Birmingham Botanical Gardens Birmingham Botanical Gardens Mon, 19 Mar 2018 10:03:38 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 GARDENER’S BLOG – MARCH 2018 Thu, 01 Mar 2018 06:00:21 +0000 The gardening staff have been on a bit of [...]

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The gardening staff have been on a bit of an adventure of late, exhibiting the National Cyclamen Collection at the RHS Early Spring Show in Westminster and winning gold! It took weeks to prepare for; plants had to be picked over and monitored around the clock, we had to plan out a design for the display and work out the logistics to allow us to attend. The gardens have not exhibited at a major RHS show for over fifteen years, so it has been a real learning curve for many of us.

In addition to this, a number of grasses and herbaceous plants have been divided and repositioned in the grass garden. Some of the clumps of ornamental grasses have become too large and have flopped over with the weight of the foliage, not quite the look we are going for. However, we like to leave the grasses for as long as possible before we cut then back because the seed heads catch the winter frosts beautifully and look stunning for our visitors.

The team have also been making plans for the summer displays on the terrace – a couple of large shrubs have already been removed from around the pavilion to allow for visitors to admire the view. Dahlias will once again be making a welcome return to the terrace, as well as a number of new varieties, which are being purchased currently.

Meanwhile, the indoor team will be busy re-potting the orchids in the Subtropical House Orchid Case. Early spring is a great time to re-pot them as they have finished flowering and new stem growth is about to come through. Once they are taken out of their pots, all the old compost is removed and any dead roots are trimmed off. We then select a big terracotta pot that has enough space for two years growth and cover the plant in orchid compost. This consists of 10 parts medium grade pine bark, 5 parts fine grade pine bark, 1 ½ parts of perlite and ¼ part granulated charcoal. Bark is also used as many orchids are epiphytes; growing on tree branches in the wild for support.

Lastly, Daffodils grown in pots and cold frames over the winter will now be brought into the cool greenhouse. Green garden canes and string will be used to stake the tall flowers to stop them from falling over. These will also be used in the 21m long floral display in the Mediterranean House during March.

Seasonal Tips for March

If you aren’t sure of what needs to be done in your own garden, why not follow our seasonal tips for March below:

  • Give any bulbs that you have in pots a high-potassium feed every 10-14 days to prolong the display, as well helping the bulb replenish it stores for next year.
  • Lift and split herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses. Not only does it increase your stock, it also allows you to fill up any bare areas in your garden. If you only re-plant the younger growth and discard the old material it will also provide the plants with renewed vigour to grow.
  • Turn your compost heaps. On a cold day this job will warm you up and it will allow the layers of material to mix together, letting in air and helping material to rot. This gives you a much better chance of making high-quality garden compost.
  • Start planting summer flowering bulbs such as Lilles and Gladiolus for a summer display or to use as cut flowers for your house.
  • As Rose buds are fattening up, it’s the perfect time to prune your roses to an outward facing bud.
  • It’s important to clean glasshouses and cold frames ready for the new growing season.
  • Wash plant pots and seed trays to prevent pests and diseases from damaging precious young plants.
  • Sow hardy annuals seeds such as sweet peas (if you didn’t get round to doing it in the autumn) – remember that April will be too late to do this.
  • Start feeding houseplants with a high nitrogen fertiliser every 7 to 14 days to encourage growth.
  • Place Canna, Dahlias and Ginger Lilies in a warm spot in the glasshouse and give them a good water to encourage new growth. Seasonal Tips for March Seasonal Gardening Tips for March Gardening Tips

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Worth our weight in gold – RHS Early Spring Show round-up Tue, 27 Feb 2018 12:29:52 +0000 Our on site team won gold for their National [...]

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Our on site team won gold for their National Collection of Cyclamen, a first for Birmingham Botanical Gardens!

