The First Video from the Moosbach Garden discussing David Austin Roses

Here is the first video from us talking about David Austin Roses, it’s only 5 mins long and not an indepth video.  Hope you enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Preparing Your Autumn “To-Do”List

nature red forest leaves

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.

IMG_3981

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 Royal Horticultural Society’s Rosemoor Garden

IMG_4202

I’m a big fan of the Royal Horticultural Society, it does so much great work and is so proactive in engaging with people who are new to gardening.  I’ve been a member of the Society for quite a few years now and the benefits are multitudinous.

With the membership you get the magazine for free (worth the membership fee on its own) but you can also ask their gardening experts for assistance with all things plant related. The RHS has some choice gardens that you can visit and one of these is RHS Rosemoor in Devon.  I would describe RHS Rosemoor as a garden park rather than a garden as it is very large.

I didn’t have any expectations from RHS Rosemoor, we’d had a manic few days, it was boiling hot and we had spent the morning walking coastal paths.  We had decided that it was too hot to walk any more coastal paths and to be honest we were both feeling tired. Thomas suggested a trip to Rosemoor.  So, we made the hour-long trip from our holiday cottage near Bude to RHS Rosemoor.  I was really not feeling in the mood for another 3 hours walking around a garden in the heat and all I really wanted to be was sit in the shade with nothing but a nicely chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for company.  I think that sometimes life is like that, the parties that you really don’t want to go to turn out to be the best.  This turned out to be the case with RHS Rosemoor, what a fantastic place.

Now, for starters, RHS Rosemoor is a garden on a very large-scale and it is crammed full of interesting garden rooms, amazing vista’s and fantastic ideas.

IMG_4103IMG_4101IMG_4104IMG_4098IMG_4100IMG_4099IMG_4097

The Queen Mother’s rose garden has been in existence for 16 years and was looking stunning, as you may be aware I am a new convert to the joy of growing roses so I was particularly interested in this garden.  There wasn’t a huge variety of roses on display but they have created a wonderous display by planting enmasse.  I think that the rose garden looks beautiful especially bearing in mind the hot summer and lack of rainfall, I have to water our garden for 6 hours a day so I appreciate the mammoth task that they have at RHS Rosemoor.

IMG_4214IMG_4206IMG_4205IMG_4201IMG_4200IMG_4199IMG_4198

I think what makes RHS Rosemoor so great is that it has something to suit everybody’s taste and because of the scale of the garden you never feel that a gardening style has been crammed into a corner jus for the sake of it.  There are some classically designed garden styles on display in the garden like the long avenues planted with Yew hedging with a statue or tree in the distance making the garden feel like it goes on forever.

As you would expect from an organisation that advocates growing your own fruit and vegetables the orchards and vegetable gardens were fantastic and much tidier and weed free than mine.

IMG_4212IMG_4154IMG_4152IMG_4156IMG_4155IMG_4153

Although there were lots of cars and coaches in the car park RHS Rosemoor never felt crowded, partly due to the large size of the garden and this was really nice.  I am a firm believer in being able to mooch around a garden in solitude, undisturbed by masses of noisy visitors (I’m getting older and I’m entitled to be grumpy).  At no point during our visit did I feel anything but calm serenity and that makes RHS Rosemoor the perfect place to revitalise your spirit or be inspired to try new things in your garden at home.

One of the many things that inspired us on the day were the creative use of materials for creating steps, pergola’s, benches and walls.

IMG_4207IMG_4209IMG_4196IMG_4191IMG_4186IMG_4184

A great day out for all of the family, there is even a play area for children. The Cafe is nice and secluded and they don’t make a bad cup of tea!

If you would like more information on RHS Rosemoor click here.

IMG_4226IMG_4220IMG_4216IMG_4211IMG_4188IMG_4183IMG_4171IMG_4174IMG_4163IMG_4138IMG_4136IMG_4132IMG_4130IMG_4124IMG_4122IMG_4114IMG_4113IMG_4110IMG_4108IMG_4105IMG_4109

 

 

A day at David Austin Roses

As we sell David Austin Roses we couldn’t really visit England without spending a day there, especially when they are only a 20 min drive from my sister’s house.  The plan was to spend a few hours mooching around their gardens and then sit down for their famous Afternoon Tea.

