David Austin Rose – Claire Austin (Ausprior). Featured rose of the week

Image courtesy of David Austin Roses

Claire Austin Climbing (Ausprior)

This beautiful English Musk rose can be grown either as a shrub or as a climbing rose.  When the buds appear on this strongly perfumed rose they are of a delicate light lemon, however, when they open the flowers are a gorgeous creamy white.

The petals are arranged in concentric circles and you can get lost admiring the wonder and beauty of nature.  The perfume is myrrh mixed with meadow-sweet and vanilla.

If grown as a shrub rose you should expect a plant 140cm x 90cm and if grown as a climber you should expect to achieve a height of 2.5m.  If you have the space why not grow it in both forms.

For me there is something pure and untainted about white flowers and this rose would be perfect if you want to create a white border or even a white garden if you are lucky enough to have the space.  Here at the Moosbach Garden we are creating multiple outdoor rooms, including a rose garden.

I’m a big fan of using Yew hedging as a backdrop for planting schemes.  For me the dark green foliage of Yew contrasts beautifully with light coloured flowers and is a classic staple of garden design.  Also, looking forward, as one can not help but doing with gardening, Yew is slow-growing so only needs cutting once per year and this is a very important consideration for the future.

I challenge everyone to have a go at designing their own garden space, it is amazing how satisfying it is to create something from scratch and slowly watch it mature.  You can make this more affordable by buying small plants and allowing them to mature slowly.  Even if you are new to gardening there are many things that you can do to create a wonderful garden on a low-budget.  Carol Klein’s book “Grow your own garden” by BBC books (only available in English) is a fantastic guide to growing your own plants from seeds, cuttings and plant division.

As you would expect we have the David Austin Rose “Claire Austin” available to purchase on our website www.moosbach-schwarzwald.com or you can visit us at the Moosbach Garden and peruse all of the wonderful plants that we have for sale.

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Garden treasure in the Alsace, France

It’s snowing here again in the Moosbach Garden and I’ve given up potting up roses in the very cold garage.  I thought instead that I would share my memories of a trip to a delightful garden in the Alsace.  Le Jardin de Berchigranges. I hope you enjoy!

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I first visited this stunningly beautiful and inspirational garden in 2015 and I’ve been in love with it ever since but don’t take my word for it, plan a visit and decide for yourself.

I think that gardens are like music or works of art, it’s all a matter of personal perspective and choice.  Let’s face it, if we all liked the same things then the world would be far less interesting and diverse.

This garden is in the middle of nowhere, at a high altitude for gardening (800m) but I like people who buck convention and attempt something that they know is going to be extremely challenging. If it’s too easy why bother eh?

The garden is completely bio, lots of people say that but have problem areas they’ve dealt with using chemicals, not this pair (Monique and Thierry Dronet).  There is absolutely nothing in this garden but soil, glorious plants, stunning use of water and a whole lot of love.

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The owners recommend that you walk around the garden barefoot as the garden is very tactile. It’s true, although I’m not sure I would recommend walking around all of the areas barefoot, maybe carry your shoes so you can decide.  The grass lawns are completely weed free and you would be hard pressed to find a better lawn in England.  This is achieved by hand using a small garden tool to root out any weed that encroaches, now that’s dedication.

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The garden is divided up into a multitude of garden rooms with inventive use of pathing, hedging and wall materials plus a brilliant use of plants.

Nearly all the plants in this garden are hardy, so there is no digging up of plants in the autumn and storing in greenhouses over the winter months. There are some unusual uses of hedging that on my first visit blew me away. They also have created some very interesting walls using wood, sometimes vertically and sometimes horizontally like a log pile seen from one end.  These are clever design aspects that keeps the visitor enthralled time and time again.

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Some of my favourite areas of the garden are the wild perennial areas, one day I might even have a go at this myself. Sometimes, I think I’m too uptight as a gardener, worrying about weeds and everything not being at its very best.  What the creators here have done is bold but it works on many levels. They have a fairly wide grass path, meandering through what is affectively a large, gently sloping meadow filled with delphiniums, Phlox, Lupins and Hardy Geraniums. Yes, weeds grow in between but you don’t really notice as the overall effect is one of wild naturalistic beauty.  In the Autumn they simply strim it all down and it regrows again in the spring, no dead heading, weeding or worry. Brilliant. A paradise for bees and insects.

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There are some stunning and unusual perennials in this garden and Monique, who is simply lovely, can advise on the plant names, can tell you what conditions they like and can even tell you if they have any for sale.  There is a fairly small “plant for sale” area on your way out and if you are anything like me you will come away with an empty wallet and a car full of plants.  Just remember to take along a helper as the car park is a 5 min walk up the hill.

The only disadvantage that I can think of with this garden is that there is nowhere to get a cup of tea and a piece of cake, so you need to bring your own packed lunch.  There are some shady areas adjacent to the car park that are grassy, shady and suited to alfresco dining.

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The garden is open from April to October, when you decide to visit depends upon what it is you want to see.  I’m a perennial addict so June, July and August are my preferred months.

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Here is their website address

www.berchigranges.com

Tel:  +33 (0) 3 29 51 47 19

Berchigranges

88640 Granges-Sur-Vologne

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Please ignore the garden blogger with the big ears spoiling this picture, I have to admit that I was very happy sitting amongst these flowers in peace.