Worth our weight in gold - RHS Early Spring Show round-up

Nigel Hopes, Horticultural Senior Supervisor (External Areas), who heads up the management of the National Collection, alongside the rest of the gardening team including, Wayne Williams (Senior Horticulturist (internal areas)), Chris Howell, Eddie Adams and Josh Tranter had a lot to say about this fantastic achievement and what it means for the gardens. 

Nigel, what was it that attracted you to Cyclamen in particular?

My first encounter with Cyclamen was when I visited Ashwood Nurseries on a cold January morning when I was thirteen years old. I saw what appeared to be huge drifts of dainty and delicate pink, white and magenta flowers and I thought, ‘how on earth do they survive and flower during the winter?’ The little tiny Cyclamen that I was admiring was, of course, Cyclamen coum, which is incredibly hardy and can survive even the worst of the winter weather.

How did you get involved in the Cyclamen National Collection?

When I first started working at the gardens in 2005, the collection of Cyclamen was quite small with only a few potted specimens. I then brought in plants from my own collection at home and started propagating seed donations from Ashwood Nurseries in 2010, all of which sat alongside the colonies of Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen coum that have always been planted in the open garden at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Then, in 2012, our Plant Records Officer, and the Chairman of our Horticultural Committee Vic Aspland, mentioned the idea of trying to achieve ‘National Collection’ status. Vic is also president of the Cyclamen Society – the perfect person to have heading up this initiative. Over the years, more and more plants and seeds have been sourced and donated to us. Then, in 2015, we started pulling together the paper work for the collection; we also held regular meetings with the Plant Heritage Regional Coordinator, all in the hope of achieving the much-coveted ‘National Collection’ title.  As of July 2016, we now own one of two National Cyclamen collections. 

What’s your favorite Cyclamen and why?

Depends on the time of year, but I don’t really think that I could possibly pick one particular species out. They are all so stunning and have held my attention since I was young. Only something special can stay with you from 13 all the way up into adulthood. 

How did you all prepare for the show as a team?

Nigel: It took six weeks of planning to workout the logistics of transporting the collection, as well as and sourcing what materials we would need to build a display from scratch. I also had to contact a tree nursery in Tenbury Wells called Frank P. Matthews at short notice. They were fantastic and kindly agreed to let us loan six-specimen Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Snow Queen’ and a number of pines to form the backdrop of our display. Without these plants we could not have created the landscaped flora exhibit at the show.

I also wanted to make a number of educational interpretation boards as I wanted to encourage people to grow this wonderful genus in their own gardens.

Chris: To actually create the design itself we laid tarpaulin on the floor and marked it up with props before taking photos. This helped us to not only plan out the display but also to transport everything and be able to reconstruct it in London.

We were worried that the terracotta pots the Cyclamen were growing in would be too heavy for the tables at the show however, they held well and we were able to fill the gaps with newspaper, adding the final touches including the bark chippings and name labels.

What goes into preparing for a show like the RHS Early Spring Show?

Nigel: Generally, some exhibitors will plan everything out twelve months in advance, sometimes even longer depending on the exhibit. We didn’t have this much time and had to cram the whole process into a few weeks. Planning involved constant contact with suppliers and the RHS organisers to ensure everything ran smoothly. As well as this, all the plants must be at their best; the Birmingham Botanical Gardens team continually monitor and care for the collection all year round.

In addition, it took a while to plan how to get the plants to the show; it was a decision we took a lot of time over. You have to be very good at Tetris to pack the van and make sure everything is loaded safely and, above all, that the plants arrive at the Show in perfect condition.

Nigel, where did funding come from, what did you have to do?

We were lucky enough to get sponsorship from the RHS. I attended a new exhibitors conference ran by Helen Boem at the Malvern Spring Show and subsequently applied for a new exhibitors bursary; a pot of money that the RHS offer annually to new exhibitors who have not exhibited at an RHS show before. However, we did not get the bursary because we were not a grower or nursery.

