Horticultural Lectures, Talks and Demonstrations by Peter Foley (formerly of Holden Clough Nursery)
2013 Latest Developments update
Following on from the deluge of 2012 we have drained the main path in the kitchen garden, raised the growing beds and as a result the crops this year look very healthy indeed.
During 2012 we finished planting the 60 trees in the Jubilee Plantation for HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and we are now doing further work around the pond and with other dominant plantings in that area.
In the main garden the Shade Garden behind the garage/potting shed is now fully planted with plants gradually establishing and the Mediterranean Border is taking shape with colourful new additions.
At the far end of the orchard a new Gabriel Ash plant house has been erected which really blends into its surroundings perfectly. This is heated and during this spring has provided welcome extra capacity for the raising of young vegetable and flowering plants. It has been fitted out with ‘Two Wests and Elliott’ commercial metal staging plus a good-sized propagator. Under the floor we have excavated a large pit which will act as a heat-store by day and at night the cooler night-time air will be pumped through it, emerging warmer to benefit overnight temperatures. We have two bio electric fan heaters to act as a back-up during colder spells.
Waddow Lodge Garden 2010
This year has certainly been a difficult one for the weather and trying to grow plants, especially those newly planted. It has entailed much hand watering but we have lost very little due to the drought and now of course there is ample rain and the newly planted Island Beds have shown tremendous growth in both herbaceous perennials and shrubs. Many of the perennials were divided before planting into groups of 3 or 5 and some of these are flowering well even in their first year, especially Astilbe which suffered the worst in the drought with little growth apparent. The soil here is an alluvial sandy loam, as in centuries past it was part of the flood plain of the River Ribble and now contains some lovely silver sand together with the fibrous root matter from decades of being a lawn prior to the beds being made last summer.
We eventually finished the Alpine Raised Bed in May in readiness for out first open day for Marie Curie Cancer Care where we had 218 visitors and managed to raise £1,200 for the charity. Since then the alpine plants have established well (see picture) and with the bed being top-dressed with slate chips the roots have kept cool and moist as they would in an alpine habitat. We will shortly being putting a list of the plants in the bed onto the website.
My collection of Rhodohypoxis continues to expand and all have been re-potted into new plastic half pots this summer and are flowering well. These are very colourful natives of South Africa and in winter once they have died down the pots are kept un-watered and stored under the alpine house bench with fleece cover in spells of cold weather. (see pictures)
The new rose border, planted in memory of Liz’s mother Lavinia who died last autumn, was difficult to cultivate initially because the remains of a concrete path had been buried under the soil. About a ton of rubble was excavated and used to fill the base of the Alpine Raised Bed and then Lavinia’s Rose Bed was made up using soil from elsewhere in the garden plus plenty of Liz’s three year old compost from the bins. All plants were given a fertilizer topdressing of Vitax Conifer & Shrub organic fertilizer and the growth has been phenomenal with plenty of flower and more buds coming. Initially I gave all of the bushes, most of which came from Keith Jones at Tarvin, a good prune so growth has been made from the base in a very strong manner. In between the bushes Liz planted Verbena rigida lilacina ‘Polaris’ interspersed with groups of blue and white-flowered Ageratum and Salvia farinacea ‘Strata’ and then Nigella and Cornflower have been sown which are starting to flower now. The Salvia was bedding plant of the year in 1996 and is quite unusual, with felted white spikes of buds opening into Mediterranean blue flowers which really contrast well against the white bud spikes. Both the Verbena and Salvia are hardy perennials so it will be interesting to see how they fare in the winter. I think that I will be potting up a few and put into the cold frame as an insurance policy.
At the end of Lavinia’s Border is a triangular Ericaceous Bed containing many little gems that I have collected over the years with Cassiope, Gaultheria, tiny-leaved Pieris, Celmisia, Meconopsis, Polygala and Vaccinium amongst many other gems. Much of the soil was taken out and added to the rose border and replaced with plenty of composted bark and some peat to give acidity. Initially we had to water well, but now that it has settled down and retaining some moisture the plants are growing well.
The former fruit and vegetable garden has in part been transformed into a Herb Bed with further plants being added gradually. Liz has planted a small box hedge of Buxus sempevirens ‘Suffruticosa’ around the edge which will slowly mature. The Borage and Mints have certainly attracted the bees and butterflies this summer. We have left the existing soft fruit bushes for the time being and the crop from the two rows of Raspberry ‘Glen Ample’ and ‘Tulameen’ have been phenomenal as well the adjacent Blackcurrant ‘Ben Lomond’.
In February we started on the new Kitchen Garden by ploughing up the land for planting this spring and fencing the boundary as it is part of a field adjacent to the flower garden. Planting of soft fruit bushes took place in March with potatoes the following month. We then sowed countless rows of vegetables which are all now giving good yields and keeping the family and friends supplied as well as ourselves! There has been some problem with young seedling nettles as this part of the meadow was slightly under trees and never cut for silage, but they have pulled out easily and in the drought hoeing was very effective.
The Heritage Orchard extended last year has eight of the ten new apple trees yielding some fruit and the 50-year old tree of Apple ‘Wyken Pippin’is cropping really well after having had a serious pruning and thinning in January 2009. The adjacent Crab Apples were a mass of blossom in spring and now have a good crop of fruit, so Crab Apple Jelly may be on the agenda this September.
The newly constructed Patio Bed (2008) planted March last year has really developed well with the climbers such as Jasminum officinale ‘Clotted Cream’, Rosa ‘Good as Gold’ and Lonicera fragrantissima now reaching the start of the roof section so they can be trained to give fragrant cover. Around the base are various Thymes, Marjoram, Sedum, Agastache and Heuchera with long lasting flower or foliage colour.
On 1st August we held our second open day, this time for Perennial (The Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society) and raised £800. We are planning open garden events for next year and will publish the dates on the website in due course but last week we were given the good news that we had been accepted into the Yellow Book for The National Gardens Scheme (NGS).