** COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS ** Please note that all collection / payment arrangements are subject to HMG easing the restrictions on “unnecessary journeys”. Bob S.
ROY'S BLOG 2020
To contact Roy you can find his telephone number and email address on the Members' page
Posted SUNDAY, 10th MAY, 2020
First, the good news. Sales are now within a whisker of £300. The majority have been purchases of tomatoes. Every last plant has now been sold, ditto the small number of Sweet Peppers I had available. There are still plenty of Sweet Peas however (with a short written guide on how to get the best from them) and a great many varieties of flowering garden plants.
To help you (and any of your friends that may be interested), I attach a complete list of what I have available. This may look formidable, but very few of the plants have common names and it is the botanical name that guarantees you are looking at the right plant when you look them up on the internet. Beyond that you don’t have to worry about botanical names and if you finish up calling it “that red thing that Roy sold me”, that’s absolutely fine. You know what you mean and that’s what matters.
There are some simple categories that may help you to narrow your search. If you are interested in summer bedding or patio plants, go straight to list No 4 (Annual plants in trays). If you want autumn colour (a category unfortunately – even misguidedly - often neglected) look at any of the asters and chrysanthemums. Rudbeckia start flowering in late summer and go on into the autumn and I have both annual and perennial forms of this. Look also at some of the unusual but spectacular plants like Lobelia tupa, which starts to flower in the summer and goes right on into autumn. Forget the typical blue of bedding lobelias, this is a stunning rich crimson flower. Amicia is not at all well known, but it should be. It is a lovely plant even when not in flower and it flowers very late in the season, but its graceful yellow pea-like flowers will still be there when the frosts take us into early winter. Both the Lobelia and the Amicia are fairly tall which makes them particularly impressive.
For summer flowering consider a combination of Phlox Bill Baker and Polemonium Lambrook Mauve. The phlox is not one of the usual mophead types, but an open graceful plant only about 15” tall. Then there are the summer bulbs; gladiolus, eucomis and agapanthus (Blue African Lily – a terrible misnomer but one by which many people know this plant). Add to this the Tulbaghia, particularly Silver Lace which does especially well in a big pot. For contrasting dark foliage consider Verbena Bampton with tiny soft lilac flowers in open airy heads that last through the summer. Finally don’t ignore the campanula (Bell Flower) group, some of which on my plants, already have flower stems developing.
As you explore do bear in mind that the fact that you don’t recognise the name doesn’t mean it’s not a lovely plant, nor, more importantly, that it is difficult to grow. These are just a few suggestions to get you started in exploring the list. There is quite a lot there to explore – and tempt you! Let’s see how far beyond the £300 mark we can go.
LIST OF AVAILABLE PLANTS MAY 2020
1. HARDY PERENNIALS IN POTS
Agapanthus ex Northern light Amicia zygomeris
Anchusa caerulea Dropmore
Anemone japonica (pale pink) Argyranthemum Jamaica Primrose
Aster ageratoides Aster Prairie Purple Aster lateriflora Aster novae angliae Helen Picton Aster novae belgii Little Pink Lady
Aster novae belgii Little Boy Blue
Box for hedging or topiary
Campanula latiloba Hidcote Amethyst Campanula persicifolia alba Campanula persicifolia Blue Bloomers Campanula pilosa superba Pink Octopus
Centaurea montana lilac/mauve form Cenolophium denudatum (posh Cow parsley!) Chrysanthymum Chelsea Physic Garden Chrysanthemum Cottage Apricot Chrysanthemum Innocence Chrysanthemum Mrs Jesse Cooper Chrysanthemum Nantyderry Sunshine
Clematis heracleifoila Cassandra* Eucomis Pineapple Lily, creamy white flowers Gladiolus cardinalis Gladiolus papilio Ruby Gladiolus dalenii ex Boone
Kniphofia Toffee Nosed Lobelia speciose X vedrariensis Lobelia tupa Melianthus villosus Paeony Soulange Paeony Masterpiece
Phlox Carolina Bill Baker Phlox Coral Flame Polemonium Lambrook Mauve
Rudbeckia laciniatum Herbstonne
Rudbeckia fulgida vas sullivantii Goldsturm
Tulbaghia violacea Silver Lace
Tulbaghia cepacea var maritima
Verbena officinalis Bampton
Weigela candida (pure white)
4. ANNUALS IN TRAYS (Modules/plugs)
Ammi visnaga Casablanca
Cephalophora aromatica Pineapples
Cuphea ignea (Mexican Cigar Plant)
Gazania (mixed colours)
Lobelia (blue bedding type)
Nemesia Seventh Heaven
Nicotiana affinis (White flowered, scented) Nicotiana sylvestris (tall, long narrow flowers Petunia exserta (species, small red flowers) Rudbeckia Autumn Forest
Sweet peas (1 litre pots)
* Clematis Cassandra – only 2 very large plants in 6 ltr pots; therefore more expensive. This is a herbaceous type growing to only 3 ft and needs no support.
