What’s New at Whistlepipe Gardens
When I began the website journey I had no idea that it would involve so much planning as well as input of information (I guess I did know, but it is non-the-less huge – and we have only just begun). Please be patient while I get the catalogue fully stocked with descriptions and irresistible pictures. The process would of course be a lot easier if it was the only task on the agenda.
Those of you who are able to attend our September or subsequent Open Days will be the first to see the new fully operational 5 kW solar array in the back paddock. It was finished just in time on the 29th of June and is now feeding good amounts of power back into the grid. Time will tell if my calculations about break-even points are anywhere near the mark, i.e. when I get my next power bill.
The wonderful rain we have been experiencing has produced masses of beautiful green grass in the paddocks, which in turn has created some issues with our remaining horses Scruffy and Lyric. I had to quickly build an emergency sandpit for Scruffy to soothe his sore hooves, and then confine Lyric to control the amount of grass she could access. Be strong when your children beg you for a horse, they are definitely not the easiest of creatures at this time of year. BACK TO TOP
Nursery and Gardens News
I really love this time of year. It may be cold and wet and much of the garden is dormant, but there are still surprising bursts of botanical activity going on out there, and some stunning flowers emerging. Here are just a few to tempt you.
Helleborus. The hellebores in our garden have produced beautiful new growth and are now covered in their gorgeous pale green flowers. We have a new variety in the nursery called Pink Frost, another of the RHS Gold series. It is only available in 14 cm pots (i.e. at Open Days or by order from Guildford Town Garden Centre), and has handsome silvery foliage and very promising buds emerging. On-line images of the flowers are gorgeous
Farfugium (syn. Ligularia). Again our garden plants are looking great with lots of new fresh growth lighting up those shady places. They are surprisingly tough once established, and will regenerate even if damaged by extreme heat in summer. I have conceded, however, and have finally decided to use the correct generic name of Farfugium. I persisted with Ligularia for quite a while as the lovely glossy labels that we use list the plant as Ligularia, and a change is probably unlikely in the short term (we will use white electrical tape to modify the labels in the interim)
Cyclamen persicum. This delightful little cyclamen grows wild in Mediterranean countries including of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan, occurring in a variety of habitats such as open scrub, rocky slopes and woodland. Last year I obtained plants from a wonderful kindred collector down south and they are now flowering in their pots. You can’t have them all, however, as I’m going to try and establish some under my Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’.
Plectranthus. Our feature plant on our website home page is Plectranthus barbatus, a great new addition to our Plectranthus collection. It is a large shrub with attractive soft think furry leaves and long spikes of deep blue flowers most of the year. I am also expecting a delivery shortly of the pink form of Plectranthus ecklonii. P. ecklonii is also a tall species reaching 1 – 2 m, and is very suitable for shady gardens that are a bit on the dry side. P. ecklonii comes in purple, white and pink flowering forms. I still have the white form in the garden, and had better propagate some up now that I think about it, but I have lost my purple flowering plant. If you have one I would love to give oyu Whistlepipe credits for a few pieces.
Ruscus aculeatus (Butcher’ s Broom). Before you get too excited, we split a large clump of this invaluable plant in mid-August and generated lots of offspring. They may be ready for sale by our September Open Days, but then they might not, so be prepared to place an order. Butchers Broom is another fantastic, almost indestructible plant for shady places. It forms a clump of dark green stems to about I m which have dark green ‘leaves’ along their length. The ‘leaves’ are in fact flattened stems, which explains why the tiny flowers of Ruscus appear to pop out of the middle of a leaf. All that aside, Ruscus is invaluable for floristry. When cut, the stems will provide fresh-looking greenery that lasts up to 3 months in a floral arrangement (you will have to change the flowers a few times).
Clematis. Our large flowering clematis plants are on the move. Many have shot away by several centimetres and the rest have very fat buds in readiness. If you haven’t cut yours back yet I would recommend that you do so right away and give them a top dress of a good complete fertiliser.
I could go on as there are lots more things happening, I’ll leave it there and let you also peruse the website for additional plant perspectives.
Enjoy your gardens and perhaps I’ll see you at our open days. BACK TO TOP