Category: wildlife

winding paths and secret corners adorn this lovely find in south Shropshire

Small Scale Gardening

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. 

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Mixed Perennial Plantings

Mixed Perennial Planting 'par excellance' - order, then keep your copy as a reference guide

The latest plant catalogue from Dobies of Devon

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.

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Ephemeral Perennial Delights

A popular event - and our first visit to the RHS Cardiff Flower Show

Visitors thronging towards the entrance in Bute Park, Cardiff, of the 2014 RHS Cardiff Flower Show

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.

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Garden Upwards …. above ground

Growbags provide a quick  Garden Upwards solution on poor ground

Garden upwards – above ground – by first covering the surface with a tarpaulin and then planting in grow bags.

Taking stock of our plot – and oh how it has suffered over the last few months from overmuch wet – I decided to take advantage of my garden upwards technique. Basically, this excludes all digging, or even utilizing the ground at all, other than as a surface upon which to place containers of various types. From growbags to terracotta pots to table-top planters, garden upwards techniques are perfect when facing a post-flood scenario or indeed when you have ground to clear and can’t wait to get cropping. Here are some ideas to point you towards ‘above ground’ gardening.

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Inspiration at the Malvern Spring Gardening Show

Tulips in my Potager - a bright splash of colour in a dull week

Tulips in my Potager – a bright splash of colour in a dull week

Reading Debs’ post from Elephant Farm it seems that the weather is good down in sunny Devon, whereas up here in the north Cotswolds, it is dull, dreary and SO cold, as it has been for weeks on end. The early potatoes are looking good in the allotment-plot, and first batch of veg seed now transplanted into the potager. Albeit with cloches over the mixed lettuce. There’s spinach romping away in readiness for my new hens and one sad climbing bean solitary in the bean bed – rest were a failure and I have sown some more in the greenhouse. The joy has been the bed filled with spring bulbs, perfect blooms in various varieties over the last month – how I love the flamboyance of the parrot tulips.

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