So here we are in 2016 ready and raring for another exciting growing season, and with the excesses of Christmas behind us, how fitting to take a look at some plants we can all grow that detox and revitalise. Many of the more unusual plants that make luxurious garden specimens also have invigorating properties. Here are just a few suggestions from the large range of evergreen plants we currently grow.
Chilean Guava Berry (Ugni molinae) a hardy, 1.5m (5ft), evergreen myrtle from Chile that makes an excellent specimen or hedge. Fragrant pale pink flowers produce attractive red berries, favoured by Queen Victoria; they are a super food high in anti-oxidants.
Manuka (Leptospermum ‘Coral Candy’) the main ingredient in Manuka honey has an arching habit of aromatic foliage and masses of, baby rose like, double pink flowers. Related to Tea Tree a few sprigs in a bowl of hot water produces a decongesting inhalation.
Pineapple Guava (Acca sellowiana) has handsome grey foliage with striking red flowers and perfumed edible fruit. A high concentration of Vitamin C, B-6 and fibre makes for a healthy tasty treat.
Alpine Mint Bush (Prostanthera cuneata) with orchid-like white yellow/purple flowers on deeply fragrant foliage. Used by indigenous Australians for pain relief and as an antiseptic.
It’s now an excellent time to start planning your garden for the forthcoming season, so what better way to start the year, than planting a medicinal specimen. Here’s to a healthy, happy year from all at Chestnut Nursery.
Written by Andrew Verreck, Horticultural Supervisor.
As the weather starts to become more challenging, it is beneficial to spend some time out in the garden preparing for winter before it becomes too cold. There’s plenty to do, so we’ve put together a checklist to help you get started.
- There’s still time to plant spring flowering bulbs for a colourful display once spring arrives.
- Winter bedding is now available – liven up containers with a display of pansies, violas and primulas. Combine with evergreen shrubs and trailing plants for additional interest.
- Bare root trees and roses can be planted between now and February.
- Remove decayed foliage on perennials. You can lift and divide overcrowded clumps to maintain vigour and produce additional plants.
- Apply a mulch on flowerbeds.
- Protect any tender plants by bringing them into a greenhouse or conservatory.
- Lightly prune shrubs to neaten their appearance prior to their hard pruning in spring.
- Take hardwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs and trees.
- Take root cuttings from your favourite perennials to help fill the gaps next year. You can store them in a cold frame or greenhouse to take root.
- Clean out the greenhouse, washing the glass, floor and staging with horticultural disinfectant. Replace any broken glass before winter sets in.
- You can insulate the inside of the greenhouse with bubblewrap if you are overwintering tender plants in it.
- Insulate outdoor containers with hessian or bubblewrap.
- Tools, seed trays and containers can be washed, dried and stored away to protect from overwintering pests and diseases.
- Insulate pipes and taps to prevent freezing.
- Gather leaves from the lawn and pond to make your own leaf mould. Don’t be too hasty to take leaves from the borders, grubs and bugs amongst them will provide a good source of food for birds.
- If you have a vegetable garden, apply well rotted manure to the across the beds to rot down over winter.
- Provide fat balls in wire cages for birds – remove from plastic nets to prevent birds getting caught in them.
- Put out finely chopped bacon rind and grated cheese for small birds such as wrens. Sunflower hearts and peanuts are ideal for sparrows, finches, nuthatches and tits, whilst thrushes and blackbirds will favour fruits such as over-ripe apples and raisins. Blue tits and robins prefer mealworms.
- Keep a bird bath topped up through winter.
- Hollow stemmed perennials will provide homes for overwintering insects, leave unpruned until spring.
- Consider planting shrubs that will provide fruit over winter and to provide cover at a boundary – perhaps cotoneaster or pyracantha?
- Check bonfires for sheltering animals, such as hedgehogs, toads and frogs and be careful when turning compost heaps. You can provide leaf and log piles in a sheltered corner for hibernation.
- Shallow dishes of water at ground level in the garden will provide a drink for all garden wildlife.
- Hedgehogs should be settling down to hibernate now, if you see one they will probably benefit from some food and then left to find suitable shelter. Feed with dog or cat food and put a dish of water out to drink.
Autumn can be one of the most visually striking times of the year in the garden and is the opportunity to add new shrubs to ensure colourful displays for the months ahead. As the temperatures cool and top growth slows, the soil remains warm after absorbing heat from the summer sun and increased rainfall promotes good root development of newly-planted shrubs, helping them to settle in prior to harsh winter weather.
Far from being a time when things wind down, with a varied palette of autumnal foliage colours available, from deep crimsons to burnt oranges and fiery reds, autumn can be an inspiring time to visit your favourite plant nursery. If you find and buy your plant when they are showing their autumn colour, this will give you the best idea of their potential in years to come.
There is also the chance to identify plants that will provide a longer lasting display of flowers and radiant fruits well into autumn. With soft, warmer sunlight, colours throughout the garden will glow and come to life so now is the time to take advantage of what the season has to offer at Chestnut Nursery!
Trees for autumn colour
Shrubs for autumn colour
Ceanothus ‘Autumnal Blue’
Cottinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’
Berberis thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’
Abelia x grandiflora ‘Kaleidoscope’
Perennials for autumn colour
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’
Sedum spectabile ‘Brilliant
Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’
Anemone x hybrid ‘Honorine Jobert’
Written by Cath Morford.
Our next event at Chestnut Nursery is our Plant Fair on 3rd October with lots of special offers on a great range of plants. We are a project of SWOP (Sheltered Work Opportunities Project, reg charity 900325) which provides meaningful for adults with enduring mental illness. The nursery is open 7 days a week selling a wide variety of perennials, shrubs, trees, ornamental grasses and bedding plants. Find us at 75 Kingland Road, Poole. BH15 1TN (adjacent to Poole Park).
If you’re reading this article then you may well be among the lucky 3 million people who live on the British coast and even if you don’t have a beach front property, sharing only a little proximity with the salty brine that surrounds us can have some huge impacts for our gardens and the plants we can grow.
Here at Chestnut Nursery in Poole, we hear many gripes from local gardeners who struggle to deal with the extreme environment posed, whether it be savage winter storms and salt laden air or impoverished sandy soils, with very little moisture and nutrition, it can be challenging. However, there are many types of plant, both heavily flowering and/or architecturally flamboyant that thrive in these tough conditions.
In fact these seemingly impossible conditions actually present an opportunity to grow a far greater range of plants than the accepted norm would have us believe. There are many southern hemisphere varieties that have proven surprisingly hardy in cold winters offering year round colour. Such plants as the Marlborough Rock Daisy – Pachystegia insignis from New Zealand with its unusual felted shoots bearing oval, glossy, leathery, dark green leaves and solitary white daisy flowers with yellow centres, or the Kerosene bushes – Ozothamnus species from Tasmania with their aromatic Rosemary like leaves of varying shades and brilliant honey scented flowers (to mention but a few), can handle the full brunt of a whipping gale or long summer drought.
So rather than struggling with the ill-suited, let us embrace our coastal conditions, gardening on the edge has never been more fun.
Written by Andrew Verreck
Horticultural Supervisor at Chestnut Nursery
Further tips when choosing coastal plants ….
* In exposed conditions, consider planting evergreen shrubs to act as a windbreak from prevailing coastal winds.
* Grow suitable plants for sandy soils.
* Incorporate organic matter, such as blood, fish and bone to increase nutrients in the soil.
* Adding a mulch in autumn and spring will help to retain the moisture.