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KEEPING YOU IN TOUCH - YOUR FREE MONTHLY NEWSPAPER DELIVERED DOOR-TO-DOOR FOR 32 YEARS Ramblings from My Garden


A lot has changed and developed in my garden since the last time I wrote. Where my overgrown, over-leaning, now completely removed, willow had left a bare centre to my lawn, a new border has appeared. I have filled it with peonies, salvias, irises and monkshood, which will look great as we progress through summer and for the first time, I have shown some maturity in my planting, by thinking through the developed size of my perennials and spacing accordingly.


It’s so tempting to create a border that looks really good right now and will impress this summer but what happens when all of the plants double in size by next summer? So, with great restraint I have spaced my plants for ‘the size they will become’ instead of ‘what looks great right now’. To make myself feel better (as so much bare soil isn’t my usual practice) I have added some young, small hellebores into the gaps for the next twelve months, to provide a little extra green, until their new border is ready for them. This autumn, I’ll plant spring bulbs ready for next year but for now, I’m just going to have to cope with the lack of instant colour.


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INFO@THECOCKERMOUTHPOST.CO.UK Helen Laidlow BEFORE


earlier in the year. Every morning for the last week, I have a quick glance out of the window at the three large rhododendrons I inherited when we arrived here. They have kept a feeling of maturity in the garden when I have cleared out and chopped back so many overgrown shrubs but I’m feeling a little anxious about the colours I’m about to get. What if the flowers clash with the rest of my planting scheme in my newly-developed borders? I really should have waited to choose a planting colour scheme that would tie in better with what I already have – but I just couldn’t wait until May to even begin my new border. So, if you see a rhododendron without flowers this spring – it may be that I just can’t live with that colour and I’m out every morning making amends for my rash decisions.


Flowering plants looking great right now:


Allium ‘Purple Sensation’. Buy them in pots now, or for a more cost effective display next spring, buy packets of bulbs to plant this autumn.


Viburnum Opulus Roseum. The snowball tree has tennis ball-sized clusters of white flowers that look like snowballs right now.


AFTER


COCKERMOUTH ALLOTMENT & GARDEN ASSOCIATION


Winter was not particularly harsh, but several members have reported the unexpected loss of shrubs, herbaceous perennials and fruit bushes. These losses were probably due to the very warm dry weather last summer, which put the plants under a lot of stress and the winter was enough to kill them. Unfortunately, we may find a few shrubs and fruit trees will perhaps give their best display or crop ever this year but then will die next year. This also happened after the long hot summer of 1976.


It would be prudent for all gardeners to take monthly photographs of their gardens and allotments to be able to look back at the condition of all plants, so problems can be monitored, and condition and colour of leaves and flowers can be compared, year on year. These comparisons can act as early warnings of problems.


All of us will have heard or read the warnings of water becoming a precious resource in the future. We can all do something to help mitigate this. Collect rainwater for the garden or allotment with water butts from any shed, greenhouse or even a rainwater pipe interceptor on your


house. The stored water is then used to irrigate pots or the garden or on the allotment. Any ericaceous (lime hating) plant should always be watered with rainwater, as tap water tends to be slightly alkaline and this can build up and cause yellowing of the leaves, which will ultimately kill the plant.


We also need to ensure we remove all soil from weeds and plants, as the soil is the precious resource, we rely on to be the growing medium in our gardens and allotments. Keeping all gardens weed free can be hard work but is essential, as then crops and flowers have no competition. It is better to hand weed than use weed killers.


Keeping any area clear of


dandelion, nettle, dock and rose bay willow herb is essential long-term and will ensure the problem is not further spread to any neighbouring plot.


Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 28th May, at The Swan Inn on Kirkgate at 7.15pm for 7.30pm. Come along and join us to talk about all things gardening. We are contactable at: cagassociation@btinternet.com


ISSUE 431 | 23 MAY 2019 | 38


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