CALLING all garden clubs – do you have any special events planned? Are you looking for new members?
Do you have a programme of monthly meetings that visitors can attend? If the answer to any of these is yes, why not write to me at Graham’s Garden Club Events, Features Office, Huddersfield Daily Examiner, PO Box A26, Queen Street South, Huddersfield, HD1 3DU and I will tell the rest of the Huddersfield area for you.
` RHS Gardens Harlow Carr – A Taste of Autumn – the RHS Gardens near Harrogate are holding a series of autumnal events for the whole family to enjoy over the half-term holidays. October 25-26 is Apple Day – take yours for identification and taste dozens of varieties. Pumpkin Day is on October 31 – take yours along for carving out with the experts. Sunday, November 2 is all things fungal – Mushroom Magic and Fungal Forays through the Harlow Carr woods. For more details visit www.rhs.org.uk/events or call the gardens on 01423 565418.
Plant of the week: Virginia creeper 11/10/08
FOR a short-lived but spectacular autumn display, the Parthenocissus species take some beating.
With their sucker pad system of climbing, they can attach themselves to walls, fences, tree trunks and almost any other hard surface but are easily cut back if they start to become a nuisance.
As the 10 species all originate from the forests of North America, the Himalayas and Eastern Asia, they can perform their autumn show in semi-shade as well as in full sun and, in fact P. henryana, the Chinese Virginia Creeper, actually prefers shade.
There are no particular preferences for soil other than being well-drained and any major pruning works are best carried out in early winter, once the leaves have fallen. A little extra support is helpful for the first year or two to ensure that they climb rather than creep. Once established, all species will produce inconspicuous flowers that may be followed by clusters of blue-black fruits reminiscent of a bunch of grapes – these are not edible and may cause mild stomach upsets if eaten.
Parthenocissus henryana has a typical palmate arrangements of five leaflets with prominent white veins in summer and bright red autumn colour. P. tricuspidata, the Boston Ivy, is a vigorous climber with three lobed, deeply toothed leaves that turn red and purple in autumn.
The commonest species is Parthenocissus quinquefolia.
Graham’s gardening jobs for the week 11/10/08
1Winter protection – now that the cooler nights have started to arrive, it is time to consider either bringing in tender plants or covering them up for the winter. Containerised specimens can be moved to cool glasshouses, porches or conservatories or even cool, bright spare bedrooms if you are desperate for space. Planted specimens such as Cobaea, Eccremocarpus, Passiflora, Musa, Dicksonia and Trachycarpus should be covered or wrapped in Hessian sacking or covered in a breathable fleece – do not cover with any non-permeable plastic materials as this can make the plant sweat and rot.
2 Seed orders – with the gentle thump of the 2009 seed catalogues hitting the front door mat over recent weeks, your 2009 gardening calendar is already being written for you – which new varieties to choose, which vegetables to grow, how much space you have on your windowsill or in your glasshouse to grow all of these fabulous plants – children in a sweet factory comes to mind.Take care to make yourself an initial list of those that you would like and then leave the catalogues along for a few weeks. You will probably change your mind a dozen times before you send off your seed order.
Making cut backs
Rose pruning – cut back bush roses by half after their flowers have faded to stop them blowing about in the autumn winds.
Time for a tidy
Tatty perennials – cut back any summer flowering herbaceous perennials that are looking untidy now.
Tips for taps
Burst pipes – turn off supplies to outdoor taps now and leave the taps open to reduce the chances of burst pipes in winter.
Casting worms – brush off the worm casts and dew before you cut your grass for a better finish at this time of year.