Busman’s Holiday

11 October 2018

Having been away for a week it is always nice to come back and see that things have apparently jumped forward and I was especially pleased to see the Daturas eventually flowering, very late this year compared to usual. This is mainly since this winter they died down right to the ground due to the very cold weather and the bitter easterly winds. Another plant that has been a bit of a surprise to see is the orange trumpet flowers on the young Campsis radicans plant which is one of the new climbers planted on the south wall of the house. I think that this plant, which is deciduous and fairly hardy really enjoyed the hot dry summer that we have had making it feel quite at home as it comes from the southern states of North America.
Most of my holidays usually end up having a certain amount of ‘bus driving’ involved and being in the southern end of Cornwall the temptation to call into some handy local gardens proved hard to resist. Visits to the Eden project, Glendurgan and Lamorran gardens were interesting to all, but inspirational when one is trying to re-design a series of buttress borders in a favourable location. The East Neuk of Fife may not be quite the same as Cornwall however we do know that some very tender plants like the Datura will thrive here in the full sun and out of the wind. Incidentally I didn’t see any Daturas down in Cornwall, but I did see a lot of other fantastic tropical looking plants like Canary Island Date palms with trunks 8 feet high and 3 feet in diameter I think it would be a bit ambitious to expect them to thrive here although they are sold in a lot of garden centres and supermarkets as a patio plant in Scotland.
The Plans for the Buttress beds are well on their way now and will be put forward for approval in the next few weeks. The proposal is that some of the beds will take on a theme of a continent from where a selection of shrubs, perennials and climbers of that region are growing together not necessarily as they would in the wild, but they could in a garden. In most cases the old specimens that we have saved have become the starting point and the selection of new plants has been built around them. We are also trying to include as many plants that have been associated with Balcaskie and are mentioned in historical records such as Cape fuchsias (Phygelius capensis) and Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica).
The larger beds at each end would be of mixed progeny and in the case of the east end underneath the Cedar trees it is necessary as the difficult situation of deep shade would make it very difficult to select an interesting range of plants from just one continent that would be able to thrive here.
Now we are just finishing covering all the borders in a nice deep layer of FYM to improve the soil ready to start planting next spring. The middle terrace is also due to have all the paths membrane lined and re-gravelled next spring.
It won’t be very long now before we start to get some frost that will start to cut down the flowers and perennials in the garden. We don’t bed out many plants in the garden annually, but we have put in a few Dahlias this year they may survive overwinter if we leave them in situ. However most of them we will lift after they have died down a bit, after lifting we will let the tops dry off then cut them down to just above the tubers. Then they will be bedded into trays of moist compost and put in a frost-free tunnel, next spring we will split the tubers up and individually pot them up in fresh potting compost get them going in some warmth ready to bed them out again in late May.
Enjoy you gardening Duncan and the gardens team

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