The Moosbach Gardener goes down under

I’m on my way to Australia for the whole of February and I couldn’t be more pleased. Why am I pleased? Well, for starters we’ve had snow at home for 4 weeks and I’m fed up with it but more importantly I get to see my cousin Chris and my lovely Aunt Trin.

Long overdue visit

I forget but it has been at least 15 years since I saw my aunt which is a shame because not only if she a wonderfully kind human being but she is also very funny.

First leg of the journey is over

I flew from Frankfurt to Incheon in South Korea which was a very pleasant experience and as I write this I am having a 6 hour break in the airport lounge. This is a wonderful airport and it is clear to see that great effort has been put into its design.

So, what is so good about Incheon airport?

The airport is massive, not only in length but in height and breadth as well. It is full of natural light. Like most airports it has huge windows overlooking the airport as you would expect but it also has very high ceilings and the ceiling of the atriums are made of glass allowing more natural light in. They grow real plants and trees and it transforms the airport experience, what a nice change from plastic, metal and artificial light. They also have huge pots full of flowering orchids along the main walkways. It really adds a touch of class and all of these plants and trees, that’s got to be good for air quality right?

Can you name the first plant? I’m signing off now but you can expect more from me once I’m in Australia and have visited some gardens.

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Question. Can A Gardener Ever Live in The Moment?

Thoughts pondered in the house whilst snow covers the garden.

It is the 3rd of January, the garden has a light dusting of snow and everything is frozen solid. Instead of thinking that it is nice that nothing needs doing in the garden I am sowing Delphinium and lupin seeds and arranging delivery of an obscene number of David Austin roses.  The gardener in me refuses to accept that this is the dormant season, instead I must be looking forward and planning for what is happening garden-wise in March, April, May and June. This ridiculous behaviour got me thinking, am I always like this?  I am afraid we all know the answer, it is a resounding “Yes” from our panel of judges. To garden is a relentless (yet enjoyable) vocation, a painter knows that when he has completed his masterpiece that it is perfection and will remain unchanged.  The painter can allow his work to be admired by those of a discerning nature without worrying that the colours will fade or that additional colours will appear like magic whilst his back is turned.  Maybe this is the reason that gardeners are always looking forward, always planning what comes next.

Gardening books really do not help!

I love gardening books, I love them like the vicar of Dibley loves chocolate.  I add at least 6 books a year to my collection of must have gardening books, eventually we will need to build an extension to the house to store them and it is not a small house, we have 6 bedrooms.  For me, they are my best friends and my worst enemy. A friend kindly gave me the book “Gardens of the Lake District” for Christmas by Tim Longville.  It is a great book featuring some wonderful gardens, I just wish it did not have such wonderful photographs.  They make me think of new garden projects to add to my list of garden projects that I haven’t even started yet.  I am seriously thinking about banning all gardening books from my life, along with gardening programmes (yes even you Monty Don!) and visiting gardens may have to become a punishable activity. Why? you may ask. Well the answer is really quite simple, gardening folks are really very nice people, jealousy is a rare trait amongst gardeners but when we see something wonderful in somebody elses garden we are automatically thinking about how we can adapt that to make it work in our own gardens. This combined with the task of maintaining what we already have is no mean feat, it is a full-time job and for many gardeners who already have jobs it is a huge commitment.  However, us gardeners will attempt the impossible and somehow find a way.

Taking time out to enjoy your creation is a challenge

As we already know I, like many other gardeners, am always planning ahead, thinking about what comes next so that I can try to achieve year round interest in the garden, so that when anyone visits the garden looks wonderful.  I will admit to having garden interest in the Moosbach Garden from May through to October but I fail miserably in the winter.  In the summer I have to force myself to take time-out from the gardening activities to stand and stare at the beauty of it all.  I do this mostly when I am snipping and pruning, especially when dead-heading spent rose blooms but I think a wander around the garden with a cup of tea is a suitable reward for all the hard work.  There is one golden rule though, do not make a mental list or a written one of all the things that need doing, enjoy it as it is.  Do not be your own worst critic, notice the flowers and not the weeds.

Accept praise graciously

I have the VERY annoying habit when garden visitors say to me “your garden is so beautiful” of replying, “oh it is full of weeds” or “it was at its best in June”.  Why can’t I just be gracious  and say “thank you, that is very kind of you”.  It is almost like I feel that the garden and therefore the gardener are unworthy of praise. This year I am going to try harder to just say “thank you”.

