery wraps them individually in newspaper and lays them down in a cardboard box lined with a plastic bin liner. It took a while to unwrap them and put all the spilt soil back in their pots, but fortunately they look none the worse for their journey.

Thuja Plicata in pots

So well done to Buckingham Nurseries. I would definitely buy plants from them again.

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Sunday 1 April 2007

Further Plant Acquisition

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 8:05 pm

I have had a busy week, spending more time than usual working, but I have found a little time to continue gardening. I rang up Notcutts, a garden centre in Bagshot. It has a very good reputation, but for some reason I have never gone there. I asked them if they had a Waldsteinia, and they said yes! I am going that way on Tuesday, so I shall stop off and pay them a visit.

I also bought some more plants from Wilkinson’s: a small pieris, a climbing hydrangea, and a baby magnolia. I will try growing the magnolia in a pot and see how it gets on. I think it has more of a chance than my existing magnolia has. Anyway, it didn’t cost much. You have to be a bit careful with Wilkinson’s plants because they don’t live long on the shelves, but as long as a plant is alive when you buy it, I think it is probably all right.

In the front garden I dug up a shrub which the builders planted ten years ago and which I have never liked. I am not even sure what it is, but this is what it looked like.

Shrub planted by the builders which I dug up

I want to dig up all the builders’ shrubs which are on my land, and sow grass seed instead, as this will make maintenance easier. (I am allowed to do this: planning conditions stated that we had to leave the planting alone for five years, but that period has long since passed). However, this is not an easy job, especially as I have to avoid the roots of the cherry tree. I am hoping that I will get good weather during the Easter weekend so I can finish this job.

In the back garden, my annuals are most definitely coming up, in straight lines like they are supposed to. I think I sowed some of the seeds too thickly, but I shall see how they get on.

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