Gardening

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seahermit
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Gardening

Postby seahermit » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:25 am

A couple of issues here. I am creating a "mini patio-garden" at the top of the steps outside my front door (big Victorian house). So I am looking for dwarf shrubs which will not only have attractive evergreen foliage throughout a dismal winter but also produce big, colourful flower heads later! Tricky, there aren't many which fit the bill and I wondered if any gardening fanatics might be able to chuck in some advice? There are things like dwarf rhododendrons but I find the foliage of that one pretty boring after the blooms are gone.

I'm also wondering what garden centres people would recommend? The Wye Vale one in Bexhill Road is quite nice but has largely conventional stuff, Blackwoods (correct name?) up the A21 is bigger and has more exotic things. But I'm thinking of trying a big nursery for a wider range of plants and hopefully some unusual things.

Maybe a shot in the dark but does anyone have experience of these places?

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Geoff
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Re: Gardening

Postby Geoff » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:20 pm

For your position you are going to need plants that don't mind the salt air too, so that restricts it slightly more. I had a job growing conventional plants on my balcony in West Hill Road when I lived there so assume you'd have the same trouble being just as close to the sea.

Wyevale is too expensive in my opinion. Blackbrooks has knowledgeable staff who can make suggestions for you. I found B&Q best for general plants at sensible prices, but the staff will only know what it says on the label so forget asking them anything unusual.

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Richard
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Re: Gardening

Postby Richard » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:04 pm

seahermit, you don't say whether you intend pots or open soil.
I hate plastic pots!

Fuchsia
Potentilla
Carpet Rose
Escallonia
Lithodora
Santolina
Heather

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seahermit
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Re: Gardening

Postby seahermit » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:38 am

I really appreciate the replies, wasn't sure if any interest would be sparked!

Good point about the coastal atmosphere. I obtained s/h copies of two of the "Garden Expert" series (in my opinion still amongst the most informative of gardening books) - some plants and shrubs are mentioned there as being hardy in coastal locations, so I have some fall-back options if there are problems.

The main problem with the garden centres seems to be that the stock is fairly conventional. I want do something a bit different, I like exotic and showy things and also want some attractive evergreen foliage through winter. And some winter plants maybe - there are things you can do if you are a bit inventive!

I have gone a bit mad, bought two somewhat expensive terracotta tubs - rather better for harsh winter spells because they help protect roots from frosts. Got a rather beautiful Hebe in one - dark green leaves with purple veins and (later) purplish flower spikes.

In the larger tub I am thinking of putting maybe an evergreen Daphne or Azalea - there is a big nursery at Hartfield which has numerous new dwarf varieties of both, some are hardy, have stunning flower heads and even bloom in late winter.

I love Fuchsias - but you see them everywhere. The Escallonia is a possibility - again I have seen some new varieties with highly attractive foliage. Heather definitely - once the main shrubs are in, I want to fill up all the spare space!

As you can gather, I am really enjoying myself.

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seahermit
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Re: Gardening

Postby seahermit » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:04 pm

I am putting all these (Celonia) into another pot - never seen them before but the exotic spikes last all summer. They seed easily, so I'm going to try collecting the seeds and re-sowing them next spring!
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Richard
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Re: Gardening

Postby Richard » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:02 pm

I seem to remember visiting 'Merriments Gardens' when it was changing hands, may be some plants/ideas there worth viewing:

Merriments Gardens
Hawkhurst Road
Hurst Green,
East Sussex
TN19 7RA
01580 860666

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seahermit
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Re: Gardening

Postby seahermit » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:55 pm

I checked out Merriments, it looks fascinating and gets very good reviews. Thanks, I may well pop in there soon with a friend en route to one of the big nurseries near Tonbridge - tour of plant places, if the weather cools down a little!

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seahermit
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Re: Gardening

Postby seahermit » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:45 pm

The "patio garden" is progressing. Hebe and Celosia so far. The neighbours have suddenly got very interested and friendly!
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PATIO 1.JPG

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Richard
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Re: Gardening

Postby Richard » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:11 am

Celosia, deriving from the Greek word ‘kelos,’ meaning burned; the name itself refers to the plant’s brilliant appearance and striking flame-like flowers.
Although celosia is primarily grown as an ornamental plant in the U.S. it is a commonly grown vegetable throughout Africa, The leaves, tender stems and even young flowers are combined with other vegetables in soups and stews. Celosia leaves can be boiled or steamed and eaten as a side dish as well. Celosia is also known as a foodstuff in Indonesia and India. Moreover, in the future it might become more widely eaten, especially in the hot and malnourished regions of the equatorial zone. In that regard, it has already been hailed as the often-wished-for vegetable that “grows like a weed without demanding all the tender loving care that other vegetables seem to need.”
Health Values:
Beta-carotene: extremely high in leaves; vitamin E: medium; folic acid: high; ascorbic acid: medium; calcium: medium; iron: medium; protein: 4.7%. Leaves contain also amaranthine (betacyanin), oxalic acid (ca. 0.2%) and phytic acid (ca. 0.12%).
Not only are the flowers richly hued, their deep-green foliage may also be shot through with streaks of red or purple pigment. As a result, celosia can be eye catching even before it blossoms.
They propagate easily, require little care, and often reseed themselves year after year.
The plant is a member of the Amaranth family.

Sounds like you chose well, seahermit... :)

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seahermit
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Re: Gardening

Postby seahermit » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:12 pm

Well done, Richard, fascinating stuff. I had never heard of it before, just wanted some colourful plants around before long-term things grew up. And something different to the hundreds of pansies/petunias you currently see in every street! I think the flame-like heads are beautiful.

And I can eat the leaves if I'm desperately short of cash at the supermarket!


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