Suntrap Garden

Suntrap Garden Open Day Sunday 24 May 2009

As you transfer dates and put new ones into your calendars and diaries get this most important date in now so you don’t forget and miss this great day out.


As we begin to get ready for the big day we will post more news.


Excesses of Christmas

Are you fed up already with the excesses of Christmas, too much turkey, too many mince pies and too much mulled wine? You probably need a bit of exercise outside in the garden. A great idea at this time of year is to lift a clump of Rhubarb for forcing to give you the earliest and sweetest crop around:


• Choose a large rhubarb plant already growing in your garden, one that is a minimum of three years old is best.
• Dig up the plant keeping as much soil on the roots as possible. (This is not a job for the faint hearted – but you will deserve a small tipple afterwards.)
• Leave the clump outside on the ground to go through at least three or four hard frosts.
• Pot into a large tub, wooden box or even a bag ……. I use a woven blue plastic one from a certain Swedish furniture store! You can use old compost, soil or even sawdust to pot the roots into.
• The plant then needs to go indoors to a temperature of 50 – 60OF in complete darkness, a large cupboard or cellar is ideal.
• Keep the roots moist but not wet and around 10 to 12 weeks later you will be able to harvest your first Rhubarb stalks when they are around a foot to 18” high. The stalks will be bright pink and really sweet with small unformed leaves. Use all the stalks that are produced over around a four week period.
• When the harvest period is finished set the plants back outside. They can be replanted in the spring when they will give a small crop; they will recover back to full cropping outside within a year or two.

If you can’t be bothered with all the fuss described above remember it is easy to force Rhubarb ‘in situ’ later:


• Cover the clumps with upside down buckets, pails or proper custom made clay forcers in March.
• Check during April and May and harvest the young shoots as they appear.
• Give different clumps a ‘rest year’ in between ‘forcing years’.
• Enjoy!!!!

Merry Christmas and happy forcing.

How to get wildlife into your garden

I came across a great new programme tonight on BBC1, at 7.00pm. It’s called Wild about your Garden and is presented by Chris Beardshaw. I thought it was yet another gardening programme but it was really interesting. It featured a family in Dundee who were interested in attracting more wildlife to their garden, in particular the endangered red squirrel. Unfortunately, it’s the 3rd episode of 6, but you can watch them again if you go to the BBC website and click on their iplayer.


Happy Christmas


We wish you all a happy Christmas and a big thank you to everyone who has come along to the garden this year. Whether it be for the Open Day, workshops, classes, to buy plants or simply to have a wander around.

We look forward to seeing you next year, information on classes and workshops can be found on the blog.

The garden is now closed until 5 January 2009, when it will reopen from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Friday.

The Colours of Christmas

Have you ever wondered why we decorate Christmas trees and where the traditions of Christmas come from.

The traditional colours of Christmas are green and red. Green represents the continuance of life through the winter and the Christian belief in eternal life through Christ. Red symbolizes the blood that Jesus shed at His Crucifixion. Christmas decorations that feature these colours include the Christmas tree, the Christmas wreath, holly, and mistletoe.


The Christmas wreath, like the evergreens used as Christmas trees, symbolizes the strength of life overcoming the forces of winter. In ancient Rome, people used decorative wreaths as a sign of victory and celebration.


The custom of hanging a Christmas wreath on the front door of the home probably came from this practice.

Holly is an evergreen tree with sharply pointed, glossy leaves and red berries. It is used in making Christmas wreaths and other decorations. The needle like points of the leaves were thought to resemble the crown of thorns that Jesus wore when he was crucified. The red berries symbolized the drops of blood he shed.images

Mistletoe is an evergreen plant with dark leaves and shiny white berries. Ancient Celtic priests considered the plant sacred and gave people sprigs of it to use as charms. The custom of decorating homes with mistletoe probably came from its use as a ceremonial plant by early Europeans. In many countries, a person standing under a sprig of mistletoe may be kissed.

It’s not even Christmas and our thoughts are turning to Spring


Gardener of the Decade

Tonight on BBC2, 900 pm.  The ultimate gardening challenge takes place at the Eden Project.  The winners of past BBC Gardener of the Year competitions will compete for the BBC Gardener of the Decade.


I know I will have pen and paper ready to see how good I am.