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Glorious Colours Chase Away the Grey Skies


We have had a series of glorious bright, clear days after what seems like months of constant rainfall. New shoots including snowdrops and aconites are bursting forth and the promise of spring brings hope for the growing season. Louise continues to provide a useful list of monthly gardening jobs (for February click here). If nothing else, it is a helpful reminder and a means of prioritising what seems like a vast amount of work right now as we prepare our borders and vegetable plots for Spring. Fruit tree pruning is always my priority in the new year, focusing on apples, pears, currants, raspberries, and gooseberries. Without their leaves, the structure and shape of the trees give you a helpful reminder that you need to keep them open in the centre allowing for light and air to reach the buds and young fruit and allow them to ripen to their full potential.



Rose pruning is next on my list and after Michael Marriott’s illustrated talk on ‘Using Roses in Your Garden’ I just might not be so rigid in my pruning regime. Michael has over 35 years growing and promoting roses in the garden having worked at David Austin. In his talk, he demonstrated the versatility of roses and how they can combine beautifully with other herbaceous perennials and even annuals and no longer should they be constrained to the dull formal rose planting of old. His favourite companions for roses were nepeta, salvias, asters, geums and geraniums although he did stress that the perennials must not overwhelm the rose or be planted directly near the base thereby depriving the rose of essential water and nutrients. And we should remember that the flowering times of the rose and its companion plants should coincide for best effect. Pruning-wise, Michael debunked the need to prune to an outward facing bud, three buds from the mainshoot, etc. He tells us that it’s important to be sympathetic to the rose’s natural habit, reduce its height by one to two-thirds and cut back side shoots to a few buds depending on the size and height you wish to promote. Pruning time is now so get those secateurs out and don’t forget to give them a good mulch right up to their base with well-rotted compost. Use Rose food twice a year and job done!


Our online lectures continue online in February and March and can be booked via Eventbrite. See our ‘Events’ for further details and instructions on how to book. These lectures are free to DHHS members and £5 for non-members.


16 February 2023 7pm

Rewild Your Garden: Knepp Castle Estate with Head Gardener Charlie Harpur


16 March 2023 7pm

Growing Dahlias with Darren Everest


We have another exciting programme of events this year with garden visits planned to Winkworth Arboretum, Knepp Castle Estate, 2 Chinthurst Lodge and West Dean Gardens. Further details will be announced shortly. Please remember that memberships must be renewed annually, and the dues remain at £10 per person. Programmes for 2023 have been printed and are being distributed now.

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