As you read this, galanthomania is sweeping the country and keen snowdrop fans, or galanthophiles, are dropping to their knees to inspect the delicate petals of some of the rarer forms of snowdrop.  Well, they would be if coronavirus...

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Thinking of summer

Every six months we renovate our mulched tree circles in the orchard at Genus HQ.  Weeds are removed, the edges clipped with our trusty French Bahco shears, and a top dressing of our homemade compost is applied as a weed...

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Barking mad

Winter gardens concentrate the mind.  It’s the detail that counts.  Whether peering at the delicate formation of a snowdrops perianth, the frosted hairs on brittle seed heads, or the last few remaining translucent berries on the viburnum it’s a...

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Driving rain for Christmas

Stepping out the back door of Genus HQ last week we were slapped in the face by wind and cold driving rain.  As devotees of performance gardenwear we weren’t going to let this rob us of a productive day in the garden...

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Currant affairs

A day in the fruit cage beckoned this week.  The blackcurrants  have responded well to a complete cut back and renovation that we gave them in late 2019.  A wealth of sturdy fresh stems have been thrown giving us a...

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Christmas gifts for gardeners past and present

It’s that time of year again and the search for Christmas gifts at full throttle.  Gardeners past enjoyed a now familiar set of innovative products bought as special gifts.  During the early 1830’s the first self powered cylinder lawnmower was...

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Mulching à la Verey

With the Genus borders planted up with tulips and wallflowers we were finally able to get on with mulching. This has been an annual operation  since we moved...

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The first real frost

We had our first real frost last week.  Not a surprise for late November but still a bit of a shock.  It turned out to be a day of bits and pieces.  The border that extends around from the...

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Black in the Garden - Pelargonium sidoides

The first thing you learn when using ‘black’ plants in the garden is that they’re rarely black; dark reds, purples, and sometimes dark blues are usually the norm.  Despite this, plants like Pelagonium sidoides do look virtually black in a...
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Black in the Garden - Blackfly

‘Hands up who likes blackfly’?  No, we don’t either.  They often appear suddenly in the garden and can cause several problems that need to be dealt with.

The bean aphid Aphis fabae is probably the one most commonly seen in gardens...
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Black in the Garden - Aeonium 'Zwartop'

We love Aeonium ‘Zwartcop’.  It’s a tender branching succulent that can grow up to 1.2 metres high and is a perfect specimen to have as an architectural centrepiece in pots or troughs.  Lucky inhabitants of Cornwall or The Isles of...
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Wallflowers for spring

Good weather last week enabled us to get several hundred tulips planted in the borders at Genus HQ.  This week we overplanted the tulips with the wallflowers that were sown back in August.

Red-hot ‘Fire King’ is a...

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Tulip time

We’re planting several hundred tulips this week.  Hooray!!

They arrived several weeks ago but we’ve been trying to make space in the beds to plant them.  We’ve gone for some old favourites; classics almost you might say.  ‘Rhapsody of Smiles’...

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Inspired by grasses

Ornamental grasses are extremely popular with gardeners in the UK.  With their height, movement, and colour they easily earn their place in any garden.  Last week could well have been called  ‘National Grass week’; social media was awash with stunning...

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Renewals and repairs

Some days at Genus HQ have to be more about the infrastructure than the plants, so this week we put aside a day to complete a few practical tasks that required attention.  Our vegetable garden is made up of...

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Your November gardening to-do list

It’s getting colder, the leaves are falling fast and it’s time to tidy up dead and tatty growth and prepare for winter.

  1. Protect slightly tender herbaceous plants like penstemon or Verbena bonariensis with a thick mulch.  With plants like kniphofias (red...
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Bulb planting

Ordering  spring bulbs is an exciting job.  An evening in with the fire lit, a cat on your lap, and bulb catalogues spread all around.  Perfect!!  But it’s not until several huge boxes actually arrive that you realise just what...

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Berries for the birds

It’s at this time of year that we realise the garden here at Genus HQ, whilst still retaining colour in the flower borders, is lacking colour elsewhere, particularly in the form of berries.  Berries are always attractive to look at...

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Rosy prospects

New french doors at Genus HQ have replaced a window and necessitated the removal of a grape vine that was originally trained over it.  Groundworks had disturbed the roots, grapes would shower down on the paving, staining it purple, and...

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A peeling clematis

The north facing wall of the cottage at Genus HQ has a number of climbers but in autumn the ‘orange peel’ clematis ‘Bill MacKenzie’ shines a light into this shadier corner.

Orange peel clematis are a confusing bunch, seemingly coming...

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Your October gardening to-do list

Autumn is the time to clear up the garden and begin soil preparation and bulb planting for next spring.

  1. Tall shrubs like buddleia which will be pruned hard in spring, can be reduced by about half their height, to...
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