Tag: gardening

#wegrowtogether plants

The sunny weather is again helping the fair weather gardeners amongst us to get out and pot on…

It you’re planning a proper weekend out – in the back garden/ allotment/ windowsill – here are some very useful links.

‘heir and a spare’

Don’t forget, if you do have any ‘spares’ or ‘extras’ in your propagation pots, do keep a few aside for us, please. If you can.

When we reopen, we’d be very grateful for any donations of plants for us to sell to the public – a way we can raise some funds to fill the hole that has appeared this year. Many thanks  (Ps we cannot take strawberry plants. Please keep your plants at home until we open – we cannot look after them at present. Many thanks

RHS and Garden Organic

The RHS is going all out to create the event of the season online this year. This week saw the launch of My Chelsea Garden, in conjunction with the BBC’s The One Show. It’s a national competition asking people to enter pictures of their garden in one of the following four categories: Back Garden, Front Garden, Indoor Garden (Houseplants, window sills, balconies, etc), and Kids’ Corner Garden.

The competition runs until 18 May so do feel free  to send in your pics using #mychelseagarden 

The RHS are also supporting local nurseries by promoting the Plants Near Me website – if you are looking for plants and gardens product, enter your postcode and see who is still selling- and often delivering.

Working with the earth

As always the national charity for organic growing, Garden Organic has an absolute wealth of advice and helpful information – you can access a lot of their information without being a member…

Here is the link to some great and timely podcasts https://audioboom.com/channels/4987940 

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Gardening Tips for May

Gardener’s Tips for May

It is now time to give your borders some attention. All the sunshine and showers means the garden should now be at its vibrant best. Remove any faded spring bedding at the end of the month, it’s served you well but it’s time for a change and old bedding can be put in the compost bin to go back on the garden next year as mulch.

Once the risk of frost has passed (what do you think?), plant out summer bedding and ensure it is kept well watered so it can establish.

Ensure any perennial weeds are swiftly removed and hoe off any annual weeds , don’t let them get the chance to flower and seed as this will greatly increase your workload. Tie in any shoots of climbing  plants in your border. Plants like clematis are easier to manage when offshoots are short and young, if you allow them to get too long it’s almost impossible to prise them away from other plants they get tangled up in without snapping.

Hanging baskets

If you want hanging baskets plant them up now and allow them to establish for a few weeks in a frost free space make sure that when you put them out you keep them well watered, pick off the dead flowers and give them a liquid fertiliser feed every few weeks this should keep your hanging baskets flowering throughout the summer. 

Veggy times

You can start to harvest rhubarb this month, twist the stem at the base of the plant but ensure you leave a few stems on each crown.

Don’t strip it bare as the plant needs to be able to feed its own crown.  Continuing with this  theme on the vegetable plot, if you have asparagus ensure that you stop cutting to leave some spears to grow at the end of the month. They produce a lovely ferny foliage which is

needed by the asparagus crown to capture sunlight to replenish its crown for next year. Potatoes that were planted in April  (oh yes they were!) can now be earthed up, by drawing up mounds of soil up around the plant this will help the potatoes create more tubers from the buried stems and increase your crop.

You may have been mowing for a few months now, but it’s time to establish a regular routine. Mowing weekly will ensure you get a denser turf. A denser turf means a better looking lawn and less opportunity for weeds to establish – No don’t be tempted to do it too often because your ‘just want to get out there!’  

For further tips follow the link to view the RHS Gardening Tips for #nationalgardeningweek https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/national-gardening-week/

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Gardener’s Tips for April

A few hints and tips from our excellent Gardener’s for the month of April:

Things should be moving along pretty quickly now the highlight at the start of the month has to be tulips and with April’s sunshine and showers plants are growing at pace but there are a few things that you can do at the start of the month to reduce your workload later on. 

Applying a layer of mulch around trees and perennials before the warmer weather arrives not only will keep the moisture locked in but it will stop a lot of weeds from emerging saving you valuable time later on in the season that can be spent doing other important garden jobs .  

Give your plants a feed, trees shrubs and hedges will benefit from a slow release fertiliser. Roses are especially greedy plants feeding will aid flowering in June. You can buy specialist rose fertiliser but any fertiliser that contains a mix of potassium nitrogen and phosphorus will be beneficial. 

Sow any hardy annuals now in their final positions these fast growing plants are a cheap way to fill a border with colour during the summer plants such as pot marigolds, Californian poppies and cornflowers are good choices. Those annuals that are a little more tender and don’t like the cold can be sown undercover now in pots and placed out once the risk of frost has passed. 

In the vegetable garden it’s time to plant out your potatoes, early crops can be planted at the start of the month and main crops at the end of the month. Courgettes, marrows, squashes and pumpkins can now be sown individually in 5cm pots undercover and tomatoes, aubergines chillies and sweetcorn should now be sown undercover as they need a long growing season to produce their fruits. Don’t forget to thin out any seedlings that were sown in March, in order to reach their full potential plants need space as well as sunshine and showers. 

It’s a good time to completely empty any compost bins for mulching. Hibernating animals should now have woken and moved on, but still be careful as you don’t want to spear any frogs or hedgehogs with a garden fork. 

