Friday, 8 March 2013

The Stakes are High

Birch shoots from Harcourt Arboretum ready to be used for staking

Many of the plants we grow at the Botanic Garden need a bit of support through the growing season. In fact we need to stake over one hundred plants in such a way that they will stand up to the howling winds and lashing rain of a typical english summer. To do this, we begin early and let many of the plants grow up through their supports. This week Clare Kelly shared the secrets of successful staking with two enthusiastic groups as part of our Public Education Programme

Botanical Horticulturist Clare Kelly demonstrates the art of staking

Shoots of Birch and Hazel are grown in managed coppice at Harcourt Arboretum and are cut in the winter for use at the garden. Birch shoots are woven into domes over the dormant plants. The results are invariably beautiful. The Hazel is used on the vegetable plots for pea sticks and bean poles.

Staking Euphorbia sikkimensis in the sun!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

New Residents

Last night we set up two camera traps having noticed new earthworks in the arboretum! You can imagine how pleased we were when we saw the footage!!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Pruning In and Out of Doors

Spring is on the way! Really! At the Botanic Garden we have been taking advantage of the last remnants of winter to plant several more apple trees in the lower garden. The two specimens of the apple 'Winter King' complete the orchard planting of over forty trees that we began two winters ago.  Last week we were joined by Chris Lanczak, Orchard Manager of Waterperry Gardens, for advice and practical demonstration of pruning fruit trees. Chris emphasises the importance of good pruning in the first few years to build the basic framework of a tree that may well live for a century.

Chris Lanczak showing OBG staff how to prune apples
We have also been pruning in the Arid House. The inflorescence spike of Agave sisalina finally reached the glass at the highest point of the glasshouse giving the team no option but to cut it back before it broke through! It will be interesting to see what it does next.

Pruning Agave with a saw on a very long pole

It is Fairtrade Fortnight at the moment, a perfect opportunity to visit the Palm House and meet the plants that provide us with commodities such as coffee, sugar, pineapples, cotton, cocoa, vanilla, groundnuts, macadamia nuts, bananas, oranges, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, papaya.....