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Pagoda at 7pm on 28 April

Pagoda at 7pm on 28 April

After such a long, cold winter when the camellias were 6 weeks later than last year we now have the acer leaves and azaleas at least a week ahead of last year!

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Amazing how plants flower at different times each year.
Photographic evidence really reminds you of this...

28 Apr, 2009


I had wisteria in full flower when I opened last year on May 18th. Looks like it might be out for 1st May (or soon after) this year

28 Apr, 2009


Our open weekends in May are 8/9 and 16/17 - we're thinking that azaleas will be over their best by then! Still, unusually, we are able to enjoy them to ourselves at the moment! Two years ago we had -1C and hailstorms on 28 May. When we married in 1975 we had frost on the 6 June!

28 Apr, 2009


Looking forward to seeing it all in person in May on one of your charity days. Do you have a plant sale???

2 May, 2009


As yet, we haven't got round to organising plants for sale. My husband and I usually have to wear lots of hats on open days - manning the door, overseeing the refreshments, talking to visitors - mostly without any help. When we retire we may have time to raise/propagate plants for sale - but not yet!!

3 May, 2009


Fabulous garden. What an achievement!
But you say on your homepage you have done it without outside help. And you say, 'We have won our battle with weeds.'
How did you do it?
We have a couple of hectares (including pond, woodland and plantation of trees and shrubs) a large part of which I hoped one day would become a wonderful garden. We are trying to make about 400 sq metres of decorative garden with flowers and shrubs, plus some planting alongside our river and large pond. But despite labouring every day, the flower and shrub areas are full of thistles, mares tail, goosegrass, couch grass and creeping cinquefoil, and however often I cut them or dig them out they come back so rapidly. I've tried mulching heavily, black plastic over whole areas for a year, and then planting (weeds come back just as strongly pretty quickly) and dense planting. None of this seems to work. A lot of my time is taken up just keeping the vegetable garden in order, but do you have any tips or suggestions how to keep things under control in flower and shrub areas.
We are surrounded here by woodland, farmland and open countryside so weed seeds blow in constantly. Even things in pots get choked with willow seedlings by midsummer!
Is there anything practical I can do, do you think, to achieve what I'd like?

4 Jul, 2009



We have clay soil and when we came here 27 years ago we broke pick axes, forks and spades as we tried to get through the hard surface that had weeds in it. We broke it up by rotavating and including concreting sand and compost and by putting a good amount of compost in any planting hole we made. Our main "tool" now is bark nuggets - we have a lorry load every three years now. In the early days we had it more frequently.

Last September we took over half our neighbours garden. That had brambles and nettles, a type of deadly nightshade and lots of "sticky weed" - cleavers. In some areas where the cleavers was rampant I took off the top inch of soil that contained all the seeds and put it in a heap.

We created raised beds for the vegetables - putting in all the autumn leaves, topped by half cooked homemade compost and topped off with the spent compost from flower pots. We put in a little of the local soil and have been able to winkle out the weeds. In the rest of the garden we heavily barked and the pernicious weeds that come through now have a squirt of Roundup.

The rest of the neighbours garden is becoming a wilderness, whilst our vegetable and work area are relatively free from weeds. The advantage of a thick layer of bark is that you can see the weeds quite clearly.

Best of luck!

6 Jul, 2009


Four seasons,
Thanks for the advice.
I think there are two things in particular we need to do, which is prepare better planting holes and use much more bark mulch. We have tried to save money by putting down mulches of rotted straw and anything else we can compost or obtain, but of course these are full of weed seeds and things grow well in it (i.e. any weed seeds flying around).
Judicious use of Roundup is probably a good idea too, although we have tried to avoid it completely. We can get away with this in the veg. garden, where there are frequent cultivations, but clearly not in the flower/shrub area where there are persistent weeds.
Anyway, your garden is an inspiration and it shows us it will be worth our while to persevere!

8 Jul, 2009

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