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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hidcote Manor – A National Trust dream garden

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Hidcote Manor is a famous English garden hidden down a narrow country lane near Chipping Camden in the Cotswolds.  It was created by the American, Lawrence Johnston.  The estate, comprising the house and 287 acres (116 hectares) of farmland was purchased for him by his mother, Mrs Gertrude Winthrop in 1907.  It took Lawrence Johnson some 20 years to create this garden and he collected plants from all over the world to do so. He was a keen gardener and it is evident to the visitor that this garden was created with great thought and love.  Of course, Lawrence Johnson had the benefit of a benefactor in his mother.  The garden was gifted to the National Trust in 1948 who have maintained it ever since and shared it with the world.

We visited the garden halfway through our 10 days in England and it was definitely one of the garden highlights, this is praise indeed in a Country where the plethora of stunning gardens is hard to believe.

Like many of the grand houses and gardens created in a bygone era, it is lovingly maintained by the National Trust. I cannot stress strongly enough what a fantastic organisation this is, if you are planning a garden tour in the United Kingdom I would strongly recommend taking out a membership, it will give you free access to so many wonderful properties.  For more details click here.

I would suggest arriving early in the day before the masses descend upon Hidcote Manor.  I would advocate travelling by car, (it is quite remote) with enough space for those choice plants that you cannot resist, the plant shop is very well stocked with good quality plants which can be seen in the garden and they are not too expensive.

It is entirely up to you how much time you spend in the garden but in my opinion, a garden such as this should not be rushed, allow your soul to soak up the many wonders that Hidcote Manor has to offer. I think that a minimum of half a day is required, you can break your visit by having a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the cafe.

For me Hidcote Manor is a mixture of classic garden design and quirky intimate garden rooms.  The National Trust have been very respectful of the gardens original design and much of the original paving still exists (watch your footing in these areas) along with many of the original plantings.  I’m a lover of classic, timeless garden design and Hidcote Manor has this by the sack load. There are so many beautifully designed garden rooms with  long narrow beds, back edged with superb Yew hedging leading the eye forward to a  sneak preview of another garden or a panoramic view of the cotswolds.

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Hidcote Manor is not all formal design with straight lines and neatly clipped hedges, there are wonderful herbaceous borders and intimate meandering paths, the romance of which can steal your heart.

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One of the many herbaceous borders at Hidcote, it has a good depth with interest at ground and at eye level.

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Pictured above, original paving laid down by Lawrence Johnston.

There are some grand statements in this garden, like the pond for example.  The pond is classically beautiful with an understated water feature in the middle. So often an ornamental pond like this is overwhelmed by the sheer size of the fountain but not here and Lawrence Johnston has added an enticing view across this pond to the next garden.  This is a tantilising garden window, framed by two hedges, drawing the visitor forwards to the next delight that Lawrence Johnston has in store for us.  To be honest it is these small subtle touches that really inspired me at Hidcote Manor.

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These glorious delphiniums were over 6 feet tall and the most fantastic shade of blue.  If you want to grow delphiniums like this you can buy seed from Larkspur Nursery

Delphinium seedlings are prone to damping off, so remember to cover the seed trays with vermiculite or fine grit after you have sown the seeds and do not over water them.  Once the seedlings are big enough a weekly dose of liquidised tomato feed in the water will help them to establish more leaves and a healthier crown

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The steps at the end of this herbaceous border help to define the natural end of the border and act as a focal point for the entrance to the next garden room.IMG_4367

For me this is evocative of romantic summer days, where you can sit and read undisturbed by either people or the hot summer sun.  It was pertinent when it was created and even more so today in our world of stress and over crowded spaces.  What a wonderful thought, being able to sit here alone immersed in ones thoughts or a good book.

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A perfect place for a glass of wine (white, dry and definitely not Chardonnay).  I imagine 2 ladies sat here in years gone by discussing Mr Rochester or Mr Darcy.

