This week in the garden
25th October …. The season for tidying up , shifting trees and shrubs , dividing perennial plants which is what I have been doing all week . I moved the remaining five apple trees from the top field from their original site as I feel it is drier in the new location , a matter of about 15 meters but a meter can sometimes inexplicably make a difference as to whether a plant thrives or just stays alive and in the case of these apples I feel the wetness was causing them to stand still , we shall see as trial and error is a given in the garden especially this one where wetness is a problem . I also moved a salix rosemary , a North American prairie shrub , only 10 of them ever came into the Glenconnor Garden Centre about three years ago and on Susan’s advice I took one , loved it so much eventually took the rest ! A beautiful grey leaved mid height large shrub / small tree , a prairie plant from the North American Plains , it’s leaf has a silver colour underneath which really only is seen when it is windy when it is stunning … I have them all planted in the lower field and until this year the deer from the mountain left them alone and they are beautiful looking foil plants and keep their leaves most of the year normally … this June though the deer took a big swipe out of this one , which had been planted on its own and not in a group like the others and curiously enough this was the one salix rosemary that wasen’t doing as well as the others .. so I cut it back hard and moved it into a new location . I don’t know why it is called rosemary as it isen’t related to the herb and has no smell .
My main work though this week is planting perennials that gardening friends have been dividing in their own gardens as they thin out perennial beds and very glad I am to be the recipient ! Mostly rodgersia, dalmera, astilbe and bamboo which suit the wet areas here at Petrovska Garden and I am delighted to bulk up my own plantings with these treasures some of which like the dalmera and the rodgersia podophylla can be difficult to find in garden centres .
I have also been planting daffodils in bulk , a few tulips , some crocus which although the proper planting time is still a bit early for me as I normally wait for the bulb sales in Woodies etc. in mid November which makes economic sense for me as I plant anything up to 1000 bulbs mainly daffodils each autumn . I dig my planting holes just beside either in front or to the side of established trees or shrubs rather than pick an empty space where I might want to plant a shrub at a later time . It may be that I am getting a bit more specialist this year as I am going for named species rather than bulk planting of supermarket bulbs . I don’t plant a lot of tulips as in my heavy soil they very rarely come back a second year and to be honest although I admire tulips in other people’s gardens but for me I find the wind knocks the hell out of the petals .
I have also been cutting back some willows and the common elder as it is a prolific self seeder here unlike its cultured cousin , the blue / black leafed elder , sambucus nigra . I leave the pruning of the specialist golden and purple willows until Feb/ March as that way I can enjoy their beautiful bark throughout the winter and with the added bonus that I can use the cuttings as slips to make new shrubs next spring . The elders are also treated differently as the common elder can be hacked down without a care as you can’t kill it but at the moment it is full of berries so be careful to leave these branches uncut as the birds will feed on the berries right up to Christmas . The black elder has to be treated gently as it can be difficult and I generally just give a haircut of a cut at this time and leave the serious pruning until February .
Pruning Tip … always cut just above an outward facing bud as this will encourage the new growth to spread outwards and always make a sloping cut i.e. not level as this allows rain water to run off the branch quickly .