Published: 25 October 2013
Sue's Views: Plant Identification
Week four already. I know I’m getting somewhere when we’re looking at the board.
Rhododendron arboretum ‘Tony Schilling’ : I know that’s a cultivar (cultivated by people not naturally occurring) because it has a name on the end in speech marks.
 
Chenomales x superba : I know that’s a hybrid between two species as it has an ‘x’ in the middle.
 
Some of the books are very confusing though with their plant names, there seem to be all sorts of different ways of naming plants. Hopefully the subtleties will sink in in time, like the difference between subspecies, variety and form. It’s all very botanical!
 
I know what I’m doing with my veg beds now. I’ve planted Phacelia, (a green manure) in two beds, it will hopefully get killed by the frost eventually and then I won’t have to dig it in. Apparently the ‘no dig’ method may involve some digging; it’s just kept to a minimum. Green manure seems amazing: it improves soil structure, suppresses weeds, adds nutrients, protects the soil, controls pests,etc. It’s a bit late to put it in but I’m hoping better late than never. I’ve been told that planting autumn seeds late, they never recover, whereas spring seeds going in late may catch up with earlier crops. Next year I’ll be more on top of it (hopefully).
 
We’ve been given two assignments to complete this month. One on plant identification, the other on soils. It’s really interesting reading the books but assignments always take ages to write up. I’ve got to get on with them but am struggling with my time. I will be burning the midnight oil a few times in the next week.
 
I had lots of fun pruning on Friday; we were let loose on the philadelphus (mock orange) at Dartington gardens. Three of us were given a shrub each, all in a row in the courtyard. (Mine being the one on the left if you visit). We were instructed to remove ‘dead, diseased and dying’ stems, thin about a third of the old wood, and cut to head height. I was so pleased with the result that I took my better half to have a look today and asked him to guess which I had done. Mine wasn’t his favourite, and he did point out the bit I’d missed. However, he thought one hadn’t been pruned at all, so it could have been worse!
 
We’ve been invited to join the level 3 students and also all those on the masters courses for lunch at Schumacher on Wednesday. Our usual packed lunch in the chicken shed will pale in comparison I’m sure compared to home cooked veggie food. It will be a great opportunity to meet some of the other students too as our paths rarely cross. Must remember not to make my packed lunch.
Reported by Sue  
   
 

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