This gardener is shortly off on holiday

I am off on holiday in February to visit my lovely Aunt Trin in Australia, like me she has a good-sized garden, with flowers, fruit trees and of course chickens.  I have already made inquiries as to what needs doing in her garden (you can’t keep a good gardener under control you know) but I’m sure that we can fit in a few day trips in as well.  I will be staying south of Canberra about an hour away from the town of Orbost.  Anyone with knowledge of the area please provide suggestions.  I am sure Australia with be a horticultural challenge to me as Im used to English gardens but I am definitely going to enjoy my trip and the delights (gardening and otherwise) that Australia has to offer.

And Finally….

A picture from the south balcony, do you thinks it’s too cold for a bit of light weeding?

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I wish everyone a Happy New Year, may your gardens bloom gloriously and may your hands frequently be immersed in good soil.

 

 

Roses for 2019, some beauty to cheer up winter!

Firstly I would like to thank David Austin Roses for kindly supplying all of the following rose images and of course the roses!  We have placed our rose order for delivery at the end of March next year and there is nothing like ordering roses for next year to lift the spirit on short, dark days.  I started writing this article in November but had to delay finishing it due to work commitments and as many of you will be aware, Sir David Austin passed away on the 18th December aged 92.  It is always sad when someone passes away but Sir David Austin has left a legacy that has undoubtably made the world a more beautiful place, did you know that he created more than 200 new roses?  His work will be carried on by the Austin family and hopefully there will be a new rose named in his honour  in the near future.  If your spirits need lifting and you long for the rebirth of spring just take a look around your garden, if you are lucky you will find signs of life.  I walked around The Moosbach Garden this morning and found masses of peony and rose buds, these are the promise of glorious flowers in 2019 and it made me feel joyful.  We will be making all of the following roses available on our website as soon as they arrive from David Austin Roses in late March, until then they will show as out of stock but we are happy to take pre-orders.  We will also be sowing an array of delphinium seeds in february which will be available from around May-June.  We hope that you have all had a good Christmas and let us all look forward to a fantastic 2019.

 

Seasons are good

You hear lots of people complaining about the cold weather and the short days and for those that suffer with winter depression it is no laughing matter.  However, there is so much to be said for seasons.  I wonder if we would appreciate the beauty of flowers and our gardens if it was summer all year round?  What would there be to look forward to and how would we ever get to rest our tired gardener’s bones and muscles?

A few notes on roses

The performance of roses will vary depending upon your location, soil type and altitude.  So do not be surprised if the colour of your rose blooms are a little different  to the photographs but generally speaking they should be pretty close.  My experience with growing roses is that they need plenty of watering in the first year after they are planted. The best practice to follow is this, roses mustn’t be allowed to dry out in the first year but neither do they like their roots sat in water.  The dimensions quoted for the height and spread of roses is a guideline and given a good supply of water, feed and at least 4 hours sunshine per day they should thrive.  I’ve included some basic notes on each featured rose but you can find more detailed information on the David Austin Website. All of these roses will be available from The Moosbach Garden from April 2019.

 

Bobbie James

Bobby James (Rambler

Bobby James is a very healthy rambling rose which can grow to 11m (35 feet).  Once flowering with a very strong fragrance. Ideal for covering a fence or building with attractive hips in winter.

Etoile de Hollande Clg

Etoile De Holland (Climber)

Etoile de Holland is a beautiful red climbing rose growing to 6m (20 feet)> it is a repeat flowering rose with a strong fragrance.

Frances E. Lester

Frances E Lester (Rambler)

Frances E Lester is a Rambling rose suited to pergola’s and large buildings, it grows to 6m (20 feet) and is a once flowering rose with a strong musk fragrance.

Paul's Himalayan Musk A

Pauls Himalayan Musk (Rambler)

Probably the most famous Rambling rose available, it grows to 12m (40 feet), flowersonce per year and has a strong musk scent.  Ideal for covering a large tree or a large building.

Graham Thomas Clg Wall (Ausmas)

Graham Thomas (Climber) (Ausmas)

Graham Thomas is a vigorous upright climbing rose, it grows to 3.75m (12 feet) and is a repeat flowering rose.

Rosa 'Spirit of Freedom'

Spirit OF Freedom (Climbing) (Ausbite)

Spirit of Freedom has beautiful soft pink blooms and has a myrrh fragrance.

Strawberry Hill (Ausrimini) C.jpg

Strawberry Hill (Climbing) (Ausrimini)

Strawberry Hill is abailable as a shrub rose and as a climber, we are offering the climbing variety, it grows to 3m (10 feet).  It repeat flowers and has a strong myrrh fragrance.  We have the shrub variety in our garden and it is wonderful.

Rosa 'Generous Gardener'

The Generous Gardener (Climbing) (Ausdrawn)

The Generous Gardener is a very popular climbing rose, we love it so much that we have 2 planted in our garden.  It grows to 4.5m (15 feet), it repeaat flowers, has a strong old myrrh fragrance and beautiful large hips in winter.

