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Gardening with Gael - Why I write the articles


flower-297The Garden Ramble is over and those of us who took part can relax knowing the gardens are fed and mulched ready for summer. Mulch does take up nitrogen as it breaks down and so it is a good idea to feed the plants before mulching to counteract the uptake. Mulching is an essential way to get through the hot summer months without relying too much on watering. Some plants still need that weekly gasp. Apparently, once the feijoas, which are flowering now, start forming their fruit, a bucket of water a week will increase the size of the fruit. I plan to try that this year.

We are very fortunate in our town to enjoy a number of people who have an enormous knowledge of plants. Every day I meet someone who introduces me to yet another variety or can elucidate further some scant knowledge I may possess. Jacquie at g.a.s. in the village brings with her years of experience in garden centres and I see she has red flowering plants to grace tables and gardens ready for Christmas.

From time to time I wonder why it’s me that writes the articles.

Rowie at the market is a walking catalogue of knowledge with her vegetables and annuals. I am still enjoying the recommendations she made to me for underplanting my roses. The Virginia stock Malcolmia maritime, a native to Greece and Albania, is a beautiful profusely flowering little plant. Low to the ground and quite delicate in its form, it makes a mass of four petalled pink and purple little flowers with tiny white centres. It grows in any soil including sandy soil and makes a great border.

Rowie also suggested a small growing sweet mignonette which is well known among cottage garden lovers. The scent from this little annual rivals the roses. Now that I am familiar with this intensely fragrant annual I will have a better idea next year where to place it. It is definitely more of a background plant. The flower spikes are a delicate white and not particularly showy. Mignonette prefers a moist rich soil and can grow in partial shade. It is not until you smell it that you understand its value.

A trip to the market is never complete without picking the brains of Ces Adams in the corner with his van displaying his fruit trees, roses and all manner of other plants. I have also managed to acquire his cell phone number which I use for queries.

I have read, I text Ces, that the rose Veilchenbau can grow in partial sun and I could use it as a climber. Is this correct? Do you have any?

I already have one growing in full sun on the edge of the dam, a violet flowered rambler which flowers in abundance and grows with energetic profusion. The spot I am planning is in the fenced rose garden on the north wall where there is partial shade.

Yep replies Ces. I look at the reply and wonder ‘Yep’ to which question?

Are there any others? I text. Would you be able to bring some on Saturday?

Yep replies Ces and it’s then I realise why I write the articles.


DELICATE: Malcolmia maritime with it’s bright flowers makes a great border.
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