Gardeners’ Blog – June 2016

We will finally finish the bedding out; it has taken longer than usual as the plants were slow to put on growth. Weather conditions have not been favourable with some very cold nights and low light levels. Each bed, after it has been emptied, has been turned over and fertilized, and the plants have been well watered on planting. The bedding should be watered as necessary as dry windy conditions can cause scorching of the leaves which does not look pretty.

You will also notice work starting in the Alpine Yard. The foundations and dwarf walls are being built in readiness for the erection of a new Alpine House, kindly donated by Hartley Botanics.

But, most of the month will be taken up by mowing and weeding.

All grass areas where bulbs have been growing can finally be mown. We have to wait until the foliage has turned brown and died down, putting as much nourishment back into the bulb as possible, ready for producing great flowers next spring. Existing congested clumps of snowdrops will be split before they die back completely, increasing the population of these wonderful spring flowers.

All our shrub and flower borders will be weeded as often as possible, we obviously want to remove weeds for the aesthetic look of the Gardens. But, it is important to try and remove as many weeds as possible before they flower and seed, helping to reduce the weed seeds around for next year. Weeds are great opportunists taking advantage of warmth and moisture to complete their life cycle in a few weeks.

Finally, one task that we all dislike but is vitally important is clearing up rubbish. Our rubbish is treated in several ways.

We recycle as much as possible in the recycling bins labelled for glass, plastic bottles and aluminium cans. But if the bins contain too much food waste and cardboard coffee cups the Council cannot recycle them so, please help us by putting the rubbish in the correct bins – it is horrible sorting mouldy food and coffee cups out of the bins on a Monday morning.

Other rubbish that cannot be composted is put in the skip which then gets taken to the tip.

Our team is enjoying seeing the reaction from visitors young and old who are enjoying the Butterfly House, which is now open for the season.

Our senior horticulturalist, Wayne, has worked very hard to fill the sanctuary with nectar plants, sugar water feeders and fruit that butterflies will love.

Now that it’s open, he can concentrate on adding more colourful pots in the Mediterranean House central beds. This year, he hopes to have six different Bougainvillea (red, orange, yellow, pink, white and purple) in flower by the end of the summer. This promises to look truly spectacular, so we hope you enjoy the display.

This month, the glasshouse team will also be finishing the gravelling of the central beds. In total, we’ll have used a staggering four tonnes – that’s a lots of work!

If you’re visiting the glasshouses this month, look out for Wayne’s standout plant: the Mexican flame vine (Pseudogynoxys chenopodiodes). This can be found in the Compositae Bed in the Subtropical House. This unusual daisy relative is a climbing plant and has red-orange flowers and evergreen leaves.

Chris’ favourite plants at the moment are the Azaleas in the Azalea Walk the colours and scents are glorious, even on a miserable day.