Page 11 - HGS Suburb News 132 - Autumn 2017
P. 11

Revamping an herbaceous border

                                                                              Before...                                                                 ... and after.
         So,  like me,  you  have  been  the  garden.  Start  by  taking  a  it, you might as well condition  cumbersome to handle. Do get  often to see if the combinations   Once everything is planted,
         tending your plot for 20 odd  long hard look at the offending  the  soil,  so  stock  up  on  multi- help when lifting large root balls.  are  pleasing  on  the  eye;  give the borders a thorough
         years. You have nurtured it season  area.  Decide what works and  purpose compost, well-rotted  • Shrubs destined to stay put  rearranging now is far easier  watering (yes, even if it is
         after season, aiming for some  what does not, which plants you  manure and horticultural grit.  can be pruned at this time to  than after planting! When  raining) then finally apply a 2
         vague notion of perfection that’s  want to keep and which you would  It is worth buying a packet of  rejuvenate  &  create  a  better  planting, work from the back of  inch layer of well-rotted manure
         floating around in your mind’s  rather  relocate or give away.  Root Grow, mycorrhizal fungi,  shape. Removing the lowest  the border to the front, so as  mulch, being careful to avoid the
         eye. But the glorious tableau  Maybe you have new additions  to promote strong new root  branches to reveal the stem  not to compact the completed  crowns of plants.
         created at the height of summer  you wish to incorporate into  growth. Tools for the job are  gives a shrub a certain elegance,  areas. Dig a hole twice the size of   Water well about once a week
         always seems to lose its balance  the new scheme. Now would  border fork and spade, hand  as well as letting in light and air  the root ball, sprinkle RootGrow  especially if it is a dry autumn,
         by autumn. Thugs overshadowing  also be a good time to enlarge  fork & trowel, scoop, secateurs  and creating further planting  into the hole and onto roots,  then sit back and anticipate the
         gentler neighbours, sprawling  or reshape borders. Draw up a  and loppers.   opportunities at soil level.  then plant up, working in the  results next Spring.
         crowns of standard shrubs  plan on paper, roughly to scale,  • Remove perennials first as it  • Weed the border thoroughly,  new compost and grit.  CAROLINE BROOME
         starving light from sun loving  marking up areas of full sun,  gets them out of harm’s way,  ensuring deep rooted culprits
         perennials, which refuse to flower  part shade and full shade, dry  creating better access to all areas.  are completely removed.
         as a result. Ground cover has  or moist. As a rule of thumb  Store plants temporarily with   Once the border is cleared,
         flopped all over the lawn edges,  planting is all about layers:  some fresh multipurpose compost  it is time to recondition the soil.
         the hybrid teas are so tall that  Small trees or large shrubs first,  in large pots or sacks. In theory  It is likely that you have heavy
         their blooms can be seen from  then perennials, traditionally  they can stay containerised  clay soil, so add copious amounts
         space, bulbs that flowered years  tallest at back  graduating  to  indefinitely if kept moist and  of grit mixed 50/50 with multi-
         ago only producing leaves.   shortest at front, followed by  stored in a sheltered area, but  purpose  compost.  No need to
           You could make adjustments  ground cover and bulbs.   try to replant them before  dig it in; it will be worked into
         by lifting and dividing, moving   Here is  an annoying adage  temperatures drop to give them  the existing soil as you replant.
         or removing only certain plants.  for you from my glorious years  time to settle into warm soil.  Leaving the best ‘til last, it is
         Indeed autumn is the ideal time  in retail managment: Failure to  • Take the opportunity to divide  time to plant up your new
         to do this while the soil is still  prepare, prepare to fail. With  perennials as you  lift them.  border. Lay all the plants out in
         warm. But after a while repeating  this in mind these are the Must  This will not only rejuvenate  their desired positions first,
         this method piecemeal is just  Haves of the exercise: A ground  them but will also create more  preferably in groups of threes or
         not enough, leaving the border  sheet to spread over the adjacent  visual impact when replanting  fives, using your newly divided
         looking  fragmented. It  is time  lawn or paving, and plenty of  in groups.   clumps. Space about 9 inches apart
         to start again.          empty compost sacks, rubble  • Next to go should be any  for a dense effect. For a natural
           Before you plunge in, choose  bags and large plastic pots for  unwanted  shrubs.  It  is  a  good  informal look, avoid straight
         one border at a time, in order to  use as temporary storage of  idea to cut top growth down  lines; better to plant in drifts or
         minimize overall disruption to  lifted plants. Whilst you are at  before digging out, as less  triangles. Step back every so   Border rejuvinated

                                                                Horticultural Society                                      Suburb rainfall

                                                                    winners – again!                             We always like to feel that the   the effects of the summer rainfall,
                                                                                                                 Suburb is a very special place to   to give a somewhat, but not
                                                            Wednesday, October 4 was a good   and knowledge goes into both   live and that it leads the way in   very, below average amount for
                                                            night for Hampstead Garden   these gardens, which are also   how to make the most of its   2017. There is no real suggestion
                                                            Suburb Horticultural Society, as   open annually as part of The   surroundings. But change the   of any clear correlation between
                                                            committee  members  Caroline   National Garden Scheme and   weather just for our benefit?  the amounts in  the first  nine
                                                            Broome and Diane Berger, won   other charities.         The last rainfall column in   months  of the  year  and the
                                                                                         And this is also good news
                                                            the London Gardens Society All
      Glorious colours of the Alstroemeria on show. See pictorial review on back page.  London Championship for the   for Suburb News readers as   Suburb News explained that the   final annual total. So, as usual,
                                                                                                                 very low rainfall in the first half
                                                                                                                                            we must just wait and see.
            284th Flower Show                               second year running for Best   well  because  you  can  benefit   of the year had left the ground   And, as usual, plants seem to
                                                                                                                 for water. There seemed to be
                                                                                      experience by following her
                                                                                                                                            laziness in getting out the hose.
      On Saturday, September 9 The   baking  the  Suburb  has  to  offer   Small, and Large Back Gardens   from Caroline’s wisdom and   very dry and gardens crying out   have coped very well, in spite of
                                                            respectively at The Guildhall
      Free Church Hall was transformed   was available to refresh the guests.  against  fierce  London-wide  regular gardening column on   little rain forecast.   DIANA IWI FROM MEADWAY
      into a green oasis by the cornucopia   There was a total of 282   opposition.  A lot of hard work   this page.  Thank you, perhaps, to
      of floral and vegetable delights   entries on the day with an                                              whoever did the rain dance, for,
      at the 284th Flower show of the   excellent showing and high                                               on July 11, down came the rain,
      HGS Horticultural Society.   standard of competition in the                                                a whole 1.4 inches of it. Then,
         The heavy showers that   dahlia, apple and tomato classes,                                              just in case too much had run
      punctuated the day did not put   which all proved popular. The                                             off on the dry, baked, ground,
      off the gardening public who   veg trug category, often described                                          there was a thunderstorm at
      visited the show to see the   as the decathalon of the show,                                               night on July 18, and then more
      fantastic floral displays and   was once again hotly contested,                                            rain in the rest of the month to
      delicious looking fruit & veg the   but the show was quite possibly                                        give a total of 3.6 inches, well
      green-fingered members of the   stolen by a fantastically eccentric                                        above average. August, too, had
      society had put together. There   four foot-long Tromboccino squash                                        rainfall well above the norm.
      was live music from the Grimsdyke   entered in the unusual vegetable                                          Over the year so far, the dry
      brass band, and some of the best   category (see back page).                                               first six months have outweighed

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