Month: July 2012

Trugg and Barrows Garden Diary August 2012

Time to stand and stare.
July weather started very wet indeed, so wet that it was difficult to get out into the garden on many days. This allowed the weeds to grow unrestrained and as a result some areas became ‘rather weedy’. As well as this, large areas of grass were not mown for nearly 3 weeks. I know that many of you were in the same position. Now that we are having a bit of summer (at last), for the last two weeks it has been noses to the grindstone trying to put things right again.
August will be a month of ‘steady as she goes’ in the garden here. It is a time of little change; a time of anticipation, waiting for autumn to arrive. Try to enjoy your garden this month, keep on top of things, but spend as much time as you can just enjoying the sights, sounds, smells and ‘spirit’ of your garden.
Herbaceous Heaven in July.
Summer weather seems finally to have got around to arriving and there is no better time to get out and about and see other gardens. July and August are some of the best months to see herbaceous displays.
Perhaps the most historic herbaceous borders in the country are at Arley Hall in Cheshire; indeed they claim to be the first such borders to have been planted in England. There are double herbaceous borders backed by tall hedges to give a contrast. Refreshingly, most of the planting is permanent, hardy perennials, though there are of course annuals mingled in to fill gaps. I am all for annuals but it does often mean gardening more intensively and greater demands on time.
Yet the herbaceous border is not the only feature of this outstanding garden. From the car park, visitors approach the garden between the towering 8m high pleached lime avenue. Planted in the 1850s, the avenue has been kept juvenile by constant pruning.
There are a number of smaller garden ‘rooms’ within the garden including the discrete ‘Flag Garden’ planted with roses and clematis and the ‘Fish Garden’ which, as its name might suggest, contains a small pond and fountain planted with sun loving plants.
For me some one of the most striking features of the garden is the Ilex Avenue which is in fact made up of huge columns of evergreen oak, Quercus ilex. They are massive and imposing things and I certainly don’t envy the gardeners the job of cutting them!
My own favourite part is the walled garden. Originally a kitchen garden, it was the most recent area to be re-designed and now the ancient fruit trees along the wall form a backdrop to other stunning trees and shrubs including some Fagus ‘Dawyck’, a fastigiate beech first grown at Dawyck Botanic garden in Scotland.
Further along in the glasshouses I encountered one of my favourite climbers the giant Burmese honeysuckle, Lonicera hildebrandiana which has 2in long mango scented blooms. Although only suitable for a greenhouse or conservatory, it is worth growing if you have either.
Yet as I mentioned, now is the time for herbaceous plants to be at their best; here are some of my favourites.
July and August can be a peak time for Hemerocallis, the daylilies. I am not too keen on those with too many different colours in the flower preferring blooms to have a more solid hue and a good purity of colour. One of the best for me has to be ‘Gentle Shepherd’ which is almost pure white with a green tinged throat. Some people go mad for daylilies others not so much and I do agree that they are not always good front of border plants but they make excellent fillers adding plenty of body.
Bistorts, or Persicaria will be lifting their tall spires of flower now above large leaves. They certainly thrive where there is year round moisture in the soil but I have found that if well mulched or given some manure when planted they are surprisingly adaptable. P. amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’ is a red which positively glows in evening light. Yet if you want something more unusual try P. polymorpha which reaches up to 6ft and has creamy white flowers.
For a really hot combination try under planting Perovskia, the Russian sage, with its silvery foliage and spires of bright blue flowers with Echinacea purpurea in shades of purple or Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ which is as vibrant as the name suggests. My favourite Echinacea is E. pallid which is wonderful to grow through something like Perovskia because it has loose pink flowers which sway in the gentlest breeze giving the movement that the Perovskia lacks.
Ornamental grasses are in their stride by now, though perhaps somewhat battered by the rain. One of my personal favourites is Calamagrostis ‘Karl Forster’ which has an upright slender habit and attractive golden brown flower heads.
Whatever the weather, there is plenty of herbaceous inspiration to enjoy this summer, wet or otherwise!
In the kitchen garden
Keep on top of the weeds; when produce comes ready harvest it, make time to stand and stare.
Please note: images have been removed from this pages because some of them may have been used without permission.

Family Fun in the Sun

Shropshire Council’s website has announced a “Fun in the Sun” community event in Market Drayton this later month. Details of the event which takes place on Monday 30 July 2012 from 11am to 2pm, can be found here.
Based at Shropshire Council’s Sure Start children’s centre at Longlands Primary School, Linden Way, Fairfields. Bob, the Shropshire Play Bus, will make an appearance, and the event will offer the chance to try out Forest School activities, sand and water play, and enjoy music, movement and storytime. Healthy snacks will be available, and families are encouraged to bring along a picnic.
For further information about the Fun in the Sun and other events in the local area, contact Sure Start children’s centre services on 01743 452400or see the web page linked to above.
Shropshire Council’s Family Information Service (FIS) have recently launched their Summer Guide Fun Guide to events and fun activities organised for children, young people and families across the county. The guide can be downloaded as a PDF file from this page.

