Jeepers Creepers (Not The Film!)

Fallen Bird's Nest
Fallen Bird’s Nest In The Ipheion Shoots

After a pleasant train ride home with friendly passengers – one sniffed my foot (Canine!)- and a CFS enforced rest day I thought it was high time I got around to doing some gardening jobs. Unfortunately, it was a rainy day but I don’t care what the weatherman says, I just got on with it. The wildlife in the garden took a more sensible approach and sheltered from the elements, I did find an old nest which had been blown down over the winter.

We try to strike a balance between gardening for wildlife and ourselves. I may have left the old seed heads on a bit too long this year, they are no more now. Hopefully they gave the birds a good feed and the rest got scattered to the winds. I’ve cut back last year’s scruffy perennial geranium leaves in a haphazard fashion. I was careful not to disturb any efts that are occasionally found in that flower bed and left a lot of cover in case they did happen to over-winter there. I left a few yellowing leaves in the hope that slugs and snails would feast on them instead of the new growth –they must be easier to digest if they are starting to break down a little. We are a pellet free garden and are rewarded by visits from thrushes and hedgehogs preying on the gastropods. I can’t believe how much the geraniums grew and self-seeded last year, they are gradually creeping all over the garden.

This brings me on to the age old problem of creepers. I always prune the clematis at this time of year, well what I think are the “prune code two” ones. I did label them but the writing has worn away unnoticed so I just had to guess from memory. Fingers crossed! Have you got any tips on remembering when to prune and even how to prune? Ivy is another one, good old Hedera helix, great for wildlife. Robins like nesting in it, butterflies and birds feed on it but it robs the trees of nutrients. Any advice on controlling it would be most welcome please!

I did leave with conflicting ideas on pruning dogwood/Cornus. I was told to take out the oldest third of growth when I studied the RHS General, however I was told that in a feature on Gardeners’ World, Monty said to chop it all right down to the ground. Any thoughts?!

Back at work, I was excited that the Grounds Team agreed to do a bouquet tying demonstration and sell some plants at The Big Lunch, we have a Tai Chi demonstration to look forward to too.


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