Posted SUNDAY, 27th APRIL, 2020
I hope you have all had fun Googling the plants I listed in the last blog to get descriptions and images to help decide what to go for. If you haven’t yet explored them may I urge you to do so. Secondly, a big thank you to those of you who have ordered plants: the total sales so far have now exceeded £100. But the plants are still growing and we have a long way to go to offset the loss of customers not connected to the choir who have made the sale such a success in previous years.
The sales so far have been mainly tomatoes, of which there are still some left, but the next big feature is sweet peas. These come as four different, randomly selected named varieties in a 1 ltr pot with a mixture of colours and with helpful guidance notes on how to get the best from them. You can grow them in a really big pot, but they do best in the open ground with cane supports for the strongest growths. They like a rich diet and good moisture levels and will reward you with vases of scented cut flowers continuously through the summer. When you plant them it is best not to attempt to separate the plants as this will cause unnecessary root damage. The plants are just getting into their stride and now is the time to set them up for a joyous summer of colour and scent. They are £2.50 per pot and I have always had very good feedback from customers who have had them in previous years.
I don’t grow many annual plants, but currently I have Nicotiana affinis grown in cell trays, which I’d be prepared to split if 12 plants is too many for you. On this basis you’d be buying plug plants. Similarly I also have a few plants of Nicotiana sylvestris, Ammi visnaga Casablanca and Cuphea ignea (great in a shallow bowl on the patio). For something a bit special try Googling Petunia exserta. I have pot grown plants of this unusual red flowered petunia to grow in the border or in a pot on the patio at 80p per plant. All of these are in quite small numbers since they are in effect surplus to my own requirements, so if you are interested I urge you to contact me quickly to discuss your requirements. Oh, and just for fun have a look at Cephalophora aromatica Pineapples. It looks a bit quirky but fun. I haven’t grown it before but will have a few plants available and it should get the neighbours talking!
On the veg front I have a few Sweet peppers at £1.50 per plant. A bit later on there will be Runner Beans at £1.80 for a tray of 6.
In the next blog I’ll be detailing the perennial flower plants to add to those listed in my first blog. On a practical point do remember that during these warm, dry conditions you need to water your newly planted treasures to help them establish themselves in their new home. I’ve just created a new plant area and as the picture shows there will plenty for you to explore.
Feel free to contact me with any queries or to place an order.
Here is a picture of my new and already nearly full plant area.
Posted EASTER SUNDAY, 11th APRIL, 2020
WE NEED YOUR HELP EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT A GARDENER!
The cancellation of TS activities has of course included the plant sale which was to have taken place in early May. By the time coronavirus struck, the propagation and growing on of the plants intended for the sale had already begun. So my greenhouses are stuffed full. Now, given the news that commercial growers will be destroying millions of plants of all kinds that would have appeared in the garden centres in coming weeks, there is surely an opportunity here for the choir to benefit through intensive networking of all your friends and families, spreading news of what is available and brokering arrangements for collection and payment. The system we developed for collection and payment ** has worked well with tomatoes and should work equally well for other plants. Collection is made by appointment, with the plants packaged and placed outside my garage with a plastic box for the money alongside. So there is no direct contact between us and we are observing as closely as possible the government self-isolating requirements. **
I’ll be writing a series of blogs to tell you what is available and since there be won’t be the opportunity for discussion about what this or that plant is like I suggest that you have some fun Googling the plants I mention to help you decide what takes your fancy. Don’t get hung up on botanical names, just look at the images and the descriptions on line and consider whether you’d like to have a go. And remember that tackling the unknown is the best way of expanding your enjoyment of your garden. So for starters, here’s a list of some plants that are available now and you can order them at any time and arrange to come here to collect and pay for them. It is unlikely that the choir will get nearly as much benefit as in previous years, so we really need you to bend the ears of family and friends.
Argyranthemum ( Marguerite) Jamaica Primrose - big plants just coming into flower.
Gladiolus cardinalis - very full pots
Campanula Pink Octopus - a very unusual form of campanula that attracts attention.
Tulbaghia Silver Lace - variegated foliage and lilac flowers
Tulbaghia sepacea v maritima – a fine vigorous form of tulbaghia
Lobelia tupa – not often available and a wonderful plant
Amicia zygomeris - another very fine but rarely offered plant a real favourite (only 6)
Thermopsis lupinoides - Stiffly ascending stems with upright spikes of bright yellow; nectar-rich flowers
Kniphofia - Red-hot pokers, Toffee Nosed
Other plants including outdoor tomatoes, some veg and bedding plants will be listed later but in the meantime if there is anything you are looking for that I just might have just call me (see Members' Page).