Small Scale Gardening
July 2, 2014
I so frequently advocate gaining inspiration for one’s own garden from visits to ‘stately homes’ that it is all too easy to forget what is on one’s own doorstep. Actually, the notion sprang into my head when I was a considerable distance from home. This last weekend, I was participating by invitation in a ‘Garden and Book-Arts Festival’ on the English/Welsh border just outside Knighton, Powys – though on the other side of the River Teme, in Shropshire. My kind hosts took me to a couple of open gardens “in the middle of nowhere”. I suddenly realised that here were examples of small scale gardening at its very best, and an opportunity to talk to owners about the nature of the soil, difficulties or otherwise of climate or location (steep hillsides for example) under which they toiled.
Flower Patch Kaleidoscope
May 28, 2014
No matter what one plans to do in the garden, we are continually subjected to the vagaries of the British weather. So although we had planned to create our new flower patch kaleidoscope during this last week, it is still under construction. Part dug over, part still weed-infested (and none of them edible!) Seedlings were potted on; pots were placed in impervious trays to soak up moisture added from the rain-water barrel. Down came the rain (torrential at times) and they nearly drown! As do I as I rescue them into trays with drainage holes. The kaleidoscope will be a long time coming.
Inspired Perennial Patches
May 18, 2014
Suddenly the weather has turned airless and incredibly warm. It’s almost too hot to work outside, so I am thankful that, here in our north Cotswold acre, I decided this year to create inspired perennial patches wherever there was space to do so. Gardening with perennials – herbs, vegetables and flowers saves time; once established they will ‘do their own thing’. And if plants are packed tightly together, weed growth is discouraged. I can concentrate instead on creating a garden that is beautiful to look at. So it was interesting to see this technique had been adopted by many Show Garden designers at the 2014 RHS Malvern Spring Festival. (Hard to believe that I was there taking photos and talking to plant growers and garden designers only a week ago.)
Mixed Perennial Plantings
April 28, 2014
I returned from the RHS Cardiff Flower Show and then a few days in Shropshire over Easter and in my postbox was such a welcome package. Mixed perennial plantings indeed – the latest Dobies A4 ‘Perennial Plant Catalogue’ along with other smaller brochures, that I am still working my way through them! Even the free envelope for orders reminds me that Dobies of Devon flower seed is 42% cheaper than all other major seed suppliers – 49% for veg seed. I’ve always known that seed quality is excellent; savings are made by avoiding pretty pictures on the seed packets. Also included was a ‘Flower and Vegetable PLANT Catalogue’ for last minute decorative displays and catch crops plus another devoted to ‘Spring 2014 Garden Equipment’. A leaflet on grafted tomato plants for bumper crops, and a sachet of super food for super tomatoes.
Ephemeral Perennial Delights
April 15, 2014
In the course of a year, I visit many gardening shows and am always amazed at the ingenuity and beauty of the Show Gardens. I have come to think of them as ephemeral perennial delights – created for but a few days, yet clearly gardens that in the real world would be intended to last. So much can be learned from these show gardens, if you look beneath the surface; if you interpret the name of the garden, and start to ask yourself questions: “what, why and how?” Thus it was for me at the end of last week on my first ever visit to the RHS Cardiff Flower Show. Situated in the tree-enclosed haven of Bute Park, right in the centre of Cardiff, I discovered that this Show is very different to those of RHS Malvern, Hampton Court and Tatton Park. And this year, RHS Cardiff celebrated its 10th anniversary, so I was doubly-pleased to be there at last.