Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Sunshine Botanics

Yesterday saw my return to The Botanic Nursery for their monthly plant workshop on unusual plants for lime tolerant soils. I think most people were put off by the snow flurries and hail, but as you can see, most of the time was spent in delightful clear sunshine. I was the only one there so 1:1 tuition was on offer for topics of my choice.

The nursery's transformed into a mass of green since my last visit. The glasshouses are full to bursting with choice plants - they're exhibiting at no less than 3 shows next week - one in France plus RHS London and Cardiff. By the time I catch up with Terry at Cardiff next Friday, I suspect he'll be exhausted. The pictured area was being 'tidied' ready for the next batch off plants to be set outside for hardening off. Alison was pricking out so industriously whilst I was there, I think they may run out of space quite soon.

I asked about my 'challenging' RHS seeds - Terry was much more relaxed about them and suggested I let nature take its course instead of fiddling around with things like cold stratification. In view of the time it'll take for the seeds to germinate, anything I do to try and hurry along the process won't actually save much time. I'll be taking his advice and I'll find a nice tucked away spot in a north facing part of the garden to let the seeds quietly get on with doing their thing. We have a gravelled side path to nowhere at the front of the house, so I think this will be a good spot.

We then took our customary walk around the shrub garden, gravel areas and glasshouses to see what was what. It was the perfect time for cherry blossom and a Snowy mespilus was in full flight too. Terry collected some cuttings material as we went and I then received a masterclass in softwood cuttings - I got to keep them too. I was then left to look around the nursery area - lots of plants were jotted down in my notebook for future reference. Uncharacteristically I resisted a couple of Heucheras ('Obsidian' and 'Lime Rickey'), but I did come away with a very large pot of Brunnera macropylla 'Jack Frost' I've been after for a while.

Two cups of coffee, chocolate Hob Nobs plus masses of knowledge and inspiration. Perfect.

9 comments:

  1. oooh, where in France are they showing. I wonder if they get as far as Agen.

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  2. Hm, they won't go to Sweden, I guess?

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  3. Sounds like I missed a real treat-but I'm so glad you had a masterclass. And chocolate biscuits too.zxmwio

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  4. Oh what a blissful way to spend a day and how lucky you were to have one to one tuition. Good advice about the seeds - my rosa rubriginosa seeds itself about merrily in a gravel path - when I have tried to sow seeds I have not had much luck !

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  5. Sounds like a wonderful day. Great to have one on one tutorial
    regards
    karen

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  6. Some things about gardening are the same no matter where in the world you are. On a recent trip to a garden center here the speakers raved about the same heuchera you mentioned and the Jack Frost brunnera. Like you, I am definitely going to pick up some brunnera this year. Sounds like a great way to spend the day.

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  7. I would have loved to be along as a fly on the wall ... or as a ladybug hovering. It must have been a wonderful day ... I am glad to hear the advice about challenging seeds. My seeds arrived and several of the clematis require two periods of cold stratification. (It said easy germination in the catalogue). Sorry about my previous comment. I meant to say 'cat' and typed 'cake' instead - what I'd really like to be having right now!

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  8. dnd - I think the shows he does are just outside Paris and St Malo :(

    rosengeranium - I suspect that's a wee bit too far for a small busines in the UK to go to. He is getting more internet savvy come September though

    Threadspider - there's always next month's...

    Anna - it was fantastic. Terry gave me R. rubringinosa cutting at January's workshop.

    Karen - yes it was. Will catch up with you properly over the weekend

    Rose - I have a real soft spot for Heucheras. There's no room for any more, but I bet I'll be buying at least these 2 sometime. The Brunnera's well worth getting too.

    Dragonstar - lovely to see you again!

    Kate - we'll record the next one for you ;) I'm with you on the cake too...

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