OPG Diary Late March 2022

Charlton House gardens in Spring Sunshine
Old Pond Garden in Spring sunshine

The blocks of Epimedium look stunning at the moment, the flowers show up beautifully – it was worth cutting back the old leaves at the beginning of the month. New green leaves are just coming through, with lovely red markings.

Lots of the existing shrubs are coming into flower now, especially in the Peace Garden.

All Hail to the Volunteers! (Literally in this case, as our session was abandoned due to hail!)

Members gardens, March 2022

Anna's blue garden, with its Polyanthus flower clusters, hyacinths and Welsh poppy seedlings.

Anna has sent a picture of her blue garden, which she plants in late winter every year before the Eucomis take over in the summer. The Polyanthus flower clusters are going over but more buds are coming up, including hyacinths and Welsh poppy seedlings. What a striking effect!

And Sue has a succession of bulbs appearing in her pots as her ‘lasagne’ style planting  develops through spring.

March blog

Euphorbia myrsinites

Spurred by Kathy’s post on Euphorbia in the Old Pond Garden I have taken this photo of E. myrsinites which sits outside my back door all year round. As Kathy points out, Euphorbia are a large and adaptable genus and at this time of year are a real treat. I have found they do particularly well in my gardening conditions and now have several varieties.

In my front garden (such as it is) Euphorbia characias s. wulfenii is usefully seeding itself in a way which looks like I have planted it deliberately, but is actually nothing to do with me at all.

Euphorbia characias s. wulfenii
Euphorbia characias s. wulfenii


A day trip to Gunnersbury Park

Inspired by Melanie’s wonderful talk to members about the various Rothschild gardens, Sharon & I accompanied her on a trip to see the restoration project at Gunnersbury Park. We had our volunteer project at Charlton House & Gardens firmly in mind throughout the day, and were pleased to find parallels – albeit on a much grander scale there! Gunnersbury was bought by Ealing & Acton council in 1925 (Charlton was bought by Greenwich Council in the 1920s) and used as a public park in much the same way that Charlton Park has been.  

In 2018 the “Large Mansion” was restored using Heritage Lottery and other funding and opened as a Museum housing the borough archive. Major parts of the park were included in the funding, the Orangery, lake and orchards for example. The Friends of Gunnersbury Park were instrumental in the restoration effort, and volunteers clearly play a large part in the day-to-day running.

Continue reading A day trip to Gunnersbury Park

OPG Diary March 2022

Winter is over, swing in to Spring! The garden is waking up slowly, with Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae showing signs of becoming a Star Plant. It’s rosettes of zingy lime green are unfurling and it really shines out in the sun.

These simple, unsophisticated plants, which rarely receive the recognition they deserve for all their efforts in growing and flowering, year in, year out, without asking for any help from anyone or anything, are among many unsung heroes of the gardening world.

Also showing off, Cornus mas or Cornelian Cherry in the Peace Garden, and lungwort, borage, rosemary, to name just a few.

OPG diary – March 2021

9 March
So nice to see volunteers back in the garden. A great weeding and planting session.

Old Pond Garden, Charlton House, March 2021:
Primroses, Epimedium and Hellebores in Charlton House gardens, April 2021
Primroses, Epimedium and Hellebores

16 March
The potting-up team

CABAHS volunteers - the potting up team, in the Old Pond Garden, Charlton House, March 2021

The Long Borders Party

CABAHS volunteers - the long border party, in Charlton House gardens, March 2021

We even had a canine volunteer today, being good as gold (no squirrels around luckily!)

CABAHS volunteer and canine companion in Charlton House gardens, March 2021

18 March
The Rockery Ladies.. Making a good start on the Rockery weeding, might need a bigger fork next time!

CABAHS volunteers in Charlton House gardens, March 2021

What a turn out for the Long Border. We had peak volunteer numbers, on a rather wet and nasty day. Thank you so much to everyone who came along, hope you come back (and please bring nicer weather!)

CABAHS volunteers in the long border at Charlton House gardens, March 2021

The start of a bird bath in the central bed! Thank you to the chain gang..