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I like this idea,which extends the classic design of the garden by framing the doorway with hedges, many people consider the garden an extension of the house but this flips it around and make the house an extension of he garden.  I’m not sure that entirely works but it’s a very interesting idea.

 

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For me a quintessentially English scene with statuesque trees and horses.  The clever design trick here is that the end of the garden (in the foreground) melts effortlessly in the countryside. There is, however, a wall that prevents the sheep and horses from entering the garden. You can only see the wall when you are standing on top of it, I think that this is just brilliantly clever.

As ever, we came away inspired and determined to tweak some of the features of Hidcote Manor to fit our own garden.  I use the term tweak because every garden is and should be different, just imagine if every garden looked he same, wouldn’t that make for a boring world. I also realised how blessed we were to have been able to see this garden and I thought how lucky we were that people like Lawrence Johnston, Gertrude Jekyll, Vita Sackville-West and many others had the resolve and natural ability to create such wonderful gardens.  I really value my memberships of the National Trust and the Royal Horticultural Society without whose work these wonderful places would fall into disarray and be lost forever. Now that’s a very sad thought indeed.

We are back home now in the Black Forest and my normal routine of weeding, watering and dead heading has resumed.  I say ‘normal routine’ but this is simply not true as no 2 days are ever the same when you are a gardener, however, I feel blessed that I am able to envelope myself in something as wonderful and rewarding as gardening.

My final thought is this. Gardening for me is about 2 things, committment and acceptance.  Firstly, committment because you have to commit yourself to a garden and it is an open-ended committement.  A flower bed doesn’t stay weed free and those roses will not stay looking as beautiful as the day that you bought them unless you put the time in.  Secondly, acceptance, you have to accept that things will go wrong and you just have to dust off the dirt and start again.  Once you have mastered these two concepts then you will be rewarded by thankful plants, a beautiful place to live, an abundance of wildlife and a very grateful planet.

We’ve just made our selection of David Austin roses for next year and they will be available to view on our website shortly.  Why not join our mailing list and be notified of what is happening in the Moosbach Garden.

The Moosbach Garden team wish you many happy hours gardening.

 

It’s March 22nd and the ground is still frozen, so when is Spring coming?

I got up this morning with really good intentions, a speedy breakfast was had, a coat was put on, gardening gloves, secateurs and weeding implements in hand.  I think that you would all agree, so far so good. Wellington boots were placed on and out into the garden I marched. I weeded most of the flower beds earlier this month in a week when we had 3 glorious days of sunshine and all that is left are 2 smallish beds.  So off I marched implements in hand but the ground was frozen solid, so that was that.

I did manage to prune some roses and did an inspection of the garden, taking stock of which plants needed re-staking, which plants needed a prune and which perennials were putting up new shoots.

It is amazing how resilient nature is, most of the Phlox plants have good new shoots as do most of the delphiniums and hydrangeas.  There are even some magnolia trees with swelling buds, the fruits buds on the pear trees are swelling and greening up and the roses are now actively growing.  You know I think that is pretty amazing as most of this week we have had night temperatures of -7.  Every cloud has a silver lining as they say and reduced slug and snail populations may just be that silver lining.  One of my goals this year is to eradicate the use of slug pellets, we have an active frog population and the pond is currently full of frog spawn.  Frogs are really an asset in the garden with keeping plant predators in check but what we really want is a good hedgehog population.  As far as I am aware we don’t have any here at the moment but there is a hedgehog rescue centre about an hour from here.  I shall be contacting them this year and seeing if we can provide a safe, toxin free home to some.

