This Month in the Garden, November 2018, with Derek Cox

Let me start by mentioning not only the borders either side of the Syston station car park, but also the floral boxes and the containers that are fixed to the fence on the platform.
This year Syston station won the RHS East Midlands in Bloom judge’s award for the stations landscaping and upkeep. The station also contributed to Syston Town winning their Silver Gilt award for East Midlands in Bloom.
Here I must put in a word of appreciation for Trevor Hodson and his wife Liz, who along with others members of the Syston in Bloom committee have spent many hours on Sunday mornings clearing up the litter that is left by the Saturday night revellers. This year the committee decided to erect a memorial stone to commemorate all who left Syston station to serve their country in times of need and memories of those who did not return, Trevor went along to Mountsorrel quarry to select a two tonne granite stone, which Tarmac not only donated, but also came along and erected it.
The commemorative plaque was donated and inscribed by Demontfort Memorials of Syston. The stone will be unveiled on the eleventh of November at 3pm. As there was an unplanted area around the memorial stone, Trevor and myself went along to Oasis Nurseries on Rotherby Road Hoby to select 12 plants which would be planted around the memorial. Tom Miles is the owner of this nursery and being an old friend of mine he has, in the past helped Syston in Bloom with plants and compost. After walking around the nursery we chose 12 plants, four each of Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’ with deep plum-red foliage. four Stachys ‘Bello Grigco’, which has brilliant eye catching white foliage, also four Festuca ‘Elijah Blue’, a dwarf, compact grass with blue foliage.
This combination would give an almost red, white and blue affect. We also chose five plants of Ajuga ‘Burgundy Glow’ to plant and weep over the rim of the concrete container on which the memorial stone had been placed. ‘Burgundy Glow’ has pale yellow and dusky pink variegated foliage. All of the plants chosen are evergreen and will give year around affect.
Without the volunteers who support the Syston in Bloom committee the station would still be an overgrown wilderness. This year my garden has seen many plants at their best and others have struggled to overcome the very wet, cold winter.
I thought that I had lost my 40 year old group of Nerine bowdenii ‘Mark Fenwick’ bulbs, shown left, as the foliage, for the first time ever had died right back to the tight group of bulbs, but by June a new lot of foliage started to grow and although its flowers are almost two weeks later then previous years, they are now in flower.
Many trees and shrubs are now a mass of berries and when I was a boy we all thought this spelled a hard winter was forthcoming. Now we all realize a good berry or fruit crop is due to a good spring that is not only frost free, but also brings out the bees and other pollinating insects.
In my garden the autumn foliage has been very much a hit and miss. Acer pensylvanicum ‘Erythrocladum’ whose leaves usually turn yellow by early August were three weeks late, but the leaves only lasted two weeks before they fell. The leaves of my Japanese maples have been slow to adopt their autumn colours; some turned yellow and within a week fell.
But the cultivars of Acer palmatum, pictured right, which are generally referred to as Japanese maples, did not start to show their autumn colours until mid October and I expect them to be at their best during November.
However due to the very good growing season all of my winter flowering shrubs are now full of flowering buds.