Lively Public Meeting – Housing Development

Around 60 people attended the public meeting organised by the Parish Council on Friday 13, July in the Lyon Hall. In addition there were seven members of the Parish Council present along with Maryjayne Rees (Clerk), Karen Calder (Shropshire County Councillor), Graham Tongue (Leverhulme Estates), Tony Barton (Donald Insall Associates Architects) and Jo Lovelady (Strutt & Parker Agents).
Before the meeting people were able to examine the plans and other documentation associated with the planning application.
The meeting was chaired by John Powell who introduced the issue under consideration, namely the proposal to build 50 dwellings on land to the east of Shrewsbury Street and how the Parish Council should respond to it. The Parish Council had been given an extension by the Planning Dept. and needed to provide their comments by Tuesday 17 July. (NB Members of the public now have until 25 July to respond.) Derek Hodge, Vice Chairman, then outlined the Parish Council’s draft response. This was, in brief, that whilst they supported the proposals in principle, they had reservations about several aspects of them. These included the small size of some of the dwellings, the lack of parking spaces, garages and storage and the absence of street lighting. They also intended to ask for clarification on the provision of a direct foot route to Shrewsbury St., who would be responsible for the maintenance of the amenity area and assurance that the affordable housing component would be allocated to local people in perpetuity.
It was then intended that the meeting should hear from all those who prior to 7.00pm had booked five minute slots  in order to express their views. Instead the first speaker, Mr Rechten (Hodnet Action Group), asked that those around the table should first take questions. Initially Tony Barton responded with comments on the architectural brief for the development. He also apologised for not being able to stay until the end of the meeting.
Following this, the meeting did not take the intended course. Most of the speakers from the floor were opposed to the development in its current form. Just one person spoke in favour of the proposals and did so passionately. They felt the development was needed for securing the future of village businesses, etc. Those who objected had two main areas of concern. The first was that both the historical and recent “consultation procedures” had been flawed. There was some confusion over the status of the current “Site Allocations and Management of Development” (SAMDev) consultation and its relevance to the current planning application. There was also concern that a response by the Medical Centre had been misrepresented in the application. Dr Mehta explained that whilst they had a statutory duty to accept all residents in the area as patients, the estimated number of additional patients from the fifty new dwellings would put severe pressure on the practice. The Chairman said that these concerns were outside the scope of the meeting, but this was not universally accepted by a large section of those present.
The other main concern was the density of the proposed housing and whether it was appropriate for a rural village setting. Derek Hodge said this was the issue underlying all the Parish Council’s comments about parking spaces, garages and storage space as well as the size of some of the dwellings. Nevertheless strong opinions were expressed by many people to the effect that there were too many properties being squeezed onto the three pieces of land covered by the proposals. People had concerns over a number of issues arising from the density of the housing, one of the main ones being the increase in traffic levels.
Towards the end of the meeting Karen Calder, who had earlier done her best to try to explain the present position of the planning process, offered to arrange a meeting between interested parties and Shropshire CC planning officials. Those who could be invited to attend would include representatives of the landowners, the Parish Council and the Hodnet Action Group. She gave the impression that this might aim to explore whether it were possible to negotiate a reduction in the density of the estate.
It was pointed out that there was still time for members of the public to respond both to the planning application and the SAMDev consultation. However, both of these should be done within the next few days. See here for details of how to do so.
After the Chairman closed the public meeting, the Parish Council held an extraordinary meeting to finalise the Council’s response. When they had done this, Derek Hodge read the draft text to everyone including the members of the public who had stayed behind to hear it. In summary he said:

Hodnet Parish Council supports in principle the planning application. However the Council considers that the scale and density of the proposal is not appropriate for Hodnet. In addition they had the following concerns:

  • That the 19, three bedroom houses are too small;
  • The lack of garaging, parking and storage – 1.5 parking spaces is inadequate, regulations require sufficient storage for modern family requirements;
  • It should be noted that the Medical Centre could not easily accommodate the extra patients;
  • That there should be the provision of cabling for street lighting in the area and that any lighting should be the latest low wattage type and be directional to eliminate light pollution;
  • There should be pavements on both sides of the access road;
  • It should be determined in the planning approval how the amenity area should be maintained;
  • The provision of affordable housing must be local priority and must be a condition of planning approval being granted.


