Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Natural Habitat

"Perfect pale flowers with an egg-yolk centre held on stems the colour of baby birds above rosettes of dark, crinkled leaves, the primula epitomises the coming of spring.
"In its natural habitat, it seeds itself around, each new plant becoming an established clump, spreading out gradually in search of nutrients among the debris of leaves and moss.
"Initially in the garden, though, it needs a helping hand.
"It is a sociable plant and always looks its best in colonies."
Her observations are detailed in Life In A Cottage Garden, a new six-part BBC Two series which started yesterday, accompanied by a tie-in book.
If you have a shady spot with a canopy of trees, rake up the leaves in autumn and make as much leaf mould as you can, she advises, which can then be used as a mulch or to enrich other parts of the garden.
Use some as a natural mulch around trees and groups of larger plants, but keep mulch away from young plant stems, as it can rot them if too much comes into contact.
"Don't just leave the fallen leaves because they may be hiding some of your tiny treasures such as erythroniums and pretty epimedium grandiflorum and versicolor.
Don't leave fallen leaves on hellebores because they grow so close to one another that any disease will spread."
Research the plants you want to incorporate in your woodland area, as some have different needs to others.
"You need to put things in places you know they would grow naturally.
"Epimedium versicolor, for instance, will grow in very dry shade and will grow in tree roots, but that wouldn't work with trilliums because they need a good root run."
Whatever your soil type in your woodland space, the ground will need to be well prepared.
Weed areas and dig well-rotted manure or compost into the ground, especially in areas of dry shade, where plants may take a bit longer to establish.
Once they are planted, water them in well and cover them with a mulch of leaf mould or compost, which will help retain the moisture. Even in small woodland corners, make space for a rustic seat where you can relax and enjoy this dappled shady spot on a hot day.
Before you know it, summer will be here and you can take shelter in your cool, quiet woodland haven.

No comments:

Post a Comment