By Heather Russell – from her garden in Bolam, Northumberland.
When reading a plant catalogue, I can shut out the rest of the world, happily picturing each plant, wondering over new ones, and imagining where some could be planted. John, and most people for that matter, is totally nonplussed as to how I can be so engrossed just by lists of names. Better any day than a novel, and I was going to say less expensive but probably not in the end I admit!
Our April speaker, Dr Andrew Ward, is highly regarded within the HPS both as a speaker and for his nursery, and last night I spent a very happy hour perusing Norwell Nursery catalogue online. I definitely want Althea cannabina, a late season, pink flowered, willowy beauty, ‘Easy and incredibly robust, even on thick clay’ – but will she like my sandy loam? A lime leaved Brunnera, an interesting shrub (Clerodendron) with good leaves, autumn flowers and a very long name, and Geranium ‘Sandrine’ (an improved ‘Anne Folkard’) have also gone on my list – so far!
Andrew will be bringing plants to sell on April 27th but you can send an order via the website, www.norwellnurseries.co.uk up to a week before, to be collected on the night. All the necessary details are in his catalogue. Many of our speakers have nurseries and are happy to bring orders.
I have often waxed lyrical about using a serrated knife for gardening. They are just SO useful – for trimming and cutting back herbaceous stuff and grasses and blunt ones for weeding, and so much easier on the hands than secateurs. I can’t do without one. I always advise painting the handle a bright colour, as they are so easily lost. My first one was a folding knife from Great Dixter recommended by Fergus, but I now use a Burgon and Ball knife from their ‘Tough Tools’ range. I have used the Herbaceous
Sickle and the Vegetable Harvesting Knife – both work well but I now prefer the former. Not stocked by local garden centres, mail order adds £5 in postage.
However, after visiting Philippa Hodkinson’s delightful garden shop at Kirkharle last year and seeing some B&B products, I asked her if she would stock the knives. She kindly agreed and is offering £1 off the rrp of each knife – the sickle for £7.95, the harvesting knife for £8.95. Why not try one for yourself, but best to wear gloves! An order sheet will be available to sign at the Feb/March meetings, and Philippa will bring them to the April meeting.