However, Helen then contacted me and told me that there maybe another opportunity for funding and that I should not give up just yet. A couple of months passed and I was contacted by the London Show Manager, Graeme Maynard, at the end of November to see if we would still be interested in exhibiting if the RHS sponsored us with two thirds of the money that we would need to exhibit at the RHS Early Spring Show. We jumped at the chance and were thrilled to be able to consider exhibiting again. Without the RHS, and the help of Helen Boem, Graeme Maynard and Dario Spagnoli, we would not have been able to exhibit the collection. A big thank you goes out to all that made it possible.

What are the benefits of presenting at an RHS Show, regardless of winning or not? 

Nigel: Advertising, letting people know that we are in Birmingham and that we are an independent educational charity. It also allows the collection to be appreciated by people who attend these show.

Chris: Networking is key. We swapped numbers with a few other gardeners as we may consider swapping plants in the future. As well as this, reputation is another important point. As we have one of two National Cyclamen collections, we have a responsibility to show it off and exhibit them as much as we can. Not many people show Cyclamen and they aren’t big with the RHS, so many people rely on us for advice.

What does winning gold mean to you?

Nigel: Fantastic, it was worth all of the effort and the sleepless nights.

Josh: It was great that, as an apprentice, I could help the other gardeners on this project, and get the experience of a real RHS Show. Not every trainee gets this and I’m thrilled that, on top of that, we won gold!

What does winning gold mean for the Birmingham Botanical Gardens?

Nigel: It helps to raise the profile of the gardens and also open doors regarding more possible funding and sponsorship opportunities. 

Wayne: Now that we have won gold, we are also going to be taken more seriously. We are very proud of what we have achieved at Birmingham Botanical Gardens and are thrilled that people are acknowledging the work we are putting in.

What did you enjoy most about the RHS Show and taking the Cyclamen along?

Nigel: That it was a real team effort and it’s an experience that we are never going to forget.

Chris: Yes, the buzz was amazing – the show was full on and is a first for a number of our gardeners. It was a good experience for them and amazing for all of us to be able to work together as a team on such a prestigious project.

It’s also great to be able to see what other gardeners are up to and what they are achieving. It gives us ideas for the future, but also allows us to appreciate different varieties of plants and the achievements of our contemporaries.

Wayne: I enjoyed interacting with the visitors, teaching them about Cyclamen and answering their questions. A common question about Cyclamen is their life expectancy. Many people think they are dead when they are actually dormant – not many people realise they have a dormancy period and it was great to be able to share that. We also had a lot of people asking if we sold them – sadly we don’t, but if you attend the National Cyclamen Society shows, they sell a wide variety of them. Just remember, it can take up to 3 years to get a flower!

What’s next for you and the gardens, any future shows? 

Nigel: Only time will tell. If we were to exhibit at any other shows we would have to obtain sponsorship or a donation to allow us to have another opportunity.

What will happen to the display now?

Nigel: The plants have now been returned to their homes in the nursery, but plants from the show will appear in the Alpine house at the gardens. The display took around twenty-four hours to construct and only one and half to break up and pack into the van.

Vic Aspland, Chairman of the Horticultural Committee at Birmingham Botanical Gardens and president of the Cyclamen Society had this to say, “This was a great tribute to the contributions of many people. The Gardens’ horticultural team rose triumphantly to the challenge of staging the exhibit. I was lucky to recruit two volunteers (Roy Skidmore and Denise Bridges) who help to maintain the plants on a weekly basis, so there were plenty of good things to choose from. Quite a few of the plants in the collection were obtained through my numerous contacts in the horticultural world. Horticulturalists are well-known for their generosity in sharing plants! Some of the Cyclamen persicum used in the display were raised from seed collected in Jordan by the Centre d’Ecologie, Montpellier and sent to me some years ago. The interest in Cyclamen is international! The National Collection at the Botanical Gardens has many supporters and friends. I am sure that it will go from strength to strength.”

This is a fantastic achievement for Birmingham Botanical Gardens and is an experience the gardeners will never forget. We have a feeling they will enjoy plenty more success with this collection in the near future.

