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February 2016

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Get ready for pruning

Zena Robson

22 February 2016

Sharpen up those secateurs and loppers because we are entering the time of wielding them with some gusto! Having said that, resist if there is frosty weather forecast as that can lead to damage. The first thing to address is your roses. Now, I know that they will have put on leaf and stem growth over the mild spell and you may be tempted to leave it. Don’t – it needs to come off and you should prune exactly as you would do any other year. I tend to wait until the end of this month and then I go at things quite ferociously! Bush roses can be cut back hard, especially if the shape is all wrong and you have got a lot of crossing growths in the middle. Remember that with shrubs (and trees) you are trying to create an open goblet shape in order for the wind to pass through unimpeded. Lots of twiggy growth in the middle leads to ‘dead air’ and a build up of humidity, which, in turn, is asking for all sorts of pests and diseases to settle there and have a marvellous time.  If some of the growth is now more than 3 years old, take it right out and let some new stuff come through; I intend to do this with my lovely climber ‘Sombreuil’, as I can see quite clearly that at least one of the main stems is past its best. I shall cut the whole lot right down to the base even though I know it will thin out the growth at the top. That doesn’t matter because I need new, productive stuff to grow in its place. And a word about pruning climbers, especially if you will be getting rid of top growth over your head. Always wear safety glasses and keep your head down as all the detritus comes earthwards. It’s amazing how much stuff comes down and can land in your eyes if you’re not careful. Rambling roses need different treatment. Don’t be tempted to go at them too hard as you will get no flower whatsoever for a year or two. If you did not cut out and back after they finished flowering last year, then go at it gently now – perhaps confining yourself to taking out an old main stem. Tie in the growth that is left where you want it to go and tip back any that are wanging about the place and refused to be tied in. But that’s it. Patio roses can be given a good haircut – say down to half their height and they will do fine.  Always look for dieback – that is those snaggy bits on the top of stems that were not pruned back to an outward facing bud and have now gone brown. Cut this right out down to the top of a healthy bud lower down the stem and prune outwards in a diagonal away from the bud. Buddleia davidii can also be attacked now. The ordinary davidii cultivars such as ‘Black Knight’ will be perfectly fine to have a really good cutback – others are a little more tender. Cultivars such as ‘Royal Red’, or ones with either silver or variegated leaves are not quite so tough so don’t be quite so brutal! After pruning anything, give them a good feed, and with roses, you can start to spray with a fungicide if you fear blackspot. One last thing – make sure your seed and cutting compost is in a warmish place and not out in the cold so you can get on with sowing when you are ready. woodboroughgardencentre.co.uk

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Get Creative at Mimo

Sam Bertram

12 February 2016

Mimo is a lovely interiors shop that’s a little bit different from the mainstream, just a short walk from Marlborough High Street in The Old Ropeworks near the river. Owner Sally Ballard has also recently started running creative workshops there to great success.   Tell us a bit about how you ended up having a shop like Mimo? ‘With a background in antiques and interior design Mimo is a shop where I make the things I love & collect for the home available to the public.  It’s full of vintage, restored and quirky pieces.  I love seeing my regular customers popping by to make sure they’re not missing out on any treasures! It all started shortly after embarking on my working life when I was a nanny for some amazing people, whom I’m still great friends with today.  They introduced me to friends starting an interior design business being run alongside an antiques business and, although initially I just helped out, I eventually took over the admin side /  project management. This led to a further job with another antiques dealer running the interior design side & eventually opening my own shop in the Cotswolds shortly after meeting my ex-husband. My first shop was short-lived though as children arrived soon after, not helped by a rather gloomy recession. Now my children are older – Alex, 22 and Will, 20, I’ve had time to focus on having my own business again and I set-up Mimo in 2011.  Gary from Eric’s Attic initially offered me space in his shop to sell my collection but when the space came available downstairs I leapt at the opportunity to take it and set-up by myself. I’ve always had the idea of making one of the rooms available for creative courses.’   Interesting – what type of workshops are you offering? ‘I’ve always thought there was an opportunity to offer creative courses in Marlborough as Marlborough College Summer School is only for four weeks of the year and beyond that there didn’t seem to be much available of this type.  I’m an optimist by nature and I really felt there was potential to offer workshops in the centre of town. We’ve had some fabulous courses here so far, from upholstery to sewing & dressmaking and plenty of arty courses for both adults and children alike. I’ve loved the mosaics courses, and in particular the floristry, creative writing and Christmas Wreath workshops were incredibly popular. Next planned is an Arts & Crafts workshop for kids during half term and an upholstery weekend at the end of February both which still have places so get in quick! I’m always open to ideas so if someone has something they’d love to learn or love to teach I’ll do my best to make it happen.’   Are you Wiltshire born and bred? ‘Not at all – I was born in Oxford where I lived and attended college and my mother still lives there. It was a fabulously buzzy & exciting place to grow up although I’ve moved so many times since I’ve almost lost count of the places I’ve lived.  The first antiques business I worked in was in Woburn, after marrying Nick we lived in various places in the Cotswolds and eventually moved to Ramsbury just fore Will was born and where the boys spent their childhood.  I now live right in the middle of Marlborough and I’m loving it.  It’s great being right in the middle of town and Marlborough has so much character.  As my boys have left home for work and uni it’s mainly just me and my dog, Monty.’    So what’s planned for the future? Just enjoying where I live and my business for now.  But what will be will be – I don’t mind moving, so if I had to move again I would. But for now Mimo isn’t going anywhere soon. I love meeting new people so please pop in and say hi. http://www.mimo-trading.com/  

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