In this, my latest blog for Thompson & Morgan, I am going to bring you up to date with the trial products here at Driftwood that were delivered between September and April to my exposed coastal plot here on the south coast!
If you have read any of my previous blogs, you will know that it is not an ideal site for many plants and shrubs, due to the salt laden winds, of which there have been many over this period! Driftwood will open to the public on 16 days this summer and by appointment as well between June and September. Over 200 people have already booked to visit by appointment, which is quite incredible. Full details on my garden and all its openings for charity, can be found at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk Amazingly, Sussex Life Magazine is listing it as one of the top 25 gardens to see in Sussex in their May issue and it will have a 4 page feature in a national gardening magazine, Garden Answers, in their May issue.
Some of the plants delivered that have been a great success, that this year’s visitors will be able to see, are the Osteospermums, Snow Pizie, Tresco Purple and jucundum var. compactum. They were all planted out in containers and a few in the ground last autumn and have survived what the weather has thrown at them. All are growing well but obviously have yet to flower.
All the Golden Lysimachia were potted up in the heated greenhouse upon arrival and kept there all winter. They have not grown much so far, all about 1 inch tall at present, but still looking healthy and will hopefully grow more before being planted out in the garden before long!
Two lots of tulips were delivered last autumn as well, Silver Parrot and Ice Cream. Whilst the latter have yet to fully open, the former are absolutely stunning in the garden at the moment.
The Geranium hardy doubles are all, just starting to develop and leaves starting to form, so hopefully they will look wonderful by the time we open in June!
Regular readers will know that I was one of the trial gardens in 2013 too and some of last years plants have had to deal with the horrific winter we have had here, with the winds and salt. Among the amazing survivors are are alstromeira, Peruvian Tree Lily. They have survived well in the large pot in the garden and are already starting to flower as you can see!
The tree lily, leopard lionheart are already over 18 inches tall with many more than the 3 heads we had last summer, they will surely look stunning again in a few weeks once they flower.
When the 2 fruit trees, Plum Claude Reine and Cox’s orange Pippin arrived last spring I was very concerned for their well-being. I already had two well established pear and apple trees in the garden, but I did not have any sheltered area to plant these new additions and I did not think would do well. The apple tree produced 2 fruit last year and amazingly, they have survived really well and are already starting to shoot as you can see.
The fuchsia Duke of Wellington has also done well through the winter and is already showing good signs of growth. Several of the Viola Unique collection have also come through the winter in pots and have started to flower again.
Two plants I purchased myself from T&M last year are also doing really well, the Foxglove Illumination Pink is already well established again and the Buddleja Jazz are also looking great with lots of new growth.
Overall the garden is looking the best it has ever looked at this time of the year which I’m sure is due to the amount of rain we had in January through March. So, if you live in, or are visiting Sussex this Summer, be sure to come and take a look!
Nearly all the trial plants I am to receive for 2014 have arrived and I will be updating you on their progress later in the year!
You can read more about Geoff and his blog ‘Driftwood by sea’ at http://www.geoffstonebanks.co.uk/blog.html
Geoff Stonebanks was very lucky to be able to retire early from 30 years in Royal Mail back in 2004. He had 3 different careers with them first as a caterer, then manager of a financial analysis team and finally as an Employee Relations Manager and Personnel Manager. He sold up and moved with his partner to Bishopstone, near Seaford in East Sussex in 2004 and now spends all his time gardening and fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. Using his multi award-winning garden, featured on Gardeners’ World on BBC TV and finalist in Gardeners’ World Magazine Garden of the Year 2016, he’s raised £164,500 for various charities in 12 years, £109,000 of that for Macmillan. In his spare time, he is also Publicity Officer for the National Garden Scheme in East & Mid Sussex. In 2023, Geoff was also crowned one of the 500 Coronation Champions.