And finally, if there is a garden that you would like to recommend, please send us an email or add a comment to the post.

Harlow Carr (Aushouse) – featured David Austin rose of the week

Harlow Carr

Harlow Carr

David Austin rose Harlow Carr (Aushouse) – image courtesy of David Austin Roses.

This fabulous rose is part of their fragrant rose collection and is perfect for the flower border.  A robust rose with medium sized fragrant flowers of a delicate rose pink. It is bushy in form and has the advantage of producing blooms almost to the ground, giving a stunning visual display.

The perfume  evokes childhood memories of glorious summer days without end and the perfume is very similar to rose scented soaps.  The leaves which are at first bronze in colour turn green and the rose is very disease resistant, unusual amongst many roses.

In height and spread it can grow to 120 x 90 cm but this can be improved by planting 3 of this excellent rose in a triangle 1 metre apart giving the effect of one large bush.  It can also be used as a hedging plant and is an excellent way to divide a garden space. At 120cm this does not form a tall hedge and if you want to create a substantial hedge then I would recommend one of the Rugosa roses like Sarah Van Fleet, Mrs Anthony Waterer or Wild Edric.

We have this rose for sale on our website at www.moosbach-schwarzwald.com 

We also have a selection of delphiniums, acanthus, sweet peas and day lilies for sale.

Pink roses combine especially well with blue flowers such as Salvia, Lavender and Delphiniums.  Like all flowers I recomment planting in groups rather than individually which can lack the impact of group plantings, groups of plants should drift into each other in a naturalistic way and if you have the space be repeated at intervals within a flower border.

Happy gardening!

Gertrude Jekyll – our featured rose of the week

Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant'

Gertrude Jekyll (Ausbord) Image courtesy of David Austin Roses.

David Austin English Roses are the epitome of summer and add class and a timeless beauty to any garden.  Over the next few weeks we will be showcasing  9 different David Austin Roses, all of which are available to buy on our website.

Gertrude Jekyll (pronounced Jee – Kell) was an English Edwardian garden designer and plantswoman who influenced the way most people garden today.  She was instrumental in defining how plant combinations in flower borders were put together.

This beautiful rose is named after her and was voted the Nations favourite rose in the United Kingdom.  It produces gorgeous pink roses with a very strong perfume, reminiscent of the Damask roses.  Whilst it is not a climbing rose it can produce quite tall stems and is better suited to the back of the flower bed, or against a wall or rose arch, I treat it like a semi-climbing rose. However, you can keep this rose as a lower, bushier rose by selective pruning.

I think this rose needs to be planted somewhere that you, your family and guests walk past everyday so that it can be seen and smelled in all of its glory.  If you want to create a spectacular display plant 3 of these roses in a triangle, one metre apart and you will be rewarded time and time again.

We have these glorious roses for sale on our website www.moosbach-schwarzwald.com

Available for collection or delivery from  February 2018.

A guide to dividing Phlox plants

 

Phlox is one of my favourite perennial plants and comes in a variety of forms, I really like the tall sort that flower in July and August.  Phlox plants, given the ideal conditions, spread quite rapidly, however, they become non-productive from the middle as the wood gets older.  The solution to this problem is to split the plants once they are dormant, you can do this  from early winter all the way through until spring but always before they have produced the first shoots of the year.

Follow this simple and easy to use guide to create lots of new productive plants and the best thing is it’s free!

  1.  Carefully, using a garden fork, loosen the soil around the root ball of the plant.  I always cut off the dead stems from the previous seasons growth, I think that it makes the job easier as you can really see what you are doing.
  2.  Carefully lift the root ball, trying not to break any roots in the process.
  3. Split the plant using 2 back to back garden forks, depending upon the size of the root ball you can either using large digging forks or small hand-held forks.  I tend to leave my plants for 3 years before splitting them so I usually go for the larger option. Dont be afraid of being heavy-handed, plants are quite resilient, as long as each section that you divide has sufficient good quality roots then you will have a viable plant for the next growing season.
  4. You can usually divide a Phlox plant into 10-15 new plants every 3 years, even after discarding the dead non-productive wood from the centre of the plant.  Pot up or plant directly into their final location.  In spring you will see the shoots from each of these new, free plants.

Don’t be afraid to give it a go!

The first time I attempted splitting phlox using this method I was terrified that I would kill the plant. However, don’t worry plants are really very robust, especially whilst they are in their dormant phase (not actively growing). Just get out there and give it a go, as long as each section of split plant has a bit of good root it should produce a new and vigorous plant.

There is a garden in the Alsace that has huge areas dedicated to perennial plants with large drifts of Phlox, Delphinium and Lupins which they let grow in spring and strim down in the autumn.  The effect is fantastic, naturalistic and low maintenance, if you have the space why not give it a try.  If you are limited on garden space you can either give the new plants a way or sell them, all it’s cost you is a little time.

This is not the only way to grow new Phlox plants from your existing stock, you can also collect the seeds and grow them from seed or you can take basal root cuttings.  If you have any questions please feel free to drop me an email in English or in German and I will do my best to help.  You can email me at themoosbachgardener@gmail.com

 

Happy gardening!!