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Maggie Jameson has developed from a novice gardener trying to identify flowering plants and weeds into a very enthusiastic and successful gardener all thanks to Shoot. She has now given up her RHS membership in favour of Shoot as she gets so much more out of it.
We asked Maggie about her garden's transformation, the design and plants she has added by area, the plant fairs she goes to and enjoys most, the plants she has asked us to add to Shoot for her and finally what she thinks of Shoot.
Here are Maggie's replies:
You might be surprised with the number of requests I am making for new plants. I started with a field of just under an acre, only grass which previous owner mowed weekly. I have now, 6 years on, reprofiled it and had a ball picking plants. I go to rare plant fairs and specialist nurseries. If you're going to buy a plant it might as well be something interesting. I have a notebook, and a file of plant labels, and there are 422 plant entries. I am slowly moving them all over and onto Shoot.
The development of Maggie’s garden
Having cleared the 'weed' trees , approx 42 of them, we built a coach house and dug out up to 2 meters depth to create a driveway. Spoil material was used to create a level area in the garden. The top soil was stripped back, the land re-profiled for the patio area, and the top soil returned and reseeded.
We planted an orchard area with fruit trees known to grow successfully in nearby fruit farms: apples, pears, plums and cherries.
We had to create a large soak away so below this we planted our wet bed, with Norfolk Reed, astilbes, day lilies, corkscrew willow, irises and ligularias.
The plants in Maggie's borders by area
We planted borders to give privacy, planting Philadelphus, Sambuccus, unusual privet Lingustrum Quihoui ( beautifully scented), Physiocarpus Diabolo and Diable D'Or, various rhododendron, various cornus including Gouchaltii and Elegantissima. Deutzia, Weigelia, Fabiana, Mahonia, Photinia, Eleaginus, Indigofera subverticillata and Griselinia also appear.
I love blue flowers and created a blue bed. I loved my Vitex, or Chaste Tree which flowers September/ October, but I'm concerned it may not have been sufficiently sheltered and I may have lost it- along with the Galega ' His Majesty' which hubby sprayed with weed killer. The ceanothus, perovskia, ceratostigma willmottianum, anchusa, and hydrangea all continue to thrive. I have learnt that to appreciate the blue one needs a contrast, and achillea 'The Pearl', provides relief.
Scattered around to give height are a Parrotia persica (Persian Ironwood), Magnolia Aashild Kalleberg, Judas Trees cercis racemosa and cerci siliquastrum and liquidamber. Smaller bushes such as Lespedeza thunbergii ' Ebo Shibori', Muehlenbeckia astonii (the Wiggy Wig bush), and crambe cordifolia add interest.
To mask walls I have planted climbing roses Paul's Scarlet, Guinee, Mme Alfred Carriere, clematis flammula, Sophora davidii, Akebia Quinata both cream form and longiracemosa, Trachelospermum jasminoides, and lonicera fragrantissima.
For their beauty I grow the hibiscus tree China Chiffon, Andromache septentrionalis (Pygmy flower), pasithea caerulea, tricyteris formosana 'Dark Beauty', Black leafed Irish primroses, Linum perennial, Helianthus Bitter Chocolate (magnificent at 2 m high), filipendula rubra 'Venusta', celandine Brazen Hussy ( again black leafed), salvia Serboana ( another giant at 6 ft), and Thalictrum Ankum.
Maggie's favourite plants
My favourite plant might be my Tree Echium Blue Steeple. As it's monocarpic I expected to enjoy it as it grew its first year, then flowered in its second, then accept it would die in its third. I was just interested in trying to grow one. We are at about 700 ft on the west side of the Malvern Hills, close to the ridge. This Echium is in its 4 th year with a forest of self seeded juniors coming up to flowering age this summer! It passed the roof guttering, it soars. And the bees love it. Expecting one flower stem I planted it outside the dining room window. My worry this summer will be that we shall be cast into darkness as the forest of 'babies' soar past the window.
Maggie's love of gardening
Gardening has become a favourite hobby rather than a chore. New bed, blue bed, wet bed, patio beds, sewage treatment plant bed complete with gunnera manicata to hide it. I've planted 1040 bulbs round the new patio this autumn.
My philosophy is if there is a choice in plants and one is scented, buy the scented one. If there is an unusual plant and one I've heard of, buy the unusual.
The above might suggest that I know about gardening. My old neighbour reminds me of my asking her to assist me and say whether something growing was a flower or weed. When I moved 6 years ago I wondered how I would manage if I did go ahead and create a garden. When I first planted my new garden everything had a short cane beside it. If it grew beside a cane I knew not to weed it. Spot the canes with green plastic tops below.
Plant fairs Maggie goes to
I get my plants from local nursery Guarlford Farm Nursery, mentioned in The Telegraph as one of the top independent nurseries. Also from Panglobal at Frampton-on-Severn ( again mentioned in The Telegraph), from rare plant fairs (www.rareplantfair.co.uk), Spetchley Garden plant fairs, NGS open gardens, National Trust garden centres and from the RHS Malvern Spring Garden Show. Because I put my 1927 Standard on display at the garden show I get free entry - absolute bliss!
What Maggie thinks about Shoot
Shoot is wonderful. There are pictures to remind me what the plant looks like. The care calendar teaches me what and when to do things. I browse their plant lists for inspiration. It keeps a brilliant record of my plants, much more manageable than my notebook because I can look at plants by where I've planted them e.g. The blue bed, or the new bed. And there is always an amazingly quick response time for queries posted.
I gave up my RHS membership in favour of Shoot as I get so much more out of it.
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