At the moment we are full of anticipation in the Moosbach Garden, this is the fourth year for the garden and last year we planted about 60 new David Austin roses, we have to admit that we’re feeling a little like children who can’t wait for Christmas. You see, we’ve read dozens of books on planting, pruning and caring for roses, we’ve followed their advice and now we can’t wait to see how it all turns out.  We have created a new rose garden in the top garden, we’ve planted a highly scented rose hedge as a link between the top and middle gardens, we’ve planted some rambling roses to grow into trees and we’ve even planted some Alba, Damask, Centifolia and Musk roses that only flower once per year.  We erected an electric fence around the garden to keep the deer out who have developed a taste for roses and so far it seems to be working.  If we are honest about it we didn’t really know that we had a problem with deer until we started planting more roses, we had a few roses that never seemed to come to much and now we know why.

It would be interesting to install some motion activated night cameras in the garden and see what is actually about and more importantly what they are doing in our garden.  I wonder how many of us are blissfully unaware of what animal traffic passes through our gardens at night. Most of us start out just trying to create a beautiful garden for our own pleasure but we also end up creating a paradise for nature and this is no bad thing (as long as they don’t eat your plants).

So our hopes for this year are for an even more beautiful garden, a good crop of fruit and an increase in the diversity of wild garden visitors.  For us one of the wonderful benefits is being able to grow a multitude of different fruits which have not been sprayed with chemicals.  When you get a good fruit year it’s wonderful, last year was catastrophic as a late frost destroyed 80% of the apples, pears, plums and cherries. However,  you know nature has a way of compensating and this year all of the fruit trees are crammed with fruit buds.  If the apple, pear, plums, damson, peach, nectarine, apricot, fig and quince trees produce a good crop this year we don’t mind losing a few to the birds.

So as soon as the weather improves and the soil is workable we shall get the last of the flower beds ready for the coming season and then the vegetable garden dug over and planted.  We absolutely love preparing a meal with produce grown in the garden here, knowing that’s it not been sprayed with chemicals, has a zero environmental footprint and the farthest that it’s travelled is from our garden to the kitchen.

Once the roses start flowering we will post some pictures, along with the delphiniums and other perennials.  We wish you all a fantastic Spring season and if you listen carefully you can hear the plants growing.

 

Happy Gardening ……

A touch of spring in the Moosbach Garden

Better Weather

This week has brought better weather to the Moosbach Garden and a touch of spring, we’ve had a few really sunny days which has warmed the soil and this gardener’s heart.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were sunny and warm and I spent 6 hours each day working in the garden.  I noticed that the plants are waking up and many perennials are producing their first tentative shoots of the year.  Bramble feels it too and has been running around the garden, ears back and leaping on my back when he thinks that I’m not paying attention and then running away.

Jobs to do now

There are a myriad of jobs that need doing in the garden now that Spring is knocking on the door and it really does pay dividends to get those jobs done now before everything starts growing in earnest.

Here is my list of jobs to do now :-

  • Cut back all of the old stems from the perennials, it’s much easier to do now without damaging the new shoots.  Lift and split any large perennials that you haven’t split already – this is the last chance to do so.
  • Prune back any roses that need it, removing any crossing stems will prevent later damage and disease from rubbing stems.
  • Give all of the roses a good feed with David Austin Rose Feed and then only in-between flowering.
  • Weed all of the flower beds before weeds get a foot hold, not only does it reduce work later on but the beds will look much tidier and then apply a good layer of mulch to inhibit weed growth and to retain moisture.  You can buy proprietory mulch’s from garden centres or you can use well-rotted compost or horse manure.  Any manure that you use in the garden should be at least 2 years old and have a crumbly texture.
  • Prune and feed Hydrangea, this depends on the weather where you are.  Reducing the stems by a third will reduce the risk of branches being pulled to the ground by the weight of the blooms.  Use Rhododendron fertiliser on all hydrangeas and Magnolia’s.
  • Plant bare root or potted roses now to give them a good chance of getting established. Always use David Austin Mykorrhiza fungi when planting roses as this expands the root system and gives the roses the best possible start and then top dress with David Austin Rose Feed.
  • Sow seeds indoors, if you haven’t already done so.  Already we have Delphinium, lavender, Cosmos and Sweet Pea seedlings.  Don’t forget to harden off your seedlings once they are big enough to go out and when all chances of frost have passed.

