A little over a year ago BBC Gardeners Question Time came to Forde Abbey. I was fortunate enough to be picked to put forward a question to the Panel on behalf of Tatworth and District Horticultural Society. The Panel comprised Anne Swithinbank, Bob Flowerdew and Christine Walkden under the Chairmanship of Peter Gibbs.
My question was: “The nearby village of Tatworth has many streams and was once known as Seven Streams. What colourful plants would the panel recommend planting in addition to, say, Astilbe and Marsh Marigold, in this very wet, fast running environment?”
Anne Swithinbank suggested initially Primula japonica (Candelabra) a large 12” bog plant and went on to recommend Butomus umbellatus a 4ft umbel shaped, aquatic AGM plant and also Darmera Peltata, again a large 6ft tall stemmed umbel shaped shaped flower on a tall stem.
Christine Walkden suggested Caltha Palustris (Marsh Marigold) a smaller 10” genus amongst others. She also suggested Trollius chinensis Imperial orange 36” bogplant and Primula denticulatea 18”.
Bob Flowerdew suggested a plant often regarded as a weed but very attractive, gold coloured (Golden Dock) Rumex maritimus.
Tatworth gardeners have now been placed firmly on the map with the 3 million listeners the programme attracts and I hope the answers are of use to those who garden with these rather wet conditions.
BBC web site Radio 4 Gardeners Question Time has past recordings easily accessible.
June Wildlife Alert
Hedgehogs are now well out of hibernation but with their poor eyesight and lack of road sense can we all keep an eye out on the village roads in the evenings perhaps when out for a walk. The other night I was crossing Langdons Way nr Glynsmead and a magnificent specimen of hedgehog was just sitting in the middle of the road. Fortunately I was there, tragedy was avoided and our friend was rewarded with some cat food (recommended food for hedgehogs) and shelter for the night. Later in the week in the evening it was seen happily trotting down the pavement so fingers crossed there is a happy hedgehog family and many more nearby.
- Liquid feed flowering plants particularly ericaceous feed for Rhododendrons/Azaleas Enkianthus, it will make a big difference.
- Sow annual seeds into the ground, its really worth buying a packet ready prepared if time is short, and lightly cover over with any soil. Add some string protection from birds but to help eliminate snails and slugs, collection at night with a torch is very worth while if you can bear doing it with a jam jar and gloves! They love to decimate many plants especially Hostas, bedding plants and certain water loving plants such as Ligularia etc can be destroyed in days.
- Complete container plantings, adding water crystals deep into the compost, it really can save the day if regular watering has been missed when away in a hot spell.
- Semi ripe cuttings can be taken now, best in mornings into a plastic bag, and important to plant with hormone rooting powder.
- Greenhouses should be checked for over-wintering pests, red spider mite in particular. A thorough soapy sponge-down works well as pathogens also hate detergents. Allow plenty of air circulation in hot days and dampening down is very important.
Enjoy June, hopefully with some decent weather, and next month I will continue with successful Plant Families.
Tony Arnold ACIHort.