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Wollerton Old Hall (Climbing) (Ausblanket)

Wollerton Old Hall is a wonderful climbing rose and is another favourite in the Moosbach Garden, we have 3 planted here!  It grows yo 3.75m (12 feet), repeat flowers reaally well and has a strong myrrh fragrance. Highly recommended.

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Emily Bronte (Ausearnshaw)

Emily Bronte is a shrub rose that is very beautiful, we will be planting some next year I’m sure.  It grows to 140 x 120 cm, it has  a strong old Tea rose fragrance and repeaat flowers.

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Boscobel (Auscousin)

Boscobel has a beautiful colour, we have a number of these planted around the garden and I find that the blooms last very well in heat.  It grows to 120 x 110cm, repeat flowers well and has a strong fragrance.  Highly recommended.

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Desdemona (Auskindling)

Desdemona is simply a beautiful rose, it grows to 110 x 110cm and repeat flowers well with a strong old rose fragrance.  Highly recommended.

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Gentle Hermione (Ausrumba)

Gentle Hermione is  lovely rose, we have 3 planted and they reached 1.5m in their first year, it has beautiful blooms and repeat flowers well with a good strong fragrance.

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Gertrude Jekyll (Ausbord)

Gertrude Jekyll is probably the most fragrant of the English roses, it’s quite vigorous, we have 4 planted here and they are 2m tall. A good repeat flowering rose, plant it somewhere you pass everyday.  Must have rose, highly recommended.

Golden Celebration (Ausgold) E square

Golden Celebration (Ausgold)

Golden celebration is a good addition to any garden, wonderful scent, beautiful roses and flowers from June unil the first frosts.

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James L Austin (Auspike)

James L Austin bears large, many petalled, deep pink rosettes, each with a buton eye.It forms a neat and tidy shrub (120 x 110cm)

Jubilee Celebration (Aushunter)

Jubilee Celebration (Aushunter)

Jubilee Celebration produces large, domed, delicously fragrant blooms.  The colour is best described as coral pink.  It has a strong fruity perfume.  It is a good repeat flowerin rose (120 x 120cm).

Rosa 'Lady of Shalott'

Lady Of Shalott (Ausnyson)

The Lady of Shalott is a striking rose, with beautiful chalice-shaped blooms.  Rich orange-red buds open to chalice-shaped blooms filled loosely with orange petals (140 x 120cm).

Molineux (Ausmol) C

Molineux (Ausmal)

Bears medium-sized, neat rosette blooms, (90 x 90cm)

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Olivia Rose Austin (Ausmixture)

A favourite here in The Moosbach Garden, this is a stunningly beautiful rose that is disease resistant (120 x 110cm).

Roald Dahl Ausowlish

Roald Dahl (Ausowlish)

Another favourite here in The Moosbach Garden, also very disease resistant (110 x 110cm).

Scepter'd Isle (Ausland) A

Scepter’d Isle (Ausland)

A beautiful rose which bears numerous cupped flowers.  A strong myrrh fragrance (150 x 120cm)

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The Lady Gardener (Ausbrass)

The Lady Gardener bears large, quartered roses ach about 10cm across. (140 x 120cm).

Rosa 'Thomas A Becket'

Thomas A Beckett (Auswinston)

Thomas A Beckett is just a wonderful colour and akes a good addition to any garden (150 x 120cm)

Brother Cadfael EP RD square

Brother Cadfael (Ausglobe)

Brother Cadfael is nother great rose, it has very large, peony-like blooms, with a strong old rose fragrance, (140 x 90cm).

Charles Darwin (Auspeet)

Charles Darwin (Auspeet)

Large cupped, yellow flowers with a strong delicious fragrance, (140 x 120cm).

Jude the Obscure C (Ausjo)

Jude The Obscure (Ausja)

One of our favourite roses of all time. Beautifully sunning rose with a gorgeous perfume and a very good repeaat-flowering rose,  (120 x 110cm).

Lady Emma Hamilton (Ausbrother) D

Lady Emma Hamilton (Ausbrother)

Lady Emma Hamilton has glorious blooms of tangerine-orange and aa strong fragrance, (90 x 90cm).

Rosa 'The Lark Ascending'

‘The Lark Ascending’ (Ausursula)

A tall and airy shrub with clusters of graceful, semi-double flowers (170 x 150cm).

Falstaff (Ausverse) square

Falstaff (Ausverse)

For those who love dark red roses then this is a good choice(125 x 100cm).