IMG_4294

 

My main contact at David Austin roses is Becky and I had previously spoken to her on the phone explaining that I was coming over from Germany.  I was keen to meet her as we had spoken so many times and I wanted to put a face to the voice.  Unfortunately, Becky explained that the day that we would be visiting would be her first day back at work after a 2 week holiday and that she would not have much time.  On the basis of this is was expecting a 5 min meet and greet, however, Becky was very generous with her time and spent more than an hour showing us the garden and discussing the different types of roses.

IMG_4346IMG_4339IMG_4344IMG_4232

The rose garden were not in full bloom and this is to be expected at this time of year but there were enough choice specimens in bloom to make the visit a memorable one.  It was very interesting to hear about the breeding programme and how long it takes to bring a new rose to the market place and the costs involved.  I was somewhat shocked to discover that it costs about 1 million pounds to develop a new rose and that thousands of seedlings are grown and only a choice few make the cut, the rest being discarded.  I will never complain about the cost of roses ever again!

David Austin Snr is clearly a man of great vision and perseverance, having started selling roses from his kitchen table, the first rose that he created being Constance Spry, a beautiful rose that we have here in the Moosbach Garden.

IMG_4281IMG_4291IMG_4294

I would recommend a visit to David Austin roses if you find yourself in England and anywhere near to Shropshire.  It is fantastic to be able to see so many different roses in different planting schemes and you will come away with your head full of thoughts on how to plant roses in your own garden.

I, for one came away realising that I prune my roses back too hard and I really should let them do their ‘thing’ a bit more.  We already have planting schemes similar to the picture immediately above with low clipped box hedging containing glorious roses. However, we have planted a row of climbing and rambling roses along the edge of one of our very few flat spaces and need to erect some supports for them.  At the David Austin rose garden they have a good mixture of support structures, including pergolas, we took lots of photographs and his will be an autumn/winter job for us.  I think with the more vigorous ramblers, like Paul’s Himalayan Musk that you need either a tree for it to grow up or a sturdy pergola.  We have 4 Paul’s Himalayan Musk roses in the Moosbach Garden, with some growing up into trees whilst others will be trained over pergola’s with their clusters of sweetly scented blooms dangling down to assault the senses.

IMG_4320

There were also some fairly large roses growing in terracotta pots which looked absolutely magnificent and it did reaffirm my view on planting roses in pots.  Customers quite often ask me if they can grow a rose in a pot as they don’ have a garden but a terrace or balcony.  I guess this will become an increasingly asked question as property prices increase, more people live in apartments rather than houses and globally we have a larger pensioner population.  Well my view has always been that all plants do better planted in the ground where they can spread their roots and obtain water and nutrients from a wider area but you can grow plants successfully in pots but it is a little more work (but worth it).

If you want to grow roses in pots you need to make sure that it is a decent size pot with good depth, the roots need space to grow  downwards or the rose will quickly become pot bound.  I would recommend sprinkling mycorrhizal fungi on the damp roots when you plant the rose, this will extend the root system and reduce water stress in hot weather. You also need to accept that any plant that is in a pot has a limited area from which to obtain water and nutrients that it needs to grow and the only way it will get them is by you watering and feeding it. I water all of my potted roses every day and feed with David Austin rose feed more often than those planted in the ground and they perform exceptionally well.  On the subject of pots, if you can afford it can I implore you to use terracotta over plastic, plastic usage is the current ‘hot potato’ but we all have our part to play in saving the environment.  If you must use plastic then go for a good quality, robust pot that will last 10 years or more.

This year was our first year selling David Austin roses and it has been a resounding success, we stocked 15 varieties this year and from the 180 that we ordered we only have 19 left.  For next year we have ordered more, 450 to be precise and 30 varieties.

If you would like to be notified when the roses are in stock and to find out when the Moosbach Garden is open then sign up for email notifications on here, there is a link on the right hand side.

Roses to look out for next year – Tottering by gently and Vanessa Bell.

IMG_4258

Tottering By Gently is like an old fashioned wild rose, is stunningly beautiful and will attract bees to your garden.

IMG_4260

Vanessa Bell is a very beautiful new rose from David Austin and repeat flowers well.

Top performing roses from this year – Gertrude Jekyll, Boscobel, Brother Cadfael, Golden Celebration, Gentle Hermione, Roald Dahl, Jude the obscure, Scepter’d isle, Strawberry Hill, Olivia Rose Austin, the Generous Gardener and Wollerton Old Hall (climbing).

If you would like to reserve a rose please visit our website by clicking here.

