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Plants in the Garden: Plants at Copton Ash in Kent

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Started by: Tim Ingram

A look at various plants in our garden this spring

Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 17 June 2013, 22:18. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Tim Ingram 29 September 2011, 16:12top / bottom of page

Quite a transformation as you look at the pictures on the left and right - a large plant of Daphne arbuscula in the foreground. Although many of the crocus that I planted on this bed have succumbed, a few are still there including the lovely white form of C. goulymi. At one time a large drift of the normal form of this crocus made a beautiful picture, and will certainly be tried again. I have left a couple of the sedums, one the strongly coloured 'Red Cauli' from Graham Gough, which with 'Purple Emperor' has an AGM, and the diminutive S. hidakanum, which is a particularly beautiful combination of silver-grey foliage and pink flowers but tends to be swamped by the larger growing plants.

Sorry (!) the picture below shows the bed after tidying! The foliage of muscari and ipheion is in evidence, and a flowering clump of Allium callimischon subsp. haemostictum. The leaves around the base of the sedum are Acanthus dioscoridis, most of which has been cleared away.

It is very satisfying, if time consuming, working on a bed like this and I now look forward to the sequence of winter and spring bulbs, culminating I hope in the bright display of the smaller tulips late on. Now the bed has been cleared it will be a good time to top dress it with a fresh thick mulch of gravel and then not to much more needs to be done until this time next year!

Contribution from Tim Ingram 10 October 2011, 22:00top / bottom of page

After the bed was cleared more of the crocus appeared and I was pleased to see a little colony of goulymi that I thought had died out. Crocus speciosus is now flowering beautifully and is such a fine species - just a joy to see! We seem to have more of the autumn than spring species, probably due to the greater damage to the latter from rabbits - in particular they never gave the forms of tommasinianus a chance and I have always found these wonderful in combination with snowdrops. So I hope to redress the situation next year.

One of the very finest shrubs in the garden is Ceratostigma willmottianum. Even though quite badly cut back in colder winters this has always recovered and grown away well. the colour of the flowers at this time of year is unique, and there are few shrubs to equal it through the whole year.

Finally we have cleared a bed alongside the greenhouse which has allowed replanting with some choice woodlanders that came back from Edrom and Cally gardens. At the moment this area is full of Cyclamen hederifolium and it will be exciting to see the new additions flowering next spring and summer.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 01 November 2011, 13:17top / bottom of page

Autumn is now well into its stride and foliage colours have coalesced over the past week or so to give that warm glow to the garden that is so unique. Few alpines really give a show in this way, an exception being the whole range of small deciduous ericaceous shrubs which unfortunately are not suited to our garden. A number of herbaceous plants are very good, eg: amsonias and hostas, and many grasses (quite apart from seed heads and stems). But trees and shrubs are the real glory, especially if you have an acid soil which enables you to grow all of the best autumn colouring species.

We don't have many of these but just a few examples of the garden this autumn:

The two flowering shrubs are Grevillea rosmarinifolia 'williamsi' and Eupatorium ligustrinum. Autumn is more than just enjoying the colours and our renovations of the garden continue steadily, as energy allows, and should provide some good new planting areas next spring before we have our AGS Garden Safari in April.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 12 December 2011, 16:14top / bottom of page
The Role of our Gardens in Raising Funds

Having just received the December Bulletin and been very grateful to have had articles published with particular reference to our gardens in encouraging new members, I would like to reiterate how valuable I think this could be for the Society. In Kent we have held two Garden Safaris aimed at showing gardeners outside the AGS the range of plants we grow and the variety of our gardens. Both have raised significant funds for our Group and are beginning to attract new potential members. I have always regarded this as totally complementary to the more traditional exhibition of plants and still feel there is something of a divide between these two aspects of the Society, perhaps inevitably. However, after reading the Treasurer's Report for 2011 I am reinforced in the view that opening our gardens across the country could be a most effective way of introducing more gardeners to the AGS and would in no way reduce the wonder and skills shown in the exhibition of plants at the Shows. Probably very many members would agree with me but very few open their gardens. I hope more might consider doing so in the future.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 14 January 2012, 18:24top / bottom of page
Garden renovations

It is very stimulating to read John Richards last diary entry because this mild winter has encouraged us to get out and do a lot of work in the garden and nursery, which had become extremely overgrown in places. One of the great incentives is the wonderful wealth of woodland plants that start now with the snowdrops and hellebores. These look infinitely better with the leaves cut away, the beds generally tidied, and a good mulch with fresh compost. We have worked hard over the years making compost, and as time goes on it must have a hugely beneficial effect on the garden, even though it is pretty hard work. (I have measured over 80F in my compost heap at times which is pretty exciting!). Because we are opening the garden in April, both for the NGS and our Group of the AGS, the hope is that many of the woodland beds will be looking good then with plants like anemones, erythroniums, trilliums and hellebores (particularly the dark flowered forms which look good right into May). As well as these the real enticement alpine-wise will be the sand and gravel beds that I am gradually extending. The alpines provide the 'caviar' in the garden, but it can be only too easy to devote too much time to them at the expense of many other plants.

Garden renovations

(I should have said 80C above! At these temperatures, which only last a short time, the centre of the compost heap rapidly dries out, and there is the tendency to get fungal breakdown because of the ability of fungal mycelium to access moisture from further out. I have covered beds and inormally water the compost heavily as I make it up. The temperature though is still maintained at a very high level - 50 to 60C - for several weeks).


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