The orchard garden “pocketpark” – at Wakehurst.

Perivale park has a small “pocket garden”, being the old bowling green converted into an orchard with 34 fruit trees, four raised beds, four seating benches embedded in floral borders and four larger garden quadrants. These latter were prepared with a layer of sand last year and planted with bulbs, of which the allium (ornamental flowering onions) are currently in full glory. But earlier another bulb had its moment of glory, the Eremurus or foxtail lily (desert candles). This was quite an unusual planting, and a bit of an experiment to see if it will survive a winter and flourish.

Yesterday, we visited Wakehurst place, “Kew in the country”, or “Wild Kew”, the reference being to the famous other Kew botanic gardens, in Richmond London. We sat down at a bench to have our picnic lunch and spotted something nearby we soon recognised as another planting of Eremurus, with two  Kew gardeners loitering in the vicinity who told us about their experiment. They had prepared four different types of water porous toppings to see which the Eremurus liked best and were also experimenting with the planting for the first time this year. This was a late flowering variety, with tall yellow spikes (the Perivale Park variety was white).

Since Eremurus tubers apparently dislike winter wet, we will find out next year how both the plantings at Wakehurst and in Perivale park  fare. But its good to see the park as part of a larger experiment!

3 Replies to “The orchard garden “pocketpark” – at Wakehurst.”

  1. They did look wonderful. Shame some got damaged by the unseasonal winds. I’m tempted to try some myself. I think I saw something like 8 different species in Kazakhstan, some during spring visits, some in summer visits. Certainly there they get hot, dry summers & very cold winters.

    It’s always a positive thing to try new plantings & try to push the frontiers of what’s possible in horticulture.

  2. Ours were a cultivar that was no more than 1 to 1.5m in height, but apparently some can reach 3m in height! I wonder how they survive the winds when that big! The Wikipedia article does suggest that they should over-winter with a topping of compost or mulch, but I think the logistics of doing this may be too much for our park. What does worry me is that the winter rains can saturate the ground, with a lake forming. Beneath the sand, the clay is pretty impermeable.

    1. I don’t think I saw a wild species over 2 metres tall & most were less than half that.

      Fingers crossed for our ones. I guess if they don’t survive a wet winter it wouldn’t be worth replanting them, but worth a one-off gamble!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.