The Donheads Gardening Club - Page reproduced from the Donhead Digest.

April/May 2018

Our gardens are arguably at their best in Spring, a riot of colour following the mass of snowdrops, primroses and narcissi of our late wet winter. Those months were a time for gaining inspiration from the wonderful speakers we heard at the Club's meetings, most notable of whom was surely Matthew Reese of 12th February, describing how he re-designed and restocked the 10 acres of Malverley, near Newbury (Definitely worth a visit).

Spring is also a time for expectation of the joys of gardening to come, yet for worries too! We may not have the unlimited budget or vast expanses enjoyed by Matthew, but we have just as many challenges on a smaller scale. We spent the few sunny days of winter clipping, hacking and composting. Or did we? Anxieties abound; did we prune that Wisteria too drastically in February so it will have fewer flowers this year; did we prune the Clematis correctly or mistake late flowerers for early flowerers; did we forget to prune evergreen shrubs which flower before the 31st May (on old wood) or chop those that flower after 31st May (on new wood) unnecessarily; and what about those Camellia that started flowering and Photinia shooting in January this year, when should we prune them? Also, how about the late frosts on the Magnolias - all such a worry. Then of course there are those lovely Bullfinches that gorged on our feeding stations all winter - have they now attacked our apple blossoms again? Did we do anything about weed-suppression this winter?

What happened to all those ideas about laying membranes and bark chips over the bare areas in those beds? (Never too late, but weeding's good exercise!). Too late now, of course, to prune those climbing and rambling roses which should have been done in late Autumn, or the shrub roses that we should have tackled in March, but if we did do enough composting around them, will they be fine? It's all such a worry!

Never mind! Nature is very forgiving if we make a mistake, and it'll all come right next year! April and May will be heaven in our gardens, whether large or small, and it is time to visit a good garden centre which guarantees their plants, and put in a few treasures in those gaps. Early summer will then see a burgeoning of Lilac, Deutzia, Viburnum, Choisyia, and Exochorda, and Roses in June, to name but a few easy- to- grow shrubs. Then get some more containers and fill them with Lilies and Dahlias and summer-flowering bulbs, Pelargoniums and annuals - and make our patios look a picture later on - (remember to water them!). No gardens are perfect, are they, but they can be a source of never-ending pleasure - that is - if we don't worry too much!! If we all go to our Gardening Club meetings we can share experiences, successes and worries with many others, and enjoy it all hugely!

Neville Pughe

The Donheads Gardening Club is affiliated to:

The RHS, The Gardens Group Sherborne and the Wiltshire Gardens Trust.

We always welcome new members, please see our membership page for details.

Useful Links

Country Gardener Magazine

Open Gardens - National Directory

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