A dream come true with Floral Fantasia

So, I heard we (Thompson & Morgan) were having a floral fantasia trial garden this year at RHS Hyde Hall in Chelmsford and I was very pleased, and couldn’t wait to visit.

Then I got an email asking me to help plant it up, I was over the moon!!!

Since starting my new career in Horticulture many years ago now, I wanted to work at Hyde Hall. I did apply for an apprenticeship there, but travelling would have been too much, so I studied at Otley College as it was closer.

An early start at T & M HQ and off we went to Hyde Hall down the A12 into Essex.

 

When we arrived the beds were marked out with marker spray and labelled and all we had to do was crack on with the planting.

floral fantasia areas marked out

There were 26 trolleys heaving with excellent, strong plants all ready waiting for planting.

getting underway

We also had a team of six Gardeners from the RHS to help us plant out.

the RHS team at the floral fantasia

The weather was kind to us, but the day before when the chaps were unloading the plants, they got a tad wet, apparently!

peter and lance getting wet at the floral fantasia

I planted some of my favourites including Cosmos Cupcakes and Nicotiana Marshmallow. Can’t wait to have some in my garden!

cosmos cupcakes and nicotiana

We think we planted about two thirds the first day, I went back for a second day of fun. It started of misty and cloudy, but to be honest, to me that’s perfect planting weather. It broke out warmer from lunchtime, so on went the hat and all important sun cream.

I loved day two, we got to plant the wonderful Sunflower, SunBelievable ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, what a truly stunning plant it is! In the centre of the garden, there is a large old trough packed with these beauts, I definitely want these in my garden. They are perfect for weddings, as my cousin’s wedding has a Sunflower theme so may have to grow some for her.

sunbelievable at floral fantasia

Pots and pouches complete the trial garden.

floral fantasia in progess

The garden is packed with summer favourites and also new introductions for 2018.

floral fantasia nearly finished

I am looking forward to visiting the garden with my children and showing them the riot of garden. Its open from the 9th June to the 30th September.

You will find the Floral Fantasia next to the Global Growth Vegetable Garden.

Sue Russell

One of my earliest memories; helping my Mum and Dad weed the veggie plot and collecting chicken eggs from the chooks at the end of the garden. I grew up on a farm as a child and always had my own piece of land to grow and learn with, so I suppose its in the blood!
In my mid twenties, I re trained in Horticulture (Professional Gardening ANCH) and set up my own Gardening business working for clients in the Suffolk/Essex area. For the last thirteen years Ive had the pleasure of working on a private twenty five acre estate tending to the grounds.
Most recently, eighteen months ago, I joined the team at Thompson and Morgan in the Customer Care department.
Also season ticket holder at Ipswich Town Football Club!!

April –  Rain or Shine? Either way, I love April Showers!

April is here, British Summer Time has kicked in, lighter mornings, longer days to spend in the garden and greenhouse after work. Hooray! More time with my gardening gloves on!

So at my “Office” job at T&M, (when I’m not doing my dirty job!) I speak to customers and help with any Horticultural queries. I love talking and sharing knowledge, every day there is something new! I also take orders for our lovely products.

Tomatoes!

A few weeks ago, a gentleman called and we were talking about different Tomatoes we have both grown, the classics, like Shirley and Gardeners Delight were of course mentioned. I’d tried, successfully, with Mountain Magic and Terenzo last year, which he hadn’t and he suggested I tried the heart shaped Tomatoberry. I ordered a packet and as you can see from the photos, when I planted them and today, they are towering out of their pot, begging to be transplanted into 9cm pots to grow on a little more, creating a better root structure.

I’m also trying another cucumber this year called Bella, i’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out as I try not to buy shop bought cucumbers during the summer months.

My greenhouse at home is filling up nicely, along with the one at work.

Perennials

I ordered the Perennial ‘Best Value’ Collection a little while ago and 72 little healthy plug plants arrived on my door mat. I love receiving plug plugs, potting them on, watching them develop and then planting them in their final place. I am also waiting for the Summer Bedding Collection which is another pack of 72, think I have 2 packs coming actually! Yippee!

