Sunday, 17 July 2011

our garden grows

My seemingly endless 'farewell tour' continued last week. Very tired.
But, the rejuvenating, restorative  powers of our 'garden to be' came to the rescue.

So, this morning I sowed seeds of golden oat grass (stipa gigantea) collected by Jen and pricked out more red campion (silene dioica) seedlings into modules. If successful, the stipa may go on to make impressive eruptions of ornamental grass, allowing the formal gardens to segue into the wild gardens. It is a tough plant used to the dry conditions of southern Spain. It should love our sandy site. The campion plugs will be planted in groups in the hedgerows and I will broadcast remaining seed in patches in the woodland later. The seed was collected locally and so it should thrive in our conditions.
I have yet to sow seed of white campion (silene alba) and bladder campion (silene vulgaris). I particularly like to see red and white campion flowering together and hope to achieve this attractive combination beneath hedges and in woodland.

This afternoon I sowed seeds of red astrantia collected from Rogers garden: these are always popular with bees. They like conditions beneath trees and prefer moist soils. I'm hoping that a good mulch will be enough to keep their roots happy.

On site the flora is disappointingly limited and much work will be needed over many years to create the kind of diversity we want to see. But a few plants may be of help and I spotted three isolated spikes of foxgloves (digitalis purpurea) amongst the concrete and ragged grass. That works out at one foxglove plant per two acres!!! But much more populous than our native bluebell (hyacinthoides non-scripta) of which I found one flowering plant on the entire site!!!

In my new life I rarely venture out without bags for seed collecting and picked off ripened red and white foxglove seed pods and placed seed in bags. A good shaking released plenty of seeds as the photo shows.  I scarified ground beneath the hedge and in the area cleared of nettles and bramble in the birch woodland to sprinkle seeds.

Our allotment is vibrant with foxgloves and we had brought a bagful of young plants for planting out too.

Add a couple of hours scything and a more rested Robert returned home, as ready for his final week as he can be.

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