Tag: decorative plants

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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Valentine’s Day Garden Hearts

willow tree living garden hearts

A living heart within a willow tree

Out and about with my camera, I sometimes spot strange shapes. Not that I am specifically looking; they fall into view, and then I start searching. It may be that branches frame a part of the garden, or the juxtaposition of tree-trunks offer me a shot that can be used for the cards and books I make. As here, walking along the banks of the River Teme on the Shropshire/Welsh border, I ‘found’ two garden hearts. These will be perfect for the book I am making for a garden-art exhibition to be held in the area this summer.

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Plans and Dreams

My 'Courtyard Potager' earlier this Summer

My ‘Courtyard Potager’ earlier this Summer

Christmas festivities are over; the New Year approaches – almost a time in limbo, but perfect for making plans, allowing oneself to dream. I write so often about planning that you might consider it is a fetish of mine; but over the years I have come to realise that it is crucial to good gardening practice, and that any plot – large or small, rural or urban, – is not created overnight.  And after a year of terrible weather and lack of attention to our own outdoor space through travelling abroad and subsequently illness, I know that nothing goes as expected and contingency plans are essential.

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Gardens on the move

Oxeye daisies in profusion

Oxeye daisies in profusion, plus bilberries, wild strawberries, clover, vetch, speedwell, bird’s foot trefoil, eyebright, herb robert, foxgloves and so many more

My plan to blog live from Ireland was a failure as such WiFi connections as I was able to access were so slow and intermittent that posting anything more than a short email proved impossible. But that did not stop me writing nor my husband and I taking photographs wherever we travelled – 1,000 miles from door to door. So my ‘News from Ireland’ is a longer than normal post – two weeks rolled into one. It’s surprising when one is away from home how plans for the garden gel when the day-to-day tasks of sowing and planting and weeding are not uppermost in your mind. So we forgot how the grass would be growing out of control in the orchard, or that the veg would either be dying for lack of moisture or drowned in yet more rain. With little traffic on most Irish roads, we had time to enjoy the diversity of wild flowers – and likewise the insects they attracted. Even though our garden at home is part wilderness, the sight of such profusion reminded me of the importance of creating wild areas in even the smallest plot.

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March Miscellany

outdoor garden chairs secluded spot

The perfect spot for soaking up the sun and writing garden notes

I’ve been out and about in the last seven days, as well as venturing into the garden. The square-metre plot moving forwards. This time last year, it was not even created, and now flourishes. Sitting on my favourite faux-French sea-blue chairs, under a canopy of sweet-scented golden mahonia, alive with honey-bees, I soak up the sun and make notes. The buzz if bees is everywhere. On the flowering box-balls, and the red-deadnettle weed, deliberately left to provide early pollen.

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