Kent Alpine Gardener's Diary
This entry: 04 March 2016 by Tim Ingram
Rebuilding a nursery and garden
Since August 2012 I have been describing the work to rebuild our garden and nursery on the Forum of the Scottish Rock Garden Club: http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=9453.0
Much of this I have also described here and so it can become rather repetitous placing similar entries in different places on the Internet. This is the latest entry concerning the part of the garden we are working on at the moment. I like to think we may have turned a corner in bringing the garden back from a difficult time but I'm not sure whether this is the case because gardening is simply very hard work! In any event if I place fewer entries here on the AGS website and you are interested in what we are continuing to do then please refer to my blog on the SRGC Forum. I would like to thank Margaret Young in particular, and the SRGC in general again for the support they have given, and the value I have found from belonging to both the Alpine Garden Society and the Scottish Rock Garden Club. Our next truly alpine project will be working on a series of troughs to follow along from my recent entry here (and hopefully with help from one of our daughters!) and to emulate some of the examples I showed!
Weed has to be the biggest problem with new plantings like this, especially when the ground has been overgrown, so this area has been given a thick mulch of compost. Bulbs actually have a wonderful capacity to tolerate neglect(!) and there are some good clumps, such as Colchicum macrophyllum (grown from seed from Jim and Jenny Archibald) on the right of the first picture, and Arum pictum, which were lost in a sea of nettles for the last couple of years. Even some smaller clumps of fritillarias, narcissus and scillas are re-emerging along the front of the bed - after rigorous weeding - which is nice to see. There are longer established clumps of Scilla greilhuberi, Fritillaria elwesii and the wild Hyacinthus orientalis, mixed with hellebores and snowdrops to the left of the path under the tree where the weeds have been kept more on top of! Following a suggestion from Ron Mudd on Facebook (the International Fritillaria Study Group) we are trying F. raddeana here, and this is an example of the type of choice bulb - especially lilies - which we would like to establish here. The N. American Lilium humboldtii is re-emerging well from amongst the nettles! To provide some more height, and scent, a small plant of Magnolia (Michelia) laevifolia (from Keith and Roz Wiley at the Harlow AGS Show) has been added towards the back of the bed and once the remaining area further down the garden has been cleared we aim to add daphnes and other small shrubs. Hopefully in a year or two's time this part of the garden will have been reclaimed from wilderness and become a great deal more productive. Just across the way, under the first row of apples, Galanthus 'Cicely Hall' is looking magnificent with hellebores at the moment... one of the very best late snowdrops.
(the last picture was reduced in size for the SRGC Forum so doesn't really show off the snowdrop as well as it could be, so this is another at a higher resolution. 'Cicely Hall' really is a striking cultivar!).