March 2022

Hello Everyone

March 2022

Over the past few weeks, Oxalis ‘Ken Aslet’ has had a few flowers and each time I look at it I think of the late Malcolm Shearer, my dear friend, who, along with his wife Anne, shared so many inspirational times with me in our garden and theirs. I gave Malcolm a piece of this oxalis and as it can be a bit miffy with its flowering, some years it wouldn’t flower at all. This year it has flowered continuously so Malcolm would be pleased. I’ve often wondered who Ken Aslet was, and I see that there are other plants named after him. He was a former head of the rock garden at RHS Wisley.

Photo 1: Rose ‘Blairi No 2’. I have grown this rose for years through the Prunus ‘Autumnalis’ tree, a cherry tree. The pink flower deepens in colour towards the centre and is beautifully fragrant. Photo by Margaret Long

Photo 2: I wrote in a previous newsletter about a purple gladiolus, ‘Velvet Eyes’, that I was growing. I didn’t include a photo at the time so here it is. Photo by Margaret Long

Photo 3:  The rambler rose ‘Narrow Water’ was discovered at, and named after Narrow Water Castle in Northern Ireland. It grows in our garden, intertwined with Filipendula rubra which is much admired. The filipendula leaves turn golden in the autumn. Photo by Margaret Long

Photo 4: Don’t be put off by the lengthy name of this plant which, again, has been much admired in our garden, and it has sold well from our sales table. I have been calling it Tovara or’ Painter’s

Palette’ but its official name is now Persicaria virginiana ‘ Painter’s Palette’. The dainty red flowers drop a lot of seed; a great plant to bulk up in a shady spot. Photo by Margaret Long

Photo 5: Oxalis ‘Ken Aslet’. Photo by the late Malcolm Shearer.

We have done a lot of planting out over the last month, with more to go. In the new and existing woodland areas, rodgersias, hostas, autumn-flowering cyclamen, daffodils en masse (‘Malvern City’ and Tête à Tête) and Beesia calthifolia are amongst the new selections. The pink garden, the drive woodland garden and the rock garden have all benefitted from additional plantings too.

Autumn colours are appearing everywhere. One of the first shrubs to turn into a variety of autumnal colours are the fothergillas. Trilliums have pushed their noses through the ground some time ago, leaves are falling, roses are taking on ‘the last rose of summer’ look, and so the seasons keep turning over.

It has been a pleasure having quite a number of garden visitors lately and I do encourage you to visit in the autumn. Many visitors have questions as they wander around, and I am very happy to share information. In fact I love chatting with visitors. Life is easier now, as those of you who have visited before, will know that I am often standing there like a traffic warden, directing cars to spaces. We now have a permanent set-up in the top paddock, which means that you park in the paddock and walk past a planting of Pin oak trees as you approach the garden.

Best wishes,


About Frensham

Our relaxed country garden started twenty nine years ago. In the early days I had very little gardening experience and no vision for the site, but an interest in plants was quickly developing. Over the years, with much trial and error, a garden has emerged which we and our visitors do enjoy.

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139 Old Tai Tapu Rd, Christchurch 8025, New Zealand
+64 3 3228 061

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