Friday, March 28, 2014

An Ongoing Education

Imagine my delight when attending a recent HPS Group meeting, I came across an Amateur Gardening book on Plant Propagation edited by A. G. L. Hellyer. 

Published nearly sixty years ago, in 1955, I know that many of these Amateur Gardening Books were 'compiled' from various articles previously printed in the magazine.

Although I knew it was there, I was delighted to turn to the inner flap of the back dust sleeve cover to see a picture of my father, sitting at his desk, looking very handsome, smart and exactly how I remember him all those years ago.

I am certain that, if I had this book on my shelf when I began propagating I would have used it.

As I know that his garden in Sussex was used for 'photo shoots' I am certain that the apple trees are at Orchards and my mother's hands feature in some of the illustrations.

The lady who owned the book assured me that although very old the propagation methods were current. I was buying the book anyway, it is one that I do not have on my shelves.

I was intrigued by one method of propagation that I knew nothing about. Polythene film, as another method of taking root cuttings. An ideal method for those with little space for propagation. 

What a neat little bundle...

Picture copyright to W.H. & L. Collingridge Limited London

Monday, March 17, 2014

Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride'

A mouthful of name for such a simple flower; a plant that takes me back to the late 1970s.

Exochorda macrantha 'The Bride' was one of the first shrubs I bought when I moved into Orchards (the home and garden of the late Arthur Hellyer and his wife Gay). I remember bringing a tiny pot with a twiggy growth back from a show at RHS Vincent Square.  It was planted on the top terrace at Orchards in full sun; in this position it thrived. By the time I left Orchards it had matured into a glorious mound with weeping branches that had to be trimmed back to stop it smothering smaller plants beneath.

It has the potential to grow 6ft high and spread to 10ft. 

In my new garden I was delighted to recognised a well clipped specimen, planted in a sunless corner between the wall of the house and the boundary wall. I identified the seedpods before the flowers and leaves emerged...