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RHS Early Spring Plant Fair Thu, 08 Feb 2018 11:55:29 +0000 It’s that time of year again – the gardening [...]

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It’s that time of year again – the gardening season has started and we can’t wait to get out and show-off some of our amazing plants!

From 13–14 February, our Horticultural Senior Supervisor Nigel Hopes is kick-starting the gardening season by exhibiting a number of Cyclamen species at this year’s RHS Early Spring Plant Fair.

He will be taking along our stunning Cyclamen species, all of which are from the National collection held at Birmingham Botanical Gardens and will be presented in a landscaped display, as well as on their own, alongside information on growing and propagating this lovely genius.

The main focus of the display is going to be Cyclamen persicum, a beautiful specimen which is generally overlooked because it is not frost hardy. This species has been hybridised to give us the florist Cyclamen we know today, which tends to be the first cyclamen that many come across. The straight species is elegant with a powerful scent, perfect for a cool window ledge, frost free greenhouse or porch.

We will also be displaying the fabulous diversity of the well-known garden favourite Cyclamen hederifolium, proving it’s not just the flowers that are attractive – the leaves are magnificent in their own right.

Held at Lawrence and Lindley Halls, there’s plenty going on with free workshops, street food, and a free drink on entry, as well as a variety of exhibitors each showing off their early spring blooms.

There’s still time to get your tickets, simply follow the link for more information:

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Gardener’s Blog – February 2018 Wed, 31 Jan 2018 15:08:07 +0000 This month we’re focusing on preparing the grounds for [...]

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This month we’re focusing on preparing the grounds for spring, planting new climbers and carrying out some essential pruning in our much-loved gardens.

In February everything starts to come alive, with winter flowering shrubs adding colour and scent around the pathways and countless Hamamelis, Viburnum and Sarcococca springing into life. Visitors may even be lucky enough to see a peppering of snowdrops, having been planted around the gardens over the last few years. Emblematic of spring, these delights are often the first sign of warmer weather ahead. In addition to this, hellebores and winter aconites will be putting on a show under the glowing stems of dogwoods and willows. Evidently, the winter border will be looking at its best, with a variety of flowers and plants brightening it up and welcoming spring to the gardens.

The Alpine house will soon be full of colour too, with many potted bulbs starting to burst through and blooming in bright colours. Crocus, Iris and snowdrops will provide a backdrop for a number of Cyclamen that will be blossoming soon. On the subject of Cyclamen, the Cyclamen society will be having its winter show at the gardens on Sunday 4th February; you can find more information here.


Credit: Josh Tranter, Horticulture Apprentice





Moving through the gardens, you’ll be able to see that a number of hedges are still being cut and pruned. After a number of years, some of our hedges become large and wild – by reducing their height it allows them to be maintained much more easily. This is not the ideal time of year to be cutting hedges this drastically, but the outside team can spare the time to carry out large tasks like this in winter months.

We are also working on repairing worn grass areas after parts were slightly damaged after the Christmas lighting event. Hopefully, if the weather will allow and we do not get too much rain or snow, we can use fresh topsoil to level the ground in preparation for over seeding and, in some areas, laying new turf. To prevent weed growth we will also be adding our own homebrewed compost, also helping to conserve water and prevent the ground drying out in the summer months.

In the glasshouses, the team will be busy improving the interpretation labels on the educational plants in the Subtropical House. The labels are a great way of teaching visitors about the importance of plants, using fun and interesting facts. Most of our plants are used in the production of many household and commonly used items such as tea, bamboo and cotton.








Moreover, the Mediterranean House will have an extra four different coloured Bougainvillea vines planted in it, creating a rainbow of colour. In addition to the Bougainvillea ‘San Diego Red’, there will be B. ‘Alexandra’ (purple), B. ‘Orange King’, B. ‘Golden Tango’ (golden-yellow) and B. ‘White Cascade’. Although not currently at their best, they will be big, bright and bold come April time.

