September has always felt like the perfect month for new beginnings to me, so what better month to start writing a column for Eastlife Magazine.  This fabulous A5 sized magazine is also available online and is jam packed with articles and promotions for the East of England.  It is a real privilege to be a part of it.  Here is my column from the September issue:

Originally designed in 1935 by Percy Cane, the garden features a terraced rose garden surrounded by yew hedging, a stream and significant flower beds, oaks and willows. Almost every single inch of pointing in the terracing has blown, the yew hedge was standing at 30 feet high and the weeds had long since taken ownership of the once majestic flower beds. The prolific perennials of bindweed, ground elder and the gardener’s number one enemy horsetail feature heavily.

Our first job in January was to reduce the imposing yew hedging to the ground. Yew is almost indestructible and one of the only conifers which will produce fresh growth from the stump. Whilst brutal, this was our only hope of resurrecting a 4-5ft high glossy evergreen frame of hedging for the rose garden. Because the house and garden sit in a conservation area we were also quite quick off the mark to speak to the local planning department to obtain permission to reduce the numerous oaks and dangerous willows. And now, three gardeners into the project, we have finally found someone big enough to take on the weeds. Progress is being made.

The sheer scale of weeds this year has required a substantial fire, however any reappearance next year will be put to good use in weed soup. Perennial weeds do not make for good compost. A solution to this is to soak the weeds in water, allowing the root system to rot and release all those lovely nutrients they have greedily absorbed from your borders back into the water. Simply pour the ‘soup’ over your compost pile to supercharge it. 

September is a great month to be collecting seed heads from your favourite perennial plants. This is a fantastic money saving technique and one that, along with cuttings taken from our previous house, has allowed us to make an instant impact on those now weed free flower beds.

The latest copy of EastLife magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.couk

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