Clearly there are so many wondeerfful David Austin rses available that it can be hard to choose which is right for you but winter is the perfect time to research which one is perfect for your garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why nothing beats working in your own garden

I’ve been a hobby gardener for over 30 years now, goodness putting that Statement on here suddenly makes me feel old and I have come to realise that working in your own garden is a bit like wearing your favourite jumper or sleeping in your own bed. What am I going on about? Have I finally lost the plot? Well not the gardening plot at least.  I have a feeling that sanity is relative. What I mean is this, when you have created a garden, you know all its quirks, all of its bumps, you know where the perennials are planted when they can’t be seen in the depths of winter. Your garden has all the familiarity of an old friend, you knows its ways. I do garden for other people but it’s not the same, it’s like sleeping in a strange bed and you long for the familiarity of your own garden.

Gardening for other people demands restraint

I’m 50 years old and yes I know 40 is the new 30 and all that but would somebody please tell my bones and muscles. The thing with working in your own garden is that you have freedom that comes with deciding what you plant and how long you work each day, when you’ve had enough you can down tools and get yourself a nice cup of tea. Gardeners are artists, we work with colours and textures to create our masterpieces and we pour as much of ourselves into our works of art as any painter does.

We all have our own perception of what makes a glorious garden and there is no right or wrong, it’s about personal taste and the limitations of time and lifestyle.  When I’m driving through my local town and I see new houses with a postage stamp size of a garden I feel sad, I grieve for the inhabitants of the house who will be deprived of the beauty that a garden provides.

Clients often ask me how I know how to create a beautiful garden, how do I know what plants works well together.  I guess it is partly intuitive and partly comes from years of experience, I know that the current gardening me is very different to the gardening me at age 20.  I suspect my tastes have changed and the gardener in me has evolved.

The problem with designing gardens and advising clients is that you have to restrain your natural impulse to create what you love and instead design what the client will like, sometimes you have to count to 10 and bite your tongue when inside your soul is crying.

I will admit to failing slightly in this , I tend to give clients options including what I feel would work wonderfully for their garden and what I think they truly want.  In this way I am not making assumptions about what they really want, sometimes, let’s be honest the clients don’t always know what they want.  I tend to thumb through my gardening books, marking relevant pictures with post-it notes, I find that pictures help clients visualise what is possible.

The restorative powers of working in your own garden

I don’t mind working in other people’s gardens, I’m not that fussy. I really don’t mind weeding, pruning, edging the lawn and I don’t even mind the endless task of raking up leaves in the autumn.  I compartmentalise things, it’s treated as a series of tasks to be completed, a task list in my mind that gets ticked off as the day progresses. However, it is very different to working in my garden.  Working in my garden is like writing a love letter to my soul. It’s a real symbiotic experience. I feed the garden and the garden feeds my soul.  I think feeding your soul is so important.  I was once asked at a “meet and greet” session on a leadership course “what makes you happy?”, most of the people replied money, holidays, getting drunk and chocolate.  When my turn came around I answered ” bees and butterflies in my garden”, the other people looked at me like I’d been sniffing fairy dust and they asked me why and I replied “no matter how crappy my day has been, no matter what horrendous news stories bombard me about our self-destructive nature, when I go home and I work in my garden and I see bees, bumblebees and butterflies in my garden I somehow feel that everything is alright with the world.” When I immerse myself in the garden, when is see how wonderful the flowers are and what a wonder nature is, I realise how insignificant we humans are.  It is a real shame that we are stuffing up the environment, I wish we could learn to be happy with what we have, to cherish the wonder of nature and especially our garden spaces.  When I listen to the news and I hear all the nonsense, the fake news, brexit, the European Union, Russia, China and Korea I want to retreat into my safe garden. All of these people who fill the media with their nonsense and bile have, in my belief, lost touch with th wonderful planet, with their souls and with me.  I’d really like to take these people out of the mainstream for a month, take their phones away with no access to the Internet just access to gardening books and get them all working together, working on a garden together. No talking about politics, no blame culture, no spinning of facts, just working together to create something of value. Wouldn’t that be just great and no using chemicals for impressive quick fixes, you see it is the process that is important.  I know it will never happen but what if it did?

 

 

 

 

 

David Austin Roses for Spring 2019

We have so many wonderful roses to show you that I am going to have to spread them across several articles.  Why am I showing you these now, in September? Well, I am showing them to you now so that you have time to consider which ones are perfect for your garden.  So sit back, relax and enjoy.  All images courtesy of David Austin Roses Limited.

 

Jude the Obscure C (Ausjo)

Jude the Obscure (Ausjo) English Shrub Rose

 

You really will be spoilt for choice

2019 will be our second year selling David Ausin roses and we have expanded our selection of roses for sale.  For 2019 we have not only more shrub roses but also more climbing roses and a good selection of the best rambling roses.  We have a limited number of each available, however, (10-20 depending upon the variety), so it is best to get your order in quick.

