New Year - New shoots! We've been awarded our #first500 for our year of growing. We have £500 to invest in seeds, bulbs and plants to share with our plot holders and grow with volunteers and community groups throughout 2017. There's even enough for compost to plant things in and new hand trowels to dig with. Very glad of the support - we planted our first few chilli and tomato seeds today. They will have to stay inside until it gets warmer!
If you'd like to support the garden - you can donate here:
Do you love growing flowers and other ornamental plants? We have a few plots available at Culpeper which are looking for new caring owners. We will supply tools and help and advice so you do not need to be an experienced gardener - you just need energy, time, and enthusiasm.
The plots at Culpeper are for people who do not have a garden of their own and who live in the local area - map of our catchment area here, and please contact us if you are interested in a plot or have any questions:
Thanks to everyone who came to our AGM on Sunday and to all the committee for their work and support of the garden. Here's our annual report - do have a read and send us any feedback, thoughts or suggestions:
It's been a dry August so keeping on top of the watering will help your plot from getting too dry and dusty. Now is also a good time to tidy up annuals and hardy perennials like Geraniums which may have finished flowering and started to fall over in untidy heaps.
This is the month to order bulbs and think about which ones you would like to add for next spring. There's such an array of shapes and sizes there will be something to suit no matter how much space you have. Bright yellow Aconites are a lovely way to brighten up winter or maybe some Chionodoxa luciliae Boiss – Glory in the Snow.
Splitting perennials can be done this month and it's also our Autumn plant sale on October 9th so any clumps that have become too big can be divided and found a new home! Spliting plants like this is not only a good way to propagate and create new plants but it also helps plants stay healthy and vigorous. There's advice on how to best to it here from the RHS. This technique is suitable for many of the plants which thrive at Culpeper such as Anemone, Aster, Bergenia (elephant’s ears).
You can take a variety of cuttings at this time of year – a lovely assortment of shrubs such as Berberis, Camellia,Ceanothus, Choisya, Cistus take very well from semi-ripe cuttings. Look for this year's growth, ideally non-flowering, which is starting to become woody at the base. Take cuttings that are about 10 – 15cm long and put about 6 – 8 cuttings in a pot – a clear plastic bag over the top will make a great DIY propagation unit! There's more advice here and ask the Garden Workers if you would like any help.
For fruit and vegetables – hopefully you have things to harvest! It's also now time to start thinking about next year's crops – planting onion sets and winter salad leaves which will grow on into autumn. You can also take cuttings to propagate fruit bushes.
Finally – for a nice simple present, now is the time to start off prepared hyacinth bulbs for Christmas, holidays and midwinter celebrations!
The Persicaria, patches of which can be found at Culpeper now, comes into its own flowering in late summer to autumn when it is especially appreciated by the bees. It is a plant with a carefree and cosmopolitan character and appears virtually world wide in various forms. Native toAfghanistan, Nepal and India, China and Tibet, it typically grows in the mountains up to 4,000 ft. . The celebrated Victorian botanist, Sir Joseph Hooker, came across it in the Himalayas where he described it as ‘hanging in rosy clumps from moist precipices’.
It was formerly known as Polygonum, from the Polygonaceae family, which translates from the Greek as ‘many knees’ relating to the numerous joints in the fleshy stems. It’s a hardy creeping mat-forming perennial, making good ground cover. It needs little care though it likes moisture with good drainage and can go dormant on dry ground. The flowers eventually turn into tiny three-angled nuts.
It is described as ‘semi-evergreen’ as, with the frost, the heavily-veined, narrow elliptic leaves take on autumn colour and mostly stay on the plant through winter . New, green growth will appear in spring and the dainty pink or red flower spikes, depending on variety,
Whereas the common knotweed can be invasive, many of the cultivars make lovely trouble-free garden plants. Both Persicaria affinis‘Superba’, which has pale pink flowers that deepen into claret red, and ‘Donald Lowndes’ where the pale flowers darken into russet tones, are recommended by the RHS and have an Award of Garden Merit.