 

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Above you can see that these Day Lily shoots are actively growing, they are almost impossible to kill and naturalize well in the garden without much care.  These are an old variety typical in this part of Germany and I will be potting some up for selling today.

This week we potted up 14 pots of Sweet Peas and these will be available for sale from May onwards.  Sweet Peas make the perfect plants for cut flowers and will flower prolifically all summer long but ensure you keep cutting the flowers as failure to do so will result in the plant going to seed.  Another good plant for cut flowers is Cosmos Sensation, we have about 60 plants available from May, I think that they also look fantastic planted in a group, especially along the edge of a path.

We also have Lupin plants in White, Yellow and Red for sale, these were grown last year and are now robust, established plants which will produce stunning displays this year.

And Finally ……

A few choice pictures of the young Copper Black Maran hens that we hatched in November last year to replenish our flock of older hens.

We have 9 different varieties of David Austin roses available to buy on our website www.moosbach-schwarzwald.com as well as David Austin Rose feed, mycorrhizal fungi and the fantastic David Austin rose book “Meine Rosen” (Only in German).

Please remember we are only too happy to answer any gardening questions that you might have, please feel free to drop us an email.

We wish you all a very joyous Spring and many hours of happy gardening!

 

Gardening jobs to do now

There are some hard and fast rules with gardening that you have to embrace or forever feel like you have somehow failed.  I think that a lot of people beat themselves up about their gardening ability and status as a gardener.  I am as guilty as the next man or woman and refer to my self as a hobby gardener, I think that it lets you off the hook when things don’t go to plan or don’t really work.  However, here is an enlightening fact – gardening is a long game, it takes time to learn your craft, learn your garden (each one is different) and gardens need time to mature.  When I started gardening, 40 years ago (that’s a sobering, frightening and impossible number as I’m sure that I’m only 35) , I assumed that professional gardeners did everything perfectly and nothing ever failed or looked less than perfect.  This, of course, is simply not the case, every gardener has things that go wrong every year and they make a note, mental or otherwise, to do that differently the next year.  You see gardening is an ever evolving process, it’s not just your garden that grows, it is your knowledge, your judgement and your skills.  So I am going to stop calling myself a hobby gardener, from this moment onwards I am a gardener!

Don’t be overwhelmed

I think some people are overwhelmed by starting gardening as they are so afraid of getting things wrong and looking silly, that other gardeners will judge them and they’ll be found wanting in the garden department.  What I would say to these people is don’t worry about it, fellow gardeners are nurturers and unless they are unkind people they will want you to succeed.

Starting out

If you are new to gardening start on a small-scale, don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to create a garden on the scale of Kew Gardens or Wisley – they have a huge teams of experienced gardeners making it look perfect.  Dip your toes in the gardening water by trying something that fits in with your current skill level and the time that you have available.  This helps build self-confidence, gives you a sense of accomplishment and helps with life balance.  It is amazing how the brain soaks up all of this new acquired knowledge and without realising it you’ve amassed a huge amount of gardening know how and in a few years people will be asking you for advice, not the other way around.

Free resources and money-saving ideas

For many people money is a restricting factor, however, there are some things that you can do which don’t cost much and give great results.  Here’s my list of things to do if you have a restricted budget :-

  1. Use your local library for excellent sources of information,  read books by Monty Don, Carol Klein and many others
  2. Research online (google is your best friend) there is a plethora of useful, free information out there and for extra confidence search videos on YouTube.
  3. Grow plants from seeds, it doesn’t cost much and you can always go halves on seed packets with friends.
  4. Check garden centres for the reduced priced plants, they can’t be bothered with caring for plants that are past their best or ones that they’ve forgotten to water.  I once got 6 hydrangea plants from a DIY shop in Germany for 1 Euro, that’s about 15 cents per plant. All they needed was watering, a feed and a bit of TLC, all 6 survived and are now large healthy plants.
  5. Check online marketplaces like Ebay for cheap small plants, I recommend researching how much they cost elsewhere before you buy so that you know that you are not getting ripped off
  6. Check your local newspaper if you have one, sometimes there are ads for cheap plants, manure and second-hand tools.
  7. See if there is a local gardening group that you can join and maybe acquire a few unwanted plants from other gardeners.
  8. Learn how to take cuttings and then ask friends if you could take some cuttings (always ask first).