Our pick of the best shrub roses for you

Rosa 'The Lark Ascending'

The Lark Ascending (Ausursula)

This rose has graceful, medium-sized,semi-double flowers of a pleasing apricot colour and are produced from the ground upwards and are held in large heads of up to 15 roses.  This rose is absolutely stunning, here in the Moosbach Garden we have a corner bed planted up with 3 of these and it looks stunning when it flowers.  In a good climate it is not unusual for this rose to reach a height of 1 3/4 metres.  My experience with this rose is that a puts up a fantastic display early on and although it does throw the occasional flower after this it should be treated as a bonus rather than be expected.

Rosa 'Scepter'd Isle'

Scepter’d Isle (Ausland)

A pretty rose bearing numerous cupped flowers with yellow stamens. The rose is a lovely light pink colour with a powerful Myrrh fragrance.  The rose has a delicacy about it that is really quite romantic in the old fashioned style of roses. Again, in the right climate this rose can grow to at least 1 1/2 metres tall.  A good repeat flowerer.

Morning Mist (Ausfire)

Morning Mist (Ausfire)

A striking variety with large single flowers in coral-pink.  One of the largest English roses forming a big bushy shrub with wonderful rose hips in Winter.  It grows to a height of about 1.8 metres.

Rosa 'Molyneux'

Molineux ((Ausmol)

This a smaller rose, (90cm x 90cm) but again given the right conditions it can acheive more height but probably suited to the front of a flower bed rather than at the back.  It is a good repeat flowerer but only with a light to medium strength fragrance.

 

Rosa 'Lady of Shalott'

Rosa ‘Lady of Shalott’ (Ausnyson)

Rich orange-red buds open up to chalice shaped blooms that are filled with loosely aranged orange petals. It has a nice warm tea fragrance of a medium strength and will grow to about 1 1/2 metres in the right climate.  The perfume has tomes of apple and cloves. This rose is also available as a climber and as a standard rose.

 

Lady Emma Hamilton (Ausbrother) D

Lady Emma Hamilton (Ausbrother)

Blooms of orange and yellow paired with a strong fruity fragrance make this rose a firm favourite.  It grows to just over 1 metre tall so is probably best suited to the front of the flower bed or even in a large teracota pot on a patio.

Jude the Obscure C (Ausjo)

Jude the Obscure (Ausjo)

 

I simply adore this rose, it is just so beautiful, has a gorgeous perfume and a really good repeat flowerer.  In the right situation will grow to 1 1/2 metres or more.  This is in my top 5 favourite roses.

Jubilee Celebration (Aushunter)

Jubilee Celebration (Aushunter)

Large coral-pink flowers are held gracefuly on arching stems. It has a strong fruity fragrance with tones of lemon and raspberry.  In better climates it can grow to 1 1/2 metres.

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Emily Bronte (Ausearnshaw)

An exceptionally beautiful rose of a delicate soft pink with a strong Tea fragrance.  Can grow up to 1 1/2 metres in the right climate.  Perfume exhibits tones of lemon and grapefruit.  This rose has a strong, healthy, upright growth.

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Olivia Rose Austin (Ausmixture)

This rose is simply top-class.  It repeat flowers extremely well, is very vigorous and disease resistent and the flowers are perfection. A middle strength perfume of a fruity nature. Can easily grow to 2 metres tall in the right climate.

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Brother Cadfael (Ausglobe)

A firm favourite here in the Moosbach Garden with a filled bloom more reminiscent of a peony.  Lovely colour and repeat flowers well.  Can easily reach 1 1/2 metres in height.

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Boscobel (Auscousin)

A lovely rose with  darker pink flower reminiscent of salmon.  Can easily reach 1 1/2 metres high and repeat flowers well.  The blooms last well in full sun and heat. It has a strong Myrrh fragrance.

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Desdemona (Auskindling)

A beautiful white rose that start as peachy-pink buds, it has a strong old rose fragrance and can grow up to 1 1/2 metres.  Very, very beautiful.

So I hope that this has given you some food for thought, I haven`t included all of the roses that we have on offer for 2019 but you get the idea.  The sizes that I have quoted here are not guaranteed and do not come from David Austin roses but from my own experience.  All roses do better with lots of direct sunlight and lots of water, in colder climates you should expect less growth.  If you do not have at lease 4 hours of sunlight per day in the Summer than maybe a plant other than a rose might fare better.  I aam always happy to offer my opinion or answer any questions that you might have.

 

A Golden September

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Desdemona

Some people adore the height of Summer in June and July when the garden is performing at its peak and it has to be said that it is glorious with the sumptuous excess of roses, delphiniums and phlox flowering in all of their glory but for me September can be even better.

