Tuesday, 31 July 2018



Hydrangea Charme
Shrubs are invaluable planted around garden perimeters to establish boundaries, give some privacy and adjacent to patio areas to shelter from winds. However this hot summer has seen us look for a shady and windy spot to keep cool away from the blistering sun, though this all changes when temperatures return to normal and we start to seek
Berberis darwinii
out a sunny sheltered spot. Shrubs come in all sizes from ground cover Cistus to huge Philadelphus, Viburnums and Lilacs. Some may be evergreen like the Ceanothus smothered in blue blossom in early summer and the Euonymus which is grown for its colourful foliage in silvers and gold rather than its flowers, but it is a great ground cover plant that stands out in a crowd. Shrub roses were covered a few weeks ago, but must be included in a top selection of the best colourful shrubs.
For those gardening on dry soils or at a maritime location on sand Senecio, Cistus, Rosemary, Lavender, brooms, (Cytisus) and gorse (Genista) and many shrub roses will be happy to grow there.
Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Camellias are late spring to early summer shrubs that prefer a more moist soil that retains moisture, but is still well drained and tends towards a more acidic nature. Down at ground level the heathers (Erica and
Cistus Silver Pink
Calluna) are brilliant to cover ground, smother weeds, are easy to maintain and most flower from early spring e.g. Erica carnea, till autumn with Calluna H. E. Beale. Hypericum calycinum is also great for ground cover provided it keeps clear of rust.
A few good low to medium flowering shrubs will include the Potentilla, Senecio, Cistus purpureus and Silver Pink, Hypericum Hidcote, Hydrangea Charme and Helianthemums. Where there is plenty room try some of the larger shrubs like the white scented Philadelphus, Lilacs, Escallonia, Berberis darwinii and Buddleia. Eucryphia with a mass of white flowers in mid summer is probably a small columnar tree, but can be a shrub size for many years. Buddleia is another large shrub, but is pruned to six inches from
the ground every winter. It can easily grow six to eight feet in one summer depending on weather and produces a large flower spike in a range of colours, though my favourite was always the dark purple Black Knight. Fuchsia Mrs Popple normally grows up to five feet tall, but can get cut back to ground level in winter but nearly always recover and put on good growth in spring. By summer they are back to four feet tall and in flower.
Fences and walls are favourite places for climbing shrubs Solanum crispum has potato like flowers and can be very vigorous. It is very attractive in flower, but it produces berries that are highly poisonous. Eccremocarpus scaber is an evergreen
Fuchsia Mrs Popple
with orange tubular flowers. It can be difficult to get established, but then becomes quite rampant.
Clematis and Honeysuckle need something to clamber up, and the honeysuckle has an outstanding perfume. Clematis montana rubens puts on a fantastic show in early summer and just loves to scramble if space permits.

Wee jobs to do this week

Saskatoon bushes started to turn colour early July so nets had to
be put in place to stop birds feeding on the crop. Blackbirds totally love these berries due to their sweetness. Picking will start towards the middle of the month and last about two weeks. Berries are eaten fresh in breakfast cereal, at lunch with raspberries and yogurt, and made into jam with the addition of some rhubarb as the acidity of the rhubarb balances the sweetness of the saskatoons. There is always a spare batch of about 10.5 pounds for my annual three demijohns of wine.

City Road Allotment Gardens have their Open Day on Sunday 29th July from 11am to 3pm with plenty of fruit, vegetables, flowers, jams, chutney and of course tablet for the kids. The community hut will be offering teas, coffee and home baking. Visitors are welcome to wander round our plots and see how we grow our fruit and vegetables as well as exotic figs, cherries, sweet corn and outdoor grapes.


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