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Members' Blogs - Week 16 of Lockdown


From last week and this week!

Just getting ahead of the rain.

Almost done.

Balsam in the sunlight on my morning river walk.

A good contrast with the water.

And more dark dappled water.

Finally baled and ready to go.

Back in my garden early evening.

And finally this beautiful clematis that seems to have been flowering for weeks.

Jacqui and Colin

Yet another week of very variable weather, largely the garden has not needed watering but the greenhouses have used gallons! Just as well we collect the copious rain fall that we have had recently.

A theme appears to be apparent in this week's reports, so here is a photograph of one of our agapanthus plants. I believe this plant is ‘Bressingham Blue’. These smaller (4-5” diameter) deep blue flowers thrive in our garden, directly planted out into the clay soil which over the years has been much improved with well rotted horse manure.

Next, another blue flower a small creeping clematis integrifolia. This and a few others were grown from seed years ago. They die down to the ground ever winter, so great care is needed in the spring not to hoe the tops off.

Finally, an oddity. This pretty Calla lily appears every summer but what has happened here? A mutation I guess, a flower within a flower?


Can I use this opportunity to say how disappointed I am that the Botanic Garden is not open to the public? What an ideal place for being outside and social distancing! I think you might be a similar opinion. The university should do more to support the community in this regard.

I was interested to see the white Agapanthus on the blog. Mine are the common blue type.

They originated from a plant given to me by my father-in-law years ago. They love being in pots and produce more blooms when pot-bound.

Monty Don reckons the best time to split them is when they crack the pots!  Personally I think this unnecessary and wasteful. You can be brutal when splitting. In fact you need to be. They are very robust. I do this at the end of the season when I have removed the seed heads. It’s useful to take a saw and run it on the inside of the pot. This helps loosen the plant in the pot and hence it is more easily removed. Then saw into 2 or 4 and repot in compost, preferably mixed with some grit.

I water regularly and feed when I think about it – they don’t seem to be greedy plants. These, as you can see, I left in the greenhouse. One which I have outside has yet to open its flowers. This was outside all winter, against the wall of the house, and still produced a healthy plant. So, although not hardy, I think they can be kept outdoors even in the North East if you offer some form of protection.

Peter and Anne

Our agapanthus, potted 4 years ago, and flowering for its third year in a row.  We are lucky to have a sheltered, south facing rear garden and it shows!  Largest bloom = approx 9” in diameter.

Our acanthus has flourished, but has a white, powdery blight.  Any suggestions for treatment(s)?’


South Moor Heritage trail is a five mile circular walk around eight key heritage sites of South Moor and Quaking Houses that existed during or soon after the First World War.

Each site is marked by an interpretation board detailing the significance and heritage of the site.

Rights of way between the eight sites along the trail are marked by ‘way markers’ to keep you on the right path.

One tree had fungi but I couldn't see any other types.

The metal post and bridge looked as they may have been designed by Graham Hopper.


Facing the morning sun, our wall baskets have a water reservoir built in, which holds half a watering can. Even so, there have been a couple of days when the compost has been dried out by evening.

First year of a new raised bed, planted rather late and all because we were given some vegetable plants. Of course, not enough to fill the bed so we had to buy more. Still, they mostly look pretty lush.

The fence is south facing so they have been quite warm. On the fence, the hollyhocks are very different, with the one on the left slightly more hidden from the afternoon sun.

The baskets are older ones no longer available, and have a smaller water reservoir. The pinks do not seem to be happy in the full sun despite the labels saying they should be.

The golden coloured strip around the bed is a slug guard – they get an electric shock if they try to cross it. It seems to have worked after the first week when we had damage before fitting this. I didn’t want to use pellets, and the beer traps (old yoghurt pots in the corners) did nothing.