Here’s a copy of my gardening column from the October issue of Eastlife Magazine, which is a fabulous magazine all about ‘Living life in the East’.  The full version of the magazine can be viewed online at www.eastlife.couk

As summer fades into the distance, we must now turn our attention to some more autumnal jobs in the garden. Possibly the biggest challenge we have faced so far has been clearing an area we now fondly refer to as Island Garden. This area amounts to around a quarter of an acre framed on both sides by streams. Last December almost the entire area was hidden under unruly shrubs, leggy fruit trees and beastly brambles that coiled up into the trees making them both difficult and dangerous to remove.

Over the months we have worked tirelessly to clear the area to a point where we are almost ready to seed the area and transform the dull brown earth into an emerald green carpet of grass. For grass to germinate, the soil temperature needs to be between 9 and 12 degrees, giving us a sowing season here in the UK of March to October. Within this window the best months for rainfall are March, September and October. With little time to play with it really is a case of all hands on deck for that particular project.

 We have also sourced a few specimen trees to plant in what was originally the rose garden. The internet is a wonderful thing and after a few hours work my searching was rewarded with a magnolia grandiflora and cercis Canadensis, or redbud tree. We had also been on the look out for a cornus controversa variegata, more commonly referred to as a Wedding Cake tree. However, anything of a decent size also came with a hefty price tag.  If you are not familiar with these trees they are real show stoppers when planted in the right place. Whist they are incredibly slow growing, when planted as a specimen they will in time reward you with tiered branching where the variegated leaves dance like tissue paper in the breeze. Once again, Percy seemed to be looking out for us; during a trip to Poplar Nurseries in Marks Tey, there shimmering in the late summer sun was a very majestic looking Wedding Cake tree, which is now happily living with us in sunny Frinton.


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