Thursday 20 August 2020

Looking ahead

Walkway acorn - a future mighty oak?
We continue to get out to the walkway as often as we can - operating on the basis of a semi-lockdown – what you might call ‘being careful’. We generally find local folk helpful in this regard, maintaining social distancing and so forth. As the summer has advanced, there is less to comment upon by way of flowers but it is good to see local oaks (still young) producing acorns fairly copiously

Hawthorn berries and seeds - also from walkway
We are also glad to see the hawthorns with their red berries following such glorious blossom in the Spring. I still have my eye on the trees that had the double-red flower - in the hope that the berries will provide some viable seed

I have just tested a few. Learning from online videos (I am no expert – an absolute rooky, in fact) the trick is to remove the outer coating and then drop the seed into water. Non-viable seed is said to float. My three seeds all sank – so an encouraging start but, as we mentioned last week, it is a long process

Longer than I first thought as I have now read that hawthorns take 20 years to come into flower! So, if I do get viable seeds and they produce plants that grow to maturity, then it is posterity that will benefit from the result

Old greenhouse still useful
Looking forward
In the vein of such looking forward perhaps I might share my thinking about Codger’s future intentions. As we have said previously our number one priority is to support Angela and Keith Webb’s annual charity plant sale next year. As you can see from the photograph, we are already stocking up for that. The old plastic greenhouse is ideal for bringing on the 144 plug plants I received last week – the more plants / the better the deal! The sale is scheduled for end of May or the beginning of June 2021 by which time we should have a good stock of established plants

A few of the many plants in old Codger's Nursery
In addition to this I have built up a stock of plants that will be available in the Spring. My current thinking is to keep old Codger going and to offer these on the same basis as this year. We now have the benefit of that experience. The most successful part of the operation was making up boxes of plants to order. We hope that will work again but only experience will decide. It is worth a try, I think

Here and now
We still have plants ‘off the shelf’, so to speak, available now so please get in touch if you think we can help you out. I apologise that the plant page (click top right) still needs updating but I will get round to it. My excuse is that hot spell that did knock me a bit but, feathers shaken, I’m back on my feet

Sweet Pea Old Spice - healthy plants
To prove it, here is a new offer: Sweet Peas! Yes, it seems to late but not with old Codger. We have a few young, strong plants available – and in two ways. You can just have the plants – or, place an order and I shall make up a lovely pot for you. Ideal to bring colour and perfume to the patio! The variety is Old Spice grown by Woolmans – an extremely reliable and well-respected grower. If you like what you get we simply ask that you make a donation to BCM via our webpage here
Can you smell them?

A badly kept secret
Speaking of growers, one of our regular readers told me about The Secret Garden Club. I am so glad that I have given this a try. Having often wondered how the trade deals with surplus stock I was impressed with this smooth operation – and very satisfied with the plants I ordered. Stuff that you do not see advertised anywhere else – and free delivery on orders over £20. Very well packed and delivered by a good courier. There is nothing not to like – click here!

Perhaps I should reiterate that I have absolutely no commercial interest with any garden supplier. Drop me an email and I’ll tell you how to get an extra discount!

The ordinary variety
William Morris for gardeners
If you watch the ‘Antiques Roadshow’ or, perhaps, ‘Flog-it!’, you may have encountered the William Morris quotation; “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” I expect the gardening equivalent would be along the lines of “Always go for the best variety”. Let me give an example …

Named variety being planted
One plant that rapidly spreads in our garden in Alchemilla mollis, or Lady’s Mantle. Its distinguishing feature is the way that water droplets sit upon the leaves. Whilst flicking through the Secret Garden pages I came across a named variety which looks a bit more interesting, so I have planted that alongside to compare. In another part of the garden I have found that the common aquilegia is rampant, so I have replaced these with a few of the variety Mrs Scott Elliott – a lovely pale yellow. So, a bit of an experiment to keep an eye on

Magazines and the Cosmos
I have only just discovered, by accident, that there is more than one type of cosmos. Mrs Codger gets a subscription copy of the magazine garden Answers each month. With it we usually get a free packet of seeds. Such a packet produced the bright orange cosmos in this photograph. It turns out that the form usually grown is Cosmos bipinnatus - no complaint, I like them. But helpful to have the alternative Cosmos sulphureus

Cosmos sulphureus - aptly named
On the subject of magazines, I have back numbers of the RHS magazine, The Garden. This must surely be regarded as the premier gardening mag. Beautifully produced and authoritatively written, its articles are worthy of study. However, we have reached what we expect to be the final declutter. I cannot bring myself to throw them away. Anyone interested?

The new normal
As we readjust (I'll tell you about the local situation another time) I have rather less time for blogging than during lockdown. In any case, after so many episodes, I am in danger of sharing my extensive ignorance rather than my limited knowledge. However, your interest is appreciated and I plan to be back next week. By which time I aim to have the plant list updated. In the meantime, let me share a small success. The picture below shows an orchid that, we thought, had expired. A little greenhouse TLC and here is the result ...

... best wishes from the old Garden Codger

Kolibri orchid (in the recovery ward)

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