About Me

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After starting life as a fully trained Design Draughtsman then running my own business for nearly 20 years, I have fulfilled my desire to return to my first love of designing. Coupled with my second love of gardens, I retrained at the renowned Oxford College Of Garden Design, taking a Post Graduate Diploma in Residential Landscape and Garden Design. Since graduation I have started my own business Paul Francis Design Limited designing Gardens and Landscapes for private and commercial clients.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Poppies everywhere!

Poppies (Papaver) seem to be increasing in numbers these last few years and this year is no exception. Hedgerows, fields set aside and gardens are awash with many different varieties. Non more common or striking than the scarlet of Papaver rhoeas.

Garden poppies range from the annual or evergreen perennial Iceland poppy Papaver nudicaule, with bright red, yellow or orange flowers and sweet fragrance, to the large variety of perennial oriental poppy Papaver orientale, with the crinkled edges and rich colours ranging from deep red to salmon pink.

If you like a particular variety and want to grow some more next year elsewhere in the garden, then save the seeds.

Tie a paper bag over a seed head that is maturing. When the seeds are ripe, shake the head so all the seeds fall into the bag. Cut off the seed head from the stalk and save in a cool, dry area.


Do not use a plastic bag as the seeds have to be thoroughly dry and they can sweat in plastic bags.

Once dried out, remove the seed head and pour the seeds into a clean dry envelope. Write the name and a brief description of the seeds, on the front of the envelope and keep safe in a dry area ready for sowing next year. Storing them in the garage, shed or green house which will get cold through the winter is actually good for them and increases the yield rate.

Seeds of F1 hybrids do not come 'true' - which may not be a problem, just wait and see what you get!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Spring is coming!

At last evidence that Spring is not far away. Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrops) are now starting to flower. These wonderful little flowers are closely linked with ancient church traditions and grow naturally, often in huge swathes in church yards and maonastic sites.
Often called Candlemas bells in the country, because the feast of Candlemas falls on the 2nd February, when the flowers are in bloom. The feast celibrates the purification of the Virgin Mary and the spotless pure white flowers are a perfect symbol for this occasion. It was a custom for young girls to be dressed in white and let them throw snowdrops over the church alter where the image of the Virgin usually stands.
Galanthus bloom mainly from late winter to mid-spring and are hardy once established. They should be planted in the autumn, in a humus-rich, moist but well drained soil and partial shade location. Results are more reliable if they are lifted, divided and planted in the green after flowering.
There are about 19 species of 'snowdrops' ranging from double flowered Galanthus nivalis 'Flore Pleno' (10cm), Galanthus elwesii, a taller (12 - 22 cm) honey scented variety, to Galanthus reginae - olgae (10 cm) which flowers in the autumn.
Looking round the garden the lawn is filled with leaf shoots of the emerging Crocus's and Narcissus (Daffodil's), which are late this year due to the long, cold, winter and deep ground frost in December. I cannot wait to see the carpets of Crocus's again, with their heads held high looking up at the sun on a bright clear morning. Its been a long winter but Spring is coming!