JOHN’S JOURNAL

Foraging for Winter Foliage

With the leaves having fallen and the frosty days making a welcome return the beauty of the evergreens really stands out all around us, from the beautiful rich green leaves of the Spruce to the variegated foliage of the Holly bushes, there’s a whole host of greenery out there and with it being the time for wreath making and winter arrangements get out there and begin gathering along with planning for the future with Winter plants to grow in your own garden.

At the nursery wreath making season has begun with our first wreath making course being hosted this Tuesday and it was foliage galore along with some delightful winter flowers and berries, and when combined they make for a delightful result, and yet such simple combinations. At the front of our house last year we planted a line of the beautiful evergreen Fern called Polypodium as it bears thick leathery green fronds, perfect for adding into winter arrangements, and just in its first year it has bulked up massivelly and now there is plenty of foliage to choose from to selectly trim. Holly bushes are another example of once they get going they are a bountiful with beautiful leaves, whether they be green or variegated they all have a place in our winter arrangements, and the annual trimming then helps to encourage bushy growth giving you more than if you weren’t to trim at all so it benefits the plant, a simple annual form of pruning. A good pair of secateurs always helps and makes light work of trimming the stems, along with some good florist wire to help wire any stems together.

Picking up small Twigs and small branches found lying around can also be a simple yet very elegant addition to displays, fastening them to door frames and window sills, they make the perfect hanger for choice decorations (when we get to that time!) and then even after the Christmas season you can continue to use them to hang things off.

With the Christmas Tree season also beginning it’s time to think about the joys of a real tree, the beautiful aroma it bring with it along with its natural irregularities they are hard to compare with and can really make a room, don’t forget to treat them well though, water them well and try not to position them anywhere too hot! Wreaths have an easy life hanging on the outside of your door in the cold air but for Christmas trees they are sometimes in for a roasting, so placing it in a stand which you can water is the perfect option, or if it’s kept in a cooler room anyway it won’t be a problem!

At the nursery the Oak Pergola area is now filled with hand selected trees all individually named, with their own personality and shape! So whether you’re window shopping for a tree or if it’s time to buy yours there’s a delightful selection to choose from, you just need to decide whether it’s Boris, Betty or Bill who you will be taking home with you for the weeks ahead!

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems

Do I cut off the bottom of my Christmas Tree?

It’s always a good idea to trim off the bottom half inch and then place your tree in a bucket of water to give it a drink. This way it will help fill your tree with water and keep it looking happy for longer.

 

Can I pot up Alpine cuttings now?

It’s the perfect time to give Alpines time over the winter to set their roots down before the Spring months. They thrive in a John Innes Number 2 compost mixed with grit sand for added drainage. They won’t mind the frost as this is like their natural environment, just give them somewhere where they get the afternoon Winter sunshine.

 

Can I cut Skimmia flowers?

They make the perfect addition to wreaths with their thick glossy stems, the buds look as good as flowers and make a note to feed your Skimmias next Spring so they produce an abundance of flowers next year. They thrive in a sunny or shady location and always mix a little ericaceous (acid) compost in with them to help them thrive.

 

 

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

1 –Top Up The Shed

A perfect time to stock take and give the Shed a tidy along with topping up on things you may be running low on!

2– Forage for Foliage and Twigs

Make sure you have the permission of the land owner and responsibly gather twigs and foliage for Winter displays

3 – Position Lanterns

Perfect for adding interest throughout the day and especially at night with candles and tea lights

4 – Make a Tree Topper

A simple star cut out of some ply-wood and painted yellow can finish the top of your tree off perfectly

 

 

Plant of The Week

Ilex verticillata

Commonly known as Winter Berry bearing masses of red berries on bare stems. Beautiful for the winter berries and with so many they almost look fake. Position in a sunny or semi shaded spot and feed well with sulphate of potash in Spring to promote lots of flowers then leading to berries for the following year