Still time to respond to Hodnet Housing Development plans

At the public meeting on Friday 13 July, the Parish Council stated that the deadline for members of the public to comment on the planning application for the fifty homes to the east of Shrewsbury Street has been extended until the eve of the planning hearing.
The easiest way to respond to the Planning Application is through the Shropshire Council website. Click here to go direct to the Application Summary – it should open in a new tab/window. There are a series of tabs across the top of the main page area: Details; Comments; Documents; Related Cases; Map. There is important information available from each of these and on some tabs from the second row of options. Click on the “Comments” tabs. Here you can read other people’s comments as well as submit your own. You need to supply your contact details and you have 6,000 characters for your comments.
Remember, whether  you support the plans or object to them in some way, it is important that you exercise your right to comment on them. The deadline for comments is 25 July.
At the recent public meeting the Site Allocations and Management of Development (SAMDev) Preferred Options consultation was mentioned several times. This is separate from the above planning application, but refers to the three plots of land concerned (see plan below). Responding to this is more complicated than commenting on the Planning Application, but every resident has the right to comment. It also includes proposals for Marchamley, Wollerton and Peplow. The deadline for responding to the SAMDev Consultation is noon on Friday 20 July.
The SAMDev proposals can be accessed from this page on the Shropshire Council’s website. This is the SAMDev Preferred Options for the Market Drayton Area section. Scroll down to the “Online services and downloads” pane. Click on the “Market Drayton SAMDev questionnaire” link. (Before you do, note that the “site assessment technical report for Hodnet can be downloaded from a link below it. This is what it says on the tin, a technical document, and as such it may only be of interest to a few people.)
Following the above link will take you to the first page of the survey; there are several. Scroll down to the bottom of each page and click on the “Next” button until you come to the section for Hodnet (Questions 24 to 30). You need to tick the relevant button “Yes” or “No” to answer these questions and you have a space below to add your own comments. (This space will expand by dragging the lower right-hand corner.) The questions relate not just to the three plots covered by the present Planning Application, but also to the development of the old goods yard near the bottom of Station Road. When you have responded to these questions, you may want to move on (by clicking the “Next ” button at the bottom of each page) to Questions 37 to 41 which concern developments in  Marchamley, Wollerton and Peplow.  When you have answered all the questions you wish to respond to, move on to subsequent pages until you come to the one where you supply your contact details. Complete this page and you will find a “Done” button to submit your response. (You cannot  request that a copy of your submission be emailed to you.)
This may seem a tedious procedure, but it is worthwhile as all residents on the electoral roll has the right to comment on matters like these.

Related pages on this website:


Hawkstone Fun Ride

Sunday 9th September 2012 – Start at 10.00 a.m. final riders away at 2.30 p.m.
In region of 50 senior and 30 junior jumps, all of which are optional, with the rare opportunity to ride through 11 to 12 miles of the most beautifully unspoilt Shropshire countryside. Come and enjoy a fantastic day out full of adventure and excitement
Ticket costs:   Adults £15.00    Juniors £12.00
Refreshments available

Summer Reading Challenge for children up to 12

Shropshire Newsroom has announced that over the summer libraries across Shropshire will be bursting with activities to support the Summer Reading Challenge. This is a national reading scheme devised by The Reading Agency, and widely recognised as a great way to keep children reading over the long summer holidays. The theme is Storylab, and there will be over 80 library events to choose from including visits to libraries by author turned scientist Dr Julius Drake, craft sessions, story and rhyme times, treasure hunts, creative writing groups and much more.
Children age 0-4 can register for the Bookstart Bear Club, and the Storylab challenge is open to children and young people aged from four to 12 years.  Launch days and activities will take place in libraries from Saturday 14 July; people should ask at their local library for details of events near them. Eventually details will also be posted on the Shropshire Council library website.
Details of the Summer Reading Challenge scheme can be found on their website. Here is their introductory video:

