July Gardening Miscellany
July 25, 2014
Weatherwise, it’s been perfect for gardening; just a little rain, but all my newly acquired plants are now well established, and the ‘hungry’ ones – beans and sweet-peas – are fed weekly with diluted seaweed extract. Even though we made a late start (wet and cold in the high Cotswolds) we still have far more produce than two of us can possible consume. My July Gardening Miscellany will take you from our own plot, through the garden gate for inspiration near and far, and then to hopeful holiday-time activities and relaxation. All with gardening as the catalyst, of course.
Creating a flower patch within the vegetable ‘allotment’ has been perfect for attracting insects – mixing climbing vegetables with the flowers has intensified pollination. Vegetable trials of new varieties are ongoing, some are better than others – at least they are in our soil and conditions. Once established, we never water; it’s a waste of precious resources, and with produce and flowers packed close together, the heavy clay ground does not dry out. Though we do take advantage of ‘grey’ water and water butts.
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.