On Tuesdays I spend the day gardening in a wonderful garden that sits at the top of gently inclining hill and is surrounded by farm land. The garden is around one and half acres and has numerous and very large beds in which grow a tremendous variety of plants, including many very large shrubs which are impressive in their scale. I am particularly looking forward to the Autumn when Euonymous alatus will be a mass of fiery red foliage, though there is of course plenty of interest now and to come in the months ahead.
Today I noticed that since last Tuesday the Magnolias have suddenly burst into life; there are four in different parts of the garden, once of which is particularly large and impressive. I am not enirely sure of the species or varieties but have given my best guess:
The first two shots (not great as taken in the middle of the day!) of the grand old tree show what I think is Magnolia x soulangeana.
The following two pictures show what I believe to be two varieties of Magnolia stellata. The first is possibly ‘Waterlily’ [Update 24th April 2012: I have since discovered that the first of these is infact Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel] and the second ‘Centennial’, though this is just a guess and may be entirely wrong!
In the garden at home I noticed that the Osmanthus delavayi was a mass of frothy, delicate, scented white flowers. I do like this plant, its arching branches and evergreen glossy foliage are graceful and delicate.
And to finish, A shot looking across some of the many roses at Perryhill Nursery (where I also work a couple of days a week (there are not enough days in the week for all this working!!) as the day draws to an end.
The garden is alive with activity: on the warmer days bees are out in force looking for early nectar, bumping into me as they go; seeds are being sown at a frenetic pace ; a new border has been made on the edge of the drive using topsoil, garden compost and mushroom compost (that has been sitting around since last autumn), planted up and mulched with bark chippings; the first autumn sown sweet peas have been planted out as they were outgrowing the root trainers and starting to get rather unruly; pruning of Cornus, Buddjela, Hydrangea, grasses etc. has all finally been completed … the list of jobs that need to be done seems to grow far more quickly than I actually get things done!
On top of all of this life is taking a new and exciting turn; I am now working a couple of days week at Perryhill Nurseries in Hartfield, East Sussex. Despite having only done this for a few weeks so far I am learning a great deal about plants that I think it would be difficult to pick up just from reading books and pottering about in my own garden and the garden of clients …. yes indeed, clients! I am now fully set up as a gardener (a.k.a Crafting Your Garden) and enjoying the challenges that this raises. Today I spent 4 hours pruning a mass of Cornus and the list of things to be getting on with week-by-week grows with each visit.
Gardening for others is quite different to gardening for oneself; all those little shortcuts that you might take in your own garden you certainly don’t do in a client’s garden, everything must be completed to the highest standard. I also think that it takes time to become completely comfortable both with the client and with their garden; it is necessary to watch and to learn how the client interacts with their garden, which parts and plants they most value, and to try and understand what their garden means to them.
So there we have it, short and sweet as I think most posts will have to be from now on as the season gets into full swing. Happy gardening to all!