Golden Septembers are not guaranteed

You don’t always get that golden Summer when it’s gloriously hot but when you do I think that it’s special.  What do I love so much about September? Well it is a time to be grateful for the gifts that natures bestows upon us.  It is a time of picking the last peaches and the first apples and pears, of harvesting the last of the summer crops from the vegetable garden, it is a time of plenty.  It’s also the time when the last few roses put on a dazzling display of beauty and I think that I enjoy them so much more because they stand out as beautiful highlights in the garden.

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Brother Cadfael

For me it is also the time to take a breath now that things have slowed down a little, I can step back from the manic duties of Summer and see how the garden has developed in those Summer months.

The big surprise of this Summer

The biggest surprise for me this Summer has been the roses, as many of you will know, we planted a new rose garden this year and it has done exceptionally well.  I have some varieties that have grown to a height of 6 feet or more, which really is incredible in their first year.  Olivia Rose Austin (1st picture above) is a perfect example, David Austin say that this rose generally grows to about 1.25 metres high and yet mine is standing at 6 feet tall, shows no signs of slowing down and is flowering for the 3rd time this year.  It has also been extremely healthy and has shown no signs of disease. he David Austin size guidelines are for the UK and in warmer climates they will grow taller and bigger.

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Olivia Rose Austin

Just look at this perfectly formed rose and also see how healthy the leaves are, it has not been sprayed at all.

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Harlow Carr

This rose, Harlow Carr, I planted in a group of 3, as recommended by David Austin, this is a rose that does so much better in the ground than in a pot, it creates a tall, bushy rose with lots of dainty pink roses that are highly perfumed.  In my opinion it would be a perfect variety for creating a scented rose hedge, I also like Rusosa “Wild Edric” for this purpose.

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Wollerton Old Hall

This is a climbing rose of great beauty, it is one the best scented climbing roses and repeat flowers all summer.

Living off the garden – is that not the dream?

 

At the moment we are able to get all that we need to eat from the garden.  It is so rewarding picking and eating fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden, I feel like we are living like kings!  The pears are absolutely fantastic, sweet and juicy, as are the peaches. We are still harvesting and eating fresh courgettes but we also have enough preserved in jars to last us the winter, along with peas, beans and herbs.  So I think that September is a time to be grateful, a time to be thankful that we live somewhere that we can grow fresh fruit and vegetables and grow beautiful flowers.  Is there a chance that we will end up taking it all for granted? Never.

When Winter comes

When Winter comes I promise not to moan about how cold it is or about how much snow there is, instead I will remember, as I open up a jar of some preserved goody, how wonderful the Summer was, how kind and how generous the garden and nature have been to us.  Does that alone not make this wonderful planet worth saving?

My next post will be showcasing the David Austin roses that will be available in March here at The Moosbach Garden.

We have a small selection of roses for sale at a reduced price (25 euros) a saving of 3,95 Euros.  They are all in flower and make an ideal gift for a friend (or yourself)!

Is gardening the epitomy of a symbiotic relationship?

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I’ve not been particularly well for the last month so I am a little behind in the garden.  It’s funny how much changes in the garden when you turn your back for 5 mins.  It struck me today that I have a really symbiotic relationship with the garden and although it’s hard work I can’t help feeling that I’m getting the better deal.

What’s all this nonsense about a symbiotic relationship?

I hear people saying out loud what is this bloke on about, symbiotic relationship? It’s just a garden.  Well, I beg to differ and I’ll tell you why.  I have a problem with my shoulder and can’t do too much physical work a the moment and whilst the exact problem was being diagnosed I’ve been reluctant to do much physical work for fear of making things worse.  I’ve been diagnosed now and have severe arthritis which has caused my shoulder bones to increase in size, resulting in a reduced space for muscle, ligament and nerve movement.  It hurts but it’s not going to get any worse by working in the garden (as long as I don’t over do it).  I’ve ventured out into the garden these last 2 days as the thought of the weeds overtaking the flower beds is too much for me.  What a difference there is in the garden in such a short space of time.  Yes, ok there are weeds galore (they are opportunists) but there a masses of roses in flower and the garden is full with ripe, delicious fruit. I harvested a bucket (literally a bucket) of peaches with blood-red juicy flesh and today I collected another bucket of pears, perfectly ripened, juicy and very tasty.  it got me to thinking about the relationship that I have with the garden and it is definitely symbiotic. Here is the dictionary definition:

  1.  Biology.  A close, prolonged association between 2 or more organisms of different species that may but not necessarily benefit each member.
  2. A relationship of mutual benefit or dependence

Well, the garden needs weeding, watering and feeding, so that’s my part covered and in return I get beautiful flowers all summer long, I get potatoes, beans, peas courgettes, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, beetroot, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, plums, apples, pears and peaches and let’s not forget the many herbs.  I reckon for the amount of effort I put in I am more than compensated.