 

 

 

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 ……

It’s always great to learn something new

We’ve had a couple of rainy days here in the Moosbach Garden and horticultural activities have been restricted to potting up Delphinium and Cosmos seedlings. I’ve also taken the opportunity to sit and read a few gardening books.

Turning into my mother!

I’m turning 50 this year and I’ve been gardening for over 30 years now and I will admit that I have a fairly good knowledge of all things horticultural but there is always space for new gardening knowledge in my ageing brain.  Many years ago when my wonderful mother was struggling to retrieve a fact stored in her brain she would tell me “I’ll find the right file in a bit”.  She always said that the human brain was like the hard drive of a computer, the older the computer got the fuller the hard drive got and the longer it took to access the file that was needed.  As I get older I’m inclined to agree with her.  If you ask me “what’s that song on the radio?” as long as it’s from the 70’s onwards I can probably tell you, if you ask me a plant question I can probably lay my hands on the answer. HOWEVER, if you ask me what we had for lunch last Wednesday or tell me Mrs Smith is coming round tomorrow, she was here last week and sat on table 3, you remember don’t you?,  I will look at you blankly as if you are speaking Cantonese (I don’t speak cantonese).  So clearly I am turning into my mother but in my opinion that’s not so bad.

Acquiring new Knowledge

Whilst I was sitting out the rain and thinking to myself “goodness the weeds are going to grow quickly, I’ll have to get out there weeding as soon as I can”, I picked up a book that I bought several years ago but had never got around to reading.  The Book was “Roses – A Care Manual” by Amanda Beales.  For those of you in the know, there are 2 famous rosarians in the UK, David Austin is one and the second is the late Peter Beales. Amanda Beales is his daughter and an expert on all things Rose.  I confess myself a little bit of a David Austin cheerleader and felt somewhat disloyal picking up a book from the “other camp”.  I soon got over this though and absorbed myself in all that was on offer from Amanda Beales and when I had finished the book I found myself in possession of about 20 things that I didn’t know about rose care before.  I’m sure the same can be said for the plethora of specialist gardening books out there, my point is it’s really good to get stuck into a book by an author who knows their stuff.  I think that it’s how we grow both as individuals and as gardeners.

Don’t limit yourself to the latest trends in gardening books

The wonderful thing about any book is its ability to communicate the knowledge, the thoughts and the feelings of its author across the expanse of time.  It’s like being able to travel back in time and have a conversation over a cup of tea with a famous gardener like Gertrude Jekyll or Vita Sackville-West and when you stop and think about that isn’t it a wonderful thing?  I wish my mother had written more than her one novel, (“The Torn Tapestry” by Jane Froud), I wish I had the ability to delve into numerous volumes created by her wonderful intellect.  I am lucky enough to have many of her paintings and many fantastic memories of her to keep me company though.

Reading gardening books is like having struck up a friendship with the gardening greats regardless of their era and being able to sit down for an informal chat about what to do with that corner of the garden or how to create a new rose garden.  In my opinion, priceless access to the gardening greats for the price of a book and an  investment of time.

I finished the Amanda Beales book this morning and I can’t wait to get on with it, I’m determined to prune my roses more effectively, deal with any pests or problems and even cross-pollinate different varieties to create my own roses.  We shall see at the end of the year if I’ve actually achieved any of these or if I’m just all talk.

Good Reads…….

These books are all in English but they are fantastic books (in my opinion)

The Rose by David Austin

Roses – A Care Manual by Amanda Beales

The Victorian Kitchen Garden  by Jennifer Davies

The Garden of Gertrude Jekyll by Richard Bisgrove

Life In A Cottage Garden by Carol Klein

Gertude Jekyll at Munstead Wood by Judith Tankard & Martin Wood

Grow Your Own Garden by Carol Klein

Gertrude Jekyll and the Country House Garden by Judith Tankard

The Walled Garden by Leslie Geddes-Brown

AND no list would be complete without any book by Monty Don and the Royal Horticultural Society

 

And don’t forget that we have a good selection of David Austin strongly fragranced roses available to buy on our website, to see them click here.

 

AND FINALLY…..

I’m off to England in July for my birthday treat and shall be immersing myself in wonderful gardens like Sissinghurst Castle and Munstead Wood and visiting as many National Trust gardens as I can fit in, I promise to take lots of photographs and write some reviews.

 

Happy gardening …….

I dedicate this article to my wonderful mother, the late Jane Antoinette Froud and my sister Sue Barratt who never stops inspiring me or loving me.

 

 

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.