Trugg and Barrows Garden Diary July 2012

“What has happened to summer,
That’s what I want to know.
Is she on a holiday –
Who knows where did she go?”
Challenging weather
The beginning of June saw the Plant Hunters Fair come to the gardens. This years event was held over two days, the first day was marred by strong winds, heavy rain and cool temperatures, the same weather spoilt the Jubilee event held on the same day on Hodnet Recreation Ground. Fortunately the second day was better with winds abating, hazy sunshine and temperatures climbing to a balmy 15 °C. In the end around 1800 people visited the gardens over the two days which made it a good event for the nurseries attending.
Junes weather continued as it started, wet, windy and cool. Several trees and large boughs were blown down, many days have been so wet that it was impossible to get on to the garden.
Noticable at the moment are the large numbers of toadstools and other fungal fruiting bodies that can be seen in and around the garden. These include Parasol, The Blusher and Fairy Ring Champignon mushrooms, all not normally seen until late summer/early autumn.
This month I was sent some pictures of a fungal problem effecting a hawthorn hedge that I had not seen before. The symptoms are reddish/orange spots on leaves with horn-shaped fruiting bodies 1-5 mm long (see photo). After a little bit of detective work the problem was identified as Juniper/Hawthorn rust, again, a fungal problem that is not normally seen until late summer. This fungi has an unusual life cycle, spores produced by fruiting bodies on Junipers infect hawthorn and vice-versa. Hawthorn can not infect itself, so if you sought out your Junipers it should stop the problem occuring on your hawthorn.
New Plants from Old – Collecting Seed from the Garden.
As gardeners I’m sure that we are all familiar with growing plants from seed, whether it be vegetables for the plate or flowers for the garden. I’m also sure we have all bought seed from garden centres or seed list. Yet how many of us realise what a potential seed bank exists in our own gardens and how much potential excitement we could be denying ourselves.
Many of the plants we buy at garden centres and nurseries were originally collected as seed either in the wild or often from gardens. Indeed, many of the cultivars we are so familiar with were selected by keen-eyed gardeners from plants growing in their own back gardens.
Many famous gardeners have named plants, Euphorbia griffithii ‘Dixter’ was grown by Christopher Lloyd in his garden. But we don’t all have to have large gardens or an array of rare or specialist plants.
Many early flowing stalwarts are producing seed right now and the keen gardener should take advantage of this bounty.
I recently collected seed of the spring flowering Lathyrus vernus, a perennial member of the pea family. The seed capsules were just beginning to split open to reveal the small round seeds within. Like many members of the pea family the seeds need chitting. Some older books recommend nicking the seed with an knife although I find soaking in water for 24-48 hours works just as well.
Seeds of garden Hellebores are also ripening now. Collect the seed when the seed case had become ripe and brittle and before it has ruptured scattering the seed. It is always tempting to wait until you see the capsules splitting but often that is too late. I have often said to myself that I will collect seed the next day only to find that when I get round to it I am too late.
Another plant to watch out for are geraniums especially as they have an explosive method of shedding their seed. Early performers such as G. phaeum will be fading now and the seed capsules will have formed beginning with the lowest spent flower. Early spurges such as Euphorbia palustris will be ripening seed now. Euphorbias also fling their seed far and wide. It is often best to take the whole stem just prior to the seed being shed and letting it ripen in an airy place in a paper bag or tie a paper or muslin bag over the seed head to catch the seed as they are shed.
Seed can of course be stored in envelopes in a cool dark place as long as it is kept dry or in the salad compartment of the fridge. Personally I find they these methods tend to reduce the viability of some seeds thus reducing the yield. Personally I prefer to sow my seed as freshly as possible. I see no sense in building up a cupboard full of envelopes of seed and then having to sow it all in the spring when I could have sown it fresh and gotten it stated.
Hellebores are always best sown fresh. The seeds are big enough to handle individually so I sow them in six pack trays that once contained bedding or else in a crate. Multi-purpose compost is fine and if you recycle your old bedding trays as I do then by the time the resulting plants are ready for the garden you will have a handy plug sized plant. The main thing is to protect the seeds from marauding mice. It is also a good idea to put a thin layer of gravel on the tray to prevent the growth of mosses and liverworts on the compost.
It would be appropriate to say something about selection here and Hellebores are a good example. They are naturally randy plants and breed readily. Unless only one variety is grown the resulting seedlings will be a mixture of colours many of them rather muddy. The excitement comes from trialling the resulting seedlings in the garden. By continually selecting the best plants from the crop and ensuring they also breed with the best we can all develop our own seed strains.
I have found collecting my own seed and raising it to be one of the most rewarding activities so why not collect your own for free.
In the Kitchen Garden
June has continued the cool damp weather of the previous two months, unless we get a warm spell it seems inevitable that many crops are going to suffer from reduced yields. Even though the summer solstice has now passed, the cool cloudy weather has set the growing season around 10 – 14 days later than last year. To compound things the forecast is set for similar weather to continue for a while yet. In the kitchen garden crops such as leeks, onions, courgettes, carrots and climbing and french beans are all only making slow progress. The strawberry crop has also been badly effected with fruit either rotting or slugs eating them before they ripen. On the positive side, greens such as cabbages, lettuce and chard are all doing well.
As space becomes available after the cropping of early produce such as peas, early potatoes and salads, sow follow on crops suitable for sowing in summer such as kohl rabi, spinach, chard and fennel. Also in July continue planting Brussels sprouts, savoy cabbage and broccoli (but be quick about it). There is still time to plant out sweet corn, marrows and leeks. Earth up main crop and late potatoes. Continue sowing successions of lettuce, carrots, baby turnip and the like.
Lets hope for better weather!
Please note: images have been removed from this pages because some of them may have been used without permission.