The man from the National Garden Scheme says yes

Posted 2007/08/15 22:22
George in the bog

We just got accepted for the NGS open garden scheme! We first offered ourselves up a few years ago, but were scuppered by the dodgy access issues and -ahem- lack of hard landscaping on the site, making it all a bit hazardous for the typical NGS mature visitor!
This time however, the building works are on track so we plan to open late August 2008.
Meanwhile we have planted - exploiting the sodden August weather - our bog at last with a yellow colour scheme throughout: Primula bulleyana, primula sikkemensis and the splendid yellow and purple veined iris 'Holden Clough' with a few carex grasses and evergreen ferns intermingled.

Native niwaki

Posted 2007/08/04 22:25
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Though I've spent a fair amount of time in Japan in the last few years, I sadly didn't manage to meet any of the country's many highly skilled gardeners.
'Niwaki' by Jake Hobson (Timber Press) is thus a godsend for the gradual Japanification that is happening in the garden as much as in the kitchen here.
We have plans to place a Japanese Tea House in our meadow, and to form a bridge between it and the native plants all around I decided to prune some of the very characterful ancient hawthorn nearby in the 'Niwaki' style. Of course I forgot to take the 'Before' picture, but here is the 'After'. The process basically means pruning, tying down and staking trees to 'fake' a kind of premature aging, concentrating on encouraging horizontal growth, 'pads' of foliage, and opening up views into the bark and limbs of the specimen. With already ancient trees like this one, the process is a little easier and faster than it might be with, say, a new bonsai - which is more or less the same process but smaller.
No idea how these self-sown trees will take to this treatment, so watch this space for a 2008 report.