 

img_0597

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!

 

Gentle Hermione (Ausrumba). The David Austin Featured rose of the week. This is a beautifully formed rose for cutting

Rosa 'Generous Gardener'

This is a very beautiful small rose only growing to a height of 120cm, so it’s ideal for the front of the flower border or even for a decent sized pot.  It has the most beautiful light pink flowers, a wonderfully powerful perfume and the formation of the flower is one of the most beautiful of all of the roses.  It is also fairly disease resistant.

I think that if you want to create a really stunning display that I would plant 3 of these intermingled with Munstead Lavender and a good really dark blue Salvia but you could also mix in some Scabious plants at the front of the border.

If you would like to look at more wonderful David Austin roses then why not visit the Moosbach Garden and pick up a David Austin Rose Catalogue, they are written in German.  We currently have 9 different varieties of rose available at the Moosbach Garden but we would be happy to order a different variety for you.

You can buy this rose on our website by clicking here.

To see all of the rose varieties we currently have for sale click here.

 

The Generous Gardener (Ausdrawn). David Austin featured climbing rose of the week. A fantastic English climbing rose, tall, strong and disease resistant.

IMG_0600

Image courtesy of David Austin Roses.

David Austin Senior comments in his book ” The Rose” that “The Generous Gardener” is his favourite climbing rose and I have to say that I am inclined to agree.  When I first bought one last year I was mesmerised by the beautiful blooms, the exquisite perfume and the quality and colour of the leaves.  The scent for this rose is a mixture of tea and Myrrh and it is a good repeat flowering shrub.  It grows to a height of around  350cm, so I think you need 2, 1 planted either side of a rose arch for the most stunning of displays.  It is available as a shrub rose as well but I’m reliably informed that it does better as a climber.

I’ve planted mine at the top of the big bed, next to the steps in the top garden so that it is the first thing that you see and smell as you enter the garden from the road.  I’m half inclined to plant a second on the opposite side of the path so that the assault on the senses is complete.  My plan is to fill this big bed with a classic colour combination of light pink roses paired with dark blue perennials like lavender, delphiniums and salvia, I’ve already sourced the seed for some fantastically dark blue salvias.  A rose arch of “The Generous Gardener” with its lovely light pink flowers would fit this scheme perfectly, acting as a gateway into a rose paradise, my only concern is planting it far enough  away from the road so that it is not eaten by the deer.

The problem with deer is really quite severe here in the Black Forest and we have resorted to erecting an electric fence 6 feet tall all the way around the garden.  I’m keeping a watchful eye on all of the roses for any sign of predation, I’ve also bought some very smelly black powder that you mix with water and then paint onto the leaves  but I’m reluctant to put something that smells unpleasant onto beautifully scented roses. We have had a snowy winter here (it’s not over yet) and it’s been shocking to see how many deer foot prints there are in the garden if the gate is left open over night.  Hopefully we will win the battle.

However, we are confident that the measures that we have put in place will be successful and all of the hard work will pay off in the summer.  We are currently building new paths in the garden to create some stunning rose walks (Rugosa Sarah Van Fleet, Wild Edric, Mrs Anthony Waterer) and then we will be building some rustic rose arches using natural materials found on our land. You’ll notice in the photograph above that the rose is growing up a wooden arch and I think that this is the perfect material, especially here in the Black Forest where there is so much wood readily available.  That being said I think it looks just as stunning climbing up a wall of the house, if you are thinking of planting a climbing rose like this up a wall remember that roses need at least 4 hours of sunshine a day.  Most roses thrive best in a south facing position, will tolerate an eastern or western position but perform very poorly against a north facing wall.  There are some specific roses that are more suited to shadier locations like Alba Semi-Plena and if you would like some suggestions of suitable rose varieties then please drop me an email.

We do have a limited supply of “The Generous Gardener” available to purchase here at the garden or via our website.

We also have available the fantastic book by David Austin “Meine Rosen”, available for collection or for delivery.  We will also be selling some limited stocks of phlox, delphiniums, acanthus, sweet peas, cosmos and lavender and these will be available from May onwards.

Please remember that although some disease resistant roses are available now, roses on the whole do suffer from fungus and black spot and the only way to keep your roses in optimum health is to spray them every 4 to 6 weeks with a proprietary spray and to give them a handful of David Austin Rose feed after each flowering has ended.  This ensures a continued high quality  roses throughout the summer.

So I wish you all much happiness and enjoyment gardening!