Stay safe all, and hope to see you again soon. The next Gardener’s tips will be posted at the beginning of May  CBHGT x

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#wegrowtogether: a guide to companion planting

There’s a lot of wisdom out there amongst professional and amateur gardeners. Much folklore and science knowledge handed down from generation to generation. 

In the post second world war  ‘nuke everything with a chemical’ era, a lot of native knowledge about what grew well with what, was lost and indeed strongly poo-poohed as ‘magic’ and superstition.

Thankfully since then, largely due to the Organic Gardening lobby, a more rational approach and some good scientific studies have been instrumental in making the practice of ‘companion planting’ an accepted practice amongst mainstream gardeners.

In our veg. and herb garden (the Batty Langley), we tend to mix some pre-18th century practices with some modern wisdom. We don’t use chemicals and plant calendula, nasturtiums, borage, comfrey etc plants amongst the vegetables to encourage beneficial insects.

On the Schools plot we have also experimented with ‘Three Sisters’ planting. This is a techniques used primarily by native north american peoples and combines three main agricultural crops winter squash, maize (corn), and climbing beans.

“The three crops benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to        climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other  plants use, and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, helping prevent the establishment of weeds. The squash leaves also act as a “living mulch”, creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Corn, beans, and squash contain complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and all eight essential amino acids, allowing most Native American tribes to thrive on a plant-based diet.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Sisters_(agriculture)

There is quite a lot of information out there on the web but we thought we would share a guide made by one of our helpful commercial partners, FirstTunnels.

Click here to be taken to their very comprehensive site

https://www.firsttunnels.co.uk/page/Companion-Planting-Guide

 

 

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donkey friend -https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/opening-times

Little Donkey doo’s mulch help ..

They say what goes around comes around, well its certainly true for two local charities.

With 10 acres of ground and over 600 species of plants, it takes a lot of compost to keep our soil healthy and productive. So we are really pleased to be working in partnership with the Donkey Sanctuary in nearby Sutton Coldfield.

Naturally, the donkeys produce a lot of poo… on a daily basis. With limited space on site the Sanctuary needs places where they can ‘recycle’ the recycled donkey food. As well as some very lucky allotment holders, Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens are thrilled to be able make good use of lots of donkey  ‘soil improver’.

Normally we add the fresh, straw laden donkey-doo to our compost heap to rot down into nutrient rich earth to use on the vegetable beds or in potting compost.  At this time of year it can go directly onto some of our Wilderness beds to act as a ‘mulch’; keeping in the warmth, suppressing any weeds that feel like poking their heads above the ground and, eventually, improving the structure of the soil.

Today, volunteers Jack, Roy and John kept themselves warm raking and spreading the new delivery from the Donkey Sanctuary. Thanks folks …. and donkeys  #wegrowtogether

Find out how to visit our donkey friends here The Donkey Sanctuary opening times

 

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2000 bulbs to plant….

It’s that time of year again. Can you help us out?

Tulips were a ‘really big thing’ for our Gardens’ founders. In the 17th century there was even ‘tulipmania’; massive fortunes were won and lost by enthusiasts and tulip traders.

These days we’re a bit more level headed, but we are mad about the beauty of our spring borders.

Many of our lovely ‘daffs’ come back year after year and naturalise in the orchard and img_20160331_194725_26185577776_ograssy banks. But like tulips, they need renewing every now and then.

This year we have over 2,000 tulips, daffodils and narcissi to plant before the cold frost comes.

Can you help us? 

trumpetYou don’t need to be an expert, just come and join us on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday mornings next week and be part of the planting team.  We’ll show you how.

We’ll be planting from 10am – 12.30 . on 29th, 30th November & 1st December. Weather permitting. Warming tea and coffee supplied.  Turn up at 10, or contact us in advance.

Plant the little globes full of flower goodness… stand back and wait for a spectacular spring! 

PS There will be a lot of kneeling and digging with a hand trowel

 

 

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De Wit de woooo!

De Wit make garden tools – of consummate beauty

Two members of the amazingly talented garden toolmakers, de Wit, made a flying and unexpected visit to the Gardens today.

My, we’re all of aglitter and aglow!

Sietse and Derk-klass de Wit had just flown in to be part of the GLEE garden show at the NEC, but instead of hanging around their stall they hopped into a taxi for a quick whizz round our Gardens.

dewit-logoDe Wit are a family firm based in the Netherlands, but their exquisite hand forged garden tools are known and revered worldwide. See their stunning site here The Garden Tool Factory. If you follow our facebook page you will see many shared photos by their brother Derk de Wit who takes the most inspiring photographs of gardens.

Special affinity

Dutch born Captain William Winde, cousin to the Bridgeman family, heavily influenced the design of our gardens in the late 17th century, so, Dutch style and quality is a long term companion for us.sietse-de-wit-and-glynis

We sell a small selection of the carbon steel and ash handled tools in our shop,  they are not cheap but they do literally last a lifetime and acquire a handsome patina with use. If there is a serious gardener in your life, here is where you will find that special gift.

To top the day for me, Sietse also offered to support our volunteer gardeners by supplying them with some tools too. Our cup runneth o’er.

 

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