Kevin is Head Gardener/Plantsman, Hipping Hall / Ryebeck Hotel, South Cumbria. Kevin is also a member of Butterfly Conservation and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust as well as the Hardy Plant Society and has contributed to the industry magazine Horticulture Week since summer 2013. He is the stand-in writer of Plant Focus. He has previously worked as Head Gardener in the Cotswolds for over 10 years, prior to that, BBC Gardeners World, and the National Trust.
This week's seasonal task is potting on rooted Syringa vulgaris cuttings at Hipping Hall taken last autumn 2017. I took these cuttings from a rather sad looking lonesome Lilac tree which borders a moss lawn project I have been working on since spring 2017.
I started gardening many many moons ago at the age of 7. I remember even at that young age being struck by the beauty of Hydrangeas, fascinated by the changing colours of pink and blue, depending on the acidity, or alkalinity of the soil.
The bright azure blue flowers of Omphalodes cappadocica 'Starry Eyes' are particularly striking with the white sprayed outlines within each small and delicate flower head. This really is the eye catching feature that stops the discerning plantsperson in their tracks, and why wouldn't you want to spend a few quite moments of valuable garden time studying such beauty.
When I started working at the Ryebeck Hotel garden, Bowness On Windermere late January last year, the Camellia sinensis were situated in a very exposed north east aspect. Most of them looked worse for wear and were in some need of care and attention.
March is a great time of the year when gently pruning and tidying the herbaceous borders for spring, to be inspired with thoughts of propagation.
Phlomis comprise 100 or more perennials native to the Mediterranean, Central Asia, and China. Phlomis are extremely hardy plants. Phlomis russeliana, commonly known as Jerusalem or Turkish Sage, is from the family (Lamiaceae). The yellow flowers which emerge from the honeycomb like bracts add interesting structure to the back of the perennial border through the summer.
The seeds that I had sown took just over 5 weeks to germinate at a steady temperature of about 15 degrees c. Seeds were sown into modules of straight seed compost. At the pricking out stage on the 2nd June- two and a half months later, the plants had thickened out nicely in the individual modules. The young plants were grown on in 9cm square pots at a temperature running between 15- 18 degrees C.
The small Tree Peony plants in bud are a result of young plants that were collected from a bark path beneath the large herbaceous shrub of a Paeonia ludlowii during the spring of 2013. The young plants were initially grown on in 1 litre pots for 18 months before being potted on ...
Stems with seed heads can be cut to place out and dry in a cool area such as a shed or utility area. Seeds may not come true to type but could still yield some interesting variations. After a 4-6 week drying off period I take two options.
In early April 2013 seeds were sown of Campanula Rotundifolia, (true wild form). The stems of this species are fine, approximately 15cm high. The leaves are needle shaped and do not form petioles. Flower colours may vary to a mid shade of blue.