Become a Member

If you enjoy visiting the gardens, why not become a member today. Members make a vital contribution to the gardens and their support means that our staff can continue their work and keep the gardens growing for years to come.

Not only will you receive free unlimited entry to The Birmingham Botanical Gardens, you also gain free entry to many other celebrated gardens across the UK. Please visit our Membership page to find out more.

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Friends Book Sale Mon, 29 Jan 2018 11:12:54 +0000 Where: Terrace Suite
Date: 4th March
Time: 11am-4pm
Doors Open 10.00am
Admission: Free
Join us for our annual [...]

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Where: Terrace Suite

Date: 4th March

Time: 11am-4pm

Doors Open 10.00am

Admission: Free

Join us for our annual Secondhand Book Sale in the beautiful surroundings of Birmingham Botanical Gardens!

We will have a wide variety of books for sale, generously donated by our visitors and members. All proceeds will go towards the Botanical Gardens, helping towards the upkeep and maintenance of these beautiful and historic gardens.

If you have any books, CDs or DVDs you are looking to donate please bring them along any time before the fair – we’re more than happy to accept them! Just drop them off at reception anytime between 10 am and 5 pm.

Please contact reception for more details.

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Gardener’s Blog – January 2018 Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:30:48 +0000 Happy New Year to you all, we are all [...]

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Happy New Year to you all, we are all looking forward to the next twelve months.

Firstly, we have to wait for the removal of the light trail, we hope you all managed to see the display, the Fire Garden was awesome.

When the display is out the gardeners will be aerating grass areas, and turning over trodden on soil in the beds to help alleviate compaction, which is bad news for root growth.  Obviously, this is very weather dependent, too wet or frozen you can cause more harm than good.

Once the compacted soil in the beds has been turned over, our homemade compost will be spread, not so much to add nutrient as to add organic matter.  This will help improve soil structure, hopefully encouraging worms and improve drainage.

Tree ties will be checked for space for the next year’s growth, tree labels will be loosened again to give growing space.  If the tree is thriving any tree stakes will be removed, allowing the tree to form its own anchoring roots and encouraging it to stand by itself.  Tree stakes left supporting trees for too long can stop trees developing correctly, they become dependent on the stakes and never develop basal flare which helps them to sway in the wind, not stand rigid.

All winter protection will be examined and made good if necessary.  The snow of December caused some damage to our conifers, the golden conifer to the rear of the Lawn Aviary has lost two large lower boughs and various other conifers have opened up as the weight of the snow has brought the branches down.  If you are quick and knock the snow off, the branches will sometimes bounce back, no harm done.  But, sometimes the branches stay bent.  Snow on shrub beds can be a good thing though as it can act as an insulator, protecting some plants.

If you come to the Gardens, watch out for flowering shrubs, at this time of the year many are scenting the air, especially on still, sunny days.  Our viburnums, lonicera and hamamelis are all strutting their stuff, luckily many are planted by paths so you can see them easily.

It is also great to see new growth, our snowdrops, early daffodils and winter aconites are showing growth, and it is not too late to cut the leaves off your hellebores before the flowers are hidden by them.

We will also be taking a good look at some of our borders.  The grasses in the Grass Garden need splitting and moving away from the paths and some of the plants in the sub-tropical borders on the Terrace need pruning, decisions need to be made.

So make the most of the fine winter weather and see you around.

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Gardener’s Blog – December 2017 Fri, 01 Dec 2017 08:00:30 +0000 It is that time of year again when it [...]

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It is that time of year again when it is getting cold and you don’t feel like leaving the house, but you must, the Christmas Lights are spectacular this year.  The ‘Fire Garden’ is a must see, as are the trees that are all lit up, showing the bark off to perfection.

Although the gardens are covered in lights and lots of people are passing through, work still has to continue.

We are still collecting leaves, the new machine is making short work of lifting the piles into the trailer and everyone seems very happy with it, so money well spent!  As the leaves are cut up quite small the compost next year should be wonderful.

