Monty Don revels in his passion for roses as he sets about planting some bare root varieties in the Jewel Garden at Longmeadow in readiness for a colourful spring and summer. Continuing the rose theme, there is an inspirational visit to the magnificent formal rose garden of Hever Castle in Kent, home to a breathtaking collection of hybrid teas.
Carol Klein is in her Devon garden at Glebe Cottage, where she is delighting in the seasonal scent of her mahonias, while describing their exotic and dramatic history.
And Joe Swift continues his planting design series by sharing ideas and top tips on the different types of plants to choose when creating a contemporary garden.
Monkshood, the herbaceous perennial Monty lifted and divided in his garden, is also known as the Queen of poisons. All parts of the plant are highly poisonous and we would strongly advise that you cover up your skin and wear gloves whenever you handle this plant. This is because the main toxin, aconitine, can be absorbed through the skin. Having said this, it is a beautiful plant to have in your garden and we wouldn’t want to put you off growing it!
Tel. 01732 865224
The gardens at Hever Castle are open every day throughout April to October. For opening times at other times of the year, please check their website.
Hever Castle (www.hevercastle.co.uk)
Hybrid tea roses
Hybrid tea roses have large flowers borne singly on long, sturdy stems. They come in a wide range of colours and bush varieties have a stiff, upright habit. The majority of them are strongly scented and they make great cut flowers. Neil Miller, the rose enthusiast we went to see at Hever Castle, has grown quite a few different varieties over the years. If he had to pick just ten, he would have no hesitation in recommending the following:
- Belle Epoque
- Buxom Beauty
- Deep Secret
- Indian Summer
- Julia’s Rose
- Just Joey
- Simply the Best
- The Whitgift Rose
The window for buying bare-root roses is rapidly coming to an end, so if you fancy buying a new rose for your garden, don’t delay in placing your order. They’re available from mail-order suppliers which you can find online. Failing that, look out for container-grown specimens in garden centres over the coming months.
Find that rose (www.findthatrose.net)
Joe’s garden design
A contemporary garden, by definition, has a modern feel about it. Strong, hard landscaping plays a major role and plants are often planted in bold blocks to complement it. When designing this type of garden, Joe likes to limit himself to a handful of plants and, in his design shown above, he only uses a total of nine. Here’s a list of them:
- Cornus mas (Cornelian cherry)
- Ilex crenata (Box-leaved holly)
- Pittosporum tobira ‘Nanum’
- Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star jasmine)
- Anemanthele lessoniana (Pheasant’s tail grass)
- White alliums
- Hardy geraniums
- Anemone x hybrida (Japanese anemone)
Jobs for the weekend: Pot up dahlia tubers
It’s time to get your dahlia tubers out of store and check them over. If they’ve dried up, they’ll have to be discarded. If the mice have got to them, that won’t do them any good either. But if they’re nice and plump, pot them up and put them somewhere warm and light to start them into growth.
More on growing dahlias (rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Force rhubarb
Rhubarb is now starting to grow strongly. If you have any plants that are beginning to stir, it’s a good idea to force them. Cover them up with an upturned bucket, an old chimney pot or anything that will block out the light. The stems will grow long and thin as a result and, most importantly, will taste much sweeter than normal.
More on growing rhubarb (rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Sow leeks
Leeks need to be sown now. This may seem early, but they’re slow to develop and have a long growing season. Monty likes to sow them in pots so that the roots don’t get disturbed. Fill each pot with multi-purpose compost and sprinkle the seeds over the surface. Cover them lightly with a bit more compost, give them a drink and keep somewhere sheltered. They don’t need any heat, so a cold frame or a windowsill in a spare room would be perfect.
More on growing leeks (rhs.org.uk)
|Series Editor||Liz Rumbold|