Monthly Archives: June 2011

Plant fair with flair

I spent last Friday at Cottesbrooke Plant Finders fair. The fair has a great reputation for attracting unusual plant nurseries and is said to be the Uk’s rival to Courson, the very famous French fair. Friday has hot but cloudy so suited me perfectly allowing for lots of plant hunting and hardly a spot of sun burn. Even the visiting children who has obviously been dragged along by a plant mad parent seemed to be having  fun with their picnic and ipad on the lawn!

The gardener's of the future

It was lovely to see exhibitors who I’d met at Cottesbrooke in past years and to see that they are still going strong despite the economic climate. And it is lovely to see that after years of attending gardening events where I am the youngest there, the exhibitors are now younger than me which suggests that people are coming back into horticulture and arts and crafts businesses and seeing it as a career choice. I think it also holds true that if you have a product that is well designed and unique then people are prepared to pay for it. This is certainly true within my design practice where people are more willing to have a single unique piece than a whole room filled with disposable furniture from one of the large retailers operating out of a shed!

A sea of parasols at Cottesbrook Plant Finder's Fair

There seemed to be a unique mix of hand made crafts and furniture, from benches and tables to bespoke replica Victorian greenhouses. Amongst my favourites were: Ed Brookes a traditional gate and furniture maker who was offering demonstrations to inspire everyone with even a small opening to enclose: his gates have a magical appeal.

Ed Brookes gates add a traditional twist to a garden design

Norfolk basket weaver Peter Dibble was also there showing off his skills with a vast array of interesting and unusual basket shapes.

The rusty iron plant support look was also in vogue and I have to admit to succumbing to some wire cloches (from Plant Belles) which I can extend to any length and cover with fleece or plastic depending on what I want to grow within them.

Cottebrooke Hall is a perfect setting for the fair

I also fell in love with an old Victorian glass cloche from Garden & Wood but as my garden is still in the design and build stage it never made it home with me, instead I opted for a plant label for my office: HT Perfecta – there’s something to aspire to!

I love vintage pieces so couldn't resist this plant label

More info:

www.plantbelles.co.uk

www.gardenandwood.co.uk

www.edbrooks.com

www.peterdibble.co.uk

www.alisonhutchinsondesign.co.uk

Garden jobs in June

Despite the promise of rain it has been rather disappointing: too short lived and rather light. I’d like a good down pour which lasted the night and cleared around 5am so the ground was dry enough to work again the following morning! I’ve resorted to adding irrigation systems to a lot of my gardens so that watering is directed to the plants that need it and not wasted. So what other jobs should you be doing in the garden this month.

Box clipping

June is when I allow myself the luxury of beginning to clip all my box (buxussempervirens) hedging and shaped topiary.  I use Derby day (this year Saturday 4th June) as the marker to begin but it often takes me a month to finish! It’s then just a case of trimming any over exuberant growth as it appears to keep everything in shape.

One of the clipped box spheres in a Lincolnshire Garden

Any plant grown in a pot needs feeding but box is a greedy plant and will benefit from regular feeding and watering.

If box is not your thing then opt for an alternative plant: yew, holly, santalina and loniceranitida make great specimens for topiary too.

Planting out and feeding

Once all danger of frost has passed, plant out any annuals grown in seed trays, herbs and vegetables.

Feed tomatoes weekly with a high potash feed and remove side shoots once trusses have set

Herbaceous borders

If you have some chunky clumps of Michaelmas daisies, phlox and delphinium nip out a few growing points now and you will encourage these to regrow and flower later thus prolonging the flowering season.

Continue to tie in and stake plants as they grow to prevent them from flopping. Once herbaceous borders get established you will find that other plants support each other but until this happens it’s important to stake early to prevent damage.

The rose border in a garden I designed in Lincolnshire

Deadhead and keep doing it! I find it very relaxing especially if it is accompanied by a glass of wine - I find most things look better with a glass of wine in your hand!

Fruit

Thin out apples, pears, gooseberries and plums if you have too much fruit. Not is the time to prune new cherry and plum trees. Invest in a good book with diagrams so help.

Lawns

Now is an ideal time to lay turf or re-seed a lawn. Prepare the area by levelling, raking off all stones, then tamping down to firm the soil. Lightly rake over and sow seed or lay turf on this prepared soil and then water. And don’t forget to keep it well watered while it establishes.

Ponds

It’s important to keep an area of pond clear at this time of year and ensure you have plants which allow dragonflies to climb out of the water and plants which allow access to the bank. Remove too vigorous pond plants to keep an area of water clear