Garden News 17 May 2022
What to do in the garden this week?
Create a woodland pot
Shady gardens can sometimes feel a challenge but in fact they can be an asset. Utilise this space by planting shade-tolerant perennials and create a miniature woodland in a pot.
Use a combination of mixed planting and single species. Group pots together for maximum affect, keeping planting style natural. For mixed pots use two or three different plants and let them spread.
Extend the season with successional planting. Underplant your core evergreens with bulbs such as snowdrops, muscari, crocus or cyclamen corms so as one element fades another will emerge.
If you had a large container you could plant a small tree such as a crab apple, Malus sylvestris or Guelder Rose, Viburnum opulus and underplant with ferns and low growing groundcover like Vinca minor or wood anemone, Anemone nemorosa.
Got a tree stump handy? This is a beautiful way to incorporate the woodland into your garden and deadwood provides a home to an incredible amount of wildlife from beetles to moths, hoverflies and even fungi. Hollow out a growing space and pack with leaf mould and compost.
The main challenge will be not letting pots dry out. Woodland plants like dappled shade or full sun with rich, well-drained but moist soil so add leaf mould to the soil and mulch with bark to retain moisture. Remember to water regularly.
Hardy native ferns are a natural woodland stalwart. Try Dryopteris filix-mas, D. dilatata, evergreen Blechnum spicant and Hart’s-tongue Asplenium scolopendrium.
Add colourful height to pots with classic English garden native, foxglove Digitalis purpurea. Also a great nectar source for bees.
Erythronium, epimedium, ajuga, bluebells, forget-me-not and hellebores thrive in woodland environments and will inject colour into your green oasis.
Moss frequently carpets woodland but is hard to buy in the UK. Upcycle mossy lawns, transplant moss to your pots.
Train sweet peas
Picking a posy of homegrown annual or perennial sweet peas is utter joy.
For best results, lift new shoots off the soil when about 30cm tall and train stems up supports. Lightly tie in stems below a node to wigwam canes or obelisks with twine or metal rings; avoid crushing leaves and stems. Remove tendrils for straighter stems. Around July try layering stems. Once plants have reached the top of the support, untie, lie all plants along the floor horizontally and tie each stem to nearest cane. This will force upright vertical growth and extend your season with another flush of blooms.
All photos © Debi Holland 2022