Don’t undervalue the feeding of your soul

It is very easy to see all of the physical things that you get from your garden but what about the things that you can’t see or hold?  It has become an acknowledged medical fact that gardening is good for your mental health.  I felt it yesterday, having been cooped up inside the house for the last few weeks I was feeling a little down in the dumps.  As soon as I stepped into the garden I felt my spirits lifting.  It felt like the garden was saying “Hey, we missed you, welcome back.  Look what we have to show you”

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The peaches above are not very large but that’s to be expected after the hot and dry summer that we’ve had but they are so juicy and so very tasty.  We are currently living off of our garden.  For breakfast we are having pears, apples and peaches with a bit of musili. Our evening meal consists of vegetable fresh from the garden and wonderful free range eggs from our chickens.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I love reducing my environmental footprint.  All his food has only travelling from the garden to the kitchen and it’s not been sprayed with anything, except water. Ok our produce is not of a uniform shape, our pears have blemishes on their skin and our carrots are a funny shape but they taste fantastic.

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Thank you garden

So, yes gardening a symbiotic and wonderful relationship and I will be fulfilling my part of the relationship over the next few weeks by weeding, watering, repairing supports and pruning what needs pruning. I will be thankful that I am healthy enough to get out there and garden and I will be especially thankful when I bite into that next juicy pear.

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing Your Autumn “To-Do”List

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Autumn is gently knocking at the door and whilst it’s not quite time to start putting the garden to bed, it soon will be.  I always find it useful to make a “To-Do” list otherwise I tend to forget those jobs that need doing that I made a mental note of in the height of Summer.

Things to do whilst you can still see what is what

Once Autumn/Winter is finally upon us and all the deciduous plants have dropped their leaves it is more difficult to see what plants are.  This is OK if you only have a small garden and you know exactly where every single plant is but here in the Moosbach Garden it’s impossible.  There are always going to be instances, frequently during the early years of a garden, when a plant is in the wrong place. I’ll give you an example, I’m turning the top bed in the rose garden which is currently a mixture of delphiniums, lupins, foxgloves and Phlox into a hot bed or Jewel Garden as Monty Don likes to call it. Now, there are some plants still in this bed that don’t match the colour scheme, for example some Phlox “Giant David” which is white. So, now is the time when I will walk around the garden with bundles of different colour strings that I tie around the stems of plants that need moving.  How you organise your colour coding is a personal choice.

Whatever works for you

There really are not many hard rules in gardening and everybody needs to find a rhythm that works for them.  The Famous garden designer Gertrude Jekyll used to take photographs of all of the garden in the summer months, which she paired with copious notes for review in the relatively quiet period of Winter before making any changes.

The developement of a new garden should be part planned and part organic

What do I mean by this?  Well my view is this, if you are starting a new garden on a blank canvas where no garden has existed before you are very lucky indeed.  What a luxury not to have to work with and around somebody elses view of what the garden should be.  When it is virgin ground you have the benefit of being able to measure the garden and then sit down with a big sheet of graph paper and decide where your paths, hedging and flower beds will be.  Harold Nicholson and Vita Sackville-West had exactly this luxury at Sissinghurst Castle, although it should be noted that it was Harold Nicholson who measured the gardens and laid out the paths and hedging and Vita then crammed the different areas of the garden with plants.  However, any plan for a garden will need tweaking, you can try to visualise how things will look in your head but it is only when they are in situ that you can see if it works but give it time. A garden needs time to find its feet so don’t keep changing things every week.

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One of the Herbaceous borders at Sissinghurst

Dead-heading and planning changes

I find that this time of year is perfect for a little relaxed dead-heading of flowers to help prolong the season.  One of the joys of gardening comes at the end of a long Summer of watering and weeding when you can relax a little, take your foot off the accelerator and enjoy your garden.  I think sometimes when you garden you can be so busy with the many essential garden jobs that need doing that you do not have the time to see how the garden has changed in just  few months.  When I am dead-heading rose blooms I really get the chance to smell the different roses and immerse myself in their beauty.  The roses in the Moosbach Garden are putting on their final “Big Show” of the year and they are stunning.  Sometimes I sit on a bench with a cup of tea or a glass of dry white wine and it is then that I can objectively see what is working well and what isn’t working so well.  I keep a notepad which contains my “To-Do” list about my person so that I can make a note of changes to be made when the garden is asleep.  It is the only way that it works for me, 9 times out 10 when I say to myself that I’ll make a note of that later  I don’t.

Dividing Perennials

Once plants go into their dormant phase you can divide them which can revitalise them, plus you get new plants for free.  There is an article on this blog with instructions for dividing Phlox plants which you can do at any time whilst they are dormant.

