BORDER PLANNING WORKSHOP Session 9 June 12th

We’re almost there. After the last two sessions in May and several further days when Ursula, Rod and I planted out the gingers and this year’s bedding almost everything is in place. That is everything was in place before we were raided by plant thieves on Monday night last week.

Unlike last year when the raiders choice of plants looked horticulturally informed, this years thieves took both valuable and and less valuable plants. About £200 worth at replacement prices. Of course we didn’t pay £200 for them. Instead, we started growing them last year either from seed, from bulbs, from cuttings or from small plugs. Almost the complete line of Alium christofii in the west bed was taken. They’re unlikely to survive a transplant in flower and won’t be valuable again until next year. Why take these?

Most distressing is the loss of the three Canna patens – our complete stock. From seeds collected at Cambridge Botanic Gardens in 2014 these spent last year bulking up in the greenhouse until they were ready to plant out this year. I valued these at £20 each for police purposes but that hardly matters as there is absolutely no stock of these plants for sale anywhere in the UK. Canna patens, as many of you will know, is a very pretty species Canna with yellow ‘bird of paradise’-like flowers with a red margin. But species are not everyone’s choice and they’re not usually distributed by the Canna specialists. Abibat planted these. I hope whoever has them now is enjoying them…

Now that the border is back in shape it’s time to begin planning for whatever changes might be needed next year. Our plan is to leave all the Cannas in the ground over the winter – disease permitting. Similarly with the gingers and the Musa Skkimensis. We also want to move from our current Ensete cultivars to the hardier Musas. This will happen in two phases. Next year the M. basjoo and the M. arunachalensis which are currently in the Jungle will move out into the border. These can then be wrapped for the winter rather than lifted. We will acquire two more hardy Musas and grow these on for planting out in 2018.

We’ve also got our eye on the Borinda macclureana. This is almost certainly going to need thinning next year. I’m hoping for 10 feet plus from this plant but without this height so far it’s falling forward onto the C. purpurea and even as far as the brug and also shading the Crocosmia. This might just be all  the rain but we’re tempted to tie it back discretely this year. Also in the grassland section we are not please with the performance of the Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’. Whilst it is spreading more then we had hoped it is not achieving the height we wanted from it. I suspect it’s too wet. Originally we had planned this to be planted with Muhlenbergia capillaris but this was abandoned as needing too dry conditions. We’ll be reviewing grasses to find a replacement which will thrive in the wetter condition the overall border requires.

This Sunday we’ll walk the border so that you can give us your own feedback. We’ll do this in July and august as well so you’ll have plenty of time to review the border we’ve created together. There is much less work to do this month and other than for some weeding and putting a mulch of bark chips on we should have a pretty relaxed session. I’m looking forward to it.

 

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