Meeting: September 24th

Our speaker for September was Nick Bailey, well known Garden Maker, Author and TV Presenter. His talk was based around his book “365 Days of Colour.” Nick has worked in many aspects of horticulture for over 30 years (since the age of 14). He was Head Gardener of the Chelsea Physic Garden for 7 years; has been involved in teaching at all levels and for the past 4 years has been a regular member of the “Gardeners’ World” team of presenters.

Much of Nick’s talk was based on the use of the Colour Wheel and its’ role in advising gardeners of the scientific use of colour when designing and planting a garden to achieve the 365 days of colour to which we all aspire.  He also highlighted the importance of white flowers to give sparkle and lift to beds. He encouraged the use of various techniques to enhance the period of interest for plants including the Chelsea Chop, variation in the timing of seasonal pruning and seed sowing times to change plant behaviour. Our speaker also extolled the value of using ever-coloured plants such as Heucheras and Hebes which extend the season of interest through foliage as well as flowers.

Plants mentioned with long seasons of interest included:

Rosa Chinensis “Bengal Crimson” (365 days of colour!); Euphorbia cerato carpa, Erysimum Bowles Mauve, Zonal pelargoniums, (10 months); Geraniums Rosanne and Dilys, Daphne transatlantia, Weigela “all summer red” (8 months); Osteospernums – various, Geum “totally tangerina” (6 months).

Another technique recommended by Nick was “follow-on” planting where plants which appear and flower at different times of the year can be planted over, under, through and between each other. One prime example which he described was the mixing together of Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley) and Cyclamen hederifolium where both flower and foliage play a part to give interest all year round.                                                              

Chris Berry

It may interest you to know that, after speaking at our club evening, Nick Bailey visited Stockton Bury Gardens and recorded a podcast with Tamsin Westorpe (listen here).


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