A process of learn­ing

Country Life Every Week - - In The Garden -

Dr Pot­ter and Mr Smith­son com­bined to pro­duce a char­ac­ter­is­tic wealth of ideas

❍ Source lo­cally: that is, make use of your lo­cal nurs­eries—that en­sures good bio-se­cu­rity—and use lo­cal ma­te­ri­als where pos­si­ble. It’s amaz­ing how much use­ful ma­te­rial you can get out of your own hedges, for ex­am­ple. Again, that en­sures good bio-se­cu­rity

❍ In terms of herba­ceous bor­ders, you need to be a good Scout. That is, Be Pre­pared: plan ahead to en­sure a good suc­ces­sion of flow­ers through­out the sea­son. Have plunge plants, such as Salvia Ar­mis­tad, ready to fill any gaps. In the veg­etable gar­den, avoid gaps by suc­ces­sion sow­ing

❍ Save your own seed, then grow your own plants from it. Over time, you’ll pro­duce plants ac­cli­ma­tised to your spe­cific con­di­tions. Grow­ing your own plants from your own seed is just more fun and gives you more sat­is­fac­tion

❍ We’ve be­come firm be­liev­ers in Charles Dowd­ing’s no-dig sys­tem (www.charles­dowd­ing.co.uk) in the kitchen gar­den. We just mulch, heav­ily, then let the worms do the rest of the work

❍ We use an enor­mous amount of compost here, much more than we can cre­ate on site our­selves, so we get four tons of re­cy­cled green-waste compost ev­ery year from Viri­dor (www.viri­dor.co.uk). If you buy in ma­nure, source it very care­fully and store it care­fully, oth­er­wise you may bring in all sorts of bale­ful weeds, dis­eases and chem­i­cals

❍ Sev­eral com­pa­nies have been use­ful to us, in­clud­ing Per­rie Hale Nurs­ery, Honi­ton, Devon (01404 43344; www.per­riehale.co.uk) for hedg­ing plants. We go to New Wood Trees, Stoke Gabriel, near Totnes, Devon (www.new­woodtrees.co.uk; 01803 782 666) for multi-stemmed spec­i­men trees. We use Forde Abbey Nurs­ery, Chard, Som­er­set (01460 220231; www.forde­abbey.co.uk) chiefly for hazel rods and Chris Pike of Branch Nurs­eries, Sut­ton-on-trent, Not­ting­hamshire (01636 822154; www.branch­nurs­eries.co.uk) for trained fruit trees. (In that in­stance, we’ve gone so far afield be­cause we sim­ply couldn’t find a more lo­cal nurs­ery of­fer­ing the same qual­ity of ready-trained stock)

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