We are busy taking our home made compost around the gardens and distributing on the shrub and flower beds, it always shows off the plants to great effect and gives them that important injection of nutrients to see them through the Winter.

We will be checking our winter protection on a regular basis to make sure it is doing what it is supposed to.  Make sure, as we have that your taps are protected.

Our ponds are being cleared of leaves so that pumps don’t get blocked up and the water stays sweet for the aquatic life in there.

We are also busy working out the next stage of the playground refurbishment, one thing we definitely need is more drainage and now is the time to put it in, no point in putting it in too early if you then have to dig it out for the next instalment.

Our tree reports have now been completed and we are asking permission from the Council to carry out the work, you may well see the tree gangs on site.

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Christmas Gift Membership: the perfect gift this Christmas Fri, 03 Nov 2017 10:19:01 +0000 Birmingham Botanical Gardens is really excited to reveal the design for its Christmas gift membership this year.

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Looking for a unique Christmas gift?

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is really excited to reveal the design for its Christmas gift membership this year.

Finding the right gift for someone at Christmas can be challenging, but luckily this year, it doesn’t have to be. Our Christmas gift membership is the perfect gift for that special someone who enjoys beautiful gardens, fun events or just being in the great outdoors.

Presented in a beautifully designed gift wallet, the pack allows the recipient unlimited free entry into the Gardens, with one accompanying guest free of charge on every visit. Members can enjoy a whole host of other benefits, including:

  • Free entry to other celebrated Gardens across the UK including Kew Gardens and The Living Rainforest
  • Discount in the gift shop
  • Two complimentary guest day passes
  • Fun and free activities throughout the year

Each membership helps to keep the Gardens growing. Without your support, we would not be able to continue the work that we have done for nearly 200 years.

Your gifted membership will run from 31st December 2017 to 31st December 2018.

For more details and to order yours online, visit our membership page and don’t forget to tick the Christmas Gift option.

Buy Membership


Christmas Gift Membership

Treat someone to Membership at Birmingham Botanical Gardens this Christmas


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Gardeners’ Blog – November 2017 Thu, 02 Nov 2017 16:04:04 +0000 November is once again upon us, and our Fabulous [...]

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November is once again upon us, and our Fabulous Fireworks event is taking place on Saturday, November 4, the colours adding to the already colourful display on the trees.

We have had some high winds across the Gardens, but they have not managed to denude the trees of their leaves yet.  We are busy using our new leaf sucker to get up the huge piles of leaves.  It is a piece of machinery that is worth its weight in gold.  An added benefit is that it cuts the leaves up and so our leaf mould will be produced quite quickly: all of the cut edges make entry points for the bacteria and fungi that aid decomposition.  When you empty the trailer, the strata of leaves packed in there is very interesting – it also holds about four of our old hand-filled trailer lots in one load.  This equals more time to collect leaves and less time running back and forth to the compost bay!

Last year’s leaf mould is now a rich crumbly black and is ready to put into the Winter Border where it will form a perfect foil to the emerging spring bulbs next year. This is obviously not its main attribute: putting much-needed humus and nutrients back into the soil is its primary function.

Tender perennials are once again being lifted and placed in pots of free-draining compost in a cool, dry greenhouse.  The salvias, cannas and bananas from the Grass Garden have really made a good show this year and if we look after them now they will again next year.  We are constantly adding to our collection of salvias hoping to increase interest.

The dahlias have thrived in their new home on the Loudon Terrace, personally, I thought it would be too warm and dry for them, but they have performed well, eventually.  New varieties are being sourced so that we can add more flower types and colours.

Tender plants that cannot be brought in are being covered with hessian and straw, to help them cope with the cold weather.

The second section of the Herbaceous Border is ready to be covered in compost and dug over.  Now the students are back from half term, they will be doing this as part of their practical study, as well as digging over and planting the last of the winter bedding on the Terrace. Only another couple of thousand plants and bulbs to go…!

The plants for the Herbaceous Border are in the nursery and if the weather stays clement they may be planted this side of Christmas.