Once you have perennial plants that are 2 or three years old, you can take your own cuttings, split some perennials and harvest the seeds.  You can then swap plants with other people or sell them and buy something that you haven’t got.

Our hopes for this gardening year

Last year we planted a select few David Austin roses, OK it was 60 but who’s counting? It will be interesting to see how they do this summer, I am presuming that the snow will eventually stop falling and melt of course.  We planted a long rose hedge using Rugosa hedging (Wild Edric, Mrs Anthony Waterer and Sarah Van Fleet) and I’m wondering how long it will take before it becomes a substantial hedge.  This hedge runs across the hill from the terrace to the middle garden and the intention is to create a rose walk with a mixture of shrubbery above and below.  We also created a Magnolia walk from below the terrace to the pond. As always, I do the planting and Thomas does the structural stuff.  He likes building walls, cutting down trees and making new benches and gates, this is fine by me as it doesn’t really float my boat and keeps him busy!

In the top garden, which is rapidly becoming the Rose Garden we have a mixture of roses. Close to the house with have some climbing roses, supported by a network of poles supporting strong wire which should be hidden by the roses in a couple of seasons.  Here we have the following roses, Gertrude Jekyll,  Claire Austin and Mortimer Sackler.  Across the lawn from this is a fragrant shrub rose collection that we bought from David Austin which contains 4 different roses, 3 of each variety and these are, Harlow Carr (pink), Susan William-Ellis (white), Charles Darwin (yellow) and Thomas A Beckett (red), they are all strongly scented . This bed is edged by a low-level hedge of Munstead Lavender, there are some peonies mixed in with this and apart from the occasional Salvia that will be it.  We are aiming for a more classic look than a bed so crammed with plants that beautiful plants get lost in the excess.

Opposite this bed, on the far side of one of the few flat pieces of garden that we have where there is a row of climbing and rambling roses, these again will be supported by strong posts and wires.  There is an eclectic mix of roses here but that’s what I like, if it doesn’t all work beautifully I can move some of them next winter.  The roses include, Paul’s Himalayan Musk (White and pink Rambler), Filipe Kiftgate (white Rambler), Old Wollerton Hall (cream Climber) and Malvern Hills (Yellow Climber).

Although these roses will flower this year but they will not attain their full glory for a couple of years, they have to establish themselves with good root systems but here in the Moosbach Garden we are patient (well I am).  I imagine how it will all look in 5 years from now and I’m sure that it will be different to the picture in my head but I’m Ok with that.

There are many more roses that we have planted, some repeat flowering, as we have all become used to, and some older species roses that only flower once per year but that’s better shared next year or later in the summer when we have taken some photographs.

Some of you may think that this is a lot of change in a year but a garden never sits still, it is a snap shot in time of the gardener’s heart, aspirations and dreams. It is typical for a young garden like this.  Many people, Gertrude Jekyll included, recommended with older, established gardens that every few years you change something drastically in your garden, this helps to keep the garden a vibrant and interesting place.

I cannot ever imagine not gardening but eventually I will have to be brave and pass the Moosbach Garden trowel onto a new, younger and enthusiastic gardener.  Hopefully that day is 20 years off but you never know what life will throw your way.

