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Autumn Newsletter

October 1, 2017

Hi there Gardeners – the days are getting shorter and the autumn is drawing in. Unfortunately the temperature is gradually dropping and the day length reducing, all signs of the change in season.

 

Leaves are on the turn but open up a whole new palette of colour from gold, to orange and through to red.

 

A spectacular tree this time of year is Rhus typhina – Stagshorn Sumach; radiant red and orange leaves ignite in the autumn light. Show stopper!

Strawberry tree Arbutus unedo, is also in full swing with its beautiful strawberry-like fruits, which hang like baubles and delicate white flowers. An enchanting tree to add autumn interest to the garden.

 

And the fabulous violet jewel-like berries of Callicarpa really sparkle at this time of year.

The summer months were crammed full with gardening, horticultural talks, visits and holidays. Here are some of the highlights…

 

RHS Open Day at Jekka McVicar’s Herb Farm

 

5 August 2017 Jekka opened her Herbetum to showcase her amazing collection of herbs for an RHS members open day with all proceeds going to the RHS Apprenticeship scheme.

 

Thoroughly enjoyed an informative guided tour by Jekka and also by her son and daughter.

 

Great advice on the medicinal benefits of herbs and the best mints for tea! There was an enormous choice and some rare varieties. There was plenty of time after the tours to wistfully peruse all the herbs at our leisure. The only dilemma... how to choose?!

 

I could not resist increasing my herb collection with French Tarragon, East Indian Lemongrass and Lemon Verbena.

 

Check out her inspiring herb farm and future events on her website:

 

www.jekkasherbfarm.com

 

Studying wildflowers at altitude in the French Alps

 

Had a fabulous trip to the Rhone Alps in August, plant finding and photographing wildflowers at altitude. I am fascinated in seeing how resilient these tough little alpines are. Growing in extreme conditions with only half the year escaping the cover of snow.

 

The wild meadows are a mecca for bees, grasshoppers and butterflies – absolutely prolific with wildlife and a testament to biodiversity and non-chemical planting; nature allowed to roam free.

 

A more in depth post will follow on the huge range of flora I discovered on my trip.

 

New edition to our family

 

Meet Dicksonia antarctica or as we like to call him ‘Dicky’ the Tasmanian Tree Fern.

 

Very proud to have such a statuesque fern in the garden, it really does make a great focal point. This stunning evergreen displays lush foliage which is easy to look after. The crown and trunk need to be kept moist so water from the top to ensure they do not dry out. The base is planted in humus rich, neutral to slightly acidic soil which provides a solid anchor for the tree. They love a shady sheltered spot.

 

They are very slow growing at approximately 2.5cm per year so make sure you think about size when buying as it will take many years to gain height. If purchasing tree ferns make sure it comes from a certified source. The fern should have a certificate attached to the trunk.

 

Late October signifies the time to fold in the fronds and wrap in horticultural fleece as protection against winter frosts. Put to bed till Spring.