Old Pond Garden, Charlton House, March 2021

Members’ gardens, March 2020

Maggie’s lovely spring garden. The flowering shrub is Exochorda “Magical Springtime”  and was a Mother’s Day present a few years ago, what clever children she has!

Maggie T Spring garden

Christine’s alpine trough, with Thrift in full swing. Lovely blossom on the tree.

Christine blossom

Muscari latifolium coming out, just as Hyacinth Splendid Cornelia is going over, on Kathy’s sunny bit of the patio. Rose Cottage bulbs again, they were a winner!

Kathy Muscari latifolium

So maybe we have a local heron who is going round checking out members gardens? Chris’ visitor from yesterday has popped over to look at Kathy’s pond. Thankfully the pond is netted, otherwise his breakfast would have been toad spawn..

Kathy heron

Here are two of Chris B’s shrubs, looking very good this Spring –  Spiraea arguta Bridal Wreath and Viburnham tinus:

Chris was surprised to see this visitor – a Heron, checking out her garden!

ChrisB Heron

Angela says she is not a fan of tulips generally, but the Rose Cottage speaker we had last year convinced her to try these wild tulips, Tulipa sylvestris, and she is so pleased with them. They do look lovely in a “woodland” setting like this.

Angela Tulip sylvestris

Jenny’s Camellia is looking wonderful, she says its thanks to all the rain, and she didn’t have to do a thing!

My Australian rosemary

From my kitchen table I am fortunate in being able to admire a shrub growing in a pot on the patio table that is looking glorious at the moment.

Westringia rosemarinformis is an Australian native and commonly known as the Australian rosemary. I was given this plant as a cutting a few years ago and it has grown into a lovely shape. Margaret T has a large shrub growing on the sheltered, south-facing wall of her front garden, where it has thrived for about 12 years.

Anna Westringia

This is a truly fantastic shrub to grow in London’s dry, sheltered gardens and seems to be completely unknown. Its specialness derives from the fact it flowers during the winter months and will keep on flowering for months afterwards. I imagine Margaret purchased her Westringia from a rare plant fair or specialist nursery years ago.

Westringia is a genus of 25 species, found all over Australia and comprised of rounded to erect specimens from dry coastal, heathland or dry forest areas, which make them ideal to grow as rounded shrubs or as hedging in Australian gardens.

In the UK they are regarded more as conservatory plants, but if they are given a hot, sheltered position, they will thrive happily for many, many years. They tend to like a fertile, well drained soil, with sharp sand and compost added to the mix, although I imagine they grow in poor soil in Australia.


The small, lavender-coloured flowers are not scented but I think they have an orchid-like appearance, with contrasting orange stamens. They are exceedingly beautiful to look at in close-up.

Margaret would be happy to supply cuttings to those interested in growing this shrub (contact cabahshortisoc@gmail.com)

Anna L

Rachel de Thame: How to beat the Coronovirus blues by getting back to nature (The Sunday Times, 29 March 2020)

Great article, read the whole thing if you subscribe. If not here is an extract:

“While we remain largely confined to our homes, really take it all in during your daily walk or run through the park. Above all, make the most of any outdoor growing space you have, be it a narrow suburban strip, roof terrace, balcony or window box. No matter the size, each can provide an escape from the news and break the monotony of being cooped up. Encourage others in your household to get involved. Especially children, who might just tire of games consoles and Snapchat for long enough to become hooked on this “growing things” malarkey. Gardening teaches that the effort and patience required to achieve long-lasting rewards can feel as good as instant gratification.

Getting out in the garden makes us fitter, and growing our own food can transform our diet. Fresh vegetables and fruit are essential for good health, so if you are sowing seeds now then pick as many edible plants as you can. It’s easy, and if you don’t want to dig up your ornamental borders then grow herbs and salads among your roses and dahlias, and sow curly-leaved parsley as an edging for the front of flower beds.

Gardening engenders a sense of wonder and is as good for the soul as it is for the body; the benefits to our mental health and general wellbeing are well documented.”

I love the idea of parsley as an edging for flower beds!