Posts Tagged ‘trees’

On eucalyptus

January 25, 2010

I have a new group of design students and told them I’d post some info on eucalyptus – and spell out my objections to these.

Frankly, they belong in their native Australia, where they are an important part of the ecology, seemingly tolerant of both drought and flooding (as, incidentally, are date palms). Far from home, I find they just do not integrate with northern hemisphere plants. Besides, ultimately, they can make huge trees, of rather indeterminate form.

Eucalyptus gunnii is the species most commonly seen, grown chiefly for its silvery young foliage. To ensure this is in ready supply, plants should be cut back hard every year in late winter or early spring. This also keeps them in check – I have come across countless neglected specimens, rather straggly-looking and dull grey in colour. Even with regular pruning, I think they are best in town gardens where the planting is deliberately restricted.

The snow gum has outstandingly beautiful bark

The delightfully named snow gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. niphophila) is probably the nicest, with beautiful peeling bark and a tendency to produce several spreading trunks from the base. But proceed with caution – it needs space.

Wet weather – again

July 29, 2009

So – the Met Office is now saying that, contrary to previous predictions of a “barbecue summer”, the wet weather is set to continue into August.

While that brings pluses and minuses for gardeners, it is seriously bad news for anyone who opens their garden to the public and makes their living this way. Not many people will willingly traipse round gardens in the pouring rain. (This applies less to those public gardens that are attached to stately homes, of course – visitors can always run for the shelter of the café and gift shop, if not the house itself.)

But please don’t abandon garden visiting entirely – merely delay it. Maybe September and October will be better, but you should also consider getting out and about in November. Contrary to expectaction, November is often blessed with mild, settled weather, and good gardens offer plenty to enjoy at any season of the year.

Blackberries seem to do well in cool, damp conditions

Blackberries seem to do well in cool, damp conditions

In case you are wondering what I think the pluses of all this wet are – well, blackberries (and the hybrid Tayberries and Loganberries) should produce copious succulent fruit, and any new plants (especially trees and shrubs) you put in in spring should now be ripping away. There should be plenty of good material for taking cuttings later on.