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October 2013

September 2013

Herbs for the new planting season

The temperature has suddenly dropped, the sides on my Polytunnel have had to be lowered for the first time in months, and the phone has rung with 3 planting enquiries in the last 2 days.

It must be time for autumn planting, and September and October are THE best time of the year to put in shrubs and perennials. They get their roots in while the soil is warm, and then can romp away fast as soon as the temperature rises next year.

Trolley of herbs from pepperpot (1 of 1)
This morning's main job was to go and collect this tray of beauties from my favourite herb nursery - Pepperpot Herbs

My truck smelt wonderful as I came back through the Surrey countryside, and the lemon balm, lavender, sage, thyme, rosemary, germander, and chives will all be used a demonstrators at the next Herbs and Salads talks and workshops that i'm doing, before being planted at Hill top farm to give me fantastic flowers and foliage next year.


Wisley Flower show - braving the crowds for the sake of some plants.

Yesterday morning, bright and early, straight after the start of the school term drop off, I met up with my garden designer friend Lisa Cox at Wisley.

By the time we'd got our coffees at ten to nine, we needed to join the back of an already expanding queue of keen flower show enthusiasts.

Pink pompom dahlias (1 of 1)The Wisley Flower show is now 5 days long, - so you've got until Sunday to go and see

  • The Fabulous Dahlia displays,
  • To plant shop to your heart's content,
  • and look at the Nafas floral displays in the glasshouse (more about them tomorrow)

I was there to see if I could find some unusual beauties to add to my flower farm (or garden, or both) and I have to confess to coming away with a full truck and an empty pocket.

Princess Kate Clematis (1 of 1)

Although I'll admit to being a tad dissapointed at finding Some very bought in plants on display yesterday, (I hastely put down a Hypericum I was interested in when I saw the dutch market lablel)- most of the Nursery stalls are run by growing enthusiasts, who can tell you loads about what they have, where they can grow, and which is the best for you.

Floyds Climbers and Clematis were are great example of that, - The Princess Kate Viticella Clematis (pictured above) was the centre of attention, but he talked me through new Passionflowers - (I bought one called Silly Cow), - and suitable climbers for cutting, and suggested further sources for information to research. - They've got an open day on the 14th & 15th of September if you're near Lackham College.

I also invested in some rather lovely Salvias, - Late season colour is always important, and i've got blue's so I thought this Peach Parfait would go rather well too.

Peach coloured Salvia (1 of 1)

and of course Being September, there were bulb companies showing off their wares. I'll be looking for some of these in the coming season.

Purple gladioli (1 of 1)

The weather is great for walking in the gardens too, so i'm sure that Wisley will be extremely busy this whole weekend. - If you want to be inspired by flowers, then do go along early, - otherwise, my advice is to avoid the whole area.


French Cut Flower inspiration.

I'm lucky enough to spend my family summer holidays across the Channel in France. The Sandy beaches, History of the Normandy coast, and the excellent food, are obviously a major draw (and the mini golf, my son would say) - But each summer, I love exploring the municipal gardens of my local tourist towns, to see what goodies they've come up with this year.

Grand Hotel gardens, Red and Lime green (1 of 1)
The Seaside resort of Cabourg, always has a fantastic show on the borders of the park in front of the Grand Hotel. They're not afraid of using colour. - This year their colour theme was Red and Lime Green.

My camera, didn't really like the contrast, but during the sunny days of July and August this year, the Red and Lime green Nicotiana, plus red and orange Zinnias, have Shone.

In milder colour tones, at the other end of the town, the park beds were using an array of flowers, herbs and vegetables.

French white and blue border (1 of 1)

This bed had Scabious the wildlife was loving, as well as Clary Sage, Blue Star Laurentia, and scented Nicotiana in a great shade of purple.

French border with zinnias and purple kale (1 of 1)

I don't know how they got this Kale looking so good, but the Purple crinkled foliage showed up the dark Scabious and the very pink Zinnias brilliantly in this bed.

French pink border with Agastache (1 of 1)

This bed had bright pink cosmos, Anthirrinums, and Agastache, and was framed by bright orange Crocosmia, - normally Pink and orange wouldn't be anywhere near each other in my designs, but this worked well.

French borders with dill (1 of 1)

The Dill in these beds is now about 6 foot tall and looking amazing. The only downside to me, was that I kept wanting to pick the flowers and take them back for the vase.

Have you got municipal plantings near you that Inspire?