Jobs to do in the next 6 weeks

With spring on the horizon there are jobs that need doing before all the garden comes to life.  Already I notice migratory birds arriving from their wintering grounds and collecting nesting materials, yesterday I saw 2 storks and I thought to myself that it’s time to dust off those gardening tools, sharpen those secateurs and get out there.  I like that period just before spring when you can really get things done.  Obviously there are the normal tasks like weeding beds, turning over the soil in the vegetable garden, cutting back last years growth from perennials and pruning fruit trees but it is also an excellent time to tackle architectural and structural jobs.  Once the spring arrives in earnest and everything starts growing with jubilant, gay abandon then there is little time for anything except weeding, deadheading and tying in new growth.  However, before all that starts you can build dry stone walls, create new paths and generally assess which areas need a little repair.

So here is my quick list of things to do now

  • Deadhead old wood from perennials like Phlox, Michaelmas Daisies and Peonies before the new shoots appear
  • Weed all the flower beds, carefully avoiding digging up any hidden perennials, (you should know where they are).  If you do dig any up it won’t do them much harm if you replant then straight away.
  • Split any Perennials that have become too big for their space.  See my post on splitting Phlox plants.
  • Top dress weeded beds with well-rotten compost or horse manure (2-year-old is best)
  • Prune roses when the weather is decent enough not to cause die-back.  There are some good instructional videos on www.davidaustinroses.com
  • Make bamboo supports for sweet peas,delphiniums, beans and peas
  • Sow seeds indoors of sweet peas, delphiniums, beans and peas.
  • This is your last chance to buy and plant bare root hedging plants like box and yew
  • Have a good cup of tea or coffee

Available to buy now

Don’t forget that we have 9 different sorts of highly scented David Austin roses for sale available for collection now :-

  1. Harlow Carr (pink)
  2. Gertrude Jekyll (pink)
  3. Thomas A Becket (red)
  4. Charles Darwin (yellow)
  5. Gentle Hermione (pink)
  6. Desdemona (cream)
  7. Roald Dahl (Apricot)
  8. Claire Austin (cream Climbing rose)
  9. The Generous Gardener (pink climbing rose)

We recommend using David Austin mycorrhizal fungi when planting roses as this extends the root system and helps the rose to establish itself more quickly and then feed between flowering with David Austin Rose Food.

So I wish you all happy and fulfilled gardening!

 

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.

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.

The Wonder of Roses

For those of you who thought that a rose was just a rose, (as I pretty much did) then welcome to a whole new world that you can explore.  In David Austin’s book “The Rose” you can kind find a plethora of concise and expertly crafted information on the different types of roses and how long they have been around.  To the uninitiated there are tea roses, floribunda roses, climbing roses and rambling roses and I suspect that everyone is aware of those.  What I found most interesting and inspirational is the concept of using the older roses that only flower once per year in your garden.  This was the norm until the introduction of the Chinese repeat flowering roses.  David Austin comments in his book that we have become so used to having repeat flowering roses in our gardens that the concept of a rose that only flowers once is almost alien to us.  However, if you have a larger garden with enough space why not plant an Alba, Gallica or a Damask rose? Because these only flower once per year they are absolutely stunning as all of their energy and love goes into producing one glorious display of flowers.  I for one have purchased and planted 8 of these roses and a good point is made by David Austin that we expect no more from other shrubs like rhododendrons for example.  I have planted mine alongside paths where they can be admired as you stroll along the many paths in our garden. Admittedly we are lucky enough to have 16 acres at our disposal but even in a smaller space I think that they can be a show piece.  I have chosen (as a starting point) Celsiana, Quatre Saisons, York and Lancaster and the Alba rose alba semi plena.  You can google these to get images or alternatively you could visit the David Austin website.

Now is the perfect time to plant bare root roses, the roots get a chance to spread and establish whilst the rose is not putting its energy into leaf and flower production.

I always plant mine with compost mixed with well-rotted horse manure and I don’t think that you can give them a better start than by sprinkling symbiotic fungi granules over the roots and into the planting hole.

I shall be posting photographs of these lovely roses next year when they are flowering but for now all I can do is look at their leafless branches and imagine the glory to come.  Happy gardening!!