I have built another mini greenhouse frame to go inside the greenhouse as more shelving for the tender plugs and seedlings.

The fruit trees are also starting to show their wonderful blooms, Apricot, Plum and Peach. These are fan trained against the red brick walls on the Estate where I work.

Hope the warm weather continues and the insects pollinate those fruit trees for delicious treats later in the year!

Finally, the wellies were planted last weekend, some thyme plants found a new home in my split wellies!

 

Anyway, enjoy April and all it has to offer!

Sue Russell

One of my earliest memories; helping my Mum and Dad weed the veggie plot and collecting chicken eggs from the chooks at the end of the garden. I grew up on a farm as a child and always had my own piece of land to grow and learn with, so I suppose its in the blood!
In my mid twenties, I re trained in Horticulture (Professional Gardening ANCH) and set up my own Gardening business working for clients in the Suffolk/Essex area. For the last thirteen years Ive had the pleasure of working on a private twenty five acre estate tending to the grounds.
Most recently, eighteen months ago, I joined the team at Thompson and Morgan in the Customer Care department.
Also season ticket holder at Ipswich Town Football Club!!

Spring is on its way!

The days are beginning to pull out, lighter mornings and also evenings too. Yippee!

Washbrook church with daffodils

Washbrook Church

I love getting wrapped up and walking over the fields in our village with the kids and hubby this time of the year.  We love to visit St Mary’s Church in Washbrook which is in an isolated position among the fields, about three miles west from the centre of Ipswich. The church is now redundant and is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.  There are parts of the church which dates to the 12th century but the majority is the 14th century. Well worth a visit!

Snowdrops in the graveyard

Snowdrops in the graveyard

My focus, this month are the beautiful graceful Galanthus. The children love exploring the snowdrops at their different growing stages. The graveyard is littered with these beauties and when they die back, they make room for decandant Daffodils.

More snowdrops out and about!

More snowdrops out and about!

The snowdrops have been cross polinating and there are doubles and singles, the way they sweep and cover the ground, it is truly a sight to see and worth the walk.

My mother in law is a “Galanthophile” (an enthusiastic collector of snowdrops species and cultivars).

A few years ago, for her birthday, (also in February) we bought her an expensive, highly sought after Galanthus plicatus “Wendys Gold”.

‘Wendy’s Gold’ is a bulbous perennial to 20cm with broad, grey-green leaves. The white flowers have a yellow-green ovary, and a long, yellow-green mark on the inner petals. She now has a couple of lovely clumps.

Wendy's Gold snowdrops

Wendy’s Gold snowdrops

She has a new Galanthus plicatus, it has wider leaves and delicately, dimpled white petals, which catch the light.

Mum's prized snowdrops!

Mum’s prized snowdrops!

 

 

There are so many beautiful snowdrops out there to admire and explore.

My advice, wrap up warm and get out there!

Sue Russell

One of my earliest memories; helping my Mum and Dad weed the veggie plot and collecting chicken eggs from the chooks at the end of the garden. I grew up on a farm as a child and always had my own piece of land to grow and learn with, so I suppose its in the blood!
In my mid twenties, I re trained in Horticulture (Professional Gardening ANCH) and set up my own Gardening business working for clients in the Suffolk/Essex area. For the last thirteen years Ive had the pleasure of working on a private twenty five acre estate tending to the grounds.
Most recently, eighteen months ago, I joined the team at Thompson and Morgan in the Customer Care department.
Also season ticket holder at Ipswich Town Football Club!!

Tidy up

Tidy up - preparation before planting

Today I’ve spent time sorting out the winter bedding from the greenhouse which are in need of transplanting into the herbaceous borders.

The Stocks ‘Most scented mix’ and the Polyanthus ‘Crescendo’ have been desperate to be planted, out growing their nursery pots so I cleared areas for them and cut back some of the perennial plants.

Our beds are plagued by Bindweed, this weed is a real pain, left to its own devices, it grows quickly, climbing up the nearest plant and choking it.

I try not to use much spray any more, but this time of the year (when not cold and icy) and spring is perfect to dig it out. Even the smallest piece left in will regenerate. I actually find it quite therapeutic and collect as many pieces as I can.

