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Growing Acer from Seed

Sow seeds at any time of year in trays or pots about quarter of an inch deep in good seed compost. Place in a propagator or warm place. Seal  the container inside a polythene bag to ensure a humid atmosphere and leave for 6 weeks. Place outdoors for eight weeks to chill. Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 3″ pots. Grow on in a cold frame and plant out the following spring or autumn in a sheltered part of the garden. It may be up to three years before you can plant into it’s final position. Choose a slightly shady, sheltered spot in moist, free draining, lime-free soil. Sounds easy doesn’t it. I understand you can also use prunings to grow from a cutting. Ah well, the seeds cost nothing so I shall give it a go.


Sean has collected some seeds from his red Acer and I am hoping to sow them and raise a couple of saplings. I have looked online for help with the propagation and it looks quite difficult but I am keen to have a go.



This is another photograph taken by Glenn and Laura that was chosen by the BBC for the Weather watch spot.


Calocephalus Challenge

I bought this plant today on impulse and after reading up on it I think it may be aptly named. It caught my eye initially because of its structure and colour, then the cephalus  element of it’s name intrigued me too.

(Leucophyta brownii is endemic to the southern coast of Australia, occuring amongst sand dunes and in rock crevices in exposed coastal cliffs. It forms a small compact bush with striking silver foliage in a mass of tangled wiry branchlets. The leaves have been reduced to scale-like hairs that are aligned flat against the stems giving the plant a strange skeletal and ghost-like presence. In late spiring and summer has a mass of silver button-like buds that open to small speherical yellow flowers. It prefers an alkaline and well-drained soil. It is a familiar   plant in New Zealand, Australia and California where it tolerates salt, severe winds, drought and mild frosts but its sensitivity to hard frosts has restricted its use somewhat in the UK . It is not completely hardy.) definitely a challenge.


I have been taking stock of the Clematis in the garden and reading up about how to prune or propagate them. Softwood cuttings are best taken between April and June from the mid-sections of strongly growing vines. The tips will be too soft and the lower parts may be too woody.  Prepare the selected section of vine by cutting through it immediately above a leaf joint and again about 3-4cm below the same node. Remove the excess foliage to reduce moisture loss. Insert the cutting into compost up to the leaf joint. Label the pot and water it gently. Cover the surface of the compost with grit to deter slugs and retain moisture. Place in a well-lit area out of direct sunlight and maintain a humid atmosphere by covering with polythene or a propagator. Bottom heat will aid rooting but is not essential. Rooting should occur in four weeks. Pot up seperately when rooted but if they are not ready by late summer delay the job until next spring and grow the cuttings on for another year before planting out.


Rose Arthur Bell

I planted another rose in a large pot today. It is Rosa Arthur Bell, a beautiful fragrant yellow rose. I planted some yellow tulip bulbs around it. Tulip Yokohama. I also popped in a few small bulbs, Brodiaea.

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Spring Bulbs


Pear Discovery

Yesterday, 13th October, Laura and Glenn harvested the pears. Despite having had a blight of European Pear Rust on the leaves, we had a very good result from the Discovery. The Red Williams and the Beurre Hardy however didn’t give us any fruit worth a mention.

European Pear Rust – On pears Bright orange spots on the upper leaf surface. As summer progresses brown, gall-like outgrowths develop on the corresponding lower leaf surface. Fruit may be affected, but this is much less common. This fungus attacks both pears and junipers. In fact it needs both plants in order to complete its life cycle. Another reason for the removal of the enormous fir tree from the side garden.



Thompson & Morgan Bargain

I had just about decided to stop gardening today and have a rest when the postman delivered 72 tiny perennial plants I had ordered from T&M. On opening them I could see that they were good healthy seedlings and well worth the £2.99 that I had paid for them. They were, however, in need of potting on. They are now all in new pots. The plants were sold as “lucky dip” so discovering what was in there was exciting. There were six each of Cone Flower, Sea Holly, Dianthus, Thrift, Geum, Foxglove, Aquilegia, Delphinium, and more.


Weather Watch

Glenn and Laura have had one of their photographs chosen for the BBC Weather Watch site. It has been used as a back drop for the local weather forecast.


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