The Main Lawn has really grown well after having all that loving care and attention lavished on it in September, and it has coped very well with the huge numbers of families using it over the Halloween festivities.  It is now ready for its final cut of the year.

Most of the lawn will be fenced off later in the month to allow the installation of Christmas at the Botanical Gardens. We cannot wait to see the Gardens in a different light – we hope to see you there!

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Gardeners’ Blog – October 2017 Thu, 28 Sep 2017 11:34:49 +0000 Welcome to October – the month of glorious colourful [...]

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Welcome to October – the month of glorious colourful leaves.  We will be picking up leaves all month and well into November and beyond.  As always, the leaves will be composted in the Nursery Yard and returned to the soil next autumn/winter.  We have a large pile of leaf litter ready to bring out into the Gardens to help revitalise the beds that have been working so hard over the last growing season.

The vast majority of the bedding has been planted but the bulbs are still waiting to go in.  There will be thousands of tulips on the Terrace, and these will add grace and elegance to the beds in April and May.

The main lawn was scarified, aerated, top dressed, over- seeded and fertilised by a team from ALS who brought in three tractors and 7 tonnes of top dressing to do the job.  It rained just after the work was complete which was ideal as the water was able to penetrate the soil and helped wash the top dressing and fertiliser into the soil.  The peacocks had a great time pecking up the recently sown grass seed. By the middle of October, the grass should be looking very green and lush, all the ravages of the last season put to rest (that is if the peacocks have left any seed).

We will be aerating and over-seeding other areas of the lawns as necessary.  In particular, the Terrace grass will be spiked with a garden fork to allow water and air to get to the grass roots.  This time of the year is perfect for this as the soil will be quite soft – so the fork will penetrate with ease.  Remember if you are doing this yourself, place the fork prongs into the soil and then use your foot to push the fork into the ground.  Don’t try and stab the fork in using your arms and shoulders as this will hurt.

We received delivery of over 600 plants ready for planting in the second section of the Herbaceous Border.  These plants represent the ‘hot end’ of the colour spectrum, the reds, oranges and yellows.  The bed needs final removal of the let over plants, digging and composting, and then replanting, we hope to get Birmingham Metropolitan College horticultural students involved.  The Nursery Yard looks very colourful at the moment with all the plants in flower in the frames.

Towards the end on the month, the dahlias will be lifted as will all the other tender perennials.  Some of these empty blank spaces, in the Grass Garden in particular, will be filled with light installations for Christmas at the Botanical Gardens.  Other tender plants will be wrapped in hessian or covered with straw.

The Cacti bed on the Terrace will be stripped after the Cactus and Succulent Show which is here on the 1st of October.  They will be moved to their winter home in the Butterfly House where they can be kept drier than outside in the Gardens.  The cacti could cope with our cold winter as normal temperature ranges in deserts are from minus 15°C to over 40°C in a single day, but they resent sitting with wet roots.

The indoor team have been busy replacing the interpretation labels for the educational plants in the Tropical House. Next time you walk through, be sure to read interesting facts on plants that we use in everyday life. Plants that we use for food, clothing, shelter, fuel, medicine and social reasons are interpreted. These include, chocolate, panama hat plant, screw pine, rubber, cardamom and peepul tree.

Now that we have passed the autumn equinox, the glasshouse team will reduce watering and stop feeding the plants in the glasshouses. Plant growth will now slow rapidly and with lower temperatures will not need so much food and water.

The Mediterranean House will have its floral display changed this month. The summer display of Begonias, Petunias and Cannas will be swapped for Plectranthus (Coleus), Chrysanthemums and Veltheimia.

Although it is only autumn, the indoor team are already thinking of spring blooms. Daffodils, tulips and Christmas flowering hyacinths will be planted in pots in the nursery this month to provide an early spring display in the Mediterranean House. These will be placed in a cool, dark cold frame outside to encourage a good root system before being brought into a bright and warm greenhouse in December, January and February for an early spring.

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