Tidy up - bulb planterIn between planting my plugs, now garden readies, I have put some more Alliums using my trusty Wolf Garten bulb planter.

It’s so easy to use, my general rule of thumb with planted bulbs is, whatever the size of the bulb, the hole needs to be double that size. The bulb planter has measurements on the side. Simply turn the planter into the soil with a twist, lift out the core of soil held inside the planter, then place the bulb in the hole, roots down! and then replace the core by gently squeezing the top.

 

 

The Phlomis russeliana, (Turkish sage) I leave in the borders and cut back in the spring, as the old seed heads look great with a dusting on frost and gives the birds somewhere to perch. The foliage is lovely too.

Tidy up - sage, viburnum, fatsia

 

After going on my walk of the garden, firstly I could smell my favourite winter flowering plant, Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’, it’s a real beauty, it flowers on bare stems and gives that sweet fragrance as you walk past. It is a must for any garden in my opinion, adds height to borders and winter interest.

The Fatsia japonica also was in flower, attracting any little insects that may be around. Its glossy dark green leaves really are something at this time of year, stunning!

Anyway, back to getting outside while the sun is shining and it’s relatively warm!

 

Sue Russell

One of my earliest memories; helping my Mum and Dad weed the veggie plot and collecting chicken eggs from the chooks at the end of the garden. I grew up on a farm as a child and always had my own piece of land to grow and learn with, so I suppose its in the blood!
In my mid twenties, I re trained in Horticulture (Professional Gardening ANCH) and set up my own Gardening business working for clients in the Suffolk/Essex area. For the last thirteen years Ive had the pleasure of working on a private twenty five acre estate tending to the grounds.
Most recently, eighteen months ago, I joined the team at Thompson and Morgan in the Customer Care department.
Also season ticket holder at Ipswich Town Football Club!!

Climbing Rose Pruning

Hello October.

October is my favourite month, as I can do my favourite annual job in the garden.

A lot of people seem to be scared of rose pruning, but I actually love it. The more challenging the better.

Each year the lovely Rosa “Climbing Shot Silk” gets a tidy up.

Shot Silk is a fragrant, repeat flowering rose which have large double blooms. It has silky textured flowers with golden centre, with strong growth, (ideal for tying in) and dark green glossy foliage.

Tools of choice for this job are, my beloved Felco No2’s, I will be lost without these, (each year I send them to Felco to service them), pruning saw and loppers.

I try to reuse ties for the previous year, but having spare ones help!

This is the Rose before I started, the long whips that are reaching to sky are going to be tied in to produce new blooms next year.

I start by untieing last years clips and start reducing the ends to make it easier to deal with.

With pruning any Roses, always remember to prune the D’s :-  Dead, Dying Damaged and one other I tend to include is Don’t know! So if I have particular piece that doesn’t look right, I will prune it out.

Reduce stems which could potentially grow next year’s long whips, always to an outwards facing bud, a sharp clean cut.

These pieces which are untied float around begging to be tied in, I loosely tie them in and then step back to see the finished vision, I aim for two long stems per wire to maximise flowers on each rung.

This is my finished rose. With the branches laid flat it encourages new growth to shoot up and lovely roses on the end.

And, here is a picture of our beloved Rosa “Climbing Shot Silk” it her full glory!

So that’s the climbing rose pruning done and now to prune back the other Hybrid Teas.

Enjoy October, the nights are drawing in, so make the most of the glorious Autumn sun.

Happy gardening!

Sue x

 

Sue Russell

One of my earliest memories; helping my Mum and Dad weed the veggie plot and collecting chicken eggs from the chooks at the end of the garden. I grew up on a farm as a child and always had my own piece of land to grow and learn with, so I suppose its in the blood!
In my mid twenties, I re trained in Horticulture (Professional Gardening ANCH) and set up my own Gardening business working for clients in the Suffolk/Essex area. For the last thirteen years Ive had the pleasure of working on a private twenty five acre estate tending to the grounds.
Most recently, eighteen months ago, I joined the team at Thompson and Morgan in the Customer Care department.
Also season ticket holder at Ipswich Town Football Club!!

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