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

February/March 2020

A Happy New Year to all and let's hope for a successful gardening year ahead, either working in the garden or simply sitting and enjoying it.

The Donhead St. Mary Village Hall had been beautifully decorated by members of the Garden Committee for our Annual Christmas Get-Together which was well attended and very much enjoyed by all. The entertainment started with Neville Pughe reciting poetry, some of which he had composed himself, which had everyone in stitches. A big thank you to Neville, more next year please! Supper was followed by a very light-hearted quiz which went right to the wire between two tables and left us all wondering whether gnomes are allowed at Chelsea Flower Show or not!

Once again we are having an unseasonably warm winter and it has been difficult to decide what to cut back in the garden when so much is still flowering; Roses, Spirea, Knautia, Antirrhinum, Dianthus, Scabious to name a few. Nowadays we are encouraged to leave seed heads for the birds to consume over the winter and to make a beautiful display when the frost arrives. However, most of my seed heads have been flattened by the rain and the wind, despite this our holly tree still has numerous berries, unusual at this time of year but hopefully suggesting that there is enough food for the birds at the moment. Whilst there are already snowdrops and daffodils appearing, there have been primroses flowering since before Christmas. The path up to St. Mary's church is always a joy to see with its prolific display of primroses.

Whilst the seed catalogues drop through the letter box daily it is a treat to dream of sunny garden days ahead and to try not to buy one packet of everything. February and March are such times of promise with the garden beginning to emerge from winter helped by snowdrops, daffodils, crocuses aconites and many others, and with the days getting longer there is still plenty to do. Apart from continual weeding, here are a few other suggestions from the RHS for things we could be doing in the garden at this time of the year:

Prune winter flowering shrubs when they stop flowering. Summer-flowering shrubs that flower on the current year's growth can also be pruned. Prune Wisteria. Prune hardy evergreen hedges.
Deciduous ornamental grasses can be cut right down.
Divide herbaceous perennials. Root cuttings can still be taken from perennials and hard wood cuttings from ornamental shrubs.
Snowdrops can be divided (in the green).
Seedbeds can be prepared and mulched if they aren't totally waterlogged.
Potatoes can be prepared for chitting and Dahlia tubers can be brought out to start growth.
Hedging plants, shrubs, trees, roses and climbers can be planted.
If by any chance it is dry enough the lawn can be mowed with the cutting height at its highest.
Sow seeds for early vegetables and annual flowers.
Protect blossom on soft-fruit trees.

Should we be needing inspiration, Andrew Hunt will be giving a talk at the Gardening Club on Monday 10th February. Andrew is the garden project manager at Kingston Lacy and the current project is restoration of the Victorian Kitchen Garden and the Glasshouses which is quite an undertaking.
Shelley wrote... 'If winter comes can spring be far behind?'
Spring is just around the corner, look forward to happy days in the garden... Whatever the weather!

Annie Garnett

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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