Something wonderful to look out for

In the next week I will be unveiling all of the fantastic David Austin roses that will be available to buy on our website.  Please note that we have a limited supply of each variety, so it’s best to order early.  Roses will be available for collection from March 2019.

If you are looking for a beautiful rose now we have a few potted roses for sale that are currently in flower.  Available varieties are

  • Harlow Carr (1 available)IMG_4271
  • Desdemona (2 available)5046ffe4-3ce9-4794-af9b-2df494b3fcf4
  • Brother Cadfael (1 available)da5b9ffb-184f-4d20-8584-a0aa86fbc74c
  • Thomas A Beckett (3 available)IMG_4283
  • Falstaff (1 available)3d09bb4c-8564-403d-b5f2-c5d3d6a4c15c-2
  • Boscobel (1 available)0e338944-f6fc-4b9c-be48-3e2e5f8abe2a-1
  • Wollerton Old Hall Climber (2 available)f46a6d20-8482-490b-855f-bc69d5293a79-1
  • Olivia Rose Austin (1 available)ff6f0b6c-0750-4ff6-b15c-1dc08230e937-1

If you are interested in buying one of the above roses please email us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Turning Of The Seasons

I really like years when there are distinct seasons, there’s a certain rhythm to it that brings contentment.  I think it brings contentment because life is cyclical, everything that we do is based around repeating patterns. Each day repeats with its 24 hours, each week, each month, each year and each birthday.  Imagine if we didn’t have a concept of time, how would we measure our existence apart from the changing from day to night and the wrinkles on our faces.

Childhood Memories

I think like most people, when I look back at my childhood I remember long hot summers that never seemed to end and long cold, snowy winters.  Perhaps we romanticize our childhoods and it wasn’t always like that and our brains are just playing a trick on us. As I have got older it has seemed that the seasons have all blurred into each other, Winters seem mild and wet and Summers full of rain and inclement weather.

The bizarre weather of 2018

This year has been a strange one, it was preceded by what seemed like a very long Winter, it wasn’t particularly cold here, we didn’t have a metre of snow but it was windy and everything dried out and we lost quite a few plants in their dormant phase.  Spring didn’t really appear, we went from Winter to Summer in the space of a couple of days. I still can’t get my head around a temperature change of 10 degrees celsius or more in a day, how does that work?

A long, hot and very dry summer

This summer has been gloriously hot but far too dry with next to no rainfall here for 3 months resulting in hours of watering and ultimately a dry well. Suddenly the weather changed from the upper 30’s to the lower 20’s. It’s like there’s a mad scientist or bond villain with the ability the change the weather in a heartbeat.  If that is you, stop it now, OK.

A return to bio rhythm please

What we all need is a return to natural patterns of weather.  Lets have a cool misty Autumn where the air is filled with the aroma of fermenting windfall apples and smoke from bonfires when gardeners are tidying up their gardens.  Let us have a cold winter where frozen leaves crunch under our feet and rose hips glisten with frost in the morning.  Let us have a slow and gentle awakening of nature in Spring, let crocuses and daffodils poke their heads above ground at the end of February and then flower for weeks in April. Let leaves on trees and hedges delight us with their slow awakening and please let that first green of Spring be a green that is unique to that moment, innocent, pure,full of hope and expectation.

But it’s not all bad

Ok so it’s been a crazy year for the planet, for people, for wildlife, for nature but for those with water it’s been a great year for fruit and a fantastic year for roses.  Everyone I talk to about gardening say, “hasn’t this been a good year for roses?” and in fairness it has, roses love lots of sun and that is just what they got.  I chose this year to create a new rose garden and it’s done really well, so maybe it’s me that has the crazy weather controlling technology (who would have though that behind my mild manner lurks an evil genius?)

My guide to success with roses

People often ask me what the secret to growing fantastic roses is and I’m happy to tell them, it’s not a trade secret after all. Here’s what I do, I feed them when the first leaves appear and then again when the first set of flowers are finished but most importantly I give them lots of water everyday.  Like most plants, what roses need is plenty of water and sunlight.  Roses need a minimum of 4 hours sunshine a day in the summer if they are going to thrive.  Then when Autumn comes roses need a break, they need to go to sleep and rest, kind of a cyclical pattern right?  Which brings us right back to where we started, bio rhythms and seasons.

Looking forward to Autumn days

So this week I will be getting my Wellington boots out of the cellar, dusting off my old clothes that can get muddy, torn and even singed by sparks from the many bonfires I intend starting.  I will leave some piles of wood, twigs and compost as a refuge for wildlife though.  If you have a vegetable patch or an allotment, enjoy the fruits of your labours and if you have some spare produce give something to somebody who hasn’t been bitten by the gardening bug. Let’s convert some new people to the wonderous world of gardening and nature. #make the world a better place.