Gardening tip from Geoff Stonebanks’ Driftwood Diary


September is coming to a close and winter is drawing ever nearer. Following my minor foot injury, that kept me out of the garden for almost a week, there is still much to do in readiness for the landscaper’s arrival on October 2.

I’ve managed to dig out most of the plants I want to retain in the new look and the remainder will be lost. A mini digger will be moving in next week and the transformation will begin.

One of the National Trust’s prestigious gardens, Nymans, will open for the National Garden Scheme tomorrow. If you have not visited, then do make an effort to go along. Full details are on the scheme’s website www.ngs.org.uk.

The garden has a wonderful collection of rare and unusual plant collections of national significance that are well worth seeing. At this time of year there are dramatic shows of native tree colour which can be seen in the adjoining woodland, where there are opportunities to spot wildlife too. The comfortable yet elegant house, a partial ruin, reflects the personalities of the creative Messel family.

This week has seen me empty the greenhouse and prepare it for the influx of delicate plants from the garden as their winter resting place. Once emptied, it has had a thorough clean and the mesh netting put up for protection in the summer months, has been carefully taken down and stored ready for next season. Every year it gets more difficult as I try and squeeze more and more plants inside. The vast majority of plants kept there are delicate succulents and aeoniums. They are so easy to grow and any breakages can easily be turned into new plants by simply potting up in gritty compost.

Tomorrow sees my final appearance for 2021 on BBC Radio Sussex’s Mid-Morning Show with Joe Talbot. It is hard to believe I’ve been doing it now for so long – 2022 will mark my tenth year, quite a milestone. Listen in about 1.10pm.

Another ten-year milestone, passed this month, has been my presence on Twitter (@dritwoodbysea) with over 39,000 tweets garden related tweets to date to nearly 15,000 followers. Take a peek if you don’t already follow.

Virtually all my summer annual displays are now over. I have carefully extracted and cut back all the geraniums and potted them up to over-winter in the covered alley. While the space it is not a totally frost-free environment, the additional use